"Smiles, everyone! Smiles!"
"Da plane! Da plane!"
One of Aaron Spelling's biggest hits, the original Fantasy Island was introduced to viewers via two made-for-TV Pilot Movies in 1977. Those went on to spawn a highly popular series that ran on ABC from 1978 to 1984. Ricardo Montalban starred
as Mr. Roarke, the mysterious, charming, white-suited figure who ran the eponymous island. Assisting Mr. Roarke was his earnest, vertically (and verbally) challenged sidekick, Tattoo (played by Hervé Villechaize, also famous for playing Nick Nack), who kicked off every episode by running up to the island's bell tower, ringing the bell and loudly exclaiming "Da plane! Da plane!"The plane he was talking about, of course, was the one that was delivering new arrivals to the island, each of whom had lain down a sizable sum of money to have his or her personal fantasies fulfilled. Mr. Roarke would take it upon himself to greet every guest as they stepped onto the island and then describe to Tattoo in an As You Know fashion, the nature of their fantasy request. Of course, being a supernaturally-powered Trickster Mentor, Mr. Roarke very rarely allowed his guests' fantasies to play out in the way they
expected them to. And quite often the fantasies themselves were used to teach each guest an important moral — one intended to open their eyes to some facet of their own lives they might have been neglecting. Or to teach them to appreciate what they have. Or just simply, to Be Careful What You Wish For. But rather often, everybody just had a good time, even if it wasn't what they were expecting.The source of Mr. Roarke's strange powers and the reason behind his island's existence are never really revealed, although it is implied that he is a supernatural force for Good. (Perhaps even one of the Powers That Be. At one point, he battles The Devil, played to creepy perfection by Roddy McDowall, who is portrayed as a dapper foil for Mr. Roarke himself, dressed like a photographic negative of Roarke.)In 1998, ABC hosted a revival series that put Malcolm McDowell into the role of Mr. Roarke. McDowell's take on the character was a bit darker, as was the tone of the series. Gone were Tattoo and his antics. Instead, Mr. Roarke had a team of assistants, most of whom were compelled to serve on the island as a form of metaphysical punishment for their past sins. One of the assistants was a beautiful shape-shifting woman named Ariel (a Shout-Out to a character of the same name in Shakespeare's The Tempest.) She was Mr. Roarke's right-hand woman and a source for much of the series' Fanservice. Mr. Roarke also employed an elderly couple as travel agents, who would book the fantasies at the beginning of each show. As mentioned before, McDowell's take on the Mr. Roarke character was a bit on the dark side, and he seemed to take more delight in watching the guests squirm under his treatment, but he was basically a decent fellow/omnipotent Trickster Being, and most guests came away better for their experiences. Of course, it was canceled after only half a season.
Absent-Minded Professor: In "The Inventor", an AMP and his lab assistant (Artie Johnson and Marsha Wallace) arrive on the island to perfect a formula . which has already blown up eight separate labs.
Aloha, Hawaii!: One episode of had a Hawaii-themed episode take place here. Not surprising, since the two shows aired during the same time block.
As Himself: Tattoo arranges for Don Ho to sing at Mr Roarke's wedding, and a sixth season episode finds Mickey Gilley playing himself pre fame looking for stardom and getting his real life club Gilley's.
Bland-Name Product: An actress lists among her credits a movie called ''The Towering Disaster''.
Catch-Phrase: "Smiles, everyone! Smiles!" "The plane, the plane!"
Dunkin' Donuts once had a commercial where Tattoo runs into a donut shop and exclaims "The plain, the plain! Nonono, the chocolate, the chocolate! Nonono, the Boston cream..."
The Cast Showoff: Herve Villechaize once took art lessons at Paris' Beaux-Arts. In later episodes, Tattoo was sometimes shown painting landscapes, and one guest admired a painting in Mr. Roarke's office, which Mr. Roarke said Tattoo had painted.
: As the episode title would suggest, "King Arthur in Mr Roarke's Court" reverses the Twain tale, bringing King Arthur (Robert Mandan) into the 1970s, leaving a hapless guest whose fantasy was to meet the King (Tommy Smothers) to keep him out of trouble for the weekend.
Couch Potatoes: Hervé Villechaize appeared in one episode to ask questions about .
Crossover: Apparently among Mr Roark's magical, mystical abilities is the .
Fanservice: Lots and lots of hot guys and pretty girls, all in swimwear/skimpy clothing. Also, Mr. Roarke had a couple of Shirtless Scenes. Believe it or not, Ricardo Montalban was seriously built in Real Life. Remember ? Yeah. That was allll him, baby!
A Fool for a Client: "Innocent" featured this in the 1998 revival: A lawyer wished to represent "one innocent client" rather than his usual criminal scumbag. He's arrested promptly for the murder of one of his guilty clients and made to represent himself. Played with that he doesn't entirely represent himself, he has Roarke acting as co-council. But Roarke plays the role of a laughably incompetent attorney, as he's sandbagging the case to teach Sam a lesson. (Sam had previously failed to properly defend another innocent client and Roarke wanted him to own up to his mistake.)
Functional Magic: After a few episodes that tried to play the fantasies straight as elaborate set-pieces and full-immersion games run somewhere on the island, the writers just gave up and made everything magical.
Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In the Pilot episode, believe it or not.
Jack the Ripper: In "With Affection, Jack the Ripper", criminologist Lorraine Peters uses a time portal to confirm her suspicion that Jack the Ripper was a doctor, Albert Fell. Fell follows her back through the portal, grabs Peters and takes her back to 1888, where the enigmatic Mr. Roarke intervenes fortuitously, and Fell dies moments later while fleeing.
Later Installment Weirdness: In early seasons it was just about people fulfilling their fantasies, albeit with some Fridge Logic about how Mr. Rourke managed to pull some of it off. By the final season the show was dropping some pretty heavy hints that Rourke was an actual angel of the Lord.
Limited Wardrobe: In the original series, Mr. Roarke never deviated from his white suit, nor did Tattoo when he was on duty. The revival series tried to distance itself from its predecessor and emphasize its Darker and Edgier nature by putting Mr. Roarke in a black suit. He also orders all his white suits burned.
Man in White: Mr Roarke's wardrobe in the original, subverted in the Remake (See Limited Wardrobe above).
Mysterious Past: Rourke's full past was never revealed, but we know he's several centuries old, counts Camelot's Merlin as 'a dear old friend', that he can be killed if he willingly suspends his powers, and that The Devil wants his soul very badly. Fan theories are that he's either an angel or a man granted powers by a God to help people by granting their wishes.
Recognition Failure: One episode featured a fictional starlet who had the fantasy of being somewhere where nobody knew who she was. She was sent to the wilds of [Africa/South America], where she fell in love with an explorer who didn't know who she was. Subverted though in that it turns out he did know, he just didn't care about her celebrity.
Recycled In Space: ON A MYSTERIOUS ISLAND WHERE WISHES COME TRUE!
Second Place Is for Winners: One episode had Tattoo spend a lot of money trying to win second prize in a jingle contest (a fur coat; not to wear but to give to a pretty lady of his choosing). Unfortunately, he won the much grander first prize
a trip to Fantasy Island.
Shakespeare in Fiction: In the episode "Room and Bard" William Shakespeare (Robert Reed) is brought to the 70s to write a play for a horror film star wanting to become a serious actress.