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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Wasn't the first series of Doctor Who 44 episodes?
A couple of random, interesting thoughts stemming from "The Little Dictator" . . . .

I'm old enough to remember when "Harrigan" was still a popular bar song, and I had heard it sung long before Gilligan's Island hit the airwaves. Yet, for the life of me, I cannot remember the lyrics to "Harrigan" past the first line.

BUT, I remember the Gilligan's Island parody of it faultlessly:


G---I---double L----I---G A N spells "Gilligan"!

He's the leader of our mighty nation; idolised by all the population!

G---I---double L---I---G A N, you see . . . .

He's the one we adore---he will keep us out of war!

Gilligan!

"That's me!"



Nehemiah Persoff is one of those actors for whom I have a deep affection. Because he was everywhere! In everything! Countless movies and television appearances.

I grew up virtually with television and from the mid-50's to the end of the '70's, I absorbed it. Like some guys know makes and models of cars, and others can rattle off endless streams of sports stats, I followed the credits and knew the names of virtually everyone, from star to regular to guest star to bit player. (Significantly, I cannot do that with television shows or movies from the '90's on; I can't even name the stars of most modern shows.)

And Nehemiah Persoff was one of those guys who always showed up. I would wager you could take a TV Guide from any week from the late '50's for the next two decades, and you would see his name in the credits of some show in that issue.

Persoff was impressively versatile, too. Certain other frequent appearers, such as Lloyd Bochner or Fritz Weaver or Alfred Ryder, whenever they were in a show, it was better than even money that their characters would be the spy, the traitor, the coward, or the hidden crook. But Persoff was adept across the board. He could play good guys, criminals, scientists, quislings, executives, bums, lawmen, or banditos with equal credibility. I didn't know that "The Little Dictator" was his first comedic rôle, but it doesn't surprise me a bit that he was so good at it in his first effort.

A while back I caught a re-run of an epsiode of Law & Order in which he appeared several years back, and knowing he was getting on in age, I checked out his bio on line, mainly to see if he was still with us.

Not only is he still with us (age 90), but he has retired from acting and launched a new career as a painter, and a successful one, from what I can tell (http://www.nehemiahpersoffpaintings.com/index.html).

Good on him!
The Sweepstakes:

Hearing a radio announcement of the winner number of the Argentinian Sweepstakes, Gilligan realizes that he holds a ticket with the same number. His newfound wealth wins him membership into the Howells' island "Country Club". He buys memberships for the others, until he loses the ticket. Eventually, the Howells realize that the ticket is two years old, and thus worthless, but they elect to say nothing.

Mr. Howell has a dream sequence in which he is a 49er who strikes gold, but loses the deed to his claim. In the dream, the Professor is the clerk at the claims office, Gilligan is the local Marshal, Ginger is a saloon owner, Mary-Ann is a local Rancher's daughter, and the Skipper is a card sharp.

Back Story: Gilligan bought a ticket in the Argentinian Sweepstakes two years before.

Taking It Seriously: This time the radio station is annouinced as "KDKA News in Pittsburgh". It occurred to me to look these up, and, of course, KDKA is a long-time CBS affiliate, and WTOP (mentioned in "The Little Dictator")was affiliated with CBS for many years, so, doubtless, the station the castaways are listening to is the local CBS affiliate - as, of course, they would be.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No.
PowerBook Pete said:
Wasn't the first series of Doctor Who 44 episodes?

Not sure off the top of my head. Bear in mind, that in the early days of Doctor Who, they filmed 50 weeks a year.
The lyrics to "Harrigan", at least according to the always-reliable Wikipedia:

Who is the man who will spend or will even lend?
Harrigan, that's me!
Who is your friend when you find that you need a friend?
Harrigan, that's me!
For I'm just as proud of my name, you see
As an Emperor, Czar or a King could be
Who is the man helps a man ev'ry time he can?
Harrigan, that's me!
H, A, double-R, I, G, A, N spells Harrigan
Proud of all the Irish blood that's in me
Divil' a man can say a word agin' me
H, A, double-R, I, G, A, N you see
Is a name that a shame never has been connected with
Harrigan, that's me!
Who is the man never stood for a gadabout?
Harrigan, that's me!
Who is the man that the town's simply mad about?
Harrigan that's me!
They ladies and babies are fond of me
I'm fond of them, too, in return, you see
Who is the gent that's deserving a monument?
Harrigan, that's me!
H, A, double-R, I, G, A, N spells "Harrigan"
Proud of all the Irish blood that's in me
Di-vil' a man can say a word agin' me
H, A, double-R, I, G, A, N you see
Is a name that a shame never has been connected with
Harrigan, that's me!
The Baron said:
PowerBook Pete said:
Wasn't the first series of Doctor Who 44 episodes?

