Background[ edit ] Before it became a television series, Fantasy Island was introduced to viewers in and through two made-for-television films. Roarke, the enigmatic overseer of a mysterious island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean , where people from all walks of life could come and live out their fantasies, albeit for a price.
Tattoo would run up the main bell tower to ring the bell and shout "De plane! This line, shown at the beginning of the series' credits, became an unlikely catchphrase because of Villechaize's spirited delivery and French accent.
In later seasons, he would arrive in his personal go-kart, sized for him, and recklessly drive to join Roarke for the visitor reception while the staff scrambled to get out of his way. From to , Wendy Schaal joined the cast as a beautiful brown-eyed blonde assistant named Julie. The producers dismissed Villechaize from the series before the — season, which ended up being its last, and Tattoo was replaced by a more sedate butler type named Lawrence played by Christopher Hewett , who pressed an electronic button to ring the bell rather than climb the tower himself.
Roarke and Tattoo A Grumman Widgeon aircraft was used for the series. Roarke would address his assembling employees with the phrase "Smiles, everyone! As each visitor exited the plane, Roarke would describe to Tattoo or another assistant the nature of their fantasy, usually with a cryptic comment suggesting the person's fantasy will not turn out as they expected. Roarke would then welcome his guests by lifting his glass and saying: Welcome to Fantasy Island.
Very little is known about the man known as Mr. Roarke and it is not clear if that is his first, last, or only name. Although most guests know him as "Mr. He is the sole owner and proprietor of Fantasy Island. Roarke's actual age is a complete mystery. In the pilot film, he comments how the guests who come to his island are "so mortal" and there are hints throughout the series that suggest Roarke may be immortal.
In "Elizabeth", a woman from Roarke's past appears, but it is revealed that she died over years ago. Other episodes suggests that he was friends with Helen of Troy and Cleopatra. Roarke", Roarke even faces the Devil played by Roddy McDowall who has come to the island to challenge him for either a guest's immortal soul or his. It is mentioned this is not the first time they have confronted each other and Mr.
Roarke has always been the winner. In the second story, the Devil was one of the island's guests, claiming he was only there to relax and had no interest in Roarke's soul at the time. However, this turned out to be yet another ruse.
Roarke had a strong moral code, but he was always merciful. He usually tried to teach his guests important life lessons through the medium of their fantasies, frequently in a manner that exposes the errors of their ways, and on occasions when the island hosted terminally ill guests he would allow them to live out one last wish. Roarke's fantasies were not without peril, but the greatest danger usually came from the guests themselves. In some cases, people were killed due to their own negligence, aggression or arrogance.
When necessary, Roarke would directly intervene when the fantasy became dangerous to the guest: For instance in one episode when Tattoo was given his own fantasy as a birthday gift, which ended up with him being chased by hostile natives in canoes, Mr. Roarke suddenly appeared in a motorboat , snared Tattoo's canoe with a grappling hook and towed it away at high speed to help him escape.
Another instance was in "The Victim" where a female guest seeking to fall in love with her dream man ends up as one of his sex slaves. When she and her fellow slaves managed to get free, they are saved by Mr.
Roarke and Tattoo who have arrived with the police who then arrest the two men responsible. Another instance was in the episode "With Affection, Jack the Ripper" when a female guest intent on researching Jack the Ripper 's crimes was sent back in time to London and would have become one of the Ripper's victims had not Mr. With only a few exceptions, Roarke always made it quite clear that he was powerless to stop a fantasy once it had begun and that guests must play them out to their conclusion.
In later seasons, there were often supernatural overtones. Roarke also seemed to have his own supernatural powers of some sort called the "Gift of the McNabs" in "Delphine" , although it was never explained how this came to be. In the episodes "Reprisal" and "The Power" he temporarily gave the guest psychokinetic abilities and in "Terrors of the Mind" the power to see into the future.
