Gilligan’s Island

by Michael RichComment — Updated August 3, 2023

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Gilligan’s Island

9/26/1964 – 9/4/1967
CBS 30 minutes
Black & White (1964-1965)
Color (1965-1967)
98 total episodes

Gilligan’s Island Cast

Bob Denver as Gilligan
Alan Hale Jr. as Skipper Jonas Grumby
Jim Backus as Thurston Howell III
Natalie Schafer as Eunice Wentworth ‘Lovey’ Howell
Tina Louise as Ginger Grant
Russell Johnson as Roy ‘The Professor’ Hinkley Jr., PH.D.
Dawn Wells as Mary Ann Summers

 Theme Song

“Ballad of Gilligan’s Island” by Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle, vocals by the Wellingtons

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day,
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
The Minnow would be lost, the minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle,
With Gilligan, The Skipper too, the millionaire and his wife,
The movie star, the professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan’s Isle.

Note:The original theme said “and the rest” in the next to last line. Why? Because Dawn Wells and Russell Johnson didn’t have it specified in their contracts yet that they would be credited up front with the rest of the cast.


Gilligan’s Island is a show that achieved cult status through syndication. Panned by critics as silly and stupid, it only lasted three years as original episodes. But I would wager that on any given day, some station, somewhere is running Gilligan’s Island.

You all know the story. A small charter boat, the S.S. Minnow sets sail from Hawaii with a Skipper (Alan Hale) and one crewman, Gilligan (Bob Denver). The passengers are the millionaire (Jim Backus) and his wife (Natalie Schafer), the movie star (Tina Louise), the farm girl (Dawn Wells) and the professor (Russell Johnson).

The Coast Guard gives them a bad weather report, they get caught in a storm and end up on an uncharted island.

Gilligan is forever scheming to get them rescued but Gilligan isn’t the brightest bulb and it usually warrants a smack on the head with the Skipper’s cap!

The Skipper, Gilligan and the Professor must have been slow as the boat sank because they seem to only have one set of clothes while the others change frequently. Maybe the Professor was busy saving that library of his to which he refers for his many inventions.

Public enthusiasm brought Gilligan back as three TV movies. “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” (10/14 and 10/21/1978) saved them but only briefly. They are rescued by the Coast Guard and taken to Hawaii. But months later they sail again on the Minnow II and guess what, a storm comes up and… Judith Baldwin played Ginger in this production.

Behind the Scenes

The original pilot concluded filming on November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The cast was different. Kim Smythe played Ginger and Nancy McCarthy played Bunny. Both were secretaries. John Gabriel had the professor role. Kim Smythe is the ex-wife of Denny Miller who appeared in the episode “Big Man on a Little Stick” (February 20, 1965) as one of the islands visitors, Duke WIlliams (see picture, right) and again in 1967 as Tonga in “Our Vines Have Tender Apes.” .

About Gilligan’s name. A first name was never used on the show. But in 1992 TBS ran this pilot and producer Sherwood Schwartz said that if Gilligan had a first name, it would have been Willie.

Sherwood Schwartz used the trick of introducing the plot and characters in the theme songs of both of his productions, Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch.

Another Schwartz touch, the then chairman of the FCC was Newt Minow. He made derogatory remarks about television in general calling it “a vast wasteland”. So Scwartz of course responded by naming the ill fated boat on Gilligan the “SS Minow”.

The cast did not receive residuals. In other words, they don’t get paid for all those reruns.

Tina Louise didn’t get along with the rest of the cast. She thought she was going to be the star and all of them supporting cast. And behaved like it.


Jim Backus died in 1989 of pneumonia, Alan Hale Jr. in 1990 of respiratory failure due to cancer, and Natalie Schafer in 1991 of cancer. Bob Denver died in 2005, Russell Johnson died in 2014 of kidney failure, he was 89, Dawn Wells passed in 2020 of the pandemic virus Covid-19 at 82Gilligan's ISland - Bob Denver
Bob Denver

Alan Hale - Gilligans Island
Alan Hale

Gilligans Island - Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Tina Louise, Jim Backus,
Alan Hale, Tina Louise and Bob Denver

Giligans Island - Bob Denver - Alan Hale
Alan Hale and Bob Denver

Giligans Island
The Cast

Gilligans Island - Denny Miller
Russell Johnson, Denny Miller, Alan Hale
and Bob Denver

Gilligan’s Island Links
The first two are designed by Dreama Denver, Bob’s talented wife
The Official Bob Denver Website
The Official Dawn Wells Website
Gilligan’s Island Fan Club

For More Bob Denver
See Dobie Gillis

For More Russell Johnson See
See Black Saddle

For Russell Johnson fans:
He appeared in 3 episodes of Wagon Train.

External Links
TV Guide’s Gilligan’s Island Page, with TV Listings, Photos, Videos, Exclusive News and More.
Gilligans Island - Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Tina Louise, Jim Backus,
Gilligan’s Island cast

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