As a Henry Mancini score swells with unapologetic cheese, we are swept into the world of the luxurious St. Gregory Hotel in San Francisco. Owned by aging matriarch Bette Davis (replaced, when she had to pull out due to illness, by Anne Baxter, as her sister-in-law), the Hotel’s General Manager is James Brolin, who has lots of time to wander around the lobby greeting the various guest stars. In other words, he’s Mr. Roarke to the St. Gregory’s Fantasy Island. What follows is pure fromage of the Aaron Spelling variety, with every other guest star a fading Familiar Face, no end of improbable crises, painful comic relief, unintentional comedy gold in the dramatic moments, and much of the feel of a 1970s disaster movie minus, sadly, the disaster itself (but you can always re-watch The Towering Inferno to make yourself feel better).
The colours are strong, and the picture quality is generally what one would expect for a mid-80s television program. The grain is minimal, but the image is a bit soft – features and details tend to bleach out and disappear when in the middle distance. That said, the transfer gets the job done, and looks true to original broadcast quality.
Your standard original mono, with nothing particularly standing out one way or another. There is no distortion, and everything sounds perfectly clear. Other than that: it’s broadcast mono. What more do you really need to know?
As goofily entertaining as this is (often for the wrong reasons), it also serves as a reminder of just how good so much TV writing is today. Because trust me, the scripts here are fine only in the sense of pure camp.