Sep. 26, 1964
30 min.
CBS TV Network

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Gilligan's Island tv show photo

Gilligan's Island

Gilligan's Island centered around seven people stranded on an uncharted deserted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. They all were on a boat tour, which found itself in the middle of a storm leading them to crash on an island! Main cast was Gilligan, first mate on the boat SS Minnow; the Skipper; a millionaire T.Howell III and his wife Lovey; a movie star Ginger; a professor and Mary Ann.

Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • Jayne Mansfield turned down the role of Ginger; 'Carroll OConnor tested for the role of The Skipper; Dabney Coleman tested for the role of The Professor.
  • Raquel Welch auditioned for the role of Mary Ann.
  • Jerry Van Dyke turned down the role of Gilligan.
  • The first season had the cast using cups that were made from real coconuts. However, they found that the cups were porous and soaked through like they were sweating. Thus in the later seasons, the coconut cups were ceramic replicas.
  • Natalie Schafer's contract stipulated that there be no close-ups of her in the show. The reason was producers knew her real age, which was 13 years older than Jim Backus, who played her character's husband. It was not until years after the series ended that her co-stars found out her actual age.
  • The show was originally slated to return for the 1967-68 season along with another new comedy show to replace the canceled "Gunsmoke" (1955)_. However, CBS reversed its decision and canceled "Gilligan" and kept "Gunsmoke", which ran for another eight seasons.
  • The three-man folk singing group The Wellingtons sang the theme song for the first season, but were replaced by a similar sounding group, The Eligibles, for the following seasons. The Wellingtons (plus one) also portrayed "The Mosquitoes" in a classic episode of the series: "Gilligan's Island" (1964) {Don't Bug the Mosquitoes (#2.12)}.
  • In the very first shot of the opening credits, the American flag over the harbor can be seen flying at half-mast. The reason was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, shortly before the shot was filmed.
  • The character of the Professor was supposedly a graduate from SMU, TCU and UCLA,
  • In the first-season credits, Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells were relegated to being simply "the rest". That changed in the second season when Bob Denver demanded that they be given an equal share in the credits, thus changing the lyrics to "The Professor and Mary Ann". Sherwood Schwartz, who composed both themes, has said it didn't occur to him the Professor and Mary Ann would turn into prominent characters.
  • The lagoon set was located at the CBS lot in Studio City, CA. If sequences there were filmed too early or too late in the day, microphones would record rush hour traffic noise from a nearby freeway.
  • Phil Silvers was cast as a producer in an episode partly because his production company was actually producing the show.
  • As the show progressed, producers planned to introduce a new character--a pet dinosaur--but decided against it because of the cost of special effects. The character, however, was incorporated into the animated Gilligan's Planet.
  • The premise required that the characters use various devices that had to be constructed from only the various materials found on a tropical island. Thus the props had to be specially made and the prop department enjoyed the challenge, which was a change of pace from simply bringing in the standard props from storage. The bamboo foot pedal-powered car used in one episode was a particular favorite, with the cast lining up to try it out.
  • It is revealed in "Gilligan's Island" (1964) {Two on a Raft (#1.1)}, (the second pilot) that the name of Mary-Ann's hometown was Winfield, Kansas. It is sometimes misreported as Horner's Corners, but that was the home of her boyfriend, Horace Higgenbotham.
  • The ship's name, S.S. Minnow, was not named for the fish but rather for Newton Minow, head of the Federal Communications Commission in 1961. Minow was the one who called television "America's vast wasteland". Sherwood Schwartz did not care for Minow so he named the soon-to-be shipwrecked ship after him, though he later said that Minow actually enjoyed the joke and that the two eventually exchanged regular friendly correspondence.
  • "The radio" seen in virtually every episode was a Packard-Bell AM Radio, Model AR-851. The small silver handle and telescoping antenna were added by the prop department (despite the fact that AM radios do not use telescoping antennas). The antenna was likely added to lend credence to the castaways' ability to pick up radio signals so far from civilization.
  • Alan Hale Jr. was on location in Utah filming a movie when he got a call to come back to Los Angeles to do a test for the series. He rode a horse to a nearby highway, hitchhiked to Las Vegas and flew to L.A. to test with Bob Denver.
  • The island shown in the opening and closing credits is actually located in Kaneohe Bay, about a mile offshore from the island of Oahu, in Hawaii.
  • Sherwood Schwartz said he had a first name for Gilligan if the need to use it ever arose: Willie. This name is never spoken on screen, so it seems as if Gilligan only has one name as with celebrities such as Homer or Cher.
  • The lagoon set was the same one used to make Creature from the Black Lagoon.
  • In the backstory, The Professor had taken the three-hour tour to relax before he began writing a book, "Fun with Ferns".
  • Partly inspired by the 1939 film Five Came Back (1939) starring Lucille Ball. The characters in that film included a wayward pilot and co-pilot, a botanist and his wife, a sultry woman with a shady past, and a rich playboy and his homespun wife.
  • The song playing on Gilligan's radio is called "Coconut Boogie", performed by Jim Shipman and the Shipwrecks.
  • Four vessels were used as the SS Minnow. One was towed to Kauai, Hawaii, for beach scenes, one was rented in Honolulu for the original opening credits and one was built at CBS Studios in the second season. The fourth one was used in the second-season opening credits. A subsequent owner was sailing it south from Alaska when it ran aground on a reef off the coast of British Columbia. It was purchased for salvage and restored. It was offered for sale in B.C. for $99,000. It was listed as a 37-foot twin-diesel, mahogany Wheeler Express Cruiser which sleeps five.
  • The name "Ginger Grant" is believed to be taken from two stars of Hollywood's "Golden Era", Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant; the latter is frequently spoken of in this series. "Ginger" is a nickname in many places (including England) for someone with red hair.
  • Jim Backus' name of Thurston Howell III was named after "Hubart Updyke III", a character on "The Alan Young Show" on radio, written by this series' producer, Sherwood Schwartz--and also played by Backus..
  • Alan Hale Jr. had a tendency to address people as "little buddy". Because of this, "little buddy" became the Skipper's signature term of affection for Gilligan. It is now widely used by fans as a nickname for Bob Denver.
  • One of the most burning questions among male viewers of the show has always been, "Ginger or Mary Ann?". Though there is no real answer to that question, the consensus seems to be that Dawn Wells got more fan mail from young boys, while Tina Louise got more fan mail from grown men. The difference is attributed to the fact that Mary Ann was the pretty and sweetly sexy girl next door that every teenage boy would love to go out with, while Ginger was the gorgeous, smoking-hot sex bomb that is every adult male's fantasy.
  • The theme song is the winner of the 2013 Yahoo TV Best TV Theme Song Ever. The 12th seed in a bracketed competition, it beat the theme from Cheers in the finals.

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