Fantasy Island ran from 1978 to 1984 usually on a Saturday night. "We never lost our time period on Saturday night," Ricardo Montalbán who played the island owner recalled in 1979.

Although "family enjoys Fantasy Island," Ricardo pointed out, "10 o'clock is too late for the children to stay up." Of "the 8:00 p.m show," Ricardo observed, was just "cute, gimmicky."

The pilot went on air in 1977. Filmed at the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum which was founded in 1947, Ricardo said of the storylines, "We have made them 95% plausible and 5% unexplained mystery. If they were too far-out, the show would be thoroughly unbelievable."

Of its popularity, Ricardo theorized, "I think people vicariously can live a fantasy." He elaborated, "What is appealing is the idea of attaining the unattainable and learning from it. Once you obtain a fantasy, it becomes a reality and that reality is not as exciting as the fantasy. So through the fantasies you learn to appreciate your own realities.”

One industry observer remarked, "We found out that Saturday night at 10:00 is not the best time for a reality program."

In real life, Ricardo confessed, "Religion has been a very strong guiding light. I need it because I have great weaknesses. If I were a stronger man perhaps I wouldn’t."

He also revealed, "I used to tell my kids, I’m not your friend, I’m your father. You will have many friends, but only one father."

Of his character, Ricardo explained, "I had to discover in my own mind what Roarke really was. I thought, 'Is he God?' No, he is not omnipotent. 'Is he the devil?' No, he is a good man. I decided to make him an archangel, suffering from the sin of pride. For penance he is assigned to purgatory, with an angel at his side. He reviews the people who are tested as to whether they will go to heaven or the other place."

Of TV, Ricardo made the comment in 1978, "Television is such a roll of the dice....Everything is a roll of the dice – first to get a pilot done, then to sell the series. The biggest role of the dice is to get a successful series." But then, "it's another roll of the dice when they change your time period."

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