Gilligan’s Island

Created by Sherwood Schwartz
Directed by Rod Amateau
Ida Lupino
Stanley Z. Cherry


Bob Denver
Alan Hale Jr.
Jim Backus
Natalie Schafer
Tina Louise
Russell Johnson
Dawn Wells

Opening theme “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle”
Country of origin United States

Gilligan’s Island is an American sitcom created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz via United Artists Television. The show had an ensemble cast that featured Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Russell Johnson, Tina Louise, and Dawn Wells. It aired for three seasons on the CBS network from September 26, 1964, to April 17, 1967. Gilligan’s Island followed the comic adventures of seven castaways as they attempted to survive the island on which they had been shipwrecked. Most episodes revolve around the dissimilar castaways’ conflicts and their unsuccessful attempts, for whose failure Gilligan was frequently responsible, to escape their plight.

Gilligan’s Island ran for a total of 98 episodes. The first season, consisting of 36 episodes, was filmed in black and white. These episodes were later colorized for syndication. The show’s second and third seasons (62 episodes) and the three television movie sequels (aired between 1978 and 1982) were filmed in color.

The show received solid ratings during its original run, then grew in popularity during decades of syndication, especially in the 1970s and 1980s when many markets ran the show in the late afternoon after school. Today, the title character of Gilligan is widely recognized as an American cultural icon.

The two-man crew of the charter boat SS Minnow and five passengers on a “three-hour tour” from Honolulu run into a tropical storm and are shipwrecked on an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Bob Denver is Gilligan, the inept, accident-prone First Mate (affectionately known as “Little Buddy” by “the Skipper”) of the SS Minnow. Denver was not the first choice to play Gilligan; actor Jerry Van Dyke was offered the role, but he turned it down, believing that the show would never be successful.

Alan Hale Jr. is The Skipper/Captain Jonas Grumby, the captain of the S.S. Minnow. Alan Hale Jr. was a longtime actor in B-Westerns and the look-alike son of Alan Hale Sr., a legendary movie character actor. Hale so loved his role that, long after the show went off the air, he still appeared in character in his Los Angeles restaurant, Alan Hale’s Lobster Barrel.

Jim Backus is Thurston Howell III, the millionaire. Backus was already a well-known character actor when he took the part. The origin of the super-rich Howell character dates back to 1949 radio when Backus portrayed “Hubert Updike III” on The Alan Young Show. Also, in the inaugural 1962–1963 season (episode 31) of The Beverly Hillbillies, Backus basically plays the same character, this time as the eccentric millionaire Martin von Ransohoff. Backus was perhaps best known as the voice of cartoon character Mr. Magoo.

Natalie Schafer is “Lovey” Wentworth Howell, Thurston’s wife, whom he affectionately called “Lovey”. Schafer had it written into her contract that no close-ups would be made of her, but after a while in the series it was forgotten. Schafer was 63 when the pilot was shot, although reportedly no one on the set or in the cast knew her real age and she refused to divulge it. Originally, she only accepted the role because the pilot was filmed on location in Hawaii. She looked at the job as nothing more than a free vacation,

Tina Louise is Ginger Grant, the movie star. Louise clashed with producer Sherwood Schwartz because she believed that she was hired as the central character. Her character was originally written as a hard-nosed, sharp-tongued temptress, but Louise argued that this portrayal was too harsh and refused to play it as written. A compromise was reached; Louise agreed to play her as a Marilyn Monroe/Jayne Mansfield type. Louise continued to clash with producers over her role and was the only cast member who refused to return for any of the post-series TV movies, saying that the role had killed her career as a serious actress.

Russell Johnson is Professor Roy Hinkley, Ph.D. Actor John Gabriel was originally cast, but the network thought he looked too young to have all the degrees attributed to the Professor. Actually, “the Professor” was in fact a high school science teacher, not a university professor. In the first episode, the radio announcer describes him as a research scientist and well known scoutmaster. Johnson, who served as a bombardier in the Pacific during World War II, stated that he had some difficulty remembering his more technically oriented lines. Originally, he was not interested in the role, and was waiting for a TV show of his own, but his agent talked him into auditioning.

Dawn Wells is Mary Ann Summers. Wells was a former Miss Nevada when she auditioned for the role. Her competition included Raquel Welch and Pat Priest. The pilot episode had a different character (“Bunny”) played by actress Nancy McCarthy. After it was shot, the network decided to recast the roles of the Professor and the two young women. Mary Ann became a simple farm girl from Winfield, Kansas.

Charles Maxwell was the uncredited voice of the “Radio Announcer” (1964–1965). The castaways listened to his plot-advancing radio news bulletins in many episodes and usually with perfect timing to tune in at the exact moment the news they needed to hear was being broadcast.


During the 1966–1967 television season, Gilligan’s Island aired on Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. Though the sitcom’s ratings had fallen well out of the top-30 programs, during the last few weeks of its third season, the series was more than holding its own against its chief competitor, The Monkees, which aired at the same time on NBC-TV. Therefore, CBS assured Sherwood Schwartz that Gilligan’s Island would definitely be picked up for a fourth year.

CBS, however, had signaled its intention to cancel the long-running Western series Gunsmoke, which had been airing late on Saturday nights during the 1966–1967 television season. Under pressure from CBS network president William S. Paley and his wife Babe, along with many network affiliates and longtime fans of Gunsmoke, CBS rescheduled the Western to an earlier time slot on Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. As a result, Gilligan’s Island was quietly cancelled at practically the last minute, while the cast members were all on vacation. Some of the cast had bought houses based on Sherwood Schwartz’s verbal confirmation that the series would be renewed for a fourth season.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gilligan’s Island (TV Series 1964–1992) – IMDb

Gilligan’s Island – Wikipedia

Official Gilligan’s Island