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Gilligan's Island


Gilligan's Island Information

Gilligan's Island is an American sitcom created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz and originally produced by United Artists Television. The situation comedy series featured Bob Denver; Alan Hale, Jr.; Jim Backus; Natalie Schafer; Tina Louise; Russell Johnson; and Dawn Wells. It aired for three seasons on the CBS network from September 26, 1964, to September 4, 1967. Originally sponsored by Philip Morris & Company and Procter & Gamble, the show followed the comic adventures of seven castaways as they attempted to survive (and in a later movie escape from) the island on which they had been shipwrecked. Most episodes revolve around the dissimilar castaways' conflicts and their failed attempts to return home.

Gilligan's Island ran for a total of 98 episodes. The first season, consisting of 36 episodes, was filmed in black-and-white. These episodes were later colorized for syndication. The show's second and third seasons (62 episodes) and the three television movie sequels were filmed in color.

Enjoying solid ratings during its original run, the show grew in popularity during decades of syndication, especially in the 1970s and 1980s when many markets ran the show in the late afternoon after school. Today, the title character of Gilligan is widely recognized as an American cultural icon.

Premise

The two-man crew of the charter boat S. S. Minnow and five passengers on a "three-hour tour" from Honolulu run into a tropical storm and are shipwrecked on an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The island was close enough to Hawaii to clearly pick up Hawaiian AM radio transmissions on a portable receiver. Executive producer Sherwood Schwartz believed in avoiding exposition, so he composed the sea shanty-style theme song, "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle", as a capsule summary of the castaways' predicament. This was done so that first-time viewers would instantly understand the premise. He took the same approach with the themes to The Brady Bunch and It's About Time.

