Gilligan's Island is an American sitcom created and produced by
Sherwood Schwartz via United Artists Television. The show had an
ensemble cast that featured Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus,
Natalie Schafer, Russell Johnson, Tina Louise, and Dawn Wells. It
aired for three seasons on the
CBS network from September 26, 1964, to
April 17, 1967.
Gilligan's Island followed the comic adventures of
seven castaways as they attempted to survive the island on which they
had been shipwrecked. Most episodes revolve around the dissimilar
castaways' conflicts and their unsuccessful attempts, for whose
failure Gilligan was frequently responsible, to escape their
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
(aired between 1978 and 1982) were filmed in color.
The show received solid ratings during its original run, then 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.
1.1 Uncharted island
2 Cast and characters
3.1 Pilot episode
3.2 First broadcast episode
3.3 Last broadcast episode
4 Typical plots
5.1 Theme song
5.1.1 Later parody and homage
7 Nielsen ratings/television schedule
8 Film sequels
10 Reunions and documentaries
11 Related productions
13 DVD releases
14 Digitally remastered in high definition
15 In other media
16 Film remake
17 Ginger or Mary Ann?
20 External links
The two-man crew of the charter boat SS 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. The location given in the
In the first-season episode "'X' Marks the Spot", the radio warns that
the Air Force will test launch an armed missile to strike a location
near 140° latitude, 10° longitude (note: this is an impossible
location—latitude goes only up to 90°, which is at the poles) The
Skipper calculates this as their island's location, based on their
starting point when the storm hit before they "... drifted for
that three days ... with the prevailing western
current ...", meaning the deadly missile will hit the island.
Later in the first season, the episode "Big Man on Little Stick" has
Professor giving the position as "approximately 110° longitude
and 10° latitude".
In the third-season episode "The Pigeon", the island is placed about
300 miles (480 km) southeast of Honolulu.
Cast and characters
Main article: List of
Gilligan's Island characters
Bob Denver is Gilligan, the inept, accident-prone First Mate
(affectionately known as "Little Buddy" by "the Skipper") of the SS
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 Maynard G. Krebs, the goofy but lovable beatnik
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
Lovey Howell refers to Gilligan as "Stewart" or
steward is unclear. 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 and a one-time
reference to his older brother.
Alan Hale Jr.
Alan Hale Jr. is The Skipper/Captain Jonas Grumby, the captain of the
Alan Hale Jr.
Alan Hale Jr. was 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
still appeared 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 the episode "They're
Off and Running" (season 1 episode 28), Ginger is reading from a
horoscope magazine and asks the Skipper his birthday, to which he
responds, "May 5th." In moments of exasperation, the Skipper would
swat Gilligan on the head with his cap. Just as often, the Skipper
endearingly called Gilligan "Little Buddy". While everybody else
called him "Skipper", the Howells usually called him "Captain". In
addition, Hale wore his Skipper outfit when four other Gilligan's
Island cast members and he appeared on a few celebrity Family Feud
Jim Backus is Thurston Howell III, the millionaire. Backus was already
a well-known character 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 1962–1963 season (episode 31) of The Beverly Hillbillies,
Backus basically plays the same character, this time as the eccentric
millionaire Martin von Ransohoff. In the classic 1963 comedy It's a
Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Backus played another Howell-like character,
Tyler Fitzgerald, a boozy and rich airplane owner who briefly gets
caught up in the race for the stolen money. Backus was perhaps best
known as the voice of cartoon character Mr. Magoo. He reused some of
the voice inflections and mannerisms of Magoo in the Howell role. He
was well known for his ad-libs on the set. The character Howell was a
Harvard graduate, a Republican, and a multibillionaire until his
losses in the
Great Depression left him a mere multimillionaire.
Natalie Schafer is "Lovey" Wentworth Howell, Thurston's wife, whom he
affectionately called "Lovey". Schafer had it written into her
contract that no close-ups would be made of her, but after a while in
the series it was forgotten. 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 is Ginger Grant, the movie star. Louise clashed with
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
Jayne Mansfield type. 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. She did, however, appear in a reunion of
the cast on a late-night television talk show in 1988 and on an
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 Minnow tarpaulins or similar
substitute cloth (some had the name of the vessel stenciled on them).
