Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.7 “Let the Good Times Roll/Nightmare/The Tiger”

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, we’ve got a special, 90-minute episode of Fantasy Island!

Episode 2.7 “Let the Good Times Roll/Nightmare/The Tiger”

(Dir by George McCowan, originally aired on November 4th, 1978)

This week’s supersized episode of Fantasy Island begins with Tattoo revealing that he’s come up with a new way to annoy Mr. Roarke.

Mr, Roarke rolls his eyes and dramatically sighs, especially when Tattoo makes the mistake of assuming that Roarke is a Pisces.  (“I am a Sagittarius!” Roarke snaps.)  For once, Mr. Roarke is right to be annoyed.  There’s no time for this foolishness this week!  We’ve got three fantasies to deal with!

For instance, Duke Manducci (Paul Sand) and Ernie “Smooth” Kowalski (Peter Isacksen) want to go back to the 1960s and relive their youth.  Duke was once known as the King of the Strip because he could outrace anyone.  Now, years later, Duke is just a guy working in a garage.  Roarke leads them to an exact recreation of the Strip.  The Strip is so perfectly recreated that even Donny Bonaduce shows up to make trouble.

Uh-oh, it turns out that Mr. Roarke has also invited all of Duke’s old friends to come take part in Duke’s fantasy.  Except, of course, none of them know that Duke is still working at the same gas station that he worked at as a teenager.  Duke ends up telling a lot of lies in order to convince them that he’s made a success of himself.   But when he falls for Sheila Crane (Mary Ann Mobley), he realizes that it’s time to be honest.  And when Bonaduce challenges him to a race, Duke eventually realizes that his racing days are over and it’s time for him to be a grown-up.  Duke not only learns an important lesson but he’s also offered a job working on a NASCAR pit crew.  Yay!

Meanwhile, Janine Sanford (Pamela Franklin) is haunted by a recurring nightmare.  She always has the dream at midnight and she’s never made it to the end of the dream without waking up.  She travels to Fantasy Island with her husband (Brett Halsey, who later starred in Fulci’s Touch of Death) and her father (Ray Milland).  Her fantasy is see how her nightmare ends.  Mr. Roarke takes her to what he calls the Nightmare House.

And, oh my God, this nightmare is seriously freaky!  We see it twice.  It involves Janine watching as all of her childhood toys catch on fire.  There’s even a clown that comes to life and go crazy at one point.

Janine’s father is convinced that the dream is linked to some sort of past trauma and he fears that Janine will be hurt if she relives it. 

It turns out the joke’s on him!  Janine’s nightmare is not about the past but the future.  It turns out that it was warning her that her father was going to be trapped in a fire.  When her father is indeed trapped in a fire, Janine is able to rescue him.  Yay!  What a great fantasy and I love a happy ending.  This fantasy is handled so well that it takes a while to realize that the show just kind of dropped the whole idea of Janine suffering from past trauma, despite the fact that her father seemed really worried about what she might end up remembering.  

Finally, for our third fantasy, Victor Duncan (Darren McGavin) is a Hemingwayesque writer who wants to go to India so he can hunt a legendary tiger.  How do you think that works out for him?

Yep, the tiger kills him.

Fear not, though!  Mr. Roarke explains to Tattoo that Victor was actually terminally ill and his fantasy was to die on Fantasy Island.  So, I guess that’s a happy ending.

I actually liked this episode, if just because it was throwback to season one when all of the fantasies were linked by a common theme.  Here the link is aging and growing up.  Duke and Victor both have to deal with the fact that they’re no longer young men.  Janine manages to put her nightmare behind her and move on.  These three fantasies all seemed to belong together, so there were none of the strange tonal shifts that I’ve noticed in some of the other episodes.  All in all, this was a good trip to Fantasy Island.

Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.6 “War Games/Queen of the Boston Bruisers”

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!

It’s time for another tonally confusing trip to Fantasy Island!

