By Barb Chabai
Fantasy Island: Season 1
Apparently, buying your fantasies didn't come cheap back in 1978.
In fact, it cost $50,000 for a vacation on Fantasy Island, where host Mr. Roarke, with his hair of silver and face of rich Corinthian leather, looked into one's heart to see the dreams, desires and demons that needed fulfilling. Fifty geez may not amount to a hill of freshly-picked coffee beans today, but back then, it meant that fantasy gratification was only for the wealthy. (Of course, nowadays you can get it free watching an episode of Taradise.)
Every week, the hatch of the float plane would open up and out would pop guest stars like Charo, Florence Henderson or Dennis Cole (Hey Dennis, didn't we see you on the Love Boat episode that just ended?) as seemingly "normal" people that yearned for a more glamorous, adventurous or romantic existence. (Hey Dennis, didn't you already set a course for adventure and your mind on a new romance last hour? Gettin' kinda greedy there, pal.)
Back in '78, $50,000 is all that separated the beautiful elite from the real shlumps who wanted to become sex symbols or the dullards that longed to go back in time and do-over their dishwater lives. Of course, by today's calculations, including rate of interest and price of aviation fuel, it would probably cost somewhere north of a couple mill to keep the riff-raff away from the remote island resort. Not to mention the paparazzi. And Kathy Griffin.
That begs the painfully obvious question, that if Fantasy Island were still around today which rich and famous types would be texting their Beverly Hills travel agent to book a weekend getaway? And even more pressing - as they arrive and are handed a multi-umbrellaed cocktail to sip - which secret, deep-seated fantasy would they want Mr. Roarke to fulfill?
Hmmm. Let's speculate, shall we? Smiles, everyone, smiles!
Jeff Zucker, NBC Entertainment President: Drops to his knees and begs Mr. Roarke to help him keep his job at the fourth-place network by getting all six original cast members to sign on for the mid-season replacement "Still Friends." Sure, LeBlanc's a given, but even Mr. Roarke needs to pull a few strings to get Aniston's number.
Michael Jackson: Hoping to rebuild his career and credibility in North America while capitalizing on his youthful vitality, Jackson proposes launching a Saturday morning kids' show. But then he accidentally mistakes Tattoo for a six-year-old Polynesian boy and gets booted off the island.
Teri Hatcher: Wanting to reinforce her pole position as the most popular of the Desperate Housewives, she goes to Roarke for a potion that will magically give her Marcia Cross' beauty, Eva Longoria's attitude, Felicity Huffman's comic timing and Nicolette Sheridan's notoriety. Upon drinking it, she turns into Carrot Top.
Geraldo Rivera: After apologizing to Roarke for the Capone debacle 20 years earlier, he asks for one more chance - to capture Bin Laden live on TV during sweeps. Bonus if he can arrange to have a slack-jawed Anderson Cooper standing on a nearby sand dune.
Jerry Bruckheimer: Thanks to his frequent visits to Roarke, he's now among Hollywood's most powerful players as producer of CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Cold Case, Without a Trace, The Amazing Race and Close to Home, not to mention a boatload of big-screen blockbusters. Now he just wants a day off.
Tom Cruise: With one hand tightly gripped around the waist of his impregnated ingenue and the other still reaching for an ever-elusive Oscar, he goes to the island listing a career of deserving accomplishments up on the screen. Rolling his eyes, Roarke tells him to stop shouting and get down from the couch.
Kevin Federline: Roarke refuses the lucky bastard's hotel reservation, telling him to give someone else a chance.
Donald Trump: Seeking to boost the ratings of the Miss Universe pageant, Trump scouts a location to parade the babes in bikinis. Before leaving, he decides to buy the entire island. Handing Roarke a sizable check, he turns to him and says, "So, although I think you're a swell guy, I have no choice but to say... you're fired."
Oprah: She already has more money and power than most countries, but Oprah still aspires to run for office to be the first female president. Cautioning her to be careful what she wishes for, Roarke grants her desire. Too bad she didn't read the fine print on her fantasy contract: he's appointed Tom Cruise her vice president-elect.