In the pilot episode, the character of Ginger, no last name (then a
secretary), was played by actress Kit Smythe.
Russell Johnson is
Professor Roy Hinkley, Ph.D.
Actor John Gabriel was
originally cast, but the network thought he looked too young to have
all the degrees attributed to the Professor. Actually, "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.
Originally, he was not interested in the role, and was waiting for a
TV show of his own, but his agent talked him into auditioning. He had
done previous movies like It Came from Outer Space, This Island Earth,
and a classic western where he shot
Ronald Reagan in the shoulder.
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", when the Professor,
who is brilliant enough to "make a nuclear reactor from a couple of
coconuts" cannot "build a lousy raft".
Dawn Wells is Mary Ann Summers. Wells was a former
Miss Nevada when
she auditioned for the role. Her competition included
Raquel Welch and
Pat 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 and 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"
(1964–1965). The castaways listened to his plot-advancing radio news
bulletins in many episodes and usually with perfect timing to tune in
at the exact moment the news they needed to hear was being broadcast.
Main article: List of
Gilligan's Island episodes
September 26, 1964 (1964-09-26)
June 12, 1965 (1965-06-12)
September 16, 1965 (1965-09-16)
April 28, 1966 (1966-04-28)
September 12, 1966 (1966-09-12)
April 17, 1967 (1967-04-17)
October 14, 1978 (1978-10-14)
October 14, 2001 (2001-10-14)
The pilot episode, titled "Marooned", was filmed in November 1963.
The pilot featured seven characters (as in the series), but only four
of the characters — and their associated actors — were
carried forward into the series: Gilligan (Denver), the Skipper
(Hale), and the two Howells (Backus and Schafer). As it happens, only
these four characters/actors were featured in the opening theme song
"cast list" used in the pilot, with the remaining three characters
only mentioned as "the other tourists", although the earlier part of
the song gave brief descriptions of all passengers.
Due to the three significant character and casting changes between the
pilot episode and the first series episode, the pilot was not shown
before the series first aired on 26 September 1964. The original pilot
eventually aired over 29 years later (on TBS 16 October 1992).
The three characters who did not carry forward from the pilot were two
secretaries and a high school teacher. In the pilot, the
Professor was instead a high school teacher
played by John Gabriel. Ginger the movie star was still red haired
Ginger, but worked as a secretary, played by Kit Smythe. Mary Ann the
Kansas farm girl was instead Bunny, Ginger's co-worker, played as a
cheerful "dumb blonde" by Nancy McCarthy.
The pilot's opening and ending songs were two similar Calypso-styled
tracks written by
John Williams and performed by Sherwood Schwartz
impersonating singer Sir Lancelot. The lyrics of both were quite
different from those of the TV series and the pilot's opening theme
song was longer. The short scenes during this initial music 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 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, the pilot's storylines contained
no detailed accounts of the pilot characters' backgrounds. The pilot
concludes with the ending theme song and credits.
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 (though slightly differently cut, 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. No
equivalent scene or background information is in the pilot, except for
the description of the passengers in the original theme song. Rather
than reshooting 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 was eventually 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 would be
the series finale, as a fourth season was expected but then
In its last year,
Gilligan's Island was the lead-in program for the
CBS Monday night schedule. It was followed for the first 16 weeks by
the sitcom Run, Buddy, Run. The time slot from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Eastern was filled in the 1967–1968 season by Gunsmoke, moved from
its traditional Saturday 10 p.m. time slot.
The shipwrecked castaways desperately want to leave the remote island,
and various opportunities are frequently presenting themselves. They
typically fail owing to some bumbling error committed by Gilligan
(with the notable exception of "The Big Gold Strike", where everyone
except Gilligan is responsible for their failed escape) and the
Professor in one episode where he admitting to reading a tablet wrong.
