Gilligan's Island

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For the NES video game, see Gilligan's Island (video game).

Gilligan's Island was an American TV sitcom which aired on CBS from September 26 1964 to September 4 1967 for 98 episodes. The first 36 episodes were filmed in black-and-white; the remaining 62 episodes and the three sequels were filmed in color.

The show's theme song, "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" (written by George Wyle and Sherwood Schwartz), is probably the best-known example of ballad meter, and it begins:

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...

The song was written to give new viewers a capsule summary of the unusual situation the castaways find themselves in. Another verse was played over the closing credits, after the invariably unsuccessful attempts of the castaways to leave the island.

The last episode of the show, "Gilligan The Goddess" (prod. no. 1098-670417), aired on April 17 1967, ended with the castaways never succeeding in leaving the island. Under a wave of pressure to reverse the threatened cancellation of Gunsmoke, which aired late on Saturday nights, CBS cancelled Gilligan's Island to open up early air time on Monday evenings, despite the sitcom's solid ratings.

Contents

Theme song

The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle is proper name for the theme song for Gilligan’s Island. The music and lyrics were written by Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle.

There were two versions of the theme during the run of the show, one for the first season and another for the second and third seasons. The lyrics were slightly altered in the second, most notably to add mention of the Professor (Russell Johnson) and Mary Anne (Dawn Wells) in the opening credits. According to Schwartz, as the show evolved, the Professor and Mary Anne grew into more important characters than were originally planned. On the annotated first episode on Gilligan’s Island: The Complete First Season, it was reported that Bob Denver insisted that the opening credits be changed to feature all seven actors.

The first season version was recorded by the The Wellingtons and had a more folk music sound. It starts with an acoustic guitar strumming for two bars before the lyrics start. The instrumentation, which includes a slide guitar, is subdued and very Hawaiian sounding.

The second and third season version was not credited to a particular group in the credits, but was presumably recorded under the direction of Gerald Fried, the music supervisor. It begins with a mini fanfare, and has a more traditional pop music sound but with some almost reggae-like underpinnings. The instrumentation is much more prominent in this version, and doesn't have any slide guitar.

Lyrics

During opening credits:

 First season:

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
a tale of a fateful trip.
That started from this tropic port
aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin' man,
the skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
for a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
The weather started getting rough,
the tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
the Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost.
The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
with Gilligan, the Skipper, too,
the Millionaire, and his Wife,
the Movie Star,
and the rest
are here on Gilligan's Isle.

Second and third seasons:

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
a tale of a fateful trip.
That started from this tropic port
aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin' man,
the skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
for a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
The weather started getting rough,
the tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
the Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost.
The ship’s aground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
with Gilligan, the Skipper, too,
the Millionaire, and his Wife,
the Movie Star,
the Professor and Mary Ann,
here on Gilligan's Isle.
During closing credits:

 First season:

Now, this is the tale of our castaways,
they're here for a long, long time.
They'll have to make the best of things;
it's an uphill climb.
The first mate and his skipper, too,
will do their very best
to make the others comfortable
in a tropic island nest.
No phones, no lights, no motor cars,
not a single luxury.
Like Robinson Crusoe, (pronounced like Caruso)
it's primitive as can be.
So join us here each week, my friends,
you're sure to get a smile
for seven stranded castaways,
here on Gilligan's Isle.

Second and third seasons:

Now, this is the tale of our castaways,
they're here for a long, long time.
They'll have to make the best of things;
it's an uphill climb.
The first mate and his skipper, too,
will do their very best
to make the others comfortable
in a tropic island nest.
No phone, no light, no motor cars,
not a single luxury.
Like Robinson Crusoe, (pronounced like Caruso)
it's primitive as can be.
So join us here each week, my friends,
you're sure to get a smile
from seven stranded castaways,
here on Gilligan's Isle.

Cast

Bob Denver –   Willy Gilligan
Alan Hale –   Skipper Jonas Grumby
Russell Johnson –   Professor Roy Hinkley
Jim Backus –   Thurston Howell III
Natalie Schafer –   Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth Howell
Tina Louise –   Ginger Grant
Dawn Wells   –   Mary Ann Summers

Gilligan, of the show's title, was the hapless first mate of the S.S. Minnow. Other characters are the Skipper (referred to as Jonas Grumby in the first broadcast episode), the Professor (referred to twice as Roy Hinkley), millionaire Thurston J. Howell III and his wife Eunice, nicknamed Lovey, movie star Ginger Grant, and Kansas farm girl Mary Ann Summers.

