Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.13 “The Lady and the Longhorn/Vampire”

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Tuesdays, I will be reviewing the original Fantasy Island, which ran on ABC from 1977 to 1986.  The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!

This week, Robert Reed turns into a vampire!

Episode 2.13 “The Lady and the Longhorn/Vampire”

(Dir by Arnold Laven, originally aired on December 16th, 1978)

Tattoo is excited because Vera Templeton (Eva Gabor) is coming to the island.  Vera is the glamorous owner of a cosmetics company and she is looking for a location to shoot a commercial for her makeup.  Tattoo hopes that she’ll hire him to direct so he puts on a red beret to make him look more like a director.  Mr. Roarke rolls his eyes, letting us know that he has no time for Tattoo’s foolishness.  NOT THIS WEEK!

Actually, this turns out to be a very foolish week indeed.  Vera Templeton is not just coming to the Island to shoot a commercial.  She is on the verge of going bankrupt and needs to marry a rich man.  She meets Hollis Buford, Jr. (Jack Elam), who wears a cowboy hat and picks his teeth and talks about the rodeo a lot but who is apparently a millionaire.  He’s also supposed to be from Dallas.  (I’m from Dallas and I can assure you that the cattle barons live in Fort Worth.)  Vera flirts with Hollis by speaking in a painfully bad Southern accent.  Vera and Hollis get engaged.  Hollis seems to love Vera but Vera just wants his money and we are supposed to find this funny.

Vera’s  bratty and annoying daughter (Tammy Lauren) doesn’t like Hollis, even though he seems like a perfectly well-meaning guy.  So, she sells her stocks to Vera’s butler (Lloyd Bochner) and Vera marries her butler after telling Hollis that their marriage just won’t work out.  “Dagnabbit,” Hollis says, “Now, I have to find another date to the rodeo.”

What an annoying fantasy.  Not only did the humor fall flat but it was a bit mean-spirited as well.

Meanwhile, Leo Drake (Robert Reed) and his wife, Carmen (Julie Sommars) have come to the Island.  Roarke explains that Leo is a method actor.

“That means he like to become the role that he plays,” Tattoo says, “Like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky.”

(And that is probably the only time in history that Robert Reed has even been compared to Sylvester Stallone.)

Leo has been cast in a remake of Dracula so he wants to live in an actual castle overlooking a village in Transylvania.  Roarke obliges and soon, Leo is wandering the streets in the middle of the night and he’s developing fangs.  Has he become a vampire or is the method getting the better of him?  The villagers want to set him on fire but Roarke suggests that they just wait for the sun to rise.  When the sun doesn’t destroy Leo, everyone realizes that he’s not a vampire and …. well, that’s that!

Yes, it’s painfully dumb but at least the episode features mild-mannered Robert Reed, with his gray perm and his aging porn star mustache, putting on a cape and wandering around a village at midnight.  Reed is totally miscast but that gives this episode what little charm it has.

My fantasy is that next week’s episode will be better!

4 responses to “Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.13 “The Lady and the Longhorn/Vampire”

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 3/13/23 — 3/19/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.14 “Séance/The Treasure” | Through the Shattered Lens

  3. Pingback: Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 2.6 “Mike and Ike / The Witness / The Kissing Bandit” | Through the Shattered Lens

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