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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Castaways Pictures Presents:

The castaways salvage silent movie equipment and costumes from a sunken ship, and make a movie describing their plight, which they then set adrift.

The film, which was directed by Mr. Howell, is found, and wins first prize at the Cannes Film Festival, but is believed to be the anonymous work of either Ingmar Bergman or Vittorio De Sica, or perhaps, both.

Back Story: Gilligan had an Aunt Martha who knew how to cook rutabaga well. He had childhood friends named Skinny Mulligan and Florence Oppenheimer.
Mr. Howell is a Republican.
South Sea Film Productions was founded by film vamp Fifi Lafrance and her husband, Ricardo Laughingwell. After they married, they went on their honeymoon to the South Seas, to make a film together.

Taking It Seriously: When the Professor screens the film for the castaways, we see it contains a shot of the island, taken from out at sea - they must've had to go pretty far out to sea on a raft to film that one.
This was one of my favorite episodes from the show. However, when watching it the other day, a few things occurred to me that I'd never thought of before.

1)If the castaways' film won the first prize in the Cannes Film Festival, it would seem to me that that means that it would've been seen by a large number of film industry people. You'd think at least one of them would've recognized Ginger, and said, "Holy cats, isn't that Ginger Grant? Wasn't she lost at sea?" You'd also think that someone would similarly recognize those well-known patrons of the arts, the Howells.

2)It also struck me that the castaways would've been much better served to have simply filmed themselves holding up placards with their names on, and a straightforward text describing their plight and their approximate location (and maybe how they came to find the film equipment), than the odd quasi-dramatization they made, which never even mentions the name of the S.S. Minnow. I suppose that one could rationalize that they got so caught up in "making a movie" that they didn't stop to consider that a straightforward "communication" would've been more practical.

3)The castaways made a picture that relied pretty heavily on spoken dialogue, considering they were making a silent movie. Still, sound came in in 1927, so probably only the Howells and the Skipper would even have had much memory of the silent era.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No.
Agonized Labor:

Upon hearing a news report that Howell Industries has collpased, the Howells are traumatized at the thought of being poor. The others attempt to teach them useful skills for surviving in the world of the non-rich. Eventually, they hear a correction that explains that it was Powell Industries that collapsed.

First Mr. Howell and then both Howells contemplate ending it all in this episode, which is a little "heavier" than I remembered this show getting.

Back Story: Ginger was in a movie with Rock Hudson. She considers herself a method actress.

Taking It Seriously: Not much to say here, except that I don't think much of a radio station that takes over a day to make such a crucial correction in a news story.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No.
Nyet, Nyet - Not Yet:

A Soviet space capsule, piloted by the amiable Igor and the dour engineer, Ivan, lands in the lagoon. The cosmonauts promise to take the castaways with them when a Soviet submarine comes to pick them up. Neither side trusts the other, and the castaways plot to gain access to the capsule's radio while the cosmonauts consider leaving them behind so that they can't reveal that the capsule landed in the South Pacific when it was meant to land in the Black Sea.

When Mr. Howell plots to send Ginger out to distract one of the cosmonauts, she describes herself as "Agent 36-25-36". Hmm, what could those numbers signify? ;)

Back Story: The Skipper has spent years trying to teach Gilligan the square knot, but in vain.

Taking It Seriously: It's my opinion that the castaways may have dodged a bullet (perhaps literally) by missing the sub's pick-up time. As the only direct witnesses to a fairly egregious error on the part of the Soviet space program - and as people that the Soviets would surely soon discover were already widely believed to be dead - the castaways might well have found that the temptation to '"disappear" them after a thorough KGB interrogation might have proved overwhelming for our Red "friends". (For that matter, I wouldn't've wanted to be either Igor or Ivan once they got home.)

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: The castaways miss the sub's scheduled pick-up time because Gilligan has set his watch by a Manila radio station, which is three hours off from the time on the island. (So, none of the rest of them have watches? ) Though, as I say above, this may not have been a bad thing for them.
Hi-Fi Gilligan:

As a typhoon approaches the island, a freak accident turns one of Gilligan's teeth into a radio receiver.

Gilliogan is particularly noble in this episode, when, after having been cured of "being a radio", he offers to let the Skipper hit him again ibn order to turn him back, even going so far as to provke the Skippr to make it easier for him to strike him.

Back Story: Gilligan had childhood friends named Fatso Flannagan and Bobby McGuire. (Gilligan knew a number of people with nicknames based on their wieght, didn't he?)
The Skipper has been belted many times in the past.
Mary-Ann's favorite radio program ins the soap opera Blaze of Noon.
Mrs. Howell's favorite radio program is The Fashion News.

Taking it Seriously: As for the business of hearing radio broadcasts through your teeth - I dunno. I've read several articles that say it's a myth, and several testimonies from people who swear it happened to them. My feeling is that it most probably doesn't happend, but that if it does, it's extremely rare, and would not happen on the scale that we see if happen to Gilligan, here.
On another note, the castaways did a pretty poor job of preparing for this typhoon, particularly in slecting a cave that couldn't possibly hold them all, let alone their provisions.
I also note the the Professor seems to have a tendency to predict that a given typhoon will wipe out all life on the island, but then it doesn't.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No. In fact, Gilligan deliberately shortens the straw he draws so that he will be the one who remains outside the crowded cave. The others' affection for Gilligan saves their lives when they all leave the cave to join him, just before the cave is destroyed by lightning.
Lucille Ball claimed the radio-in-the-fillings thing happened to her. I think I saw her tell the story to Dick Cavett once.
Well, if it was going to happen to anyone...
I'm pretty sure that Mythbusters tackled this myth,and proved it wrong
It figures those guys would've gotten around to that.
Mark S. Ogilvie said:
Out of curiosity you haven't seen the Gilligan's Planet cartoon have you?

Mark

I saw it when it was first on, years ago. I watched both cartoon series, The New Adventures of Gilligan and Gilligan's Planet. I don't have alot of strong memories of either show, except that they were more deliberately aimed at little kids than even the original show was.
Come to that, they was a bunch of cartoon based on live-actions shows in them days. I remember one where the kids from The Brady Bunch had adventures wqitha magical, talking mynah bird, another one where Laverne and Shirley joined the Army, and one where Fonzie from Happy Days. had a time machine. I more dimly remember one that was like The Odd Couple, only with cartoon cats, and one with cartoon dogs that was vaguely based on M*A*S*H. They was even an animated version of the two old people that Arte Johnson and Ruth Buzzi used to do on Laugh-In.
You're right. Funny to think - I forgot all about the Star Trek cartoon.
Wonder Woman appeared on the Brady Kids cartoon, too.

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