The Professor Was Never Shirtless
According to Russell Johnson, when he first auditioned for the role of The Professor, the producers insisted that he would take his shirt off in front of the camera. He declined again and again, and at the end got the part without filming even one shirtless scene.
The Show Never Really Ended
The final episode of “Gilligan’s Island” ended with the castaways still on the island, awaiting rescue.
There Was No Real Lagoon
The lagoon you kept seeing on the TV show was not real. It was a small backyard pool that was built on the CBS lot. In 1995 the pool was destroyed and the space was turned into an employee parking lot.
Gilligan’s First Name Is Willy! (Depends on who you ask)
According to the show's writers, when they first came up with the name Gilligan, they intended it to be the character’s last name. When asked what was the character’s first named, they answered Willy.
Dawn Wells Met A Fan In A Very Unlikely Place
While vacationing the Solomon Islands, Wells and some friends canoed to a remote island nearby. The island had no basic facilities like electricity or even running water, but once Wells step foot there, she was immediately recognized as Mary Ann.
Alan Hale Had The Best Audition
When the producer met with Alan Hale, they were down to the final candidates. They did not think they would ever be able to find the right skipper in time, and then came Alan Hale. Hale was so good, he got the part on the spot.
Tina Louise Was Not The Nicest Person On Set
According to a few set visitors, Tina Louise did not associate herself with the rest of the cast. Whenever the cast would talk together or eat lunch, Louise would be sitting at the other corner of the room, alone. A part of this can be explained by the fact that when she first signed on to do the show, she was told she would be the main actress.
Filming Had To Be Stopped Because The Island Was Too Close To A Highway
The set of the island was so close to a highway, on some days they had to shut down productions so the noise won’t get caught by the microphones.
Natalie Schafer Did Her Own Stunts On The Show
Schafer was in her mid-60s when she played the character of Mrs. Howell on the show, but that didn’t stop her from doing her own stunts. If the script called for Mrs. Howell to drown in quicksand or jump into the lagoon, Schafer would do that without any hesitations.
The Millionaire Was A Cheapskate
Jim Backus who played Mr. Howell was beloved by his castmates. He was an endless source of jokes and a willing coach to less experienced actors on how to adlib or "punch a line." He was also well known for being cheap. Dawn Wells recalls in her novel What Would Mary Do? A Guide To Life that he would often invite her and Natalie Schafer out to lunch...only to realize that he had misplaced his wallet or left it back at the studio when the check came. Before the cast left on summer hiatus, he presented Schafer with a $300 check to pay her back for all the meals he had skipped out on.
There Was Going To Be A Fourth Season
Sadly, the idea was scrapped in order to make room for 'Gunsmoke' after the cast had already purchased homes in the Los Angeles area in preparation for the fourth season. Maybe they finally would have been rescued!
The Coast Guard Received Letters Asking Them To Save The Cast
While Gilligan's Island was originally airing, fans would often write letters to the Coast Guard asking them to save the cast! Apparently, the show seemed a little bit TOO real for some people.
Remember The Millionaire’s Wife? She Was A Real Millionaire!
Natalie Schafer was a real-life millionaire with a known extravagant lifestyle even before the show aired its first episode. Schafer was married to Louis Calhern, and the two had a profitable real estate business in Beverley Hills. When she passed she left most of her money to her dog. After he passed, most of her money was donated to hospitals in the Los Angeles area.
There Were Almost Two Extra Characters
The pilot episode was extremely different than the ending product. In the original pilot, there were "two secretaries" and a "high school teacher" as was mentioned in the original and wildly different theme song. The original pilot was entitled "marooned" and it didn't see air time until 1992.
The Skipper Broke His Arm Falling From A Coconut Tree
Alan Hale was an old-school actor and his motto was "the show must go on". Schwartz recalled speaking to Hale at one of the wrap parties and Hale exclaimed that he was happy filming was over so he could take care of his arm. When Schwartz asked what was wrong with his arm, he replied, "Oh, I broke it a few weeks ago". He explained that three weeks prior he had missed the crash pads when he fell out of the coconut tree for a scene and smashed his right arm into the stage. He decided not to seek medical treatment because he did not want to disrupt filming.