Not sure off the top of my head. Bear in mind, that in the early days of Doctor Who, they filmed 50 weeks a year.

I'm counting 43, but I don't have a reliable episode guide in front on fme.
Schwartz also said that Persoff was recomended to him by the writer, who was friends with him. Also, Persoff's friends apparently called him "Nicky".
The Baron said:
The Sweepstakes:

Hearing a radio announcement of the winner number of the Argentinian Sweepstakes, Gilligan realizes that he holds a ticket with the same number. His newfound wealth wins him membership into the Howells' island "Country Club". He buys memberships for the others, until he loses the ticket. Eventually, the Howells realize that the ticket is two years old, and thus worthless, but they elect to say nothing.

Mr. Howell has a dream sequence in which he is a 49er who strikes gold, but loses the deed to his claim. In the dream, the Professor is the clerk at the claims office, Gilligan is the local Marshal, Ginger is a saloon owner, Mary-Ann is a local Rancher's daughter, and the Skipper is a card sharp.

Back Story: Gilligan bought a ticket in the Argentinian Sweepstakes two years before.

Taking It Seriously: This time the radio station is annouinced as "KDKA News in Pittsburgh". It occurred to me to look these up, and, of course, KDKA is a long-time CBS affiliate, and WTOP (mentioned in "The Little Dictator") was affiliated with CBS for many years, so, doubtless, the station the castaways are listening to is the local CBS affiliate - as, of course, they would be.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No.

One thing I meant to mention for this episode - Mrs. Howell does not appear in Mr. Howell's dream sequence.
The Baron said:
Jeff of Earth-J said:
The Baron said:
Coming up, I will be starting in on the second season of the show, and the first color season.

By today's standards, that was a long first season! How many episodes was that?

36

That IS a lot, by today's standards. It was thought to be extraordinary when 24 debuted that the network committed to (and the producers were expected to make) 24 episodes for the season.
Quick Before It Sinks:

The Professor belives the island is sinking, and the castaways struggle to find a way to save themselves.

Back Story: When she believes she is speaking on the radio, Mrs. Howell introduces herself as "Mrs. Thurston Howell III from Newport, New York, Palm Beach, and...Paris".

Taking It Seriously: Shouldn't the Professor have noticed that - apart from his measuring stick - there didn't seem to be any other signs that the island was sinking? I mean, if the island was sinking - and sinking fast enough that he expected it to be completely underwater in five or six days - then surely the waterline should've been noticeably closer to various objects on land. Surely there should've been drastic differences along the shoreline.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No, but his meddling with the measuring stick is what causes the Professor to think that the island is sinking.
The Baron said:
Taking It Seriously: Shouldn't the Professor have noticed that - apart from his measuring stick - there didn't seem to be any other signs that the island was sinking? I mean, if the island was sinking - and sinking fast enough that he expected it to be completely underwater in five or six days - then surely the waterline should've been noticeably closer to various objects on land. Surely there should've been drastic differences along the shorelines.


You're right. But this one I write off as the Professor being uncharacteristically overconfident of his own research. After all, at that point, he has spent months on the island, with everyone else taking his every word like they were carved in stone tablets. And he had been right nearly all the time. That kind of reïnforcement might have given him a sense of infalliblity. Not consciously, of course, but without thinking. He simply assumed he was right about the island sinking---without taking the precaution of performing separate, independent tests to confirm his prediction.
I tend to agree with you - it's funny 'cause he got a little snippy with Gilligan at the end of the episode. It was almost as if he was sort of reacting to his own embarassment at not realizing.

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