The first episode broadcast was “Two on a Raft,” in which the castaways discover themselves shipwrecked on “an uncharted desert isle.” It was not the pilot, however. That wouldn’t be televised until 1992, nearly three decades later.
The pilot is like an alternate universe version of the show. No sitting right back to “hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip.” In this version, there is a calypso theme song. Looking for Mary Ann? You won’t find her—there’s someone named Bunny instead. Ginger and the Professor are there, but they’re played by different actors, and Ginger isn’t a movie star—she’s a secretary. Oh, and the tour is six hours, not three.
There is something disturbing about seeing something you know as well as your own name — and it’s almost the same, but different. Ready to have your mind blown? Watch the pilot show opening theme below. You don’t know the words to this one!
- The Pilot Episode (GilligansIsle.com)
Okay, this is a re-post, but is it my fault that there are two National Gingerbread Days? It’s observed on June 5 and November 21. Why two different days? I dunno, maybe it depends on your religion. In fairness, one of them should be changed to National Mary Ann-bread Day.
In the video below, someone makes gingerbread cake alongside an autographed photo of Tina Louise, Ginger from Gilligan’s Island. I love it! It’s like something I would do, if I weren’t afraid to use my oven.
And by coincidence, the signature reads, “To Michael, All the best, Tina Louise.” How perfect is that for Michael’s TV Tray?
Making the Ginger Cake with “Ginger”
After Gilligan’s Island ended in 1967, Tina Louise declined to play Ginger in any of the three reunion movies. Reportedly, she felt the role had ruined her career by causing her to be typecast.
She apparently thought it was a better career move to play herself in a series of deodorant commercials and announce her damp, stinky ’pits to the world than to be typecast as a glamorous movie star. This commercial is from 1978—the same year that Rescue from Gilligan’s Island was broadcast with a different actress playing Ginger.
This new, improved aluminum chlorohydrate formula not only helps stop embarrassing wetness, it sprays on drier too!
Twenty-five years ago today, on Oct. 18, 1988, the sitcom Roseanne debuted on ABC. And 75 years ago, on Oct. 18, 1938, actress Dawn Wells was born.
Wells is best known for playing Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island. But did you know that Wells also once played Darlene on Roseanne? Yes — in the tag at the end of the episode “Sherwood Schwartz: A Loving Tribute,” Wells appears as Darlene; Tina Louise (Ginger) as Roseanne; Bob Denver (Gilligan) as Jackie; and Russell Johnson (The Professor) as Mark. Sherwood Schwartz also makes a cameo appearance. The episode itself has the inverse arrangement, with the Roseanne cast playing Gilligan’s Island characters in a fantasy sequence.
Closing tag, “Sherwood Schwartz: A Loving Tribute,” Roseanne (May 24, 1995)
According to Holiday Insights, “Hammock Day exists to enjoy summer as it should be enjoyed. People celebrate Hammock Day by spending as much time relaxing on it as possible. Getting out of your hammock to get a snack, or your favorite summer beverage is okay. But, it is not a day for work. Cutting the lawn is forbidden on this day.”
When you think of a TV hammock, who do you think of? The answer might be Fred Flintstone, who was often seen slumbering in a hammock. Or perhaps you think of Homer Simpson, who also enjoys hammock naps.
But I immediately flash on Gilligan and the Skipper, who slept in hammocks that were stacked one above the other, bunk-bed style.
Over the years, people have raised many questions about Gilligan’s Island. Why did they bring all those clothes for a three-hour tour? Why couldn’t the Professor build a boat? How come all the guest characters could come and go, but the castaways couldn’t? Why didn’t anyone have sex? But no one ever questions why Gilligan and the Skipper arranged their hammocks like bunk beds when there was plenty of space on the island. (The answer, of course, is that it was funnier that way.)
Gilligan and the Skipper in hammocks, from “Ghost-a-Go-Go,” Gilligan’s Island (March 24, 1966)
May 8 is National Coconut Cream Pie Day. And I can’t hear “coconut cream pie” without thinking of Gilligan’s Island. Remember how Mary Ann was always baking coconut cream pies?
Have fun watching various Gilligan’s Island characters get pies in the face.
Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann, bakes a coconut cream pie for Conan O’Brien on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (Sept. 29, 1993).
Clip from Gilligan’s Island, “The Producer” (Oct. 3, 1966)
Alan Hale Jr., who played the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island, was born March 8, 1921. He died in 1990.
The Skipper’s seldom-mentioned name was Jonas Grumby. Here’s Hale as the Skipper as Polonius performing “Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be” in a musical production of Hamlet staged by the castaways. (That’s Mary Ann in boy drag as Laertes.)
Bob Denver sings “Ho Daddy, Surf’s Up” in the 1964 film For Those Who Think Young
Bob Denver, the actor who played Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island and Maynard G. Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, would have turned 77 today (Jan. 9).
Watch his upside-down chin sing a surfing song while young people in bathing suits dance around him in this beach party movie. It’s pretty freaky!