Episode 2.6 “War Games/Queen of the Boston Bruisers”

(Dir by Earl Bellamy, originally aired on October 28th, 1978)

We’re just six episodes into the second season of Fantasy Island but a definite pattern has emerged.  Just as in the first season, each episode features two fantasies.  But, in the second season, it appears that one fantasy is always comedic and the second is always serious.  This has created an interesting tonal mishmash on Fantasy Island.  Mr. Roarke spends half of his time laughing at the silliness of it all and the other half warning people that their fantasy could lead to death.

Take this episode for instance.

Rowdy Roberts (Anne Francis) is a roller derby champ whose fantasy is to become a “gentlelady” so that she can impress her daughter’s future in-laws.  (Rowdy’s future son-in-law, meanwhile, is played by a young Jonathan Frakes.)  Mr. Roarke and Tattoo spend an entire weekend teaching Rowdy how to speak properly, how to eat with silverware, and all the rest.  However, snobbish Betty Wendover (Joanna Barnes) doesn’t want her son marrying Rowdy’s daughter so she arranges for Rowdy’s roller derby rival, Hooligan Hanreddy (Mary Jo Catlett), to come to the island and challenge Rowdy to a fight.  Rowdy throws a punch and then runs off, ashamed at not being sophisticated.  But, it turns out that Rowdy’s future son-in-law is really impressed with what Rowdy did and the wedding takes place after all.  Yay!

Needless to say, this is all incredibly silly but it’s meant to be silly and both Anne Francis and Mary Jo Catlett seem to be having fun overplaying their rivalry.  There is nothing particularly realistic about this fantasy but it’s not meant to be.  It’s meant to make the viewer smile and, for the most part, that’s what it does.

But, at the same time, Vietnam vet Joe Beck (Christopher George) is chasing another Vietnam vet, attorney Ted Harmon (Greg Morris), through the jungle, intent on killing him.  Joe blames Ted for the death of Joe’s younger brother.  Apparently, they were all POWs together and Joe’s brother died during an escape.  Joe is convinced that Ted betrayed his country.  This is all pretty dramatic and it’s hard not to wonder why Roarke would have agreed to sponsor this fantasy in the first place.  Ted is a prominent attorney who is thinking of running for political office.  If he was murdered on Fantasy Island, that wouldn’t do much for the island’s reputation.  Fortunately, it all works out in the end as Joe discovers that his younger brother is not only still alive but that he’s also the one who informed the VC about the escape attempt.  Amazingly, Ted doesn’t seem to be at all upset that he was nearly murdered over a mistake.  I guess that’s the magic of Fantasy Island.

These two fantasies didn’t really go together and, as a result, this episode feels a bit messy.  But there is one cute moment in which Tattoo reveals to Mr. Rourke that his new side hustle involves selling phony college degrees.

Go Tattoo!

Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.5 “I Want To Get Married/The Jewel Thief”

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!

We learn a little bit more about Fantasy Island in this week’s episode.  It’s a strange place!

Episode 2.5 “I Want To Get Married/The Jewel Thief”

(Dir by George McGowan, originally aired on October 21st, 1978)

You know what the best thing about Fantasy Island is?

The Disco Dancing!

Cindy Barker (Meredith McRae) is a big fan of the disco dancing.  That’s because her fantasy is to come to the island and meet the man that she’s going to marry.  In fact, she wants to marry the guy at the end of the weekend and she’s already spent $20,000 to reserve the island for her wedding.  (Tattoo is excited about that.)

Of course, one possible problem with Cindy’s fantasy is that she already has a boyfriend.  She’s been dating Eddie (Ken Berry) for a while now.  However, Eddie refuses to get married.  Every time that they schedule a wedding ceremony, Eddie finds an excuse to cancel.  He can’t even say the word “married” without sneezing.  Still, Eddie is in love with Cindy and he comes to the Island to try to convince her to give him another chance.  He also tells all of her potential suitors that Cindy is actually a prostitute.  

Now, to be honest, that’s not the sort of thing that I could forgive.  I don’t care who you are or how much you love me, that’s just not something that I’m going to be able to overlook.  However, this somehow convinces Cindy that Eddie really does love her so she decides to teach him a lesson by putting on a slit leather skirt and hanging out on a street corner in Fantasy Island’s red light district.

