Having seen my good friend Jeff's latest TV-based discussion, Jeff Watches Torchwood, I thought, "Since Jeff is posting about a current program that he's watching for the first time, I ought to post about an old program that I'd be watching for what would be at least the fiftieth, but which I haven't looked at in quite some time - and what better program to watch than one of the seminal comedies of its generation, one which had a profound impact on American television, and which went on to inspire such varied fare as Dusty's Trail, Far Out Space Nuts, and Lost.

Gilligan's Island is one of the first television programs I ever remember watching - Having been born in 1963, I was a touch too young to watch it in first-run, but I must've caught it in its earliest re-runs - I'm pretty sure that "Happy Birthday to You" and "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" are among the first songs that I knew all the words to.

I debated putting a spoiler warning on this thread - it's hard for me to conceive that there's anyone out there who hasn't seen Gilligan's Island - certainly not in the U.S. Anyway, if by some chance you haven't seen the show, but might want to watch it someday - be forewarned! There will be discussions of plot points, here.

As for the rest of you, "Just sit right back..."

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Splashdown:

In which an unmanned space capsule lands on the island, and the castaways attempt to use it to get themselves rescued.

Guest actors include Chick Hearn as a commentator, Goerge Neise as a NASA official, Scott Graham as tobias and Jim Spencer as Ryan.

Back Story: The Scorpio Six, carrying astronauts Sol Tobias and Ryan, is to rendezvous with the unmanned Scorpio EX-1, one astronaut will pass to the other craft, and then the two ships will be piloted back to Earth separately. The Scorpio Six will pass over the island during three orbits, 155 miles overhead.
Ginger was in three science fiction movies.
Mr. Howell is allergic to Ginger's perfume.
Mrs. Howell's perfume is Gold Dust no. 5.
Mrs. Howell claims that she and Mr. Howell eloped.
Mr. Howell claims that a Howell was on the Mayflower.

Taking It Seriously: 155 miles seems pretty far away for the astronauts to have been able to make out the castaways' relatively small fiery message.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: Yes, in that he disrupts the castways' "SOS" so that it reads "SOL", causing Tobias to think that it is merely a friendly shout-out to him.
High an on the Totem Pole:

Gilligan discovers a totem pole with his face on the top.

The Kupaki that visit the island are played by Jim Lefebvre, Al Ferrara and Pete Sotos.

Gilligan shows a talent for sculpture in this one.

Back Story: The totem pole was carved by a native group called the Kupaki. The face that resembles Gilligan's is that of their great king, Mashuka.

Taking It Seriously: I suppose it's a bit of a stretch that they just happened to get shipwrecked on an island where there's a totem pole with a face on it that resembles Gilligan.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No. In fact, Gilligan manages - somewhat inadvertently - to save the other castaways from the Kupaki.
The Second Ginger Grant:

Mary-Ann gets a bump on the head and comes to believe that she is Ginger.

Dawn Wells certainly does a good job portraying someone who can't sing all that well.

Back Story: The Professor knows hypnosis.

Taking It Seriously: I dunno. I've been bumped on the head more times than once, but I've still always been me afterwards. ;)

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No.
The Secret of Gilligan's Island:

Gilligan discovers a stone tablet with prehistoric writing on it. the Professor believes it shows a way off the island, but then realizes that it it shows a way to the island.

Gilligan dreams of the castaways as cavedwellers, with himself as a would-be explorer, longing to visit the distant "Other Side of Hill".
The Skipper is his somewhat fearful friend, the Professor is an inventor, the Howells are the tyrannical chief and his wife, and Mary-Ann and Ginger are husband-hungry cavewomen.

When I was a kid, this was probably my favorite of the dream sequences - I had the little kid's love of cavemen, and it had a dinosaur in it.

Watching it last night, I laughed at the bit where the Professor tests the wheel he has invented by pushing it over on its side. "Wheel not work."

Back Story: The Professor spent two years with an archaeological expedition in Egypt.

Taking It Seriously: I question the Professor's assertion that the tablet might be a million years old, although, if it was, it would likely re-write the history of human settlement in that area.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No.
The Baron said:
High an on the Totem Pole:

Gilligan discovers a totem pole with his face on the top.

The Kupaki that visit the island are played by Jim Lefebvre, Al Ferrara and Pete Sotos.

Gilligan shows a talent for sculpture in this one.

Back Story: The totem pole was carved by a native group called the Kupaki. The face that resembles Gilligan's is that of their great king, Mashuka.

Taking It Seriously: I suppose it's a bit of a stretch that they just happened to get shipwrecked on an island where there's a totem pole with a face on it that resembles Gilligan.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No. In fact, Gilligan manages - somewhat inadvertently - to save the other castaways from the Kupaki.

The title shoud read "High Man on the Totem Pole".
The Baron said:
Taking It Seriously: I dunno. I've been bumped on the head more times than once, but I've still always been me afterwards. ;)

How would you know?

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Check out the Secret Headquarters (my store) website! It's a pretty lame website, but I did it myself, so tough noogies

Listen to WOXY.com, it's the future of rock-n-roll!


Dagwan said:
The Baron said:
Taking It Seriously: I dunno. I've been bumped on the head more times than once, but I've still always been me afterwards. ;)

How would you know?

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Check out the Secret Headquarters (my store) website! It's a pretty lame website, but I did it myself, so tough noogies

Listen to WOXY.com, it's the future of rock-n-roll!




Trust me, I would know. God help me, but I know who I am.
Slave Girl:

Gilligan saves the life of a native girl, Kalani (played by "Midori"), who declares that she is his slave. A native warrior, Ugundi (played by Michael Forest), challenges Gilligan to mortal combat for her.