As the character of Ginger Grant, actress Tina Louise created a version of the quintessential Hollywood star and even her name, an amalgam of Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant, was a homage to Hollywood's past. When regular shooting began, Tina Louise clashed with producers, because she believed she was the main focus of the show, despite it being titled "Gilligan's Island". In addition, her character was originally written as a sarcastic and sharp-tongued temptress but Louise argued that this type of character was too extreme and refused to play it as written. A compromise was reached and Louise agreed to play her as a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball. The evening gowns and hair style used was designed to recreate the look of Myrna Loy. Louise continued to clash with producers and was the only cast member who refused to return for any of the TV movies that followed the series cancellation, saying that the role had destroyed her career as a serious actress.

Charles Maxwell was the uncredited voice of the "Radio Announcer", whose plot-advancing radio bulletins were eagerly tuned in to by the castaways in many episodes.

Typical plots

The show's plots often revolved around the characters' failed attempts to get off the deserted island where they have been shipwrecked. Often, the failure of that week's attempt was due to some bumbling error committed by Gilligan.

Another popular element were the numerous dream sequences the castaways experience in the later episodes which provided variety to the series' limited premise. For instance, Gilligan dreams on separate occasions that he is Lord Admiral Gilligan fighting off pirates, Secret Agent 014, a goofy vampire who is hunted by Inspector Sherlock (played by the Professor) or Dr. Jekyll who turns into Mr. Hyde when people talk about food around him.

Visitors to the uncharted island

One challenge to a viewer's suspension of disbelief is the frequency with which the presumably uncharted island is visited by people who do nothing to help the castaways get rescued. In various episodes they are encountered by

Among others, all proved either unwilling or unable to disclose to the outside world the existence of the castaways and their location. Some had ulterior motives, such as the producer, Harold Hekuba, (portrayed by guest star Phil Silvers), who stole the castaways' idea for a musical version of Hamlet and did not want them to appear to claim credit or royalties; others, such as "Wrong-Way" Feldman, proved too incredible to be believed or were totally unable to give directions to where they had been so that the castaways could be located and rescued.

Dream sequences

Another common story format had the castaways confront a problem and one of the castaways, usually Gilligan, has a silly dream that relates to the problem in question.

  • Gilligan as a Wild West sheriff who protects a duck everyone wants to eat.
  • Thurston Howell as a prospector who strikes it rich, but gets into debt and trouble
  • Gilligan is a spoiled prince of the Royal Howells.
  • Gilligan plays his own version of Jack and the Beanstalk where the Giant is hoarding oranges.
  • Lovey Howell stars in her own version of Cinderella with Gilligan as her Fairy Godfather.
  • Mary Anne as a patient in a hospital everyone wants to pronounce terminal.
  • Gilligan is a vampire who battles Inspector Sherlock (The Professor) and Colonel Watney (Skipper).
  • Gilligan is Lord Admiral Gilligan battling pirates on his ship.
  • Gilligan is Henry Jekyll on trial with Mary Poppins (Mrs. Howell) as his consul, while it is revealed by witness, "The Lady in Red," (Tina Louise), that he turns into Mr. Hyde when people talk about food within earshot.
  • Gilligan is a puppet (literally) ruler of a country.
  • Gilligan is Secret Agent 014 charged with delivering an attache case with most of the other castaways being assassins.
  • The castaways are cave people following a map.

Pilot vs. first broadcast episode

The first episode broadcast is often wrongly referred to as the series' pilot. This episode begins with the characters on the beach, immediately after they were shipwrecked, listening to a radio news report about their disappearance. This is the scene which reveals that the Skipper's name is Jonas Grumby and the Professor's name is Roy Hinkley.

In fact, there was an entirely different episode from this one that actually served as the show's pilot. That episode dealt more with the characters' background and how they came to be shipwrecked. However, there were significant cast and character changes made after the pilot. The part of the Professor (originally played by John Gabriel) was re-cast to Russell Johnson. The parts of the two secretaries, Ginger (played by Kit Smythe) and Bunny (played by Nancy McCarthy), were changed to a movie star, Ginger Grant, and a Kansas farm girl, Mary Ann Summers, and re-cast respectively to Tina Louise and Dawn Wells. These changes meant that when the show was finally broadcast, the original pilot could not be used as its first broadcast episode.

