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Gilligan’s Island Star Broke His Arm and Continued Filming

Gilligan’s Island debuted on CBS in September of 1964 and was an immediate success. Each week, viewers tuned in to see what mischief their favourite castaways would get into. As audience members, we only watch the cast members’ spectacular performances; yet, there is a lot of hard work and even danger involved behind the scenes. Join FactsVerse as we discover how Gilligan’s Island star broke his arm and continued filming.

Actors getting injured on set is nothing new in the world of filming. Most often, it is never heard of, and sometimes, it depends on how big a deal the individual is. Likewise, in Gilligan’s Island, the series’ castaways were in harm’s way on multiple occasions, and Alan Hale Jr. was not an exception.

To most people, Alan Hale Jr. will always be the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island. Throughout the show’s three seasons, Hale was irresistible onscreen as Captain Minnow. He was well-known among the cast and crew for persevering through setbacks in order to see his scenes filmed.

Nonetheless, Hale suffered a severe injury while filming an episode.

Even though his injury was causing him discomfort, Hale worked through the rest of the day to finish filming.

His little buddy Gilligan, played by Bob Denver, recalls a day when Hale fell out of a tree during filming and landed hard on his arm. Hale, although clearly being in pain, jumped up and attempted it again.

In the following scene, Hale, with a broken arm, carries a sack of coconuts and Gilligan, which he does perfectly.

Hale never let on that he was in pain, so no one on set noticed that he had been gravely hurt. Hale showed great fortitude as he persevered through the filming process despite his condition.

As a matter of fact, none of his co-stars or the production staff had any idea he had been hurt.

 One could say he was so committed to his character and the movie that he was willing to risk further damage in order to finish shooting.

A few weeks later, at a wrap party, Schwartz saw that Hale’s arm looked swollen and discoloured.

Sherwood Schwartz, who created the show, wrote of Hale’s injury in his memoir, Inside Gilligan’s Island. Hale’s hard work and determination astounded Schwartz. After being questioned about how he kept working despite the injury, Hale responded by saying it wasn’t easy.

However, that wasn’t the only time Hale found himself having to work with an injury. In one episode of the first season, Hale had a nasty cut on his ear from a faulty breakaway bamboo ladder. So that it wouldn’t be visible on camera, he had the medics bandage it up and the costume designers figure out a way to work the bandage into his outfit. All of this was done so that the crew wouldn’t have to stop working while he recovered.

After the series’