Back Story: Kalani and Ugundi are member of the Matoba tribe.
The Professor speaks Matoba and knows how to synthesize curare.

Taking It Seriously: I have no idea if curare works that way.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No. In fact, it is Gilligan's revival atop his funeral pyre that frightens the Matoba away.
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Gilligan!:

An experimental military jetpack is lost on the island and the castaways attempt to use it to get rescued.

There are three guest actors in this episode, playing Air Force officers -

Frank Maxwell as a General
Edward Faulkner as a Colonel
Walt Hazzard as as Lieutenant

For the trivia buffs: Hazzard, who was then with the Lakers, was, as far as I have been able to observe, the only African-American actor to appear on an episode of the show.

Back Story: Ginger was in a movie called The Bird People Meet the Chicken Pluckers, and once dated a basketball player who was 6'5" tall.
The Howells own the Howell Steel Company and the Howell Chemical Company. Mr. Howell was once elected president of the Wine-Tasting Society.
The official designation of the jetpack is the X-JP.

Taking It Seriously: I am extremely dubious of the notion that the Professor was able to synthesize jetpack fuel from materials available on the island.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: Yes. Initially, he accidentally cause the jetpack to use up most of its fuel. Then, when on a flight to attract the attention of a Navy search party, he flies into a cloudbank when he hears a radio report of a UFO - not realizing that he is the UFO - which causes the search party to miss him. Then, when the Professor has synthesized more fuel, Gilligan activates the jetpack without strapping in properly, causing it to fly off and be lost.
ThePigeon:

A homing pigeon lands on the island, and the castaways attempt to use it to send for help.

Birdie (a.k.a. "Burt"), the prisoner with whom the castaways are inadvertently corresponding, was played by Sterling Holloway, long-time voice of Winnie the Pooh.

Back Story: Birdie, a prisoner, has been corresponding via pigeon withg a woman he calls "Old Lady Hawkins".
Gilligan names the pigeon "Walter", not after the actor Walter Pidgeon, but instead after his best friend in grammar school, Walter Stuckmeyer, who was pigeon-toed.
Mr. Howell once went on an African safari.

Taking It Seriously: A few things, here:
1)Walter has apparently been in the habit of flying back and forth between the prison and wherever Old Lady Hawkins lives. He only lands on the island after having been battered in the storm. Once he recovers, why does he keep on going back and forth between the prison and the island? Wouldn't he resume going back and forth between the prison and the Hawkins place?
2)Would a prison let a prisoner keep homing pigeons like that? What if he was passing notes to people to come and help him escape? Must be a pretty minimum security place.
3)The castaways encounter a six foot long spider which the Professor calls a "black mourning spider". Apart from the fact that there aren't any spiders that big, how could they have been on the island that long - and we've seen them scouring the island and particularly the caves several times - without noticing that Shelob's kid brother is living there? That said, I do like the concept of "spider cider" - I wouldn't mind a mug of the stuff, myself.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No. In the end, Birdie is paroled just as Walter arrives with a photo of the castaways, and, in a fit of joy, Birdie frees all of his pigeons. Walter - having nothing else going on, apparently - returns to the island still bearing the castaways' photo.
Bang! Bang! Bang!:

A crate of plastic explosives is lost overboard from a ship and washes up on the island, where the castaways mistake it for modeling clay.

At the end of the episode, there's a funny bit where, when cornered by a monkey that they think is carrying an explosive plate, the Professor, Gilligan and the Skipper adopt a "Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" pose.

Whilst playing golf, Mrs. Howell uses the well-known "Hello, ball" joke.

The three government agents that appear in the episode are Hartley (Bartlett Robinson), Parsons (Kirk Duncan) and Michaels (Rudy LaRusso).

Back Story: Mrs. Howell's chauffeur is named "Charles". She claims to have never played golf before, although I'd swear we've seen the Howells playing golf in an earlier episode.
The Professor know some elementary dentistry.

Taking It Seriously: Sure is an awful lot of experimental stuff - plastic explosives, jetpack, radioactive vegetables, robot - gets lost in the vicinity of this island, isn't there? No wonder the Reds are so interested in the place.
the monkey Gilligan befriends is a tailless monkey, which I don't think is found in that part of the world.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No.
Gilligan, The Goddess:

Members of the Kapuan tribe land on the island looking for the "White Goddess Winomi" to sacrifice to sacrifice to their volcano god.

The leader of the Kapuans, King Kaliwani, is played by Stanley Adams, better know to my fellow Trekfans as "Cyrano Jones". Wow, he was on Batman, Star Trek and Gilligan's Island!

The Professor, Mr. Howell and the Skipper in drag are truly a sight to behold, as is "Gilliana".

Back Story: In college, Mrs. Howell was queen of the Prune Bowl Parade. She was once presented at the Court of St. James.
King Kaliwani has 33 wives, none of whom understand him. His titles include "Emperor of Eternal Night, Knight of Eternal Day, Seeker of Eternal Truth, Lord of Eternal Eternities and Keeper of Eternal Flame". The "Eternal Flame" is a lighter someone gave him.

Taking It Seriously: Hard to imagine that Kaliwani didn't see through Gillgan's disguise. Maybe he did see through it and didn't care. ;)

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: Sort of. Tired of fending off Kaliwani's advances, Gilligan removes his dress and wig and takes a powder. Finding the dress and wig, Kaliewani becomes convinced that "Gilliana" is an evil spirt, and he and his men take a powder as well.

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