In one episode, when a guest says "Thank God things worked out well", Roarke and Tattoo share an odd look and Roarke says in a cryptic way "Thank God, indeed. Ricardo Montalban would claim in interviews that he had a definite opinion in mind regarding the mystery of Mr.
Roarke, and how he accomplished his fantasies, but he would never publicly state what it was. Years after the series was off the air, in an interview with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Montalban finally revealed that his motivation was imagining Roarke as a fallen angel whose sin was pride and that Fantasy Island was purgatory. Each episode would alternate between two or three independent storylines as the guests experienced their fantasies and interacted with Roarke.
When reruns of the series went into syndication, a half-hour version was offered, in which each hour-long original show was split to two separate half-hour shows in which only one guest's story was told in each half-hour episode. This made it obvious that the original episodes had been planned in such a way that each guest or family got off the plane separately, did not interact with the other guest or family, and was given almost exactly half the time of the original episode.
Often the fantasies would turn out to be morality lessons for the guests. For example, one featured a couple who clamored for the "good old days" being taken back to the Salem witch trials , sometimes to the point of apparently putting their lives at risk, only to have Roarke step in at the last minute and reveal the deception.
It is mentioned a few times that a condition of visiting Fantasy Island is that guests never reveal what goes on there.
A small number of guests decided to make the irrevocable choice to stay permanently, living out their fantasy until death; one such person was an actor who had been in a Tarzan -type television series called "Jungle Man" in the s.
Aside from a clip show "Remember In Return to Fantasy Island, Roarke told Tattoo that he sometimes dropped the price when a guest couldn't afford the usual fee because he believed everyone should be given a chance to have their fantasies fulfilled. Afterwards, it became clear that the price a guest paid was substantial to him or her, and for one little girl whose father was one of Roarke's guests, she had emptied her piggy bank which contained less than ten dollars to have her fantasy with her father fulfilled.
On numerous occasions, a guest had not paid for the trip at all but instead won it as a result of a contest. Those who came by winning contests were usually the unknowing beneficiaries of rigged contests in order to disguise to themselves and others the real reason for their coming as part of someone else's fantasy.
Nature[ edit ] The nature of a fantasy varied from story to story and were typically very personal to each guest on some level. They could be as harmless as wanting to be reunited with a lost love to something more dangerous like tracking down a cold-blooded killer who murdered someone close to the guest. Usually, the fantasy would take an unexpected turn and proceed down a quite different path than the guest expected. Some resolve in " The Monkey's Paw " style.
He or she would then leave with some new revelation or renewed interest about themselves or someone close to them. Many times, Roarke would reveal in the end that someone they met during the course of their fantasy was another guest living a fantasy of their own.
Both guests often left the island together. However, in one episode, one guest had no particular fantasy and was simply there to relax and enjoy himself.
In another episode, one guest's Don Knotts fantasy was to play the part of a private eye. At the end of the episode, he discovers that his 'suspects' were actually a company of actors who had asked Mr. Roarke to act out their 'whodunnit' play in a realistic setting. Although some fantasies were rooted in the real world, many others involved supernatural such as ghosts, demons , or witchcraft or mythological mermaids, genies, Greek goddesses elements.
Time-travel was often a required element, if not a specific request, to fulfill one's fantasy. Risk[ edit ] Roarke often preceded particularly risky fantasies with a stern warning, word of caution, or even suggestion that the guest select another fantasy instead.
He would then inform his guests that he was powerless to stop a fantasy once it had begun and must allow the fantasy to play out until its ultimate conclusion. Despite this, on rare occasions, Roarke will appear halfway through a fantasy to offer a guest an opportunity to terminate their fantasy, warning the guest that continuing the fantasy may lead to serious consequences possibly even death.
However, at that point, the guest will decide on their own to see the fantasy to its end, either for selfless reasons regarding someone they had met during the fantasy or naivety of what is in store for them. In the most serious cases, however, Roarke would invariably intervene and ensure his guests' safety.