25 Hidden Photos From “Gilligan’s Island”

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The Gilligan’s Island was an iconic American TV show – and also one of the most loved at that.  It was one of the most watched American TV shows in history. Now if you want to know more about this iconic sitcom, you must see the following photos you probably have not seen before.  You will be surprised! (Photo caption may not be related to the photo itself.)

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The idea for Gilligan’s Island started  when Sherwood Schwartz came across a question about deserted islands in his public speaking class in New York.  Cutting the long story short, he intended the show to be a metaphorical shaming of politics in the world.

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The original castaways were two secretaries as well as a high school teacher.

Marooned, its pilot episode was different from the first episode, as it was not aired at the time except finally in 1992.

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John Williams wrote the original Calypso Theme Song in the pilot episode.

That song was sung by Schwartz in a Caribbean patois!! Must have been a difficult one to master!

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Someone turned down Gilligan’s role. It was Jerry van Dyke. He turned it down in 1964 because did not want to become a part of a whole. He wanted to be as successful as his brother Dick, and to have his very own TV show. He was then cast for a lead role in My Mother the Car a year later. He might have regretted not accepting the role, but people were happy with Bob Denver’s performance as Gilligan.

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Dabney Coleman, Carroll o’Connor and Jane Mansfield were almost hired as island castaways, too.

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Different women played the role of Ginger. Yes, Tina Louise wasn’t the only one who portrayed Ginger!! There were several sequels and spin-offs where other actresses played Ginger. For example, Kit Smythe fitted that role during the pilot although her character was a secretary. Once Tina Louise was out of the island, she was replaced by Judith Baldwin in later TV shows.

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Due to the Kennedy Assassination, the flag during the opening credits of the show was at half mast.  The pilot episode was filmed in November 1963 when the crew and cast had just learned about JFK’s assassination. This tragic incident was commemorated in the series by the flag flying at half mast in the opening credits of the show’s opening season.

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Jonah Grumby was the real name of Skipper. He served with McHale and JFK. The name was mentioned in the pilot episode, however it was hardly mentioned again after.

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The first name of Gilligan is Willy. That’s right! According to a very credible source, Schwartz himself, Gilligan isn’t his first name, Willy is. That’s some trivia for you guys!

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Alan Hale got to his audition on horseback! Who needs cars after all ? He was filming a movie, Bullet for a Bad Man in St. George, when he got the casting call for the show. He was not able to get time off for a screen test. So he snuck away and made his way to the audition on horseback! He also used a plane and taxis..!

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The island castaways are always listening to news using a portable radio. The voice on that radio was no others than Charles Maxwell, himself!! He’s a character actor who appeared on other shows, including Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Lawman. Even if he was not credited, the Gilligan’s Island was his longest recurring role on TV.

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Did you know that the SS Minnow was named after FCCs head? That’s an inside joke known in the industry. Newton Minow was then FCC chair. He described TV, at that time, as a large wasteland. That’s an industry inside joke that until now is still on our minds.

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There is another deviation between some of the episodes and the pilot.  Indeed, the first theme song lyrics mention a 6-hour ride. However in the creative process this ride was cut in half and the lyrics became a 3 hour tour!

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The same band that did the theme song also sang another song… “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle” by Schwartz and George Wyle was by the Wellingtons. The folk rock act also sang “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.”

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The band also appeared as the mosquitoes on the Gilligan’s Island. The band physically appeared on the sitcom during the second season episode Don’t Bug the Mosquitoes. The band washed up as the “Beatles” parody.

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In the “The Harlem Globetrotters” series, the Howells suddenly become parents!! Thurston and Lovey had no offspring as told on the original series. But in the final reunion movie, Howell IV became part of the cast because of Jim Backus’ poor health condition.

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Barbara Bain and Marin Landau last appeared as a pair in the Harlem Globetrotters on the show. This is another historical tidbit.  The married couple appeared on  Mission Impossible and Space: 1999.  Their final performance would be in the 1981 production. They divorced (1993).

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A delay in production on the show was due to JFK’s assassination. The pilot for the show was filmed for a couple of days in November 1963 (Kauai, Hawaii). Their last day of shooting was on the 23rd. So, as a mourning period, all military installations would be closed for two days.

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In fiction as in real life, the millionaire’s wife was a real deal millionaire! That’s right! Natalie Schafer was a millionaire.  She and her husband invested in real estate in Beverly Hills. During that time, a Rodeo Drive home could be bought for $50,000.

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Denver City was actually named after Bob Denver’s great, great grandfather!  Yes, the capital of Colorado was named after Bob’s great, great grandfather.

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Gilligan’s Island had several series and spin-offs. One version were two cartoons. One of them was  in outer space.  In the 1970s, cartoons based on popular TV sitcoms were common. The Gilligan’s spawned two; one was Gilligan’s Planet with 13 episodes.

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Dawn Wells, based on her husband’s advice (Larry Rosen), asked for an amendment to the “residual” clause included in her contract. The show producers granted the request, not anticipating that the show would still be on the air for almost 50 years later. Because of that, the late Sherwood Schwartz estate and Dawn Wells are the only two from the show that are still receiving money from it.

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Russell Johnson reported that he enjoyed the Gilligan, but he also noted that it was hard for him to get a role in other future productions as he had been type cast as a comedian.

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