At this point, I said to myself, “Since when has Fantasy Island had a red light district?”  Seriously, last week revealed that the island has a desert where the Egyptians buried their pharaohs.  This week, we learn that the island has a red light district.  Fantasy Island is a strange place.  Stranger still, Eddie lying about Cindy and then Cindy pretending to be a prostitute leads to Eddie and Cindy getting married.  

While that’s going on, Jordan Montgomery (Steve Forrest) is living out his fantasy of being an international jewel thief and …. wait, what?  What type of fantasy is this?  You can commit crimes in your fantasies?  This island gets stranger and stranger!  Anyway, Jordan steals a necklace from Leslie Tarleton (Leigh Taylor-Young), just to discover that the necklace didn’t actually belong to her and his thievery is going to cause her to lose her job.  When Jordan attempts to retrieve the necklace so that he can return it, he discovers that it’s been stolen yet again!  This time, crime lord Carl Dekker (Peter Mark Richman) has stolen the necklace and is keeping it on his boat, which is heavily guarded and which is also floating off the coast of the island.  

So, for those keeping track, Fantasy Island has a desert, a pharaoh’s tomb, a red light district, and a Mafia.  It seems like the island’s kind of gone downhill since the end of season one!

Anyway, this was actually a fun episode.  Neither story was particularly deep but the action moved quickly and Steve Forrest made for a properly dashing jewel thief.  I still don’t think that Cindy should have forgiven Eddie, let alone married him.  But it was 1978 and I guess times were different back then.

Finally, Tattoo tried to start his own greeting card company.  He was looking to corner the market on sarcastic and downbeat greeting  cards.  He was just a few decades too early!

Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.4 “Best Seller/The Tomb”

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!

Fantasy Island has a desert?  Read on to find out more.

Episode 2.4 “Best Seller/The Tomb”

(Dir by George McCowan, originally aired on October 14th, 1978)

Fantasy Island can be a strange place.

Just consider the fantasy of Neville Marlowe (Barry Sullivan).  Marlowe is an archeologist who has devoted his life to seeking the tomb of a lost Egyptian pharaoh who is believed to have been King Tut’s twin brother.  His fantasy is to finally find the tomb and to explore it with his wife (Shelley Fabares) and his associate (David Opatoshu).  He wants to do this even though the tomb, if it does exist, is said to be cursed.

Mr. Roarke informs Marlowe that he’s in luck.  There’s an archeological dig currently taking place on the island and there’s a good chance that it might finally lead to the discovery of the tomb….

Now, this brings up some interesting issues.  First off, the dig is taking place in the desert.  Since when has Fantasy Island, a tropical paradise, had a desert?  Secondly, even if you accept that idea that Fantasy Island is home to a large desert, why exactly would it also be home to the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh?  Though the show always kept it a bit vague as to just where exactly the island was located, it’s always been suggested that it’s near Hawaii.  The actual natives of the island (as opposed to Mr. Roarke and Tattoo) all appear to be Polynesian.  When the guests get off the plane at the start of each episode, they’re given a lei and a tropical drink.  My point is that there’s never been anything about the show that would suggest that Fantasy Island is anywhere near Egypt.  Certainly, it’s possible that an Egyptian ship may have landed at Fantasy Island at some point in the past, just as it’s possible that ancient Egyptians also landed in South America.  But still, there’s no reason why a pharaoh would be buried on Fantasy Island as opposed to along the banks of the Nile.

It makes no sense but, for whatever reason, the tomb is indeed on Fantasy Island.  Entering the tomb leads to Marlowe’s wife having several nightmares about being wrapped up like a mummy.  It’s nicely creepy but it doesn’t lead to anything.  Because Marlowe decides to send the artifacts to Egypt as opposed to sending them to a British museum. he is spared the curse.