Rather than re-shoot the same pilot story again for broadcast, the show just proceeded on, and the series would begin broadcasting with what otherwise would have been the show's second episode—the episode beginning in the immediate aftermath of the shipwreck. In recognition of the fact that by doing this, the audience would have lost all of the background that the pilot episode provided, the scene with the castaways listening to the radio broadcast was added to provide that background as succinctly as possible.

Episode list

For the full list of episodes, see List of Gilligan's Island episodes

Gilligan's first name

Gilligan's full name has been a subject of debate among fans of the series for decades, a debate resolved by the release of Gilligan's Island — The Complete First Season DVDs in 2004. The DVD includes a documentary called "Before the Three Hour Tour" which confirms that Gilligan's full name is Willy Gilligan, though this name was never used on the show. This is the same name that Bob Denver mentioned on a talk show.

Suggested alternatives

  • In the "Slave Girl" episode of the series, The Professor is heard to possibly give a last name for Gilligan. When introducing him to a native girl, The Professor says "Gilligan …" adding, as the girl looks on uncomprehendingly, "… Hohople", which causes her to laugh. Some cite this as evidence that the character's full name is Gilligan Hohople. The Urban Legends Reference Pages has explained that the "Hohople" reference is the Professor asking the girl if she finds Gilligan handsome. While it may sound as if the Professor is asking a question, there is no context for why he would ask such a strange question.
  • Alan Hale Jr. has repeatedly stated that he always thought that Gilligan's full name was "Gilligan Davis".

Spin-offs

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

  • The New Adventures of Gilligan was a successful Filmation-produced animated remake that aired on ABC Saturday (and Sunday) Morning from September 7, 1974 to September 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 and Mary Ann, voiced by Jane Webb. An additional character was Stubby the Monkey, voiced by Lou Scheimer.
  • In a successful 1978 made-for-TV movie, Rescue From Gilligan's Island, the castaways did successfully leave the island, but they had difficulty reintegrating into society. During a reunion cruise at the first Christmas after their rescue, fate intervened and the group found themselves marooned on the exact same island. It starred the original cast except for Tina Louise, who refused to participate and was replaced as Ginger by Judith Baldwin (who seemed much too young for the role, compared to the other actors). The plot of the movie involved Soviet agents seeking a memory disc from a spy satellite that landed on the island and facilitated their rescue.
  • 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 The Love Boat. The series never materialized.
  • In still another sequel, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island (1981), some villains (played by Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, who also appeared together on Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999) try to take over the island to gain access to a valuable but unknown substance. 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. This is odd, because it was established in the series that the Howells were childless.
  • 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 (Gilligan's old network) 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 standed on an island, then we were stranded on a planet, and now we're stranded on an island on a planet."
  • Gilligan's Island: Underneath the Grass Skirt (1999)
  • Gilligan's Island: The E! True Hollywood Story (2000), a backstage history of the show, featuring interviews with some of the stars or their widows.
  • Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three Hour Tour in History (2001) was a docudrama where Bob Denver, Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson reminisce about the show.
  • On November 30, 2004, the TBS network launched a reality series entitled The Real Gilligan's Island which placed two groups of people on an island, leaving them to fend for themselves a 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 the Survivor 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.

Tributes

This is a list of shows that were either similar in content to Gilligan’s Island or spoofed it in a particular episode:

  • Dusty's Trail, another Sherwood Schwartz production, put similar characters on a wagon train heading west. Bob Denver starred as Dusty (Gilligan's counterpart), but the other characters (wagon master, rich couple, saloon girl, school marm, and engineer) were played by a different cast. In this series, Dusty was sidekick to wagon master "Callahan" played by Forrest Tucker of F Troop fame. Only 26 episodes were aired in syndication in 1973 and 1974.
  • ALF featured an episode where Alf, yearning for the castaways' simple life, dreams about being on the island with the Skipper, Gilligan, the Professor and Mary Ann. The Professor has built a TV set (out of bamboo and other miscellany), where they watch a TV show based on the life of the Tanners.
  • Roseanne, during its 1995 season finale episode, featured a fantasy sequence in which several cast members became characters on Gilligan's Island (Dan becomes the Skipper, Darlene as Mary Anne, Roseanne as Ginger, Jackie as Gilligan, Leon and Bev as Mr. and Mrs. Howell, and so on). During the shows closing credits, as a reversal, we see the surviving original cast of Gilligan's island filling in on the set of Roseanne, as character counterparts (guest starring: Bob Denver, Russell Johnson, Dawn Wells and Tina Louise).
  • The Movie A Very Brady Sequel created a link between The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island in the form of Carol Brady's former husband being revealed to be the Professor. Additionally, Gilligan's father was shown to have funded the Minnow's journey in search of a rare statue. He then imagined the horror of the crew surviving the storm and being trapped on some "uncharted desert isle".
  • In March 2006, the Applebee's restaurant chain introduced a new advertising campaign for their "Shrimp Sensations” dishes in which two musicians sing about the product to the tune of the The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle.