Characters

See List of Gilligan's Island characters for more information

  • Bob Denver as First Mate Gilligan the bumbling, naive, accident-prone crewman (affectionately known as "Little Buddy" by "The Skipper") of the S.S. Minnow. Denver was not the first choice to play Gilligan; actor Jerry Van Dyke was offered the role, but he turned it down, believing that the show would never be successful. He chose instead to play the lead in My Mother the Car, which premiered the following year and was cancelled after one season. The producers looked to Bob Denver, the actor who had played lovable beatnik Maynard G. Krebs in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. None of the show's episodes ever specified Gilligan's full name or clearly indicated whether "Gilligan" was the character's first name or his last. In the DVD collection, Sherwood Schwartz states that he preferred the full name of "Willy Gilligan" for the character. Denver, on various television/radio interviews (The Pat Sajak Show; KDKA radio), said that "Gil Egan" was his choice. The actor reasoned that because everyone yelled at the first mate, it ran together as "Gilligan." In the unaired pilot episode, it is unclear whether Lovey Howell refers to Gilligan as "Stewart" or steward. On Rescue from Gilligan's Island, the writers artfully dodged Gilligan's full name when the other names are announced. Little is revealed about Gilligan's past except his occasional reference to best friend Skinny Mulligan.
  • Alan Hale, Jr. as Captain/The Skipper Jonas Grumby. A longtime actor in B-westerns and the look-alike son of Alan Hale, Sr., a legendary movie character actor, Hale so loved his role that, long after the show went off the air, he would still appear in character in his Los Angeles restaurant, Alan Hale's Lobster Barrel. Although the Skipper was a father figure to Gilligan, Hale was only 14 years older than Denver. Gilligan pushed the Skipper out of the way of a loose depth charge when they were both serving in the United States Navy. Skipper is a World War II veteran, and served in the Seventh Fleet. In one episode he describes his participation in the Battle of Guadalcanal. In moments of exasperation the Skipper would swat Gilligan on the head with his cap, but just as often, would endearingly call him "Little Buddy."
  • Jim Backus as Thurston Howell III, the millionaire. Backus was already a well-known actor when he took the part. The origin of the super-rich Howell character dates back to 1949 radio when Backus portrayed "Hubert Updike III" on The Alan Young Show. Also, in the inaugural 1962/63 season (episode 31) of The Beverly Hillbillies Backus basically plays the same character, this time it's the eccentric millionaire Martin von Ransohoff. In the 1963 movie It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World Backus played Tyler Fitzgeralda, a boozy and rich airplane owner that briefly gets caught up in the race for the money. He was perhaps best known as the voice of the cartoon character Mr. Magoo. He reused some of the voice inflections and mannerisms of Magoo in the role. He was well known for his ad-libs on the set. A Harvard graduate and a Republican, Howell was a multi-billionaire until his losses in the Great Depression left him a multi-millionaire.
  • Natalie Schafer as Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth Howell, Thurston's wife. Schafer had it written into her contract that there were to be no close-ups of her, perhaps because of her age. Schafer was 63 when the pilot was shot although, reportedly, no one on the set or in the cast knew her real age, and she refused to divulge it. Originally, she only accepted the role because the pilot was filmed on location in Hawaii; she looked at the job as nothing more than a free vacation, as she was convinced that a show this silly would "never go."
  • Tina Louise as Ginger Grant, the movie star. Louise clashed with producer Sherwood Schwartz because she believed that she was hired as the central character. Her character was originally written as a hard-nosed, sharp-tongued temptress, but Louise argued that this portrayal was too harsh, and refused to play it as written. A compromise was reached; Louise agreed to play her as a Marilyn Monroe - Jayne Mansfield type. The evening gowns and hairstyle used were designed to re-create the look of Myrna Loy. Louise continued to clash with producers over her role, and was the only cast member who refused to return for any of the post series TV movies, saying that the role had killed her career as a serious actress. However, she did appear in a reunion of the cast on a late night television talk show in 1988 and on an episode of Roseanne in 1995 when the Roseanne cast re-enacted Gilligan's Island. In the first season, Ginger often wore gowns that looked as if they were tailored from S.S. Minnow tarpaulins or similar ersatz cloth (some had the name of the vessel stenciled on them). In the pilot episode, the character of Ginger (then a secretary) was played by actress Kit Smythe.
  • Russell Johnson as Professor Roy Hinkley. John Gabriel was originally cast, but the network thought he looked too young to have all the degrees attributed to the Professor. Incongruously, "the Professor" was in fact a high school science teacher, not a university professor. In the first episode, the radio announcer describes him as a research scientist and well-known Scoutmaster. Johnson, who served as a bombardier in the Pacific during World War II, stated that he had some difficulty remembering his more technically oriented lines. Johnson's role in the series was spoofed in a Bloom County comic strip for The Professor's technical expertise being unable to get the castaways off the island. This odd contradiction was played up in "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody song, Isle Thing.
  • Dawn Wells as Mary Ann Summers. Wells was a former Miss Nevada when she auditioned for the role. Her competition included Raquel Welch and Patricia Ann Priest. The pilot episode had a different character ("Bunny") played by actress Nancy McCarthy. After it was shot, the network decided to recast the roles of the Professor and the two young women. Mary Ann became a simple farm-girl from Winfield, Kansas. In 1993, Wells published Mary Ann's Gilligan's Island Cookbook with co-writers Ken Beck & Jim Clark, including a foreword by Bob Denver. In February 2007, she starred as Lovey Howell in Gilligan's Island: The Musical, a musical stage adaptation of the TV show.
  • Charles Maxwell was the uncredited voice of the "Radio Announcer" (1964–65). The castaways would listen to his plot-advancing radio bulletins in many episodes, and always with perfect timing to hear the exact news they needed to know. Maxwell would often pause between sentences, allowing the characters to react to his news, and sometimes even responding to their comments.

Episodes

Main article: List of Gilligan's Island episodes

Pilot Episode

The pilot episode was never broadcast in 1964 before the actual series as the series had incorporated three significant character and casting changes.

The following four of the original seven pilot characters were identical to those of the series (including the actor/actress cast for each role): Gilligan, the Skipper, and the two Howells.

