The inane TV series "Gilligan's Island" only ran from 1964-1967, but the long memories of baby boomers and continuous syndication explain why 500 people took a three-hour Baltimore harbor cruise on the Lady Baltimore last night for a "Gilligan's Island Reunion" sponsored by oldies radio station WYST-FM.
They giggled, got autographs and chatted up three members of the shipwrecked cast: the still gangly but wrinkled Bob Denver, who played the geeky Gilligan; the now husky Russell Johnson, who played the earnest Professor; and the ever-perky Dawn Wells, who was the girl next door, Mary Ann.
"The show was simple, innocent, and had a lot of slapstick," said Mr. Denver, 55, still wearing Gilligan's white tennis hat, red rugby shirt and tennis shoes. "It has been popular so long because kids see it today and say Gilligan is just like them."
The kids of yesteryear agreed.
"I liked Gilligan because he was so stupid but still got out of everything," said Cindy Schraudner, 37, of Hamilton. "There was an innocence to the show you don't get now on TV. I hate to say it was mindless, but it was."
Because the show was so innocent, Ms. Schraudner said, there's no reason to worry when her own children watch.
"This series is a piece of Americana," said Chris Culotta, 35, of Roland Park. "It's like a large sedative." His wife, Janine, 30, added, "I didn't get straight A's in high school because I was watching that show."
"The fact that it doesn't appeal to the academic in me is what's great," observed Chris Arnade, a 25-year-old doctoral student in physics at the Johns Hopkins University. "But still, the budding intellectual has fun trying to find the major flaws in a show where they used things like coconuts to make electric generators."