Fantasy Island is a resort, where there is very little that the host, Mr. Roarke cannot provide. Thus we have visitors have adventures in fantasies that should be impossible, but this island can accommodate them such as visits to any time period they want, meet absolutely anyone they see to do something they request such as getting William Shakespeare to write a play for them. The only constant (until the final season) was at the sight of the incoming visitors, the Mr. Roarke'smidget assistant runs up to the bell tower to ring the bell and shout "De plane!, De plane!"
Before it became a long-running original television series, Fantasy Island was introduced to viewers in 1977 through two highly-rated made for tv films. Airing from 1978 to 1984, the original series starred Ricardo Montalbán as Mr. Roarke, the enigmatic overseer of a mysterious island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, where people from all walks of life could come and live out their fantasies, albeit for a price.
Roarke was known for his white suit and cultured demeanor, and was initially accompanied by an energetic sidekick, Tattoo, played by Hervé Villechaize. Tattoo would run up the main bell tower to ring the bell and shout "The plane! The plane!" to announce the arrival of a new set of guests at the beginning of each episode. This line, shown at the beginning of the show's credits, became an unlikely catch phrase because of Villechaize's spirited delivery and French accent (he actually pronounced it, "De plane! De plane!"). In later seasons, he would arrive in his personal go-kart, sized for him, and recklessly driven to join Roarke for the visitor reception while staff scrambled to get out of his way. From 1980 to 1982, Wendy Schaal joined the cast as another assistant named Julie. In a highly unpopular move with both fans and the cast, the producers fired Villechaize from the series before the 1983–1984 season (which ended up being its last) and Tattoo was replaced by a more sedate butler type named Lawrence, played by Christopher Hewett. Lawrence's personality was exactly the opposite of Tattoo's in many ways. For instance, Lawrence was also responsible for the bell ringing, but instead of climbing to the tower he simply pushed a button outside to have the bell ring automatically.
A Grumman Widgeon aircraft was used for the series.As each visitor exited the plane Roarke would describe to Tattoo (or another assistant) the nature of their fantasy, usually with a cryptic comment suggesting the person's fantasy will not turn out as they expected. Roarke would then welcome his guests by lifting his glass and saying: "My dear guests, I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island." This toast was usually followed with a warm smile but sometimes (depending on the nature of a guest or their fantasy) his eyes would show concern or worry for a guest's safety.
Roarke's personal vehicle was an orange Dodge Aspen station wagon with a Safari top with the stance of a modern-day sport utility vehicle.