Sometimes this would result in Gilligan 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. Many scenes occur at the dining table, where the castaways enjoy
a large number of dishes that Ginger and Mary Ann prepare while the
radio provides news and entertainment. Gilligan and the Skipper often
catch fish, and the island has citrus trees to avoid scurvy and a good
supply of fresh water to drink and to prepare tropical drinks. While
most are explained due to the
Professor (or occasionally Gilligan's)
ingenuity, sometimes they are also explained due to the being washed
up on shore or falling off cargo ships. Naturally, despite their
obvious skill and inventiveness, the castaways never quite manage to
put together a functional raft out of bamboo (or repair the holes in
the Minnow, though the entire ship fell apart in the eighth episode,
"Goodbye Island"). In the television movie Rescue from Gilligan's
Island, the castaways tie all their huts together and use that as a
raft for escape, taking advantage of a tsunami's propulsion.
The second theme involves visitors to the "uncharted" island. One
challenge to a viewer's suspension of disbelief is the remarkable
frequency with which the island is visited by an assortment of people
who repeatedly fail to assist the castaways in leaving the island.
Some have hidden motives for not aiding the castaways. Others are
simply unable to help, are incompetent, or are foiled in their efforts
to help by Gilligan's bumbling. Gilligan, Ginger and Mr. Howell each
had feature episodes in which look-alikes visit the island (who were
played by the actors in dual roles, or made use of splitscreen camera
or stand-ins in the event the doppelgangers appeared on
simultaneously). 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 appeared as other characters
within the dream. In later interviews and memoirs, nearly all of the
actors stated that the dream episodes were among their personal
The fourth recurring theme is a piece of news concerning the castaways
arriving from the outside world that causes discord among them. Then,
a second piece of news arrives that says the first was incorrect. An
exception to the latter part of this statement is the episode "The
Postman Cometh", where 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 recurring theme is the appearance or arrival of strange
objects, like a WWII mine, a crate of radioactive vegetable seeds or a
"Mars Rover" that the scientists back in the USA think is sending them
pictures of Mars, and in one episode a meteorite.
Most of the slapstick comedic sequences between Hale and Denver were
heavily inspired by Laurel and Hardy, particularly by Hale breaking
the fourth wall by looking directly into the camera expressing his
frustration with Denver's clumsiness as
Oliver Hardy often did.
Filming of the show took place at the
CBS Radford Studios complex in
Studio City, Los Angeles. The same stage was later used for The
Mary Tyler Moore Show 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
Four different boats played the part of the SS Minnow. One was used in
the opening credits and rented in Ala Wai Yacht Harbor in Honolulu.
Another boat, the Bluejacket, was used in the opening credits shown
during the second and third seasons and eventually turned up for sale
Vancouver Island in August 2006, after running aground on a reef in
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 the pilot 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
United States Coast Guard
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 simply forwarded these telegrams to producer Sherwood
Schwartz. In homage to those telegrams, the film Rescue from
Gilligan's Island showed the successful rescue where Gilligan lights a
fire aboard the castaways' makeshift raft and is chastised for a
thoughtless, dangerous action by the others. However, the resultant
smoke attracts the attention of a US Coast Guard helicopter, whose
pilot commends Gilligan's fire; otherwise the castaways would have
been adrift and unnoticed.
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
seasons. In the original song, the
Professor and Mary Ann, originally
considered "second-billed co-stars", were referred to as "the rest",
but with the growing popularity of those characters, their names were
inserted into the lyrics. The Gilligan theme song underwent this one
major change due to star Bob Denver, who personally went to the studio
executives and asked that Johnson and Wells be added to the theme
song's opening credits. When the studio at first refused, saying
it would be too expensive to reshoot, Denver insisted, even going so
far as to state that if Johnson and Wells were not included, he wanted
his name out of the song, as well. The studio caved in, and "the
Professor and Mary Ann" were added.
The first-season version was recorded by the folk group The
Wellingtons. The second-season version, which incorporated more of a
sea shanty sound, was uncredited, but according to
Russell Johnson in
his book Here on Gilligan's Isle, it was performed by a group called
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
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).