Cultural allusions to Gilligan's Island

  • On the animated series Family Guy, the youngest child Stewie Griffin's full name is Stewart Gilligan Griffin, in homage to Gilligan's Island.
  • Alan Hale, Jr. also made a brief appearance in a Batman episode that guest-starred Vincent Price as Egghead. Hale played "Gilligan", the chef/owner of a fast-food diner that Chief O'Hara stopped at.
  • Bob Denver made a guest appearance on the Fox series Herman's Head, donning his trademark hat, and portraying himself promoting his book Gilligan, Maynard and Me. In the episode he is on an island in the Carribean for his book-signing tour. Unfortunately, he misses his flight and is stuck on the island for a long period of time.
  • What I Like About You, a sitcom airing on the WB network, featured an episode where the main characters were watching an episode of Gilligan's Island, in which the show's cast played the roles of the castaways. Amanda Bynes, the star of the show, played a Mary Ann who had to stay behind on the island as the rest of the cast escaped the island.
  • The graphic novel David Boring, by writer/artist Dan Clowes, features an island called "Hulligan's Wharf" where the main characters are stranded, gradually running low on food supplies.
  • In an episode of Sliders, some of the cast is watching TV at their hotel room, and we can hear the dialogue which suggests an alternate-Earth version of casting. At the station break, the announcer says they'll return to Skipper's Island in a moment.
  • In 2006, the comic strip Monty (comic strip) had an extended sequence in which the title character was shipwrecked on the island of Lost. He eventually discovered that the mysterious "Others" were in fact Gilligan and his descendants. Gilligan was portrayed as having gone mad and become a figure resembling Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) in Apocalypse Now.
  • In an epsiode of "Married With Children", Mrs. Darcy's Japanese boss comes to see how his bank is being run and she serves him a Japanese dinner. While she is serving him he thinks to himself, "Japanese food for a Japanese man? That is like offering Gilligan a coconut after getting off the Island!"
  • On an episode of Magic School Bus, Dorothy Ann thinks up names for an island. She says " Gilligan's Island? No. It's been taken.
  • On and episode of Fairly Oddparents Timmy says " They couldn't build a boat on Gilligan's Island because it would end the series."

