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 Anne.
  • 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 television season but cancelled at the last minute by CBS head William Paley, to make room for the long-running Gunsmoke.
  • 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. Reason: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, shortly before the shot was filmed.
  • Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos once seriously considered buying this island as a retreat, but the sale never took place.
  • Back home, the Professor was a high school science teacher.
  • Ginger once mentioned that she had appeared on Ben Casey.
  • The character of the Professor was supposedly a graduate from SMU, TCU and UCLA, Thurston Howell III went to Harvard. Howell would call an inferior a "Yale Man".
  • In the 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.
  • Creator Sherwood Schwartz said that he dreamed up the idea of the show because he wanted the castaways to represent a microcosm of society and he wanted to show how they worked together to help each other when in trouble.
  • 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 queuing 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 mispronounced as Horner's Corners, but that was the home of her boyfriend, Horace Higgenbotham.
  • The Skipper served in the Pacific during World War II.
  • Gilligan saved the Skipper's life once when they were in the Navy. A depth charge had broken loose from it's mount and was rolling across the deck. Gilligan pushed Skipper out of the way. Skipper would later say that Gilligan didn't save his life, he only prolonged it.
  • The ship's name, S. S. Minnow, was not named for the fish but rather for Newton Minow, head of the FCC 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 screen test for Gilligan's Island. Hale rode a horse to the 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.
  • 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.

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