Three of the remaining original pilot characters differed from those of the series (including the actor/actress cast): In the pilot, the Professor was instead a high school teacher played by John Gabriel; Ginger the movie star was instead Ginger, a practical secretary with red hair, played by Kit Smythe; and Mary Ann the Kansas farm-girl was instead Bunny, a stereotypically cheerful "dumb blonde" secretary, played by Nancy McCarthy.

The pilot's opening and ending theme songs, two similar Calypso-styled tracks written by John Williams with differing lyrics, were quite different from those of the actual series. The short scenes during the opening theme song (which is longer than the series opening theme song) include Gilligan taking the Howells' luggage to the boat before cast-off and Gilligan attempting to give a cup of coffee to the Skipper during the storm that would ultimately maroon the boat.

After the opening theme song and opening credits end, the pilot proper begins with the seven castaways waking up on the beached SS Minnow and continues with them performing various tasks including exploring the island, attempting to fix the transmitter, building huts, and finding food. Contrary to some descriptions, no detailed accounts of the pilot characters' backgrounds were written into the pilot storylines. The pilot then ends with the ending theme song and ending credits.

Lastly, the background music and even the laugh tracks of the pilot appear all but identical to those used during the series.

First broadcast episode

The first episode actually broadcast, "Two on a Raft", is sometimes wrongly referred to as the series pilot. This episode begins with the same scene of Gilligan and the Skipper awakening on the boat as in the pilot (cut slightly differently to eliminate most shots of the departed actors) and continues with the characters sitting on the beach listening to a radio news report about their disappearance. There is no equivalent scene or background information in the pilot, except for the description of the passengers in the original theme song. Rather than re-shooting the rest of the pilot story for broadcast, the show just proceeded on. The plot thus skips over the topics of the pilot; the bulk of the episode tells of Gilligan and the Skipper setting off on a raft to try to bring help but unknowingly landing back on the other side of the same island.

The scene with the radio report is one of two scenes that reveal the names of the Skipper (Jonas Grumby) and the Professor (Roy Hinkley); the names are used in a similar radio report early in the series. The name Jonas Grumby appears nowhere else in the series except for an episode in which the Maritime Board of Review blames the Skipper for the loss of the ship. The name Roy Hinkley is used one other time when Mr. Howell introduces the Professor as Roy Huntley and the professor corrects him, to which Mr. Howell replies, "Brinkley, Brinkley."

The plot for the pilot episode would eventually be recycled into that season's Christmas episode, "Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk", in which the story of the pilot episode, concerning the practical problems on landing, is related through a series of flashbacks. Footage featuring characters that had been recast was reshot using the current actors. For scenes including only Denver, Hale, Backus, and Schafer the original footage was reused.

Last broadcast episode

The last episode of the show, "Gilligan the Goddess", aired on April 17, 1967, and ended just like the rest, with the castaways still stranded on the island. It was not known at the time that it was the last episode, as a fourth season was expected but then cancelled.

In its last year Gilligan's Island was the lead-in program for the CBS Monday night schedule. It was followed for the first sixteen weeks by the sitcom Run, Buddy, Run. The timeslot from 7:30 to 8:30 Eastern was filled in the 1967"1968 season by Gunsmoke, moved from its traditional Saturday 10 pm timeslot.

Typical plots

The shipwrecked castaways want to leave the remote island, and various opportunities present themselves. They typically fail owing to some bumbling error committed by Gilligan (with the exception of "The Big Gold Strike", where everyone except Gilligan is responsible for their failed escape). Sometimes this would result in his saving the others from some unforeseen flaw in their plan.

