Monday, November 26, 2007

What's Your Fantasy?

Last Saturday, Rene and I visited the Arboretum of Los Angeles. The Arboretum is both a botanical garden and historical site. The land used to be a private estate for two separate owners and houses an adobe house and Queen Anne cottage. It also has a lake within the grounds where ducks, geese, and turtles live.

Many movies and TV shows were filmed at the Arboretum, chief among them Wonder Woman, Fantasy Island, and many movies from the 1930s to 1950s that were set in the jungle or in a tropical island such as Tarzan and Anna and the King of Siam. Below is a picture of the cottage, where exterior shots for Fantasy Island were filmed:

Me pointing at the bell tower where Tattoo yelled, "The plane! The plane!":

This is Baldwin Lake, where the seaplane for Fantasy Island would land at the beginning of every episode. Now it's where the turtles and geese hang out:

As you can tell from my references above, I watched plenty of Fantasy Island while growing up and was one of my favorite shows. I'd watch this show every day during summer vacation, when it was shown during the day. What I liked best about this show was the idea of a mysterious island somewhere in the Pacific where people from all walks of life could come and live out their fantasies for a price.

Each episode began with the introduction of the guests in which Mr. Roarke (in a white suit, played by Ricardo Montalban) would describe to Tattoo (dwarf assistant played by Hervé Villechaize) the nature of each person's fantasy, with a cryptic comment on why the person's fantasy will not turn out as expected. The episode would then alternate between two or three independent storylines as the guests experienced their fantasies and interacted with Mr. Roarke. Often, the fantasies would turn out to be morality lessons for the guests, sometimes to the point of putting their lives at risk, only to have Mr. Roarke step in at the last minute and reveal the deception. It is mentioned a few times that a condition of visiting Fantasy Island is that guests never reveal what goes on there. I don't remember distinct episodes but was always interested in each guest's fantasy. It'd probably be really cheesy now but I loved watching this show back then.

My current fantasy? To win the lottery, get out of the rat race, and buy my own fantasy island. I'd make Chuy wear a white tuxedo and teach him to ring a bell to announce the arrival of family and friends who've come by for a visit. How great would that be?


kat said...

I've yet to make it to the Arboretum (damn, I can't spell that world). I don't think I realized so much was filmed there. I'm going to need to check it out some day.

cynematic said...

fun post--i didn't know Fantasy Island was shot there! i'll have to visit again. it's been a while.