Revenge Is Sweet
Remember the ship “Minnow”? It was actually called after Federal Communications Commission president Newton Minnow, who had some harsh words on the role of television shows in our lives. Schwartz hated him so much, he needed to find a way to get payback. We think he did it
Gilligan Was Originally Played By Jerry Van Dyke
Schwartz really wanted Jerry Van Dyke to play the role of Gilligan, but after one look at the script, Van Dyke said it was “the worst thing I’d ever read.”
Raquel Welch Almost Played Mary Ann
During the show’s original testing, test audience members did not respond well to the character of Mary Ann (who was originally named Bunny and was a secretary). The writers changed the character to a “girl next door” type and auditioned the young Raquel Welch. Sadly for Welch, she was deemed “too sexy” for the show.
Six Women Have Played Ginger
Although Tina Louise played the starlet perfectly, Louise was not exactly enamored with the role. In spin-offs and sequels, other actresses stepped in to play Ginger. Kit Smythe played Ginger in the pilot, though initially, the character was a secretary. After Louise stepped away from the island forever, she was replaced by Judith Baldwin in the TV movies and Constance Forslund. In the animated version of Gilligan's Island, Dawn Wells took on the rolls of both Mary Ann AND Ginger!
Mary Ann Is Everyone's Favorite Character
According to online polls, Mary Ann is the favored character, followed by Gilligan and poor Mrs. Howell was voted the least favorite.
Gilligan’s Island - The Next Adventure
Schwartz wanted to keep the show going, with the characters moving in together to the same neighborhood. Sadly, CBS president Jim Aubrey didn’t really like the idea.
The Fourth Wall
In the acting world, the fourth wall is the space between an actor and the camera crew or audience. The Skipper was well known for "breaking the fourth wall" and for looking directly at the camera and making a face.
The Assassination of JFK’s Caused The production To Shut Down
During the filming of the pilot episode at the Honolulu Harbor, news came over the radio the JFK has been shot in Dallas. When Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn as the President, he ordered every military installation to be shut down. Because they could not film at the harbor, the producers decided to close shop for several days. If you look carefully in the opening credits, you can see the American flag flying half-mast.
Gilligan's Island Is All About Politics
When show's head writer attended college, he was inspired by 2 simple questions: What would you take with you to a deserted island? and why? According to him, he was fascinated by the idea of watching people communicate and exchange goods in a tiny environment. The way you live your life is ruled by politics, but what happens when all the old rules are thrown out the window and you must find new ones? That’s how “Gilligan's Island” was born.
Dawn Wells Got The Biggest Paycheck Off The Show
During the initial contract signing on the show, Wells asked for profits from the show’s eventual syndicated re-runs. At the time, no one really knew what syndication was, so the producers accepted her contract, thinking that there wouldn’t be anything to it. That little trick made her millions, while the rest of cast got nothing.
Alan Hale had a habit of calling everyone on set "little buddy". Because of this, it was then written into the script that the Skipper would call Gilligan "little buddy", which added to the Skipper's kind heart.
There Were Not One But TWO Cartoon Spin-Offs
Cartoons based on popular sitcoms were very common in the 70s. Gilligan's Island had not one but TWO different cartoon spin-offs, one even took place in space. Gilligan's Planet had thirteen episodes, and it would be the last Saturday morning cartoon ever produced by the Filmation studio.
The Professor And Mary Ann Fought For Their Names
During the show’s first season, the names of actors Wells and Hale were competing with each other on the show’s opening credits. What does that mean? They appeared one before the other, while their contracts demanded otherwise. The Hale’s name came before Wells, and she did NOT like that. When the show came back for a second season, the producers had to fix that problem if they wanted Wells to come back to work. Actors can be petty sometimes…
There Were Supposed To Be Dinosaurs On The Island
During the show’s third season, the writers thought it would be funny to add a pet dinosaur into the mix. Sadly, because of budget reasons, the dinosaur never made it on the show. However, on the animated show “Gilligan’s Planet”, there is a pet dinosaur. Guess they couldn’t let that idea go away.
Date Posted: Monday, March 12th, 2018 , Total Page Views: 2136
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