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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It also seems like there were a good many more instances where Gilligan saves everyone. Not by effecting a rescue, of course, but preventing the castaways' death, enslavement, imprisonment, etc.
The Baron said:
I think that I got the most from re-watching the series is how much the characters came to care about each other - even Mr. Howell, who supposedly only values money, shows that he cares about the other castaways. More than ever, I wish they had gotten their fourth season - or, at least, had gotten to do a proper finale at the time, rather than eleven years later.

This really comes across in the first reunion movie, Rescue from Gilligan's Island, described above. When Gilligan and the Skipper visit Ginger and when they visit the Professor, there's a real empathy for their troubles.

And when the Skipper breaks up Mary Ann's wedding -- well, on the one hand, it's really none of his business, and in that sense it was wrong. But on the other hand, it was a great gesture of friendship and loyalty, and maybe even fatherly affection, to stop her from making a huge mistake. That's part of why I like that scene.

As for when they meet the Howells, I flagged that as the best part of the movie because I can't get over the throwaway gag that Mr. Howell is SO rich that he's got Fidel Castro at his beck and call, hand-delivering his cigars! That always cracks me up! But Commander Benson has said, more than once, that it's what transpires after that that makes the scene for him -- when Mr. Howell's guests are overheard making snide remarks about Gilligan and the Skipper, Mr. Howell, without a second's hesitation, promptly throws them out. (And those two goofy Russian spies claim to be with the guests, and Mr. Howell throws them out, too!)
ClarkKent_DC said:
As for when they meet the Howells, I flagged that as the best part of the movie because I can't get over the throwaway gag that Mr. Howell is SO rich that he's got Fidel Castro at his beck and call, hand-delivering his cigars! That always cracks me up! But Commander Benson has said, more than once, that it's what transpires after that that makes the scene for him -- when Mr. Howell's guests are overheard making snide remarks about Gilligan and the Skipper, Mr. Howell, without a second's hesitation, promptly throws them out. (And those two goofy Russian spies claim to be with the guests, and Mr. Howell throws them out, too!)


That scene with the Howells is one of my two favourites in the reunion film, and the better of the two.

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to view it on YouTube and saw it, again. A couple of things struck me about the scene at the Howells' mansion that didn't stick with me before.

First, when the Skipper and Gilligan arrive at the Howells' front door. They ask to speak to Mr. and Mrs. Howell, and the butler informs them that the Howells are in the middle of a dinner party. The Skipper replies that they will come back another time, but the butler, instead, invites them in, assuring them that the Howells will be thrilled to see them.

This went against convention. I would have expected the scene to progress with a snooty butler slamming the door shut on the Skipper and Gilligan, and later, when Mr. Howell asked the butler who was at the door, the servant would have said something like, "Just a couple of ne'er-do-wells, sir, panhandling." And the fireworks would have erupted when Mr. Howell discovered who the two "ne'er-do-wells" were.

But it didn't go like that. The butler immediately recognised the two castaways and invited them in. The subtle information here is that, since their return, the Howells must have spoken highly of their friends from the island. Highly enough for the butler to know that the Howells would not mind their party interrupted by them.

When the Skipper and Gilligan are shown into the dining room, not only are the Howells immediately pleased to see them, they invite the Skipper and Gilligan to join them for dinner. Given all the remarks about which fork to use ("Good heavens, a Yale man!") and the proper attire and society protocol from the Howells back on the island, clearly they have lost whatever class distinctions they may have had---at least when it comes to their fellow castaways.

It was satisfying to see the Howells respond so warmly to the Skipper and Gilligan when they first arrived---but as you said, Howell's outrage at his guests' snide insults to his old friends is the capper.


The other scene which always gets to me---when I saw it again, I realised it was much too brief and should not have been marred by cuts back to the Russian embassy---is the end of the parade in Los Angeles for the castaways. They are surrounded by cheering crowds and television cameras. They're caught up in the moment.

The former castaways answer a few reporters' questions, and then, almost without realising it, the crowds and the reporters are gone. It's just the seven of them.

That's the moment when they realise that, for the first time in fifteen years, they are going to be apart from one another. The looks on their faces reflect that sudden realisation. Again, it goes to the quality of the actors chosen to play these parts---the sudden dawning, followed by the sadness of the fact, is clear on each of their faces. I'll even give credit to Judith Baldwin for holding her own in that scene. (Poor Miss Baldwin took a thankless job in playing Ginger Grant in that movie; no matter how good a job she did, everyone would say, "She's not Tina Louise.")

Then, the group breaks down into a flurry of tearful hugs and good-byes. It's real and it's genuine---these people truly care for each other.
I just "discovered" this thread. Well done, Baron! Bravo! It was entertaining and informative and brought back some good memories! And Kudos to Clark, the Commander "and the rest" who responded! I agree with much of what was said. It was a very under-rated show and I am still surprised that no one has made a movie out of it yet!
It was a fun show - I think alot of folks today maybe underestimate some of those old shows.

It is with great sadness that I post the news of the death of Russell Johnson.

I just found out when I got home. Sad news.

I have his book Here On Gilligan's Isle that I plan to reread tonight!

You may laugh but one of my nicknames in school was "the Professor" so I admired him greatly for making being smart cool!

Thank you, Professor! You're the one I most would have with me if I was ever stranded on a desert isle! Though Evangeline Lily is a close second!

He was great in that role. Whatever else he took away from that show I think he could be proud that he made a lot of people laugh and made the Professor an archetype.

The character of Roy Martin [from 1996’s A Very Brady Sequel] was a con man trying to convince Carol Brady that he was her long-presumed-dead 1st husband, when in fact the real Roy Martin, a professor, was actually lost at sea along with others aboard a pleasure craft named the "SS Minnow". It was a nice try, but unfortunately the makers of this movie did not recall (or chose to ignore in the hope that we, the viewers would not recall) the fact that the professor's name as given in the first episode of Gilligan's Island was Roy Hinkley, not Martin. It still was a funny bit, though.

Copied from here: http://www.classicjq.com/info/JQActors.aspx

Maybe, like the producers of The Greatest American Hero, they were afraid for using the name "Hinkley."

RECASTING GILLIGAN’S ISLAND:

I was re-watching season one of Saturday Night Live on DVD when it came to my attention that the original “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” sexes and numbers matched our castaways’. Here’s how I’d re-cast them on Gilligan’s Island.

Skipper - John Belushi
Gilligan - Chevy Chase
Mr. Howell - Dan Ackroyd
Lovey - Laraine Newman
Ginger - Jane Curtin
Mary Ann - Gilda Rader
Professor - Garrett Morris

Then it occurred to me that I’d put the original cast of Gilligan’ Island out of work, so I recast them on Lost in Space.

John Robinson - Alan Hale
Maureen Robinson - Tina Louise
Will Robinson - Bob Denver
Penny Robinson - Dawn Wells
Judy Robinson - Natalie Schafer
Don West - Jim Backus
Zachary Smith - Russell Johnson

Wow.

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