HomeTrending54 Years Later: Everything Youve Always Wanted To Know About Gilligan's Island

54 Years Later: Everything Youve Always Wanted To Know About Gilligan’s Island

The Professor Was Never Shirtless

Portrayed by veteran movie and television actor Russell Johnson, the Professor was the only good looking male on Gilligan’s Island. With his nice firm body and handsome, masculine face, Johnson’s Professor provided the closest thing to beefcake on a show famous for its cheesecake. I long believed this was this was just a fortunate accident in casting – everyone knew “professors” (“Professor” Roy Hinkley was actually a high school science teacher) were supposed to be scrawny, balding, bespectacled nebbishes. I assumed that the producers just didn’t realize that they were casting a handsome man as the Professor, that they just picked some guy they thought was average-looking to play a Don Knotts-type role. But I was wrong – seems they were looking for a hottie. In interviews, Russell Johnson has himself told the story of how the casting director tried to get him to take off his shirt during his audition, to judge his “sex appeal” (Johnson refused, but got the part anyway). And recently the pilot for Gilligan’s Island has surfaced, with a different actor playing the Professor – hairy-chested soap stud John Gabriel. It seems the Professor was always intended to be the sexy male castaway. He was by design the first adorkable nerd stud.

The Show Never Really Ended

There Was No Real Lagoon

The lagoon you kept seeing on the TV show was not real. It was a small backyard pool that was built on the CBS lot. In 1995 the pool was destroyed and the space was turned into an employee parking lot. The Lagoon is a small bay on the island connected to the ocean by a waterway which seemed to bend to the shore out of side from in-land. It had a waterfall being emptied into it, and the Castaways sometimes swam in it which could be an indication that it is freshwater. Since the Lagoon’s water is often calm, most of the island visitors are seen arriving or leaving by means of the Lagoon. The Professor once placed a stick in the lagoon with markers to keep track of the water level on the isle. Gilligan once put his lobster traps on that stick, and was placing it in deeper water to catch larger lobsters, which led the Professor and the others to believe the island was sinking. The Castaways have also dug up items here like a tiki statue, pirate chest and a rare gem that seemed to grant three wishes. The digging of a lobster trap, however, seemed to cause a section of the bank to float out into the lagoon.

Gilligan’s First Name Is Willy! (Depends on who you ask)

Dawn Wells Met A Fan In A Very Unlikely Place

While vacationing the Solomon Islands, Wells and some friends canoed to a remote island nearby. The island had no basic facilities like electricity or even running water, but once Wells step foot there, she was immediately recognized as Mary Ann. “It’s amazing to see what the 45-year-old man who is now raising children is saying to me,” said Wells, a vital 75, in a recent interview at her comfy Valley Village home. “‘You were my fantasy. You were the girl I would take to the prom. You were the girl who understood my problems.'”

Alan Hale Had The Best Audition

Tina Louise Was Not The Nicest Person On Set

According to a few set visitors, Tina Louise did not associate herself with the rest of the cast. Whenever the cast would talk together or eat lunch, Louise would be sitting at the other corner of the room, alone. A part of this can be explained by the fact that when she first signed on to do the show, she was told she would be the main actress.

Filming Had To Be Stopped Because The Island Was Too Close To A Highway

Natalie Schafer Did Her Own Stunts On The Show

Schafer was in her mid-60s when she played the character of Mrs. Howell on the show, but that didn’t stop her from doing her own stunts. If the script called for Mrs. Howell to drown in quicksand or jump into the lagoon, Schafer would do that without any hesitations.

The Millionaire Was A Cheapskate

Jim Backus who played Mr. Howell was beloved by his castmates. He was an endless source of jokes and a willing coach to less experienced actors on how to adlib or “punch a line.” He was also well known for being cheap. Dawn Wells recalls in her novel What Would Mary Do? A Guide To Life that he would often invite her and Natalie Schafer out to lunch…only to realize that he had misplaced his wallet or left it back at the studio when the check came. Before the cast left on summer hiatus, he presented Schafer with a $300 check to pay her back for all the meals he had skipped out on.

There Was Going To Be A Fourth Season

Sadly, the idea was scrapped in order to make room for ‘Gunsmoke’ after the cast had already purchased homes in the Los Angeles area in preparation for the fourth season. Maybe they finally would have been rescued!

The Coast Guard Received Letters Asking Them To Save The Cast

While Gilligan’s island was originally airing, fans would often write letters to the Coast Guard asking them to save the cast! Apparently, the show seemed a little bit TOO real for some people.

Remember The Millionaire’s Wife? She Was A Real Millionaire!

The Skipper’s Name

  In the show, the viewers knew the Skipper as Skipper, and it seems as though the audience never hears his first name. However, if you listen closely, the Skipper does actually say his name during the very first episode that aired in 1964. His full name was Jonas Grumby. When Alan died, his ashes were scattered around the sea. A source claims “it’s what the skipper would have wanted”.

The First Theme Song

There Were Almost Two Extra Characters

The pilot episode was extremely different than the ending product. In the original pilot there were “two secretaries” and a “high school teacher” as was mentioned in the original and wildly different theme song. The original pilot was entitled “marooned” and it didn’t see air time until 1992.

The Skipper Broke His Arm Falling From A Coconut Tree

Alan Hale was an old school actor and his motto was “the show must go on”. Schwartz recalled speaking to Hale at one of the wrap parties and Hale exclaimed that he was happy filming was over so he could take care of his arm. When Schwartz asked what was wrong with his arm, he replied, “Oh, I broke it a few weeks ago”. He explained that three weeks prior he had missed the crash pads when he fell out of the coconut tree for a scene and smashed his right arm into the stage. He decided not to seek medical treatment because he did not want to disrupt filming.

Revenge Is Sweet

Gilligan Was Originally Played By Jerry Van Dyke

Schwartz really wanted Jerry Van Dyke to play the role of Gilligan, but after one look at the script, Van Dyke said it was “the worst thing I’d ever read.”

Raquel Welch Almost Played Mary Ann

Six Women Have Played Ginger

Although Tina Louise played the starlet perfectly, Louise was not exactly enamored with the role. In spin-offs and sequels, other actresses stepped in to play Ginger. Kit Smythe played Ginger in the pilot, though initially, the character was a secretary. After Louise stepped away from the island forever, she was replaced by Judith Baldwin in the TV movies and Constance Forslund. In the animated version of Gilligan’s Island, Dawn Wells took on the rolls of both Mary Ann AND Ginger!

Mary Ann Is Everyone’s Favorite Character

According to online polls, Mary Ann is the favored character, followed by Gilligan and poor Mrs. Howell was voted the least favorite.

Gilligan’s Island – The Next Adventure

The Fourth Wall

In the acting world, the fourth wall is the space between an actor and the camera crew or audience. The Skipper was well known for “breaking the fourth wall” and for looking directly at the camera and making a face.

The Assassination of JFK’s Caused The production To Shut Down

Gilligan’s Island Is All About Politics

When show’s head writer attended college, he was inspired by 2 simple questions: What would you take with you to a deserted island? and why? According to him, he was fascinated by the idea of watching people communicate and exchange goods in a tiny environment. The way you live your life is ruled by politics, but what happens when all the old rules are thrown out the window and you must find new ones? That’s how “Gilligan’s Island” was born.

Dawn Wells Got The Biggest Paycheck Off The Show

Little Buddy

Alan Hale had a habit of calling everyone on set “little buddy”. Because of this, it was then written into the script that the Skipper would call Gilligan “little buddy”, which added to the Skipper’s kind heart.

There Were Not One But TWO Cartoon Spin-Offs

Cartoons based on popular sitcoms were very common in the 70s. Gilligan’s island had not one but TWO different cartoon spin-offs, one even took place in space. Gilligan’s Planet had thirteen episodes, and it would be the last Saturday morning cartoon ever produced by the Filmation studio.

The Professor And Mary Ann Fought For Their Names

There Were Supposed To Be Dinosaurs On The Island

During the show’s third season, the writers thought it would be funny to add a pet dinosaur into the mix. Sadly, because of budget reasons, the dinosaur never made it on the show. However, on the animated show “Gilligan’s Planet”, their IS a pet dinosaur. Guess they couldn’t let that idea go away.


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