DVD Review: Fantasy Island (The Complete Third Season)

Here’s a horrible thought: Are there enough recognizable actors to fill up the plane arriving at Fantasy Island? The last decade has seen way too many reality shows that feature people barely talented enough to play themselves. Dancing With the Stars resorts to reality personalities like meat filler in cheap dog food. Luckily in 1979, Hollywood was full of real actors and actresses that had a free week to have their deepest dream come true with the help of Mr. Rourke (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan‘s Ricardo Montalban) and Tattoo (The Man With the Golden Gun‘s HervĂ© Villechaize). Fantasy Island: The Complete Third Season is full of 1979’s current, past and future stars without any Kardashians or Real Housewives.

Fantasy Island is set up with two guests stepping off the seaplane to live their deepest dream. For the most part, the duo only encounter each other at the opening toast and the flight home. “Hit Man / The Swimmer” brings the familiar faces. David Doyle (Charlie’s Angels) wants to provide his family a secure future by being murdered. Can he allow himself to be snuffed like a bartender on Dexter? Eve Plumb (The Brady Bunch) gives her most dramatic role as a paralyzed almost Olympic swimmer wanting to walk again. Her dad (Mission: Impossible‘s Peter Graves) will do anything. Gail Fisher (Mannix) might have the cure. The big comedy comes with Tattoo running for Lord Mayor of Fantasy Island against Mr. Rourke. “Goose for the Gander / The Stuntman” has Dale Robertson as a former stuntman superstar upset that his son (Eight Is Enough‘s Grant Goodeve) is pushing the envelope of movie stunts. He wants to teach his son a lesson in being too much of a daredevil. Doris Roberts (Everybody Love’s Raymond) wants to win a cooking contest. She needs to win to relocate her beloved diner. Part of the cast includes Hans Conried and Abe Vigoda (Barney Miller). Whose fantasy doesn’t involve Abe Vigoda?

“Tattoo: the Love God / Magnolia Blossoms” gives the little guy his big fantasy. Naturally Mr. Rourke has a little fun with his buddy’s Love God fantasy. Lisa Hartman (Knotts’ Landing) and a pal want to go back to the Civil War for a little Gone With the Wind action. But they get too much reality than they imagined. “Baby / Marathon: Battle of the Sexes” has Playboy After Dark‘s Barbi Benton wanting to win gold at the Fantasy Island Olympics. Dick Martin (Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In) plays an evil track coach. A tiny baby arrives after her dying mother wishes the child would grow up on Fantasy Island.

“The Red Baron / Young at Heart” transforms Don Adams (Get Smart) into a World War I pilot. His dream is to battle the Red Baron (Tarzan‘s Ron Ely) like Snoopy. “The Wedding” covers Mr. Roarke’s wedding. But there’s trouble in the nuptials even with the arrival of Don Ho (“Tiny Bubbles”). “The Handy Man / Tattoo’s Romance” reminds us that Sonny Bono was an actor before he became a Congressman. “The Dancer / Nobody’s There” brings back Jethro. Max Baer is now the rich guy as he wants to romance a dancer.

“Class of ’69 / The Pug” lets Adrienne Barbaeu (Carnivale) shed a lot of weight before her reunion. Gary Collins (recently dead) gets a chance to fight Fred Williamson (Hell Up In Harlem) for the title. Boxing great Sugar Ray Robinson gets a guest appearance. “The Look Alikes / Winemaker” gives us two Ken Berrys (Mama’s Family). He swaps identity with his “twin” only to discover a life he’d rather not live. “Unholy Wedlock / Elizabeth” messes up the life of David Cassidy (The Partridge Family). “The Swinger / Terrors of the Mind” unleashes Frankie Avalon on the tropical climate. “Jungle Man / Mary Ann and Miss Sophisticate” pulls strings on Annette Funicello as a performer whose dummy gets real. “My Fair Pharaoh / The Power” takes Joan Collins (Dynasty) back to ancient Egypt. Didn’t she grown up back then? Her dream of being pampered like a queen goes bad. “Eagleman / Children of Mentu” soars with Bob Denver (Gilligan) faking a superhero to impress his son. Larry Storch (F Troop) does his best to destroy Bob’s reputation in front of Jim Bakus (Mr. Howell).

Look at all those noted stars that had time to let their fantasies become real on a Hollywood backlot. There’s a lot more stars that showed up in smaller roles during the episodes. Over half the cast of Gilligan’s Island popped up on the new island. Fantasy Island: The Complete Third Season has my fantasy of seeing a show that doesn’t fake what it means to be a Hollywood star. Nobody got on this show cause they flipped a table over during a reality reunion special. They were acting legends when they met Mr. Roarke and Tattoo.

“Hit Man / The Swimmer,” “Goose for the Gander / The Stuntman,” “Tattoo: the Love God / Magnolia Blossoms,” “Baby / Marathon: Battle of the Sexes,” “The Chain Gang / The Boss,” “The Red Baron / Young at Heart,” “The Wedding,” “The Handy Man / Tattoo’s Romance,” “The Dancer / Nobody’s There,” “Class of ’69 / The Pug,” “The Mermaid / The Victim,” “The Cheerleaders / Marooned,” “The Inventor / On the Other Side,” “Look-Alikes / The Winemaker,” “Unholy Wedlock / Elizabeth,” “Rogues and Riches / Stark Terror,” “Playgirl / Smith’s Valhalla,” “Aphrodite / Dr. Jekyll and Miss Hyde,” “The Swinger / Terrors of the Mind,” “Nona / One Million B.C.,” “Jungle Man / Mary Ann and Miss Sophisticate,” “My Fair Pharaoh / The Power” and “Eagleman / Children of Mentu.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are top notch so you can see the details in Mr. Roarke’s house. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The levels will let you appreciate when Tattoo rings the bell to announce the plane is arriving. The episodes are Closed Captioned.

There are no bonus features.

Fantasy Island: The Complete Third Season captures the show at its peak. Tattoo gets to have more fun zipping around the island with his mini-car. The stars make the stores more exciting and captivating.

Shout! Factory presents Fantasy Island: The Complete Third Season. Starring: Ricardo Montalban and Hervé Villechaize. Boxset Contents: 23 episodes on 6 DVDs. Released: October 23, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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