Recurring elements center on one of five primary themes. The first deals with life on the island. A running gag is the castaways' ability to fashion a vast array of useful objects from bamboo and other local material. Some are simple everyday things, while others are stretches of the imagination. Russell Johnson noted in his autobiography that the production crew enjoyed the challenge of building these props. Some bamboo items include framed huts with thatched grass sides and roofs, along with bamboo closets strong enough to withstand hurricane-force winds and rain; the communal dining table and chairs, pipes for Gilligan's hot water, a stethoscope, and a pedal-powered car. Naturally, despite their obvious skill and inventiveness, the castaways never quite manage to put together a functional raft out of bamboo (or repair the hole in their original ship), although in the television movie Rescue from Gilligan's Island they do end up tying their 3 huts together and using that as a raft for escape.

The second theme involves visitors to the "uncharted" island. One challenge to a viewer's suspension of disbelief is the frequency with which the castaways are visited by people who do nothing to assist them. Some have hidden motives for not assisting the castaways. Others are simply unable to help, incompetent, or are prevented from sending messages by Gilligan. Bob Denver, Jim Backus, and Tina Louise each had feature episodes in which look-alikes come to the island (who were, of course, played by themselves in dual roles). The island itself is also home to an unusual assortment of animal life, some native, some visiting.

The third recurring theme is the use of dream sequences in which one of the castaways "dreams" he or she is some character related to that week's storyline. All of the castaways would appear as other characters within the dream. In later interviews and memoirs, almost all of the actors stated that the dream episodes were among their personal favorites.

The fourth recurring theme is a piece of news arriving from the outside world that causes discord among the castaways. Then a second piece of news arrives, saying the first was incorrect. An exception to the latter part of this statement is the episode "The Postman Cometh", where the Gilligan and the Skipper hear over the radio that Mary Ann's boyfriend eloped and the three single men try to cheer her up by wooing her; Mary Ann actually lied about having a boyfriend, and she created a romance with "a real creep" so that the others would think she had someone waiting for her back home.

The fifth is the appearance or arrival of strange objects, like a WWII mine or a "Mars Rover" that the scientists back in the USA think is sending them pictures of Mars, and in one episode a meteorite.

Theme song

The music and lyrics for the theme song, "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle", were written by Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle. One version was used for the first season and another for the second and third. In the original song, the Professor and Mary Ann were referred to as "and the rest". Actors Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells were originally considered "second-billed co-stars", but with the growing popularity of their characters, their names were inserted into the lyrics. Wells has said that star Bob Denver went to the studio executives to get Johnson and herself added to the opening credits. The studio originally refused, stating it would be too costly to re-shoot and re-score the opening. Denver pointed out that his contract stated he could have his name anywhere he wanted in the credits, so they could move it to the end credits along with Johnson and Wells. The studio capitulated. Wells said that Denver never mentioned this to anyone in the cast, and she did not find out about it until years after the show ended.

The first season version was recorded by The Wellingtons.

The second season version was uncredited, but according to Russell Johnson in his book Here on Gilligan's Isle, it was performed by a group called the Eligibles.

The show's original pilot episode featured a calypso theme song by future film composer John Williams, and different lyrics. The original length of the voyage was "a six-hour ride", not "a three-hour tour". John Williams (or Johnny Williams as he was often listed in the show credits) also started out as the composer of the incidental music for the show (from 1964 to 1965) but was replaced by Gerald Fried for the remaining seasons (1965"1967).

The band Little Roger and the Goosebumps recorded "Gilligan's Island Stairway," a parody of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven", substituting the words to the Gilligan's Island theme song. "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a song called Isle Thing, a parody of Tone L?c's "Wild Thing", about a rapper whose girlfriend introduces him to the show. Yankovic also used the lyrics from the closing theme in "Amish Paradise", a parody of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise". The song has also been covered by many bands, including Bowling for Soup for the TBS show The Real Gilligan's Island.

Production

Filming of the show took place at the CBS Radford Studios complex in Studio City, Los Angeles California. The same stage was later used by Mary Tyler Moore and Roseanne (which featured Gilligan's Island prominently on one episode). The lagoon was drained and used as a parking lot during the show's off-season and was the last surviving element of the show when it was demolished in 1997 as part of an expansion project.

