Two dashing pilots and a beautiful, devious woman in a tropical paradise
Sandy Wade (William Reynolds) and Zack Malloy (James Philbrook) were adventurers in the Spice Islands of the East Indies. Sandy and Zack started a business by buying a beautiful airplane that could land in water ("The Duck"). The boys' nemesis and sometimes partner was the lovely Steamboat Willy (Diane Brewster), who was something of a confidence woman.
Sandy, Zack and Steamboat Willy spent a lot of time hanging around Shipwreck Callahan's bar, waiting for business.
This series was MGM's answer to "Adventures in Paradise". "The Islanders" had a great Howard Hawks type set-up. You could imagine Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy and Rosalind Russell as the leads in a Hawks film with a similar premise. The execution of this adventure series was competent but not inspired. But the three actors were extremely attractive and appealing. All three had star potential.
William Reynolds had already played the title role in "Pete Kelly's Blues" and would star a year later as Captain Jim Benedict in "The Gallant Men". Reynolds finally wound up as Efrem Zimbalist's partner on "The FBI" for six years.
James Philbrook would go on to star in "The Investigators" with James Franciscus and co-star in "The New Lorreta Young Show". He then mysteriously disappeared from television. I think he headed for Europe.
Diane Brewster had previously played Samantha Crawford on "Maverick" and "Cheyenne", a character similar to Steamboat Willy. Diane was also excellent as Paul Newman's mother in "The Young Philadelphians", a year before starting this series. Diane went on to play Helen Kimble on "The Fugitive".
Gena Rowlands and Darren McGavin guest starred in one episode. Other guest stars included Peter Falk, Leslie Nielsen, E.G. Marshall and Sebastian Cabot.
Richard Bare directed the pilot. Bare had also previously directed William Reynolds in a memorable "Twilight Zone" with Dick York. That "Twilight Zone" was probably William Reynolds finest performance. He played a WWII platoon leader who could foresee which of his men would die in battle. He finally foresees his own death.
William Reynolds and Richard Bare were in a plane crash, when flying home from making the pilot for "The Islanders". They were both out in the water hoping to be rescued. Bare jokingly asked Reynolds if he was going to survive. Reynolds humored him by saying yes. Thankfullly, they both did survive.
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