Those 'Gilligan' survivors' ships never did come in Island mentality

December 01, 1993|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Staff Writer

TYSONS CORNER, VA. — Tysons Corner, Va.--By the time Bob Denver sits down at a table, a queue of fans stretches outside the book store, around the corner and three storefronts down the mall. But something is missing.

Bonus question: What are the full names of each character?

Answers:

1. "Gilligan's" creator Sherwood Schwartz named the tour boat as a sly dig at Newton N. Minnow, at the time chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, famous for terming television "a vast wasteland."

2. A folk-singing trio named the Wellingtons originally sang "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island," and also appeared once as the

Mosquitos, a rock group that landed on the island. In the second and third seasons, another trio, the Eligibles, sang the song that added the lyrics " . . . The Professor and Mary Ann," previously referred to only as "and the rest . . . "

3. Surprisingly, Raquel Welch unsuccessfully read for the role of Mary Ann, not for the movie star Ginger. Other now-big names considered for parts included Jerry Van Dyke (for Gilligan) and Dabney Coleman (for the professor).

4. The Minnow's stranding was filmed for the show's pilot, but it included three actors later replaced when the pilot sold: John Gabriel as the professor, Kit Smythe as Ginger and Nancy McCarthy as Bunny (not Mary Ann). In the first episode on the air the recast castaways were already on the island, although pieces of the pilot were used in the opening theme.

5. President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Nov. 22, 1963. "It had an unreal quality," writes Mr. Denver. "Here we were on a beautiful beach in Hawaii. We all bowed our heads and said a prayer. Somehow we stumbled through the remaining scenes."

6. Mr. Howell played golf with avocado pits.

7. In some scenes, writes Ms. Wells, the mud pit was filled with "clean dirt," a sterile mix made by prop men. In others, says Mr. Denver, it was really darkened oatmeal, to provide the right sticky consistency.

L 8. The castaway rock bands were the Gnats and the Honeybees.

9. Three TV movies and two animated series have been based on the original series.

10. "Gunsmoke," which shared its set with "Gilligan's Island," ultimately squeezed the comedy off the network lineup in the fall of 1967. Originally the western was not on the schedule and "Gilligan's" was, but CBS chairman William Paley demanded his wife's favorite show be restored, and the switch was made.

Bonus question: The castaways included: Willy Gilligan, Jonas "The Skipper" Grumby, "Professor" Roy Hinckley, Thurston Howell 3rd and his wife "Lovey" (Natalie Shaefer), Ginger Grant and Mary Ann Summers.

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