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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I'm enjoying this as well. Although I rarely watch it any more, "Gilligan's Island" is comfort food to me -- it reminds my of being a kid, curled up on the couch when I was home from school with a cold, watching hours of syndicated sitcoms.

Others in the same category: "Bewitched", "Beverly Hillbillies", "Green Acres", "Petticoat Junction" and "Love, American Style."

Also, commercials for Rice-a-Roni, Palmolive ("You're soaking in it!") and Charmin.
Doctor Hmmm? said:
I'm enjoying this as well. Although I rarely watch it any more, "Gilligan's Island" is comfort food to me -- it reminds my of being a kid, curled up on the couch when I was home from school with a cold, watching hours of syndicated sitcoms.

Others in the same category: "Bewitched", "Beverly Hillbillies", "Green Acres", "Petticoat Junction" and "Love, American Style."

Also, commercials for Rice-a-Roni, Palmolive ("You're soaking in it!") and Charmin.

Man take out "Love, American Style" and inserts "I Dream of Jeannie" and that would be awful close to what I had going on here. Some shows would get switched around, but I did have all of those. Of course would think everyone did...
Thanks, Ana. Actually, I've never watched Fantasy Island.
Luke Blanchard said:
Thanks, Ana. Actually, I've never watched Fantasy Island.

Really? The earlier seasons were definitely the best.
I'm in Doctor Hmmm's camp. I recall getting as a young l'il DJ-to-be getting home from school and finishing my chores as fast as I could so I could watch Gilligan's Island. When we got cable, and WTBS aired the show in the morning and afternoon, it was almost like heaven.

I'm looking forward to more on this thread!
ClarkKent_DC said:
Really? The earlier seasons were definitely the best.

I've seen the opening, with Tatoo running to announce that new visitors have arrived and Mr. Roarke preparing to receive his new guests, but I don't recall ever watching an episode.
Home Sweet Hut:

This one is interesting, as it's kind of a parable on the need for cooperation, as the others build individual huts of their own, despite the Skipper's call for them to build one communal hut, in the face of an on-coming storm. In the end, they do come together to build ahut which survives the storm, but afterwards though do go back to building their own huts.

This episode was directed by Richard Donner - yes, that Richard Donner.

This is the first episode in which the Skipper calls Gilligan "little buddy". It's also contains the first sighting of Mr. Howell's teddy bear.

Back Story: Mary-Ann used to be a girl scout.
Ginger used to date a boy scout.
Mr. Howell is described here as a "multi-millionaire" instead of a "billionaire", although, of course, a billionare is perforce a multi-millionaire.
Among the Skipper's father's favorite sayings were, "Hurried work is worried work", and "A job not well-done is not a well-done job".
The Skipper describes his father as "kind of a world traveler".
The Howells have been married for twenty years. Both say (somewhat jokingly) that the last five years have been somewhat rocky.

Taking It Seriously: Nothing too fantastic or unbelievable in this episode.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No rescue as such in this one, although Gilligan does destroy the others' huts.
Voodoo Something To Me:

In which the Skipper comes to believe that Gilligan has been turned into a chimp.

It's interesting - while on sentry duty, Gilligan hears a mysterious "monster" in the bushes. Wasn't there a mysterious "monster" on Lost?

Ginger has created a supply of make-up for herself using various berries she's found on the island, which I think is pretty inventive of her.

We get another near miss with the Skipper's hat.

"Music composed by Johnny Williams", again.

Back Story: Gilligan is trigger happy, and can sleep standing up.
The Professor describes himself as "a science teacher".
The Skipper believes very strongly in evil spirits and what he calls "voodoo".
Ginger was up for a part in a film called The Land of the Vampires, but didn't get it.

Taking It Seriously: The Skipper refers to his belief in "voodoo", which, to my understanding, is an Afro-Caribbean phenomenon than a Pacific one, but it could be rationalized that "voodoo" is simply the name the Skipper uses for the kind of magic he believes in.
None of them - not even the Professor - seems to question the presence of the chimp - an African animal - on the island. The fact that the chimp stole Gilligan's clothes and put them on would indicate to me that it had spent alot of time around humans, but none of them seem to wonder how it got there.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: No rescue as such in this one, although Gilligan does destroy most of the castaways' remaining flare supply.
Goodnight Sweet Skipper:

While sleepwalking, the Skipper dreams of a time during the Second World War that he converted a radio receiver into a transmitter. The others attempt to help recover the experience so that he can repeat the conversion in time for them to contact a lady flier - Alice McNeil, in her plane, the Vagabond Lady, who will be passing over the island as part of an around-the-world flight.

This episode was directed by Ida Lupino, an actress who became something of a pioneering woman director - she directed several episodes of this and many other shows of the time.

They do seem to sort of switch from "converting the radio into a transmitter" to "repairing the transmitter" towards the end og the episode.

Back Story: The Skipper served on a sub-chaser during the Battle of Guadacanal. He had crewmates named Wikowski, McInerney, Lefkowitz, Ferguson, Harris and Gunner's Mate Entwhistle. It was during the battle that he converted the radio.
The Howells own a string of polo ponies. Mr. Howell has a case containing tranquilizers and many other kinds of pills.
The Professor knows hypnosis.

