March 16, 2018 • Los Angeles
In the 1970s two of the top TV shows were Love Boat and Fantasy Island. If you don’t remember these small-screen blockbusters, Love Boat was a romantic comedy that followed the zany crew of a cruise ship that floated up and down the Mexican Pacific coast in the pre-norovirus era. Each week several straight couples would work on their relationships aboard ship, egged on and abetted by the meddling staff. Fantasy Island was a dark place run by Ricardo Montalbán, whose business model seemed to be based on doing the elaborate staging necessary to allow rich people to live out their fantasies for a few days. Oddly, none of these fantasies were sexual in nature, but at least the one-percenters usually learned some tangential yet beneficial lesson about themselves.
Imagine, then, if you will, the television equivalent of dropping acid and meeting god: in November 1980, the Love Boat sailed to Fantasy Island. The same kind of thing happened to me recently when my protagonist, Mason, was invited to guest-star in a very special chapter of George Bixley’s True Vermilion. With my permission, of course, Mason briefly goes to work for Slater Ibáñez, the insurance investigator in Bixley’s series. Mason doesn’t seem to be intimidated by tough-guy Slater the way I would be, but all in all, I think it was a successful crossover event, and no Mason Braithwaite bookshelf is complete without True Vermilion.