Meanwhile, Barney Hunter (Desi Arnaz, Jr.) is a bookstore clerk who suffers from crippling shyness.  His fantasy is to be a best selling author so Mr. Roarke informs him that he is now the author of the world’s most popular book about sex and, as a result, hundreds of his fans are coming to the island to meet him.  The problem with that, of course, is that Barney is a virgin.  So, you have to wonder why Mr. Roarke would make Barney the world’s leading expert on sex when he doesn’t know anything about it.  My guess is that Mr. Roarke thought it would be funny but it’s actually kind of mean-spirited.  Anyway, Barney meets Angela (Maureen McCormick), who is also a virgin.  They fall in love but Angela’s mother (Gloria DeHaven) refuses to allow Angela to see a man who has written a “filthy book.”  Again, it’s hard not to feel that Roarke is having a little fun at Barney’s expense.  Fortunately, things work out in the end and that’s good.  Arnaz and McCormick were a cute couple.

Finally, Tattoo entered a jingle contest and won!  Unfortunately, it turned out that first prize was a trip to Fantasy Island.  Mr. Roarke had a good laugh about that one and I have to admit that I did too.  Fantasy Island just has a way of sweeping you up in all of its silliness. 

Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.3 “The Beachcomber/The Last Whodunit”

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 …. Tattoo gets a trumpet!

Episode 2.3 “The Beachcomber/The Last Whodunit”

(Dir by George McCowan, originally aired on September 30th, 1978)

Tattoo is learning how to play the trumpet and Mr. Roarke can barely hide his anger.  That is this week’s Tattoo/Roarke storyline and it rasies a lot of questions about Roarke and Tattoo’s relationship.  Is Roarke upset because Tattoo is a bad trumpet player or does he just dislike Tattoo in general?  Does Tattoo really care about learning how to play the trumpet or is he just looking for an excuse to annoy Mr. Roarke?  I think all of those possibilities may be true at the same time.  If the previous two episodes hinted that Roarke and Tattoo no longer hated each other, this episode seems to confirm that they’re still the frenemies that they’ve always been.  I sympathize with Roarke but it’s hard not to appreciate Tattoo’s determination to be an agent of chaos.

As for the fantasies, Charles Preston (John Astin) is a successful businessman who wants to throw it all ways so that he can spend the rest of his life as a beach bum.  Roarke sets Preston up in a cabin on one of the shabbiest beaches on Fantasy Island.  Seriously, the layout of Fantasy Island is just weird.  A third of the island is a luxury resort.  A third of the island is a magical jungle.  And a third of the island is apparently just a collection of poverty-stricken fishing villages.  Do the people who live on the island know that they could be having a fantasy if they only had the money?  Let’s hope none of them ever pick up a copy of Marx or Piketty. 

Anyway, Preston soon discovers that the life of a beach bum is not as easy as he thought it would be.  For one thing, the chief of the island’s indigenous population demands that Preston marry his daughter.  (The joke is that his daughter is overweight and …. well, it’s all pretty cringey by 2022 standards.)  Meanwhile, a bounty hunter slaps some handcuffs on Preston and threatens to take him back to his family unless Preston pays him $70,000.  “All of you beachcombers have a stash!” the bounty hunter hisses.  Fortunately, Preston’s wife shows up and announces that she’s fine with him being a beach bum, as long as he’s a responsible beach bum who helps to pay the bills.  And that’s the end of that.  What an underwhelming fantasy.

Luckily, the episode’s other fantasy is a bit more entertaining.  Mabel Jarvis (Celeste Holm) loves mystery stories and she wants to spend a weekend as her favorite fictional detective.  Of course, Mabel soon finds herself investigating the real-life murder of Mabel’s favorite writer.  Mr. Roarke explains that the writer was a friend of his and that he hoped Mabel could solve the case.  That seems like a lot of responsibility to put on someone who is just looking for a vacation but, fortunately, Mabel proves to be up to the job.  Anyway, this was a fun little fantasy and, as an avid reader of mysteries, it was one to which I could relate.  Celeste Holm seemed to be having a lot of fun as Mabel and, even more importantly, her cat played a key role in solving the mystery.

This was not a bad episode.  The beach stuff was forgettable but the episode was saved Celeste Holm and Tattoo’s trumpet.

Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 2.2 “The Big Dipper/The Pirate”

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!

Smiles, everyone, smiles!  How silly can things get this week?