Trivia

Template:Unreferencedsect

  • In the Jack and the Beanstalk dream sequence in the episode "'V' for Vitamins," the smaller version of Gilligan, running from the Giant Skipper, is played by Bob Denver's real life son, Patrick Denver.[1]
  • The view of the island from the water is actually "Coconut Island" or Mokuoloe. It is located in Oahu's Kaneohe Bay and is the home of the Institute of Marine Biology.[4]
  • The original pilot was filmed shortly after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In the title sequence of the first season, in the background, while the Minnow is leaving the port, there is flag flying at half-mast in honor of John F. Kennedy after his death.[5]
  • Some fans were convinced that the cast were actually stuck on an island. The U.S. Coast Guard regularly received phone calls and letters to rescue them.
  • Some fans also thought that Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer (the Howells) were really married in real life.
  • The S.S. Minnow was named after Newton N. Minow, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in 1961. In a much-publicized speech, he called television a "vast wasteland". The boat was named after the man who, Gilligan's Island producer Sherwood Schwartz insists, "ruined television". Minow gave networks authority and placed the power of programming in the hands of the networks. He did this after Gilligan's Island was started.[6]
  • The theme song was sung by a folk group called "The Wellingtons". They comprised three-fourths of "The Mosquitos", the rock group that came to the island to get away from civilization. The other member was Les Brown, Jr., son of big band leader Les Brown.[7]
  • In the episode "Don't Bug The Mosquitoes", Gilligan makes a reference to The Beatles song "She Loves You" by singing "yeah, yeah, yeah" to the Skipper after he said "no, no, no!"
  • In Episode 96, "The Pigeon", the island is said to be located 300 miles southeast of Honolulu, Hawaii. If that distance is interpreted as statute miles, the great circle geodetic equation places this at 18.2° N 154.7° W, only 75 statute miles (120 km) from the Big Island (which makes it implausible that it would be uncharted). (See also "Goof below.) [8]
  • As of April 2006, Tina Louise, Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson are the only surviving cast members.
  • In several episodes where a show is being presented, Jim Backus (as Mr. Howell) does impersonations of Ed Sullivan.
  • Actor Vito Scotti appeared in four episodes as two different characters: two as a Japanese sailor and two as a mad scientist.[11]
  • Some TV stations which are airing Gilligan's Island refuse to air two of the episodes featuring the Japanese sailor, due to political correctness and sensitivity to stereotyping.
  • The "Jungle Boy" in the episode "Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy" is played by a young Kurt Russell.[12]
  • Lakers announcer Chick Hearn [13] and NFL Films narrator John Facenda made voice-over appearances on the program as radio announcers.
  • Before he played his "signature" role as Jaws in several James Bond movies, Richard Kiel played the ghost in the episode "Ghost a Go-Go".[16]
  • In the episode "Up at Bat", in the dream sequence where Gilligan believes he's a vampire, the fight sequence is done in the style of fights on the Batman TV series.
  • In a dream sequence in another episode, Gilligan was a Marshal of a western town, protecting a duck. The sequence was filmed on the set of Gunsmoke, which, coincidentally, was the show responsible for knocking Gilligan off the air.[17]

"And the rest"

In the first season theme song, the Professor and Mary Ann were not mentioned by name or role, but rather 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 later-season lyrics.<ref name="green">* {{cite book

| last = Green
| title = Unofficial Gilligan's Island Handbook

}} </ref> <ref name="straight-dope"> {{cite web

| last = Straight Dope staff (Lileth)
| url = http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mgilliga.html
| title = Was the "Gilligan's Island" theme song tampered with?
| work = The Straight Dope
| publisher = Cecil Adams
| accessdate = 2006-04-04

}} </ref> <ref name="50s-web"> {{cite web

| url = http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/gilligans-island.htm
| title = Gilligan's Island (Gilligan's Island Tidbits section)
| publisher = The Fifties Web
| accessdate = 2006-04-04

}} </ref>

Goof

  • In several episodes, latitude and longitude coordinates of the island are given, but they never seem to match with other coordinates given in other episodes. In one episode, the Professor gives the island's position as 10° N 110° W, which would place the island 3100 miles (5000 km) from Hawaii, due south of the Baja California Peninsula and due west of Costa Rica.
  • In several episodes Mrs Thurston Howell claims to speak fluent French, while in one episode she claims she cannot speak any French.

References

  • {{cite book
| last = Denver
| first = Bob
| authorlink = Bob Denver
| title = Gilligan, Maynard & Me
| year = 1993
| month = November
| publisher = Carol Publishing Corporation
| location = 
| language = 
| id = ISBN 0806514132

}}

  • {{cite book
| last = Green
| first = Joey
| authorlink = Joey Green
| title = Unofficial Gilligan's Island Handbook
| year = 1988
| month = April
| publisher = Warner Books
| id = ISBN 0446386685

}}

  • {{cite book
| last = Johnson
| first = Russell
| authorlink = Russell Johnson
| coauthors = Steve Cox
| title = Here on Gilligan's Isle
| edition = 1st edition
| year = 1993
| month = July
| publisher = Perennial
| id = ISBN 0060969938

}}

  • {{cite book
| last = Schwartz
| first = Sherwood
| authorlink = Sherwood Schwartz
| title = Inside Gilligan's Island : A Three-Hour Tour Through The Making Of A Television Classic
| date = 15
| year = 1994
| month = April
| publisher = St. Martin's Griffin
| id = ISBN 0312104820

}}

  • Gilligan's Island - The Complete First Season (DVD), 2004, Turner Home Entertainment, UPC 053939673425.
  • Gilligan's Island - The Complete Second Season (DVD), 2005, Turner Home Entertainment, UPC 053939692624.
  • Gilligan's Island - The Complete Third Season (DVD), 2005, Turner Home Entertainment, UPC 053939733129.

<references/>

External links

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