Cave scenes were shot in Newport Beach, California, across from the southern tip of the Balboa Peninsula, in a park just off Ocean Boulevard. The rock jetties at the entrance of Newport Bay can be seen during the opening theme during the line "A 3-Hour Tour" as the Minnow heads out to sea. Also, the marina shown in the opening shot is the Alamitos Bay Marina in Long Beach, California.

Four different boats played the part of the S.S. Minnow. One was used in the opening credits and rented in Ala Wai Yacht Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Another boat, the Bluejacket, was used in the opening credits shown during the second and third seasons and eventually turned up for sale on Vancouver Island in August 2006, after running aground on a reef in the Hecate Strait on the way south from Alaska. One boat was used for beach scenes after being towed to Kauai in Hawaii. The fourth Minnow was built on the CBS Studios set in the second season. The Minnow was named in reference to Newton Minow, chairman of the U.S. FCC, who was most famous for describing television as "a vast wasteland".

The final day of filming of the scenes of the pilot episode was Friday, November 22, 1963, the day of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The cast and crew found out about the assassination late that morning, Hawaii time. Between the filming of scenes, they crowded around a radio, listening to news bulletins. A reminder of the tragedy appears in the opening sequence of the show's first season, when the theme song is played. As the Minnow is leaving the harbor and heading out to sea, an American flag flying at half staff can be seen briefly in the background.

The United States Coast Guard occasionally received telegrams from concerned citizens, who apparently did not realize it was a scripted show, pleading for them to rescue the people on the deserted island. The Coast Guard would simply forward these telegrams to producer Sherwood Schwartz.

Cancellation

During the 1966–1967 television season, Gilligan's Island aired on Monday nights at 7:30 P.M. Even though the sitcom's ratings had fallen out of the top thirty programs, during the last few weeks of its third season, the series was still doing very well and more than holding its own against its chief competitor, The Monkees, which aired at the same time on NBC-TV. Therefore, CBS assured Sherwood Schwartz that Gilligan's Island would definitely be picked up for a fourth year. However, under pressure from network president William S. Paley and his wife Babe, along with many network affiliates and longtime fans of Gunsmoke (which had been airing late on Saturday nights), to reverse its threatened cancellation, CBS rescheduled the Western to an earlier time slot on Monday evenings at 7:30 P.M. As a result, Gilligan's Island was unceremoniously canceled at practically the last minute even though the cast members were all on vacation. Some of the cast had bought houses based on Sherwood Schwartz's verbal confirmation that the series would be renewed for a fourth season.

Nielsen ratings/Television schedule

Season Ep# Season premiere Season finale Timeslot Rank Rating Households
1) 1964–65 36 September 26, 1964 June 12, 1965 Saturday nights at 8:30 P.M. #17 24.7 (tie) 13,227,700
2) 1965–66 32 September 16, 1965 April 28, 1966 Thursday nights at 8:00 P.M. #19 22.4 11,900,850
3) 1966–67 30 September 12, 1966 April 17, 1967 Monday nights at 7:30 P.M. Not in the Top 30 N/A N/A

Reunion films, clones, and spin-offs

The success of Gilligan's Island spawned a number of clones and spin-offs:

