It’s about time! Finally, some of the fine work of Aaron Spelling is being released on DVD. Charlie’s Angels came out a few years ago to coincide with that dire movie, then we had a long dry spell until August ’05, with the release of T.J. Hooker. Hart to Hart is due out in October, then in November…Fantasy Island! My picks for next Spelling shows on DVD: Matt Houston and Family. Oh please, oh please!
Fantasy Island was a mid-season replacement, so its first season (’78-’79) only had 14 episodes and one two-hour TV movie, “Return to Fantasy Island” (the original TV Movie “Fantasy Island” aired in January ’77). The episodes in the first season are as follows:
ESCAPE / CINDERELLA GIRLS Diana Canova, Bert Convy
BET A MILLION / MR. IRRESISTIBLE Henry Gibson, John Schuck
THE PRINCE / THE SHERIFF Ed Begley Jr., Lisa Hartman
FAMILY REUNION / VOODOO Juliet Mills, John Gavin, Lauren Tewes, Howard Duff
LADY OF THE EVENING / THE RACER Christopher George, Jerry VanDyke
TREASURE HUNT / BEAUTY CONTEST Gene Barry, Louis Nye
THE FUNNY GIRL / BUTCH AND SUNDANCE James MacArthur, Marcia Strassman, Christopher Connelly
SUPERSTAR / SALEM Leslie Nielsen, Gary Burghoff, Vera Miles
TROUBLE, MY LOVELY / THE COMMON MAN Don Knotts, Nancy Walker, Bernie Kopell
THE OVER THE HILL CAPER / POOF! YOU’RE A MOVIE STAR Ray Bolger, Foster Brooks
REUNION / ANNIVERSARY Michele Lee, Jim Backus, Lucie Arnaz
KING FOR A DAY / INSTANT FAMILY David Doyle, Theodore Bikel, Adam Rich
FOOL FOR A CLIENT / DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE Ken Barry, Rich Little, Lana Wood
CALL ME LUCKY / TORCH SINGER Richard Dawson, Dick Butkus, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes
Now, just look at that list of luminaries! I mean, you won’t come across Natalie Wood’s sister Lana just anywhere. Marcia “Mrs. Kotter” Strassman? Gary “Radar” Burghoff? Normally you’d have to watch at least a month’s worth of Match Game to see all these stars. But not with the advent of Fantasy Island on DVD. Now all you have to do is pop in one of these discs and you’ll soon see Herve Villechaize once again ascending the spiral staircase, ringing the bell, and calling out, “De plane! De plane!” then scampering back to Mr. Roarke’s side just in time to oversee Ken Barry being handed his fruity rum drink.
I tell ya, they just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
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One of my favorite shows of the late 70′s was Fantasy Island. Coupled with Love Boat, this was a one-two punch for ABC in its heyday of the 1980′s.
From The waterfall seen during the opening sequences which is the real-life Wailua Falls in Kauai, Hawaii to Mr Roarke’s sly “Welcome to Fantasy Island” as he lifts his glass to toast this guests, this show was class.
The DVD of the first season which includes the two pilot movies is wonderful. It barely dates itself and is still a lot of fun to watch. This 13 hour collection has sixteen great episodes. The DVD extras include the end caps (Next week on Fantasy Island) and two short features. The only thing that is missing a Ricardo Montalban audio commentary
on an episode or two
I can wish Love Boat (with its 3 pilots), Vegas (with Robert Urich) and Matt Houston appear on DVD soon
This is a great TV DVD collection. The shows are fun to watch, with their fun, but often silly, adventures. With some of the 70′s fashion, the show offers a lot to laugh at, err, feel nostalgic about. While the series isn’t exactly the most high quality drama in the world, it is based on an extremely creative concept. The never ending line of great guest stars and the breathtaking scenery add great elements for the viewers enjoyment.
At the center of the show is the host, Mr. Rourke, played to perfection by Ricardo Monteblan. He does so well, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in the role. He represents a consistent anchor each episode of the series, which otherwise varies dramatically from week to week, depending on the various guest stars and their fantasies.
The typical episode goes something like this:
1) A few guests arrive with unique fantasies.
2) Mr. Rourke delivers a fantasies of sorts.
3) The fantasies aren’t exactly as requested.
4) However, the fantasy Mr. Rourke gives each of them turns out to be exactly what they REALLY needed.
5) Everyone leaves the island as a satisfied customer.
Although the formula is very consistent each week, the variety of the guest stars and the uniqueness of each fantasy make this a very entertaining show. Also, the beginning of each episode starts you wondering as to how Mr. Rourke will fulfill each fantasy with his own special twist. This was one of the better sitcoms of the 70s.
While there are a couple of special features included, this package doesn’t have an overwhelming supply of special features that some packages have. Nonetheless, this is a DVD collection that is worth owning.