Here’s a bit of trivia from the island that might even stump the Professor (though I doubt it). Just sit right back and challenge your memory about Gilligan’s Island.
The Theme Song
The music for the original pilot’s theme song was written by a young composer by the name of John Williams. This music had a Latin sound and the lyrics were sung with a Spanish accent. The later and well-known theme was written in one night by Sherwood Schwartz to help allay network concerns that the audience would be confused if they didn’t see the first episode.
Casting & Character Changes
After CBS viewed the original pilot (shot in Hawaii) and bought the show, they wanted to make some casting changes. Three actors were replaced and as a result, some of the pilot had to be reshot. If you look closely at the pilot pieces that were broadcast, you can still see them. As the Skipper gets up out of the boat in the beginning, you can see the three replaced actors sleeping in the background — they are John Gabriel (Professor), Kit Smythe (Ginger), and Nancy McCarthy (Bunny, the character that became Mary Ann). This Ginger and Bunny were originally secretaries. Ginger was very practical and brunette while Bunny was a very sexy blonde.
The original, black & white opening credits were shot shortly after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A flag can be seen at half-mast in the background.
Imagine this Cast of Castaways
Some early castaway casting considerations: Jerry Van Dyke turned down the role of Gilligan and Jayne Mansfield turned down the role of Ginger; Carroll O’Connor tested for the role of the Skipper and Dabney Coleman tested for the role of the Professor. Raquel Welch auditioned for the role of Mary Ann. What a different show it would have been.
Looks Great, Doesn’t Work
The first season showed the cast using cups that were actually made from coconuts. Unfortunately, the coconut cups were porous and the liquids soaked them. As a result, plastic replicas were used in later seasons.
He’s the Boss
Comic actor Phil Silvers was cast as a Hollywood producer in an episode in part because his production company actually produced the show.
First Things First
Though it was never used in the series, Sherwood maintained that Gilligan’s full name was Willie Gilligan.
And Your Name Is?
Though her husband always called her “Lovey,” Mrs. Howell’s maiden name was revealed in an episode entitled “Mr. And Mrs.?” when it was revealed that the Howells weren’t really married. She was born Eunice Wentworth.
So Long Ginger!
Had there been a fourth season, the first episode would have released Tina Louise from her Gilligan’s Island contract. Tina was extremely unhappy on the show and Sherwood Schwartz planned to have her character written out of the series.
In a 1996 issue of a publication from the Original Gilligan’s Island Fan Club, Sherwood said it would have gone something like this: While swimming out in the ocean one day, Ginger swims too far and begins to drown. Fortunately an old wooden boat floats by and she grabs hold. The castaways notice that she’s missing and search the jungle for her for days. Eventually they return to the community table and hear on the radio that she’s been rescued. Ginger is interviewed and mentions that the other castaways are alive but no one knows where the island is. Mary Ann wonders why everyone can get to the island but only one of them could get rescued.
Perhaps they’re on an island similar to the one on Lost?
The Schwartz Connection
The 1996 movie, A Very Brady Sequel featured the Brady brood traveling to Hawaii. The plot concerned the search for Carol’s first husband Roy, who disappeared years before. Through the adventure, they meet a Dr. Whitehead who is still hoping for the return of his beloved son Gilligan who was on the same boat as Carol Brady’s first husband. The first husband was, you guessed it, the Professor.
Hi, I have a few questions about the radio that was with the castaways. What was the brand name ? What is a shortwave radio ? Can I find it on any web site ? Thanks.
What about the fact that 3 characters played due roles. Gilligan, Mr. Howell and Ginger all had look a-likes show up on the island.. what are the chances?
Larry, you’re right. It’s a bit inconsistent. There could be a reasonable answer (either one of yours or since “Willie” was never used in the series…etc. etc.) but I’m guessing we’re both putting more time into this than the creators or writers would ever expect. 😉
Thanks for reading.
if Gilligan’s first name is Willie.
then in the 1996 movie, “A Very Brady Sequel” there was a Dr. Whitehead who is still hoping for the return of his beloved son Gilligan.
so does Gilligan have two last names such as Gilligan-Whitehead or is Gilligan his middle name or did Gilligan’s mother marry someone else first and later remarried to Dr. Whitehead thus Dr. Whitehead is Gilligan’s step father ?
Very nicely researched. It was great to relive some “Gilligan” memories. Keep up the great work.