Taking It Seriously: At one point in the episode, they borrow tranquilizers from Mr. Howell with the idea that they'll put the Skipper to sleep in hopes that he'll sleepwalk again. But because they each surreptitiously put pills in the Skipper's juice, he ends up taking ten of them - it's a wonder he didn't end up in a coma, or worse.
I know nothing about sleepwalking or hypnosis, so I can't say how accurately they were portrayed here.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: Gilligan accidentally gets the transmitter wokring again, only to destroy it before they can aleter Alice McNeil.
Boy oh boy, I am going to love this thread! I've watched Gilligan's Island since the day it first aired on television, and even though I've seen every episode a gazillion times, it has to be a pretty persuasive programme for me to choose it over watching whatever episode of Gilligan is running.

With reference to:

The Baron said:
"Yeah, I've heard the 'Eunice Wentworth' name, too. I'll try to make a note of it when it comes up.
There was an episode which called the validity of the Howell's marriage into question, I recall. The Skipper was going to reunite them, but in the meantime they moved into separate huts. I remember they were going to use a cigar band as a wedding ring. Maybe it's from that episode."


It's precisly from that episode, Baron---"Mr. and Mrs.??", first airing on 21 April 1966. During the radio broadcast which reports the officiant who married the Howells was not licenced at the time, Mrs. Howell's maiden name of "Eunice Wentworth" is revealed.

Since it will be awhile before you get to this episode, I'll note here that one of my list of funniest television lines comes from "The Postman Cometh". That's the one where a confluence of circumstances causes Mary Ann to believe that she has consumed poison mushrooms. During a dream sequence, Mary Ann fantasizes that she is been hospitalised for "roomis-gloomis", a fatal mushroom poisoning.

At one point, Mr. Howell/"Dr. Zorba Gillespie" (a pastiche of the senior-surgeon characters of from Ben Casey and Doctor Kildare, and essayed nicely by Jim Backus) enters and Mary Ann asks to see Old Doctor Young.

"Old Doctor Young is in conference," replies "Gillespie". "He can't be bothered."

"But I'm dying!"

"That's just the sort of thing that bothers him."
When I was younger I watched Gilligan's Island until I was sick of it. Except for that VHS tape I mentioned last week, I know it's been 30 years since I last saw an episode. Last night I had a dream that the castaways held a meeting whether or not to vote Gilligan off the island, except Gilligan was Willie Loomis from Dark Shadows. The Professor wasn't there, and when they went to get his vote, he was Dr. Smith from Lost in Space!
Wrongway Feldman:

In another episode directed by Ida Lupino (I'm pretty sure she directed a Batman or two as well), Gilligan discovers a vintage airplane - called The Spirit of the Bronx, and its pilot - "Wrongway" Feldman, who disappeared during an around-the-world flight back in the 30's - on the island. The Professor is able to repair the plane, and Wrongway agrees to fly for help. However, Wrongway surreptitiously sabotages the plane, confessing to Gilligan that he's lost his nerve. Gilligan asks Wrongway to teach him to fly. Seeing Gilligan's earnestness and incompetence, Wrongway finds his nerve and flies back to civilization. However, while he tells the authorities of his encounter with the castaways, he is unable to give an accurate location of the island.

Wrongway, the first "guest" character on the show, was played by the great Hans Conried. The character was based on the aviation heroes of the 1930's, in particular Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan and Charles Lindbergh.

I note that after he berated Gilligan for sleeping on guard duty a couple of episodes ago, we see the Skipper sleeping on guard duty in this episode.

Back Story: The Skipper was once a cook on an aircraft carrier.
Ginger once had a roommate who was a stewardess.
Mary-Ann has an Uncle George and an Aunt Martha, and knew a cropduster back in Kansas.
Wrongway claimed to have been an ace in WWI. However, Mr. Howell claims that he bombed his own airfield.
Wrongway flew a Bristol Scout in WWI. His wingman was Bucky Lorenzo.
The Howell Aircraft Corporation invested in Wrongway's first plane, when he flew nonstop from Chicago to New Orleans. However, he was supposed to fly to Minneapolis.
The radio says that Wrongway has returned to New York 33 and-a-half years after he left the Bronx. If we take the broadcast date of October 1964 as being the date of the episode's events, that would give a departure date of April 1931.
Wrongway claims to have been unaware of the occurrence of the Second World War.

Taking It Seriously: The castaways have supposedly combed the island more than once by this point. It's odd that they never found Wrongway. Perhaps he was deliberately hiding from them.
One would also think that even if Wrongway couldn't give the authorities the location of the island, his description of the castaways might have given someone the notion that the people he had encountered were the survivors of the Minnow. Not that they might have been able to do much with the information, but it would've kept active the idea that the passengers and crew of the ship were still alive.

Gilligan Spoils A Rescue: Nope. Gilligan comes across pretty well in this one - his efforts to learn how to fly don't come to much, but his earnestness and hero worship do help Wrongway find his nerve, and it's only Wrongway's incompetence as a navigator that keeps the castaways from being found.

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