AWESOME-tober-fest 2020: Fantasy Island – The Devil and Mr Roarke Part 1

Awesometoberfest 2020

Fantasy Island was on for 7 seasons starting with 2 TV movies, one in 1977 and one in 1978, followed by a 14 epiosde first season. It finally ended after its 7th season in 1984.  It starred Ricardo Montalban as Mr Roarke, and Herve Villichaize as his assistant, Tattoo.

I’ve been a big fan of Fantasy Island for a long time.  I used to watch it in its hey day.  Ricardo Montalban is fantastic as Mr Roarke and Herve was so much fun as Tattoo.  I remember loving this show.  It always hinted at supernatural events on the island, many of them mysterious and dangerous.   But I didn’t learn, until this year, that the Devil himself came to the Island to do battle with Mr Roarke.  Not once, but twice!

Today I’ll look at Roarke’s first encounter with Satan in the first episode of Season 4, titled The Devil and Mandy Breem.  It first aired on Friday, Oct 25, 1980, which would have put it right around Halloween.


The episode opens up with Mr Roarke and Tattoo getting in their custom Islandmobile and heading over to greet this episode’s incoming guests.  I’ve been fascinated by this Islandmobile ever since originally watching the show.  Look at it, it’s awesome.  Sort of a station wagon crossed with a Jeep with the ceiling cut off and replaced with a picnic table.

As with most Fantasy Island episodes, there are multiple concurrent fantasies happening at the same time (sometimes even three) and you jump back and forth between them.  I’m only going to focus on the Devil part of the story.


During the opening we meet Mandy Breem.  We learn her husband got into a terrible accident about a year ago and she miraculously nursed him back to health.  Mr Roarke only knows that she’s here to save her own life.

c
Roarke tries to get Mandy to explain more, but she can’t at this time.  After Roarke leaves, we see a mysterious figure appear and talk to Mandy.  It’s here we learn that Mandy has made some sort of deal for the life of her husband.


And we also figure out that this mysterious figure, played by Roddy MacDowell, is possibly the Devil himself and has made the deal for her immortal soul.  And he’ll let her out of their agreement, if she uses her fantasy wish to obtain the rare Queen Omega Orchid.  Potted, not cut.  Blooming. It seems odd that the Devil would trade her soul for some mysterious plant, but that plant may get him something we don’t want him to have.  Don’t do it Mandy!


Quick shot of another one of the Islandmobiles.  I love them and I’ll never stop putting up screenshots of them.


Anyway, when Mandy makes obtaining the orchid her fantasy request to Roarke to “save her life”, it, of course, confuses Mr Roarke, but he acquiesces.  Oh, look, Mandy’s husband is Bruce Wayne!


Mandy gives the Devil the orchid to save her soul, but, as guessed, the Devil tricks her and she still must give up her soul. So, she goes to Mr Roarke for help.  Mandy tells Roarke and her husband all about the deal she made.  When Roarke hears that she made a pact with the Prince of Darkness, he is the opposite of surprised.  Actually, he’d already figured it out.  Mandy asks Mr Roarke for his help.  Mr Roarke tells her rather non-chalantly that she entered into the contract of her own free will.  And Satan has certain rights as anyone else.  But Roarke suggests that he will appear on her behalf as counsel for the defense.  The devil will grant them a trial.  This sounds like it’s going to do The Devil and Daniel Webster, which, now that I say that, I just realized the significance of the title of the episode; The Devil and Mandy Breem.  Anyway, Roarke speculates that the Devil wanted this the whole time.  That he is provoking this confrontation with Mr Roarke.  Roarke reveals that this is not the first time that they have done combat.  I love that Mr Roarke has occasionally battled the Devil as the proprietor of Fantasy Island.


Mandy Breem, her husband, and Mr Roarke confront the Devil in the woods.  Roarke demands a trial and offers that if the Devil wins, he’ll have all three of theirs souls.  But if the Devil loses, he gets nothing.  The Devil accepts.  I was kind of hoping the Devil would bring in a murder’s row of nasty famous bad people to be the judge and jury like in the original story, but no, Mr Roarke argues with the Devil alone.  And while he’s fighting for Mandy and her husband’s very souls…

…they sneak off into the woods to try to escape.  COWARDS.


Another Islandmobile


Ultimately, Mr Roarke pulls a miracle and outmaneuvers the Devil in the negotiations.  This causes the Devil to become so enraged he changes to his horned form.  He accepts his defeat but he assures Roarke that they will meet again.


And then Mandy, her husband, and his plaid jacket board the plane back to civilization free and clear of the devil’s influence. All thanks to Mr Roarke being a complete bad ass.

This was a *really* good episode.  Roddy McDowell is fantastic as Mephistopheles.  And I love that McDowell’s Devil and Roarke have a history.  It’s totally believable.  McDowell plays the Devil as a sort of refined gentleman.  He rarely gets upset, until the end when he loses.  This is a portrayal of the Devil that I really like.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: