Even before the internet, there were super-fans who were obsessed with TV show details and mysteries.
At the time, and for many years later, Gilligan’s Island was one gem of debate and gossip. Where was this island? Did it even exist? It turns out the writing team was far more clever than people gave them credit for.
It also turns out the Professor wasn’t as useless as he appeared (he could make anything out of a coconut but for some reason couldn’t fix that boat).
Between a few insights and fan fanaticism, the first hint (literally) dropped in the … very … first … season. Yep! The writers weren’t messing around.
The episode was called “X Marks the Spot” – which is, admittedly, a bit on the nose.
The Pentagon announces (over a very public radio frequency) that they will be testing missiles on a “remote island” at 140º latitude and 10º longitude. If you know anything about geography, you’ll notice an immediate problem.
Latitude numbers only go from 0º–90º (measuring the distance from the equator to the northern hemisphere).
Longitude is from 0º–180º. This means that the show number nowhere on earth. Now, before anyone goes sci-fi on the show, let’s wonder if the numbers got switched around. What would that mean?
Aside from an utter lack of believability that the Navy wouldn’t come looking around the area to see if the missile had done any damage.
And it wouldn’t have scoped out the location beforehand? Not to mention everyone else listening in to the radio waves would not bother to poke their nose around …
This new spot brings the location far closer to Hawaii (which makes sense).
However, that exact location is nothing but ocean. So far … nada. But the next drop would be in the episode “Big Man on a Little Stick”. A surfer somehow surfs from his downed ship right onto the beach *facepalm*. The professor gives another set of coordinates.
10º latitude, 110º longitude. Fans had a field day.
Not only were the numbers in the correct order, but it’s close enough to Honolulu (which is where the group set out from). Maps were rolled out, coffee was brewed and fans sat determined. This new information would bring everyone one step closer.
The precise dot on the map ends up closer in the direction of Mexico.
So far so good, but it’s still in the middle of the big blue. The next step ends up really impressive – at least if people can suspend a bit of disbelief. The last clue comes with the intro song.
The ship was “tossed” about in a bad storm. It could be that the crew was really thrown off course.
The key lies within the clumps of metal we have jettisoned into space. Not that far away from the 10º latitude, 110º longitude mark, there is a tiny little island that only shows up on satellite imaging.
It’s small, it’s in the middle of nowhere, and it’s close enough to the coordinates to be plausible.
The biggest mind-bender comes when we realize that people did this with JUST paper maps. First, the writers were clever enough to find it in the first place. Second…
It took some heavy-duty dedication from fans to follow the bread crumbs to 10°18’14.3″N, 109°13’00.2″W – tada!
Presenting the final resting place of the S.S. Minnow. You can go there … but there’s not much to see. However, the interesting facts don’t end there. There are more Easter eggs and bloopers.
The original score was “a six-hour ride” instead of a “three-hour tour”, factoring in this new information, it’s 100% more plausible where the writers decided to base the show.
But somewhere in the creative pipeline things got changed. They had also known exactly what the island would look like…
First, the “actual” layout of the island is shown in “Man with a Net,” as a lepidopterist tracks butterflies on his own map – complete with Xs where all the important places (like their home) were.
To be precise, they were north of the lagoon with the mountain to the west. Then there was the “extra body.”
The opening credits sing of “five passengers set sail that day” but the image shows eight people onboard.
There’s Mary Ann and Ginger at the front. Gilligan and the Skipper are standing above. Then there’s the rich couple and the professor near the back. So … who’s sailing the ship and whatever happened to that poor soul? Finally…
The show was not without its internal jokes. The Minnow was actually named after “Newton Minnow” who was the chairmen of the FCC at the time.
He had described the show as “a vast wasteland”, so the staff decided to have a laugh about it. No wonder the ship never got fixed.