  • Dusty's Trail was a 1973"1974 syndicated television series by Sherwood Schwartz starring Bob Denver as "Dusty" Boots, a shotgun aide-de-camp and Forrest Tucker as "Mr. Callahan", wagon master of a wayward coach wagon/ trail. Its cast was made up of nearly identical character roles as Gilligan's Island.
  • The New Adventures of Gilligan was a Filmation-produced animated remake that aired on ABC Saturday Morning from September 7, 1974, to September 4, 1977, for 24 episodes (16 installments airing in 1974"75 and 8 new ones combined with repeats in 1975"76). The voices were done by the original cast except for Ginger, voiced by Jane Webb, and Mary Ann, voiced by Jane Edwards. An additional character was Snubby the Monkey, voiced by Lou Scheimer.
  • In a 1978 made-for-television movie, Rescue from Gilligan's Island, the castaways did successfully leave the island, but had difficulty reintegrating into society. During a reunion cruise on the first Christmas after their rescue, fate intervened and they found themselves wrecked on the same island at the end of the film. It starred the original cast except for Tina Louise, who refused to participate and was replaced as Ginger by Judith Baldwin. The plot involved Soviet agents seeking a memory disc from a spy satellite that landed on the island and facilitated their rescue. Gilligan and the Skipper "rescue" Mary Ann right as she is to marry her longtime fiancé, which contradicts the series where it was established that Mary Ann had no boyfriend after having made up a story about a boyfriend to keep the others from feeling sorry for her.
  • In a 1979 sequel, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island, they were rescued once again, and the Howells converted the island into a getaway resort, with the other five castaways as "silent partners". Ginger was again played by Judith Baldwin. This sequel was intended as a pilot for a possible new series in which the castaways would host new groups of tourists each week, using the all-star cast anthology format made popular by Fantasy Island and The Love Boat. The series never materialized, though the premise was the basis of a short-lived 1981 series titled Aloha Paradise.
  • In a second sequel, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island (1981), villains played by Martin Landau and then-wife Barbara Bain (who also appeared together on Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999) try to take over the island to gain access to a vein of Supremium, a valuable but volatile element. This time, Ginger was played by Constance Forslund. They are thwarted by the timely intervention of the Harlem Globetrotters. Jim Backus, who was in poor health at the time, only appeared at the very end of the episode, arriving back on the island. David Ruprecht played the role of Thurston Howell IV, even though the series had established that the Howells were childless. Unlike the previous two movies, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island utilized a laugh track like the original series.
  • Gilligan's Planet was an animated science fiction version produced by Filmation and starring the voices of the Gilligan's Island cast save for Tina Louise (Dawn Wells played the voices of both Mary Ann and Ginger). They escape from the island by building a spaceship, and get shipwrecked on a distant planet. Only 12 episodes aired on CBS between September 18, 1982, and September 3, 1983. In one episode, they travel to an island, get shipwrecked there, and Gilligan observes, "First we were stranded on an island, then we were stranded on a planet, and now we're stranded on an island on a planet."
  • Good Morning America featured a Gilligan's Island reunion presided over by Joan Lunden in November 1983. This was the first time that the entire cast had been reunited (including Tina Louise), even though Jim Backus was not able to be physically present. He was able to join the cast, though, via a live video remote from Los Angeles, California.
  • ALF featured an episode in 1987 called The Ballad of Gilligan's Island in which the alien dreams he is on the island. Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson portray darkly skewed versions of their characters after being stuck on the island for 23 years. The missing castaways are explained as having set up a camp on the other side of the island.
  • The original cast members (along with Sherwood Schwartz) reunited on television for one last time, on a 1988 episode of The Late Show with Ross Shafer.
  • Gilligan's Island: The Musical was first produced in the early 1990s, with a script by Lloyd Schwartz, Sherwood Schwartz's son, and songs by Schwartz's daughter and son-in-law, Hope and Laurence Juber. After extensive revisions since 2001 it has been produced at various theaters around the U.S.