Later parody and homage
Little Roger and the Goosebumps recorded "Stairway to
Gilligan's Island," 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
Lōc's "Wild Thing", about a rapper whose girlfriend introduces him to
the show. Yankovic also used one verse from the closing theme lyrics
in "Amish Paradise" (1996), a parody of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise"
(1995). The song has also been covered by many bands, including
Bowling for Soup
Bowling for Soup for the TBS show The Real Gilligan's Island.
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole also recorded a comic tribute to the theme song
on his album E Ala E.
During the 1966–1967 television season,
Gilligan's Island aired on
Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. Though the sitcom's ratings had fallen
well out of the top-30 programs, during the last few weeks of its
third season, the series was more than holding its own against its
chief competitor, The Monkees, which aired at the same time on NBC-TV.
Sherwood Schwartz that
Gilligan's Island would
definitely be picked up for a fourth year.
CBS, however, had signaled its intention to cancel the long-running
Western series Gunsmoke, which had been airing late on Saturday nights
during the 1966–1967 television season. Under pressure from CBS
William S. Paley
William S. Paley and his wife Babe, along with many
network affiliates and longtime fans of Gunsmoke,
CBS rescheduled the
Western to an earlier time slot on Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m.
As a result,
Gilligan's Island was quietly cancelled at practically
the last minute, while 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
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September 26, 1964
June 12, 1965
Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m.
September 16, 1965
April 28, 1966
Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m.
September 12, 1966
April 17, 1967
Monday nights at 7:30 p.m.
In a 1978 made-for-television movie, Rescue from Gilligan's Island,
the castaways do successfully leave the island, but have difficulty
reintegrating into society. During a reunion cruise on the first
Christmas after their rescue, fate intervenes and they find 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 due
to her disputes with the producers and was replaced 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.
In a 1979 sequel, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island, they are rescued
once again, and the Howells convert the island into a getaway resort
with the other five castaways as "silent partners". Ginger was again
played by Judith Baldwin.
In a second sequel, The
Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island
(1981), villains played by
Martin Landau and then-wife Barbara Bain
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, was written out of the script by saying
Thurston Howell III was
tending to Howell Industries back on the mainland. David Ruprecht
played the role of his son, Thurston Howell IV, who was asked to
manage the resort. However, Backus insisted on keeping continuity, and
made a cameo appearance at the end of the film.
The New Adventures of Gilligan
The New Adventures of Gilligan was a Filmation-produced animated
remake that aired on ABC on Saturday mornings from September 7, 1974,
to September 4, 1977, for 24 episodes (16 installments airing in
1974–75 and eight new ones combined with repeats in 1975–76). The
voices were provided by the original cast except for Ginger and Mary
Ann (both were voiced by Jane Webb).
Dawn Wells could not participate
due to her appearing in an on-the-road play. An
additional character was Gilligan's pet Snubby the Monkey.
Gilligan's Planet was an animated science-fiction version produced by
Filmation and starring the voices of the
Gilligan's Island cast, save
Tina Louise (
Dawn Wells voiced both Mary Ann and Ginger). In a
follow-up to The New Adventures of Gilligan, the castaways 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 the episode "Let Sleeping Minnows Lie", 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."
Reunions and documentaries
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Good Morning America
Good Morning America featured a
Gilligan's Island reunion presided
over by guest host
Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford on November 26, 1982. The entire
cast was present, save
Jim Backus who was unable to attend. Backus
appeared via a live video remote from Los Angeles.
All seven of 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: Underneath the Grass Skirt is a 1999 documentary
featuring Denver and Louise.
E! True Hollywood Story presented a backstage history of the show in
2000, featuring interviews with some of the stars or their widows.
Surviving Gilligan's Island (2001) was a docudrama in which Bob
Denver, Dawn Wells, and
Russell Johnson reminisce about the show.
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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
Gilligan's Wake 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 in the manner of
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.
