HOLLYWOOD -- The No. 1 fantasy among American TV viewers today is a trip to Hawaii.
That's the conclusion of Peter Marshall, co-host of the daytime 'Fantasy' series which fulfills the dreams of its viewers by granting them -- within reason -- their hearts' desire.
Second on the list of fantasies is a trip to Disneyland and third is ownership of a microwave oven.
'Fantasy' is deluged with 75,000 letters a week from viewers seeking to assuage life-long yearnings whether they be reunions with missing relatives or crass wish-fulfillment for a new car.
A dozen or more people a day are gratified at the NBC Burbank Studios where 'Fantasy' is taped or in their home towns where a mobile crew drops in with cameras to deliver the goodies.
The hour-long show is a veritable cornucopia of cars, diamond rings, fur coats, kitchen appliances, furniture and other items distributed with flourish and glitz by Marshall and co-host Leslie Uggams.
In the studio Marshall distributes Fantasy Fortune Cookies with little notes good for rings, cars, watches and appliances for worthies who previously had written in, or those who show up with a touching story.
There is a Fantasy Fountain filled with $100,000 in $50 bills. A lucky member of the audience is allowed to keep as much as he or she can grab out of the air in 20 seconds. The record so far: $14,000.
The Fantasy Spotlight affords would-be singers a chance for network exposure.
Fantasy Write-a-Check is a game in which four persons have an opportunity to pick up a fast $900.
FantasyGrams are flashed on the screen announcing to a viewer in some far-flung corner of America the fulfillment of his or her fantasy.
Most impressive is the Fantasy Truck with Meredith MacRae and Chris Lemmon aboard as roving hosts. It travels the country taping worthy viewers who have written to the show about their fantasies.
'The key to realizing fantasies is that the people are sincere, deserving and good folks who deserve to see their dreams come true,' Marshall said.
'Most people who write are unselfish, asking us to fulfill the fantasy of a friend or relative -- people who have made sacrifices in their lives for others.
'We want people on the show viewers can root for, solid citizens who can use a break in life.'
There are some off-beat fantasies, too. Marshall discovered four men in the audience who wanted to sky-dive. They were trained and soonthereafter parachuted. One of the daredevils broke his shoulder.
One lady's fantasy was to have her boyfriend propose on the show. The swain arrived and was offered a Paris honeymoon, a diamond ring for his lady and other inducements if he would pop the question.
Marshall gave him an hour to make up his mind. When the big moment came, the guy said no. Marshall gave the Paris trip to the lady anyhow, suggesting she take someone else.
'We have lots of fun along with drama on the show,' Marshall said. 'Most people have limited fantasies. Trips to Hawaii and Disneyland are tops. What surprises us most is the popularity of microwave ovens.'
Marshall finds hosting 'Fantasy' exhausting after 15 years as host of the popular 'Hollywood Squares.'
'This show takes more time and is much more complicated and demanding,' Marshall said. 'We may have our corny moments, but I love meeting so many people and talking to them about their fantasies.
'Ours isn't really a game show. I think of it as a 'people' show. After 'Hollywood Squares' went to nights, I swore I'd never go back to daytime TV.
'But 'Fantasy' has so much going for it I just couldn't pass it up. It's produced by Merill Heater, the same man who did 'Squares.' We have something different going every minute.
'Our ratings are pretty good but they've put us in the Death Valley spot -- opposite 'The Guiding Light' and 'General Hospital,' two of the most popular soap operas on the air.
'If NBC gives this show the proper chance it could go on forever. I wouldn't be surprised to see it in a prime time slot.'