I feel compelled to mark the passing of the actor Ricardo Montalban, who died on Wednesday in Los Angeles at the age of 88. You can read his New York Times obituary here.

Okay, you say, but what does Ricardo Montalban have to do with this website’s ostensible subject, the history of New York City’s literature and culture? Bear with me.

Some of you may remember Montalban from the series of ads that Chrysler ran during the mid-1970s for its Cordoba luxury sedan. Here’s the 1975 version:

Others may remember Fantasy Island, which starred Montalban as Mr. Roarke, the owner of an exotic island where guests would arrive in a small plane each week to go on adventures or play out fantasies that would change their lives. The show co-starred the late Herv