Syndication is handled by
Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television (under Turner
Entertainment Co., which in 1986 acquired UA's share of the series as
part of the classic
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library). It has aired on TBS
from 1990 to 2003, where it also aired with colorization on season one
for a while. TNT aired it at some point in the 1990s, and also aired
the colorized season one.
Nick at Nite
Nick at Nite later aired the series from
2000 to 2001. It then shifted to TV Land, where it aired from 2001 to
2003 (and again from January to June 2014). Then, in 2004, it aired on
As of 2015, the show aired nationally on both
TV Land and MeTV.
Warner Home Video
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 introduction with Russell Johnson
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 a season introduction
Russell Johnson and Sherwood Schwartz, commentary on the season's
fourth episode, "The Producer", guest-starring Phil Silvers, and a
15-minute documentary entitled Gilligan's Island: A Pop Culture
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 (which require flipping disc
over), and came in boxed sets, containing three discs per season.
In April 2012, the series was reissued in new DVD releases, with six
episodes per disc and six discs per season, except for season 3, which
only has five.
The Complete First Season
February 3, 2004
The Complete Second Season
January 11, 2005
The Complete Third Season
July 26, 2005
The Complete Series Collection
November 6, 2007
Digitally remastered in high definition
In August 2006, an executive at Warner Bros. announced plans that
Gilligan's Island, in addition to other classic TV series owned by the
studio, would be digitally re-mastered in HD. The original TV
series was shot on high resolution film, but scaled down for
On January 20, 2014,
TV Land became the first network to air
theatrical-style widescreen HD remastered episodes of Gilligan's
Island. This marked the first time the WB remastered episodes were
seen by fans and the general public.
HD remastered episodes have been made available for purchase through
streaming media sources.
In other media
A video game based on the series called The Adventures of Gilligan's
Island was released for the
Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo Entertainment System in July
1990. The game features the likenesses of all the original castaways
except for Ginger, who is completely absent from the game.
A pinball machine, manufactured by BALLY, based on the show was
released in May 1991.
Rights to the series were purchased, with an eye towards creating a
movie scheduled for release March 30, 2012. When Sherwood Schwartz
signed a deal granting 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." Schwartz also said he would love to see Michael
Cera as Gilligan and
Beyoncé Knowles as Ginger.
On December 17, 2013, deadline.com reported that
Josh Gad would star
and co-write the film with Benji Samit and Dan Hernandez.
Ginger or Mary Ann?
The question of which of these two characters men prefer has endured
long after the end of the series. The question has inspired
commercials, essays, videos, and a sermon. By most accounts,
the wholesome, down-to-earth Mary Ann has consistently outpolled the
glamorous bombshell movie-star Ginger by a sizable margin. Bob
Denver admitted he was a Mary Ann fan. According to
Bob Denver in
a 2001 interview, Wells received 3,000–5,000 fan letters weekly,
whereas Louise may have gotten 1,500 or 2,000.
^ a b "
MeTV Network - Shows - Gilligan's Island".
^ The 140° latitude, 10° longitude coordinates are impossible,
because latitude ranges from -90° to +90°.
^ This would place the island in the Gulf of Thailand, which obviously
does not comport with the series' back story.
^ Flint, Peter B (January 4, 1990), "Alan Hale Jr., Who Was Skipper On
'Gilligan's Island,' Dies at 71", The New York Times, Mr. Hale's image
as the Skipper persisted in the 1980s. After a day of golf, he often
headed to Alan Hale's Lobster Barrel, a West Hollywood, California
restaurant, where, wearing his skipper's cap, he greeted
^ Stoddard 1996, p. 190.
^ Stoddard 1996, pp. 306–7.
MeTV Network -".
^ "Goodbye Island". November 21, 1964 – via www.imdb.com.
^ "Denver", The New York Times, Sep 7, 2005 .
CBS Studio Center". Seeing-stars.com. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
^ WALSTAD, DAVID (7 August 1995). "Civilization Takes Over
'Gilligan's' Lagoon : Television: The set of the 1960s sitcom is
turned into an employee parking lot as
CBS Studio Center adds
production facilities". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 February
^ "Gilligan's Minnow no longer lost". Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation. August 28, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-28.
