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Fantasy Island

About Fantasy Island

The brainchild of writer/director/producer Gene Levitt and TV legend Aaron Spelling, Fantasy Island made its debut on ABC in January 1978. Fashioned after Spelling's successful show The Love Boat, Fantasy Island relied on a recurring plot formula, a long roster of guest stars and tropical setting. Fantasy Island aired directly after The Love Boat on Saturday nights. The premise of Fantasy Island is that of an exclusive tropical island visited by guests who pay $50,000 to fulfill their ultimate fantasy. Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban) is the cool, mysterious mastermind of all fantasies and Tattoo (Herve Villechaize) is his diminutive, affable assistant. At the beginning of every episode, Tattoo rushes up the tower of the main cottage, rings the bell and shouts, "The plane! The plane!" to announce that guests are about to land. And when they do, Mr. Roarke toasts the new arrivals with "My dear guests, I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island!" Though panned by critics, Fantasy Island gained a loyal following that allowed for a seven-season run from 1978 to1984. Audiences tuned in to see Mr. Roarke and Tattoo as well as the impressive roster of guest stars. Many actors returned again and again to the show, each time playing a different character. There were a few changes to the principal cast changes along the way as well. Kimberly Beck played assistant Cindy in Season 2, and Julie Schaal played assistant Julie in Season 4. The most drastic change of all came in Season 7, when Villechaize left the show due to a salary dispute and Tattoo was replaced by a butler named Lawrence, played by a pre-Mr. Belvedere Christopher Hewitt. Fantasy Island was shot on various locations in Hawaii and California. The cottage in which Tattoo rings the all-important bell is the Queen Anne Cottage at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Arcadia, Calif., and is open to the public for far less than $50,000.

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