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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The Sound of Quacking:

While the castaways face a food shortage, a migratory duck lands on the island, and the castaways capture it. Opinion is divided whether to eat the duck or to send it off with a message. Gilligan is protective of the duck and will not let the others eat it.

This episode has the first of the program's many "dream sequences", in which Gilligan sees himself in the Old West as "Marshal Gilligan", protecting the duck against a lynch mob consisting of gunslingers Mr. Howell and the Professor. The Skipper is Gilligan's bumbling deputy, Ginger a dance hall girl, Mrs. Howell an older "Latin" lady, and Mary-Ann as a demure young girl who is the only one on Gilligan's side.

In the end, the duck leads the castaways to a new food source and the castaways' food problems are alleviated.

I notice we see Ginger wearing a dress that says "S. S. Minnow" on it, which implies that she at least is wearing new clothes made from material that was on the ship.

Back Story: Gilligan's grandfather's name was "Everett".

Taking It Seriously: I know nothing about the migratory habits of ducks, so I far as I know, there's nothing unbelievable in this episode.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: When he finally releases the duck to leave the island, Gilligan forgets to attach the message to its leg.
I like to imagine crossovers between fictional TV realities; I don’t know why, I just do. Now that I’ve started watching Doctor Who, I’ve discovered that the Doctor in particular lends himself to such crossovers by the very nature of the character. Last night Tracy and I discussed which Doctor would best fit on Gilligan’s Island. (Yes, this is an actual conversation my wife and I had.) We decided, between the two of us, that the Second Doctor would be best suited to guest-star on a black and white episode, however we could both easily see the Third Doctor stranded on the island along with the rest of the castaways (taking the place of the Professor) during his time exiled to Earth for the episodes filmed in color.

This discussion led us in turn to determine which of the castaways would be best suited to be the Doctor’s companions. We decided that Gilligan and Mary Ann should travel would the Second Doctor, but we could easily imagine Ginger as companion to the Third Doctor.
Goodbye Island:

In which Gilligan inadvertently discovers a form of superglue that the Professor believes can be used to repair the Minnow.

We see the Professor trying and failing several times to make usable nails from some ferrous oxide that he found on the island.

We also see the first "You've done it again" from the Skipper to Gilligan.

We see hints of potential romance here - Mary-Ann tells Gilligan he's "sweet", the Professor gets all "distracted" around Ginger.

Back Story: Ginger used to date a medical student, and was once in a film with an improbably long title that I couldn't be bothered to write down.

Taking It Seriously: For some reason, the Skipper and the Professor make much of how the Minnow has to be launched by high tide, or they'll have missed their last chance to get off the island. This seems odd to me - is it going to be the last high tide ever? Is the Minnow going to be swept out to sea? I don't know.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No. Gilligan is the one who realizes that the glue isn't permanent, and warns the others. One could make a case that the Professor's enthusiasm for the glue caused to him to rush to employ it without perhaps studying it thouroghly enough.
I could see Mary-Ann with either the First or Second Doctor.

I can hear the Third Doctor slipping, and calling the Skipper "Brigadier".

I wonder if it's possible to build a time machine out of coconuts?
It is, as long as one remembers to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.
Actually, I just made myself laugh out loud. I thought, "If I wanted to be silly - and I do - I would imagine the Fifth Doctor, during the so-called 'crowded TARDIS' era, landing on the island and offering the castaways a 'lift' back to Hawaii. Except, of course, that this was the period in which the Doctor was consistently unable to get Tegan back to Heathrow, so instead of the 'crowded TARDIS', we would end up with the 'very crowded TARDIS' , with the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa, Adric and the seven castaways. Heh-heh-heh.... "Eleven to Doomsday"...."Adric, little buddy, you've done it again!" Gilligan against the Cybermen...

I'm way too amused by that thought. :)
I was thinking about my post the other day concerning Dark Shadows’ Willie Loomis cast in the role of Gilligan when it occurred to me that Willie and his confederate Jason McGuire were merchant seaman before coming to Collinwood to blackmail Elizabeth Collins. From there it was a small step to imagine Jason McGuire and Willie Loomis as skipper and first mate of The Minnow… of perhaps of the boat in the slip next to The Minnow.
I keep coming back to Matango (a.k.a. Attack of the Mushroom People), which was about as close to a "supernatural" Gilligan's Island as was ever made.

I haven't got to it, yet, but I dimly remember there was an episode where Gilligan imagined that he was vampire...
I remember that one. He had been bitten by a bat, hadn't he...?
Jeff, if you do watch LOST at some point, you'll probably easily add it to the Gilligan's Island/Doctor Who mix.
Tim, I can guarantee you we will be watching Lost at some point because we've already bought the first season on DVD!
Please run a discussion when you do.

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