^ "Legal Tales from Gilligan's Island". Santa Clara Law Review &
Jamail Center for Legal Research. Retrieved 2007-05-27.
^ a b c d
Russell Johnson with Steve Cox, Here on Gilligan's Isle,
page 20 (1993).
^ First season opening sequence of
Gilligan's Island From YouTube.
Retrieved on November 6, 2011.
^ Fore, William F (1987). "Escape From Gilligan's Island".
medialit.org. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
^ Shales, Tom (February 8, 2004), "Hey, little buddy! 'Gilligan' DVD
drifts into port", The Washington Post, p. N1, To his credit,
Bob Denver lobbied Schwartz and others to change the lyrics to
the theme song after the second season, so all the characters and not
just most of them were listed. Instead of the chorus singing ‘the
movie star, and the rest,’ they sang, ‘the movie star, the
professor and Mary Ann, here on Gilligan's isle!’
^ Green. Unofficial
Gilligan's Island Handbook.
^ Lileth. "Was the "Gilligan's Island" theme song tampered with?". The
Straight Dope. Cecil Adams. Retrieved 2006-04-04.
Gilligan's Island Tidbits". The Fifties Web. Retrieved
^ "Home Town Success Story". Bay views. Google Blogger. Retrieved
Gilligan's Island Theme". Gilligan’s isle. Retrieved
Gilligan's Island Full Cast and Crew". IMDb.com. Retrieved
^ "Stairway". The Official
Gilligan's Island Fan Club. Retrieved March
^ "Bowling For Soup –
Gilligan's Island Theme". You tube.
^ Stoddard 1996, p. 306.
^ The Worst TV Shows Ever, Those TV Turkeys We Will Never Forget...(No
Matter How Hard We Try) by Bart Andrews with Brad Dunning (1980).
^ ""Gilligan's Island" coming to HD?".
^ "'Gilligan's Island' Docks at
TV Land For the First Time in 10
Years". January 16, 2014.
^ "Gilligan's Island".
Gilligan's Island TV Show Creator wants
Michael Cera and Beyoncé
for New Movie". Tvseriesfinale.com. January 2, 2009. Archived from the
original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
^ Warner Bros Sets Gilligan’s Island As Star Feature Vehicle For
^ Gael Fashingbauer Cooper (October 18, 2012). "As
Dawn Wells turns
74, the question remains: Ginger or Mary Ann?". Today. Retrieved
September 25, 2014.
^ a b Hiassen, Rob (September 29, 2007). "Author has left Ginger and
'Island' behind". The Baltimore Sun. (HighBeam subscription may
^ Budweiser Ginger or Mary Ann Archived October 16, 2011, at the
Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-09-07
^ Rev. Jeffrey Symynkywicz (June 5, 2005). "Ginger or Mary Ann?".
uustoughtonma.org. Archived from the original on December 26, 2007.
^ Slotek, Jim (January 16, 2014). "
Russell Johnson on 'Gilligan's
Island' in 1993 interview". Toronto Sun. USA Today carried a Ginger
vs. Mary Ann fave poll and Dawn Wells' character had 85% of the
^ Silver, Marc (September 7, 2005). "So which one did Gilligan like
best?". usnews.com U.S. News and World Report. Archived from the
original on December 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
^ "Ginger vs. Maryann". retroCRUSH. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
Denver, Bob (November 1993). Gilligan, Maynard & Me. Carol
Publishing. ISBN 0-8065-1413-2.
Green, Joey (April 1988). Unofficial
Gilligan's Island Handbook.
Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-38668-5.
Johnson, Russell; Cox, Steve (July 1993). Here on Gilligan's Isle (1st
ed.). Perennial. ISBN 0-06-096993-8.
Schwartz, Sherwood (April 15, 1994). Inside Gilligan's Island: A
Three-Hour Tour Through The Making of A Television Classic. St.
Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-10482-0.
Stoddard, Sylvia (May 1996). TV Treasures – A Companion Guide
to Gilligan's Island. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks.
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.
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