  • Gilligan's Island: Underneath the Grass Skirt (1999).
  • In 1989, Denver and Hale filmed several short clips for TBS in their Gilligan and Skipper outfits, to promote reruns of the show on that network. Hale's ill health and weight loss in these clips, filmed the year before his death, are apparent.
  • Roseanne (which was shot on the same Studio City sound stage as Gilligan's Island) had an episode titled "Sherwood Schwartz: A Loving Tribute". Part of the episode is a fantasy sequence parodying this series. Most of the regular/recurring Roseanne cast portrayed the Gilligan's Island characters:
    • Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) / Gilligan
    • Dan (John Goodman) / Skipper
    • Leon (Martin Mull) / Mr. Howell
    • Bev (Estelle Parsons) / Mrs. Howell
    • Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) / Ginger
    • Mark (Glenn Quinn) / Professor
    • Darlene (Sara Gilbert) / Mary Ann
    • During the end credits, Tina Louise, Bob Denver, Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells appeared as the appropriate Roseanne characters. Sherwood Schwartz also appeared as himself, although his appearance is edited out in syndication.
  • In an unaired episode of the short-lived 1997 CBS Sitcom 'Meego'; Gilligan, The Professor, and Mary-Ann all appear by the original actors and Gilligan yells "We've been trapped here for 35 years". This episode did not air in the US because CBS canceled the series after 6 episodes aired.
  • The E! True Hollywood Story (2000), a backstage history of the show, featuring interviews with some of the stars or their widows.
  • In 2000, the Comedy Channel series, The Man Show explored the long standing controversy referred to as "Maryann vs. Ginger". Dawn Wells, aging gracefully and with a wonderful sense of humor portrayed herself in island attire while the Man Show gave their version of the issue as only they could. The episode was The Beach Show, Season 2, Episode 7.'
  • Surviving Gilligan's Island (2001) was a docudrama in which Bob Denver, Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson reminisce about the show.
  • Gilligan's Island has had numerous recurring gags featured in a series of commercials:
    • Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer appear together as a wealthy couple in an Orville Redenbacher commercial throwing a party. It never mentions that the characters in the commercial are Mr. and Mrs. Howell, but the behavior of the characters are the same.
    • Bob Denver reprises his role as Gilligan in an AT&T commercial, lying in a hammock receiving a phone call from Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.) telling him how he missed him and the other castaways. Skipper on the other line, suggested a reunion tour, and Gilligan agreed, but wanted to go to Yellowstone by bus.
    • Dawn Wells, reprising her role as Mary Ann, appears in a Western Union commercial in a talk show format as to why she is upset with her boyfriend for not wiring her money on time to be rescued. The talk show host and audience members asked her from the lines of Ballad Gilligan's Island in description of her experience: "No phone, no lights, no motor car, not a single luxury. Like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be."
    • In a Snickers commercial, a worried mother looking out the window out onto the ocean waiting for her son Gilligan to come back home. While chewing on a Snicker's bar, she is talking to her friend and tells her that, when her son left, he said that he was only going out to sea for: "a three hour tour, a three hour tour"!
  • Gilligan's Wake (ISBN 0-312-29123-X) is a 2003 parallel novel loosely based on the 1960s CBS sitcom, from the viewpoints of the seven major characters, written by Esquire film and television critic Tom Carson. The title is derived from the title of the TV show and Finnegans Wake, the seminal work of Irish novelist James Joyce.
  • On November 30, 2004, the TBS network launched a reality series titled The Real Gilligan's Island, which placed two groups of people on an island, leaving them to fend for themselves à la Survivor " the catch being that each islander matched a character type established in the original series (a klutz, a sea captain, a movie star, a millionaire's wife, etc.). While heavily marketed by TBS, the show turned out to be a flop with a very Survivor-like feel but little of its success. A second season began June 8, 2005, with two-hour episodes for four weeks. TBS announced in July 2005 that a third season of the show would not be produced.
  • At the end of the A Very Brady Sequel movie, it is stated that Carol Brady's first husband was the Professor and the horse statue that was the MacGuffin for the movie belonged to Gilligan's father.

