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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

what?! Ricardo Montalban and Patrick McGoohan on the same day?

Geez, step away from the computer for five minutes (or five hours)…

So I clicked over to the IMDB to check out some stuff and I see the headline:

Actor Ricardo Montalban Dies at 88

And then the other headline:

Patrick McGoohan Dead At 80

And I’m all, Oh, crap.
I’m a geek. And I’m an Xer. So when I think of Ricardo Montalban, it’s not even Khan and his Koooooouuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrkk! (which he somehow made to sound more like the word for the thing that stoppers up a bottle of wine than the name of the guy who captained the Enterprise 1701) that comes to mind. No, the first thing that comes to mind is Fantasy Island.

C’mon. I was like eight or nine years old. Friday night (or was it Saturday night?) on ABC was totally about The Love Boat and then Fantasy Island. (Or was it the other way around?) It was an awesome two hours of TV, for reasons that I’m not sure I could even articulate now, and that embarrass me slightly, but I’m not going to deny the truth of it.

And Montalban’s Mr. Roarke? He was like Santa Claus, but creepy. He would fulfill your dreams, but in a “be careful what you wish for” kind of way. And there’s just something wrong about people who can keep white pants that white.

Putting a worm in Ensign Pavel Chekov’s ear a few years later was merely a bonus. Yeah, I know he wasn’t still an ensign then, but he kinda always was, wasn’t he? Just like it was kinda like creepy Mr. Roarke putting a worm in Chekov’s ear.

McGoohan? The Prisoner. That show — which I saw for the first time on PBS when I was maybe 14 or so — so warped my brain that I still haven’t recovered. And I’m still not a number, no matter how many times people who have no right to it ask for my Social Security number. Thank you, Patrick, for reminding us to stick it to The Man whenever we can…



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  • Maritza – NYC

    It’s hard to see both these brilliant actors leave us.
    Who can forget Fantasy Island? or The Prisoner? I will always remember McGoohan on Disney as THE SCARECROW OF ROMNEY MARSH. He played a revolutionary war vicar who was also The Scarecrow (a Robin Hood figure). I loved Montalban in Star Trek.
    I will miss them both. I wish Fantasy Island would FINISH coming out on DVD!!!!

  • Mo

    McGoohan? What? NO! That’s…
    Ouch.

    I used to watch the Prisoner with my Dad when I was about 7. The weird part was that I understood it at that age. The weirder part has been the rest of my life with a brain that warped from that young an age- I think a big part of my obsession with tv and movies came from trying to find something that could live up to it and challenge me in the same way, even though nothing can live up to a seven-year-old’s favorite show, really.

    The weirdest part now is how much he and my dad both looked and acted alike. In my child’s mind Number 6 was what my dad would have been like if he was a superhero spy. It’s strange to think he’s gone.

  • deshy

    yes it was saturday nights..love boat and fantasy island. I was around 8 or so too when it first came on. KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! though is what I will always remember him for along with Fantasy Island. He was one buff mofo!

  • Patrick

    As a kid I had already noticed Patrick McGoohan before my mom told me I was named after him. Of course, I may have noticed him because my Mom watched everything he was in. She was also the person that got me into Star Trek. To me Mr. Montalban as Khan is more important than Mr. Rourke. Fantasy Island and Love Boat were the depressing shows I was forced to watch when I didn’t have anyone to hang out with on weekends. Besides those two geek deaths, there is also whatever is going on with geek-god Steve Jobs, which was announced today.

  • Rykker

    Rest In Peace.

    I, too, grew up with Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island, but Señor Montalban will forever be Khan, first and foremost, to me.

    And Edward Longshanks is the role I associate with Patrick McGoohan, having never (that I can remember) seen an episode of The Prisoner.

    A sad day…

  • Am I a bad person because my first thought about Ricardo Montalban was if he would be buried in Corrrrinthian Leather.

  • JoshDM

    Ricardo Montalbon. Survived by George Hamilton.

  • JoshDM

    Forgot to mention. Batman also died today.

  • PaulW

    There are, right now, 80 million fanboys having nervous breakdowns right now…

    I mean, we lose two iconic character actors, guys we grew up with, guys able to play bad guys (KHHHHAAAAAN! LONGSHANKS!) as well as good guys (“Welcome to Fantasy Island!” “I am NOT a NUMBER!”).

    To speak of Montalban is to speak of, yes, Fantasy Island, and I think that show was popular because of the fantasy, the ability to play out wish-fulfilments for the audiences, and still within the confines of prime time tv (to pull off a Fantasy Island today it’d have to be HBO, after 9 pm).

    But I’m a Trekkie, so for me he’s always KKHAAAAAAN! Trek’s most epic villain, a fallen superhuman prince, blinded by superior ambition and destroyed by unbending vengeance.

    My earliest memory of MacGoohan was, really, the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, the Rev. Syn, Batman before there was a Batman. I remember seeing the movie on the Disney ABC showings, that spooky painted mask of his. I didn’t see the Prisoner until college, but I’d read about it for years and wanted to see it, finally getting it the rental stores (I have, by the by, complaints about how the t.v producers keep getting the order of the episodes all wrong. I’ve got my own, and it makes sooooo much more sense! :grin: ). But I really started liking his work when I saw reruns of the Colombo mysteries. There was a brilliant episode with MacGoohan as a commandant of a military academy (Bruno Kirby was one of the kids!). I think all of MacGoohan’s Emmy awards were for his Colombo guest-spots.

    Aw man. Tragic week for geeks everywhere. :(

  • Am I a bad person because my first thought about Ricardo Montalban was if he would be buried in Corrrrinthian Leather.

    If it makes you feel any better, John Scalzi already made a similar joke on his site.

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