Episode 2.2 “The Big Dipper/The Pirate”

(Dir by Earl Bellamy, originally aired on September 23rd, 1978)

Pete Raymond (Dan Rowan) and his daughter, Harmony (Jill Whelan), are professional pickpockets who are hiding out from a determined NYPD Detective named Broylan (Cameron Mitchell).  What better place to hide than Fantasy Island?  After stealing a ticket to the island from a reverend, Pete discovers that “his” fantasy is to work on a farm.  Of course, as you probably already guessed, the fantasy is actually Harmony’s.  She wants her father to calm down and live a normal life, away from committing crimes and fleeing the police.  At first, farmwork seems to agree with Pete but then Broylan shows up on the island.

I’ve often wondered about the legal status of Fantasy Island.  Is it an independent nation or is it territory of the United States or a member of the Commonwealth?  Some of the episodes during the first season suggested that Fantasy Island was a territory of the United States.  However, in this episode, Roarke reminds Broylan that the NYPD has no jurisdiction in Fantasy Island and that the island is not required to turn anyone over to America.  Pete is eventually arrested but Mr. Roarke explains that the Fantasy Island magistrate has ruled that Pete and Harmony can stay on the island and work on the farm.  When Broylan demands to know who the magistrate is, Mr. Roarke replies that he is.  So, apparently, we are now back to Fantasy Island being a separate nation where Mr. Roarke makes and interprets all of the laws.

The legal status of Fantasy Island was probably the most interesting thing about this fantasy.  It’s always fun to see Cameron Mitchell playing an obsessed cop but Dan Rowan gives a lousy performance as Pete and it’s never really clear how Harmony was able to set up the fantasy in the first place.  I mean, it obviously took a lot of planning on her part.  Did Mr. Roarke charge her the full price or is she another one of the freeloaders that Tattoo is always complaining about?

The show’s other fantasy is even more ridiculous and, not coincidentally, it’s also a lot more fun.  Painter Ted Cavanaugh (Sonny Bono) is upset that his ex-wife Mary (Diana Canova) is going to be marrying some stuffy rich guy so he asks to be transformed into an 18th century pirate so that he can kidnap Mary and convince her that she’s still in love with him.  WHAT!?  It’s totally completely ludicrous but …. I don’t know.  Sonny Bono is kind of funny as a pirate.  If you’re going to have a silly fantasy, you might as well go out and make it as silly as humanly possible and that’s definitely what happens here.  Fortunately, it all works out in the end.  Who can resist a pirate?

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 12/11/22 — 12/17/22

I did a lot of binge watching this week so the list below probably less impressive than it actually is.  Anyway, here’s some thoughts on what I watched this week:

California Dreams (YouTube)

Yay!  I’ve finally reaches season 3, which is what most people consider to be the start of “classic” California Dreams.  I like season 3 because it’s the season that introduces the character to whom I most relate, Lorena.

Casey Anthony: Where The Truth Lies (Peacock)

I finally watched the Casey Anthony documentary on Peacock.  This was basically a three-episode interview with Casey and the creepy weirdos who have been supporting her since she got away with murdering her daughter.  Whoops, did I just show my bias?  Oh well.  Casey claims that she has spent the last ten years in hiding but now, she’s finally ready to tell her story and try to get people to blame her father for Caylee’s death.  Of course, as many people have pointed out, Casey has frequently been seen at bars, concerts, and protest marches over the past ten years so I’m not really sure I’m buying into her social anxiety argument.  Nor am I buying that Casey suddenly decided that it was time to present her side of the story.  We all know that she got paid to appear in this documentary.  Time are tough, especially when your claim to fame is that you probably got away with murdering your daughter.

Here’s a few thoughts I jotted down:

Casey cries a lot but she never actually gets any tears in her eyes.

Casey does a lot of performative cursing whenever she’s trying to convince the viewer that she was treated unfairly but it all sounds forced.

If nothing else, Casey obviously understands the power of presenting yourself as being a victim in today’s society.

After her acquittal, Casey was more or less adopted by two older men and two older women who worked on her defense team.  The scenes in which they all meet and tell Casey how proud they are of her are creepy.  One gets the feeling that Casey played on their paternal and maternal instincts in much the same way that she tries to manipulate the people watching the show.