Television and video distribution

United Artists Television originally produced the series (in association with Phil Silvers' Gladasya Productions and CBS) and subsequently distributed it in syndication. UATV became MGM/UA Television in 1981 after United Artists merged with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

In 1986, Turner Broadcasting System attempted to purchase MGM/UA, but after amassing huge debt, sold most of the acquisition back, but kept the company's considerable library. This library, which would be managed by Turner Entertainment, included the pre-1986 MGM film and television library, the pre-1950 Warner Bros. films and short subjects, and US rights to much of the RKO Pictures library " in addition to this series.

In 1996 Turner merged with Time Warner, and Warner Bros. Television became responsible for the show's distribution, and continues to be today. The Silvers estate (successor-in-interest to Gladasya) retained its share of ownership (both Turner and the Silvers family now share the show's copyright).

The entire series has been released on DVD through corporate sibling Warner Home Video, and online via Amazon's Prime service. The program is virtually unknown in the United Kingdom " only thirteen episodes were ever shown there.

Williams Electronics produced a pinball machine based on the TV show in 1991.

DVD releases

Warner Home Video released all three seasons of Gilligan's Island on DVD in Region 1 between 2004 and 2005. The Complete First Season features all 36 episodes unedited with the original theme song. And, unlike other releases of older sitcoms, the episodes are in their original black-and-white format. The special features include the rare pilot episode with commentary with creator Sherwood Schwartz, and three other featurettes.

The Complete Second Season includes all 32 season two episodes and mentions in an interesting way that this season is in color. Bonuses for this set include: a season two intro with Russell Johnson and Sherwood Schwartz and audio commentary on the season's third episode "The Little Dictator".

The Complete Third Season includes all 30 season three episodes and uses words from the theme song on the back: "Just sit right back... for the final season!" Special features include season intro with Russell Johnson and Sherwood Schwartz, commentary on the season's fourth episode "The Producer" guest starring Phil Silvers, and a fifteen-minute documentary entitled Gilligan's Island: A Pop Culture Phenomenon.

The Complete Series Collection contains all the same bonuses and featurettes, no added features for a complete series box set. All these releases were double-sided discs, and came in box-sets.

In April of 2012 the series was re-issued new DVD releases, with 6 episodes per disc. The sets contain 6 discs per Season, except Season 3 which only has 5 discs. These releases however have cases that result in stacked discs, with the exception of the brand new trilogy set. Which has standard cases and include artwork inside them.

DVD name Ep# Release date
The Complete First Season 36 February 3, 2004
The Complete Second Season 32 January 11, 2005
The Complete Third Season 30 July 26, 2005
The Complete Series Collection 98 November 6, 2007

Film remake

Rights to the series were purchased, with an eye towards creating a movie scheduled for release March 30, 2012. When Sherwood Schwartz, creator of Gilligan's Island, signed a deal giving all rights to the movie, he reportedly said, "[It] just happened in the last 48 hours. I can't take this much excitement at my age." Sherwood Schwartz also said he would love to see Michael Cera as Gilligan and Beyoncé Knowles as Ginger. Schwartz died on July 12, 2011. Whether the film will go on without him or not is unknown at this point. Cera has stated that he has never been asked to play the part, nor does he have any interest in the role.

Underlying thematic elements

Sherwood Schwartz related that he drew inspiration (in part) for the archetypes for each of the characters from the "seven deadly sins" For example, Gilligan, who often was portrayed on the program as napping or otherwise goofing off, represented "Sloth." The Rest: the Millionaire ("Gluttony"), his Wife ("Greed"), the Professor ("Pride"), the Skipper ("Wrath"), Ginger ("Lust"), and Mary-Ann ("Envy").

Ginger or Mary Ann?

The question of which one men prefer has endured long after the end of the series. The question has inspired commercials, essays, videos, etc. By most accounts, the wholesome down–to–earth Mary Ann has outpolled Ginger by a sizable vote. Bob Denver (aka Gilligan), admitted he was a Mary Ann fan, and that when producers did polls, Mary Ann always beat Ginger, usually three to one. It has been cited that this angered Tina Louise (aka Ginger) greatly, who received only half the amount of fan mail that Dawn Wells (aka Mary Ann) received weekly. According to Bob Denver in a 2001 interview, Wells received 3–5,000 fan letters weekly, whereas, Ginger may have got 1,500 or 2,000.




This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gilligan%27s_Island" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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