The documentary makes one valid point, which is that the case against Casey was made up largely of innuendo and appeals to emotion.  But then, the entire third episode uses the exact same technique to smear George Anthony as being a pedophile and a murderer.  The documentary mentions that neither George nor Casey’s brother chose to respond to Casey’s accusations against them but, to be honest, why should they?

A few cops are allowed to explain why they think Casey is guilty.  As opposed to when Casey speaks, they don’t get the benefit of heroic music playing in the background during their interviews.  As well, there are no animated recreations of the police’s theory of what happened.  Casey, however, not only tells her side but is helped by animated recreations of her story.

Not mentioned during the program was the claim that lead defense attorney Jose Baez told one of his investigators that 1) he was sleeping with Casey and 2) Casey had confessed to murdering Caylee.  Indeed, for all the time that the program spent detailing how the members of Casey’s defense team have “adopted” Casey, it appears that she’s no longer in contact with Jose Baez.

Also not mentioned was that a real-life woman named Zenaida Gonzalez received death threats due to Casey lying about where she had left Caylee.

I never thought I’d see a true crime documentary as one-sided and smarmy as A&E’s The Murder of Laci Peterson but Casey Anthony: Where The Truth Lies proved me wrong.  Shame on everyone involved and shame on me for watching it.

Don’t Pick Up The Phone (Netflix)

This disturbing, 3-part documentary from Netflix took a look at the so-called Strip Search Phone Call Hoaxes of the 90s and the early aughts.  For several years, someone repeatedly called fast food restaurants and, after claiming to be a cop, said that one of the female employees had been accused of theft and that it would be necessary for the managed to strip search them.  A lot of managers saw through the hoax and hung up but, disturbingly, a large number of them followed the orders of the caller.  (The film Compliance was based on one such call.)  This was a disturbing and sad documentary but an important one.  It took a look at what happens when authority is blindly trusted.  There’s very little people won’t do under the pretense of “just following orders.”

Fantasy Island (Tubi)

I wrote about Fantasy Island here!  And then I watched several more episodes, reviews of which will appear over the next few weeks.

Law & Order: SVU (Hulu)

After watching Don’t Pick Up The Phone, I watched a 2009 episode of Law & Order: SVU that was inspired by the Strip Search Caller.  Robin Williams played the caller.  It was a pretty uneven episode, as SVU tends to be sometimes.  Williams had some good moments but overall, it was a bit too heavy-handed.  At one point, Williams’s caller became a political activist and appeared on Morning Joe.  “Did you guys catch Morning Joe?” Captain Cragen asked his detectives and I had to laugh.  I’m sure blue collar New York cops schedule their entire day around catching the MSNBC lineup.

The Love Boat (Paramount)

I watched a few episodes this week.  Check out my latest review here!

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I was surprised when Gabler won but the more I think about it, the happier I am with the result.  I wrote about the finale of Survivor at Reality TV Chat Blog!


Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 1.14 “Call Me Lucky/Torch Song”

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, the first season of Fantasy Island comes to a close!

Episode 1.14 “Call Me Lucky/Torch Song”

(Dir by Cliff Bole, originally aired on May 20th, 1978)

As always, this week’s episode of Fantasy Island brings us a collection of guest stars who have all flown to the island to have their fantasies granted.  However, none of these fantasies are quite as interesting as the rather bizarre relationship of Mr. Roarke and Tattoo.

I’ve often commented on the fact that, during the first season of this show, Mr. Roarke and Tattoo seemed to harbor a strong dislike for each other.  Tattoo was always complaining that Mr. Roarke wasn’t charging enough for the fantasies.  Mr. Roarke often chastised Tattoo for his attempts to hit on the guests.  Even though they were supposed to be good friends and business partners, nearly every episode seemed to end with Mr. Roarke getting rather exasperated with Tattoo.  Reportedly, Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize did not get along off-screen and, as I’ve said before, it often seems like that dislike bled into their performances on the show.

This episode begins with Tattoo smoking a pipe and wearing a monocle.  As he explains to Mr. Roarke, he’s trying to be appear sophisticated so he can “get all the broads.”  He also says that he’s specifically trying to act like Mr. Roarke.  Now, I know enough about passive-aggressive behavior that I immediately realized that Tattoo’s compliment was basically his way of accusing Mr. Roarke of being a pompous jackass.  Mr. Roarke obviously figured it out as well because, a few scenes later, he takes a twenty dollar bill away from Tattoo and gives it to a guest on the island.  When Tattoo objects, Mr. Roarke suavely replies, “Finders keepers, losers weepers.”  At the end of the episode, when Tattoo gets his twenty back, Roarke promptly snatches it away from him.  It’s hard not to notice that, even with two fantasies to keep an eye on, Mr. Roarke’s main concern seems to be making sure that Tattoo doesn’t get anything that he wants.

As for the fantasies, the first one deals with Harry Beamish (Richard Dawson), a degenerate gambler who has lost his family due to his need to make bets and risk his cash.  Harry’s fantasy to be the luckiest guy in the world and, for a day or so, he is.  Every bet that he makes pays off.  Tattoo even starts to follow Harry around at the race track so that he can too can make money.  (Fantasy Island has a racetrack?)  But then Harry’s ten year-old son, Joey (Brad Savage), shows up.  It turns out that Joey’s fantasy is for his father and his mother to get back together.  (Mr, Roarke mentions that he only charged Joey $5 for the fantasy so Tattoo does have a point about Roarke not charging enough.)  When Harry realizes that Joey idolizes him and is planning on following in his footsteps, Harry realizes that it’s time to stop gambling and be a father.  Awwwwww!

The other fantasy deals with Edith Garvey (Kathryn Holcomb), whose fantasy is to go back to the 20s and become a torch singer.  Under the name of Kitty Abilene, she finds a good deal of success.  She also falls in love with her piano player, Neil (Edd Byrnes).  Unfortunately, two rival gangsters go to war over who owns her contract.  Edith’s fantasy ends at the exact moment that the local speakeasy is attacked by crime boss Big Al.  Fortunately, it turns out that Neil is also a guest on the island and that he was having a fantasy of his own.  Edith and Neil leave the island together.  Awwwwww!

The fantasies weren’t bad and, being the 20s loving history nerd that I am, I enjoyed the gangster action.  But, ultimately, it was the passive aggressive hostility between Mr. Roarke and Tattoo that made this episode memorable.  The first season ended with Roarke rolling his eyes at Tattoo.  Will their relationship improve during the second season?  We’ll find out next week!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 12/4/22 — 12/10/22

I watched a little television this week but not a lot of it.  It’s the holidays and I’ve been busy decorating and gift buying.  Plus, I had to go the freaking DMV on Thursday to get my license renewed and that took almost all day.  Anyway, here’s a few thoughts on what I did watch:

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)

Abbott Elementary was cute this week.  It was kind of nice to see everyone’s life outside of the school.  I guess Ava’s boyfriend was a famous basketball player or somebody?  I will admit that I did laugh when he got out of that limo, looked down at Janine, and said, “She’s even shorter than you said.”  That said, I’m a little worried that Janine is going to settle for Maurice and fall into the same trap that she found herself in with Tariq.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

Yay!  I was so excited when Derek and Claire crossed that finish line.  I always felt that neither one of them was really treated fairly on Big Brother so it was nice to see them get rewarded.  Plus, they’re just an adorable couple.  I wrote about the finale of The Amazing Race over at Reality TV Chat Blog.

California Dreams (YouTube)

Surf dudes with attitude …. next week, I’m starting Season 3 and I’m looking forward to it.  Season 3 through 5 are the classic California Dreams era.  Basically, California Dreams can be split into two separate parts: the pre-Lorena era and the Lorena era.  Lorena is the character to whom I’ve always related.

City Guys (Tubi)

The neat guys …. smart and streetwise …. I watched so many episodes of City Guys this week that it made my head hurt.  Read my thoughts on two of those episodes here!

Fantasy Island (Tubi)

I wrote about this week’s episode here!

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

Usually, Chef Ramsey seems to secretly like all of the chefs, even the ones that he sends home.  But last night, I got the feeling that his dislike for Vlad was very, very real.  I feel a bit bad for Vlad but, at the same time, using a cake thermometer to cook meat is not something that a head chef should ever do.  That’s like something I would do and there’s no way I’d last more than one dinner service on Hell’s Kitchen.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

Once again, Nolan complained that he wasn’t sure if he could “morally” prosecute a case.  Fortunately, this week, McCoy kind of told him to stop bitching and just do his job.  Good for McCoy!  I mean, I have yet to see any evidence of Price’s high morals causing him to refuse his paycheck.

The Love Boat (Paramount+)

This week’s episode featured a chimpanzee and a nose job!  I wrote about it here.

Survivor (Thursday Night, CBS)

Wow!  I was stunned when Cody was voted out.  Jesse will betray anyone but I also think he’s probably now in a very strong position to win the game next week.  I wrote about Survivor at Reality TV Chat Blog.

Like I said, I didn’t watch much this week.  I’ve been busy getting ready for the holidays and for a special person’s birthday.  I hope everyone’s having a wonderful month!  Can you believe 2022 is almost over?

Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 1.13 “Fool For A Client/Double Your Pleasure”

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’s episode of Fantasy Island is …. well, let’s just say that not every fantasy can be a winner.

Episode 1.13 “Fool For A Client/Double Your Pleasure”

(Dir by Earl Bellamy, originally aired on May 13th, 1978)

This episode begins with Tattoo suffering from a toothache and Mr. Roarke giving him a hard time about it.  Indeed, Mr. Roarke seems to take an almost sadistic delight in telling Tattoo that he shall have to see a dentist.  The relationship of Mr. Roarke and Tattoo strikes me as being an odd one.  On the one hand, Roarke allows Tattoo to handle the money and Tattoo appears to be the second-in-command.  One assumes that, if Mr. Roarke ever went on vacation, Tattoo would be left in charge.  At the same time, Mr. Roarke doesn’t seem to particularly like Tattoo and he seems to take a lot of pleasure from the various humiliations that Tattoo suffers on a weekly basis.  From what I understand, Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize were not exactly friends offscreen so perhaps, this is just a case of reality bleeding into fiction.

Anyway, Tattoo’s toothache is perhaps the most interesting thing about this episode.  Both of the fantasies are kind of lame.

In the first fantasy, Ken Berry plays Larry, a blue collar guy who has spent 12 years working on the Alaskan pipeline.  His fantasy is to spend the weekend with two beautiful women.  No sooner has Larry arrived on Fantasy Island, then he meets Nina (Caren Kaye).  She’s beautiful and Larry’s happy.  Then he meets Dina, who is Nina’s twin sister and, because of the whole twin thing, she’s beautiful and Larry is happy.  EXCEPT …. it turns out that there’s only one woman and her fantasy was to pretend to be a twin for the weekend.  Wait …. what?  I mean, it works out.  Dina and Larry fall in love and they leave together but it seems like Larry didn’t really get his fantasy and, at the very least, he deserves a partial refund.  

In the second fantasy, comedian Rich Little plays Herb Costigan, a paralegal who wants to be the world’s greatest lawyer.  Mr. Roarke sets him up with a house on the “other side of the island,” which Roarke explains is populated by rich people who apparently have vacation homes on Fantasy Island.  Roarke has told everyone that Costigan is a world-famous attorney.  However, when a murder occurs, Costigan is framed for the crime and soon, he’s defending himself in court!  Eventually, it turns out that there was no murder and the supposed victim just faked his death and is now wandering around the Island with a fake beard glued to his face.  It really doesn’t make any sense but this fantasy does establish that the island is, at the very least, a territory of the United States as there’s a big American flag in the courtroom.

Neither one of these stories really worked for me, largely because neither Ken Berry nor Rich Little seemed to be particularly invested in their characters.  It also doesn’t help that Berry and Little shared a superficial physical resemblance, to the extent that it was often a struggle to keep straight who was having which fantasy.

In the end, Tattoo’ toothache was the highlight of this show.  Fortunately, it just turned out to be his wisdom teeth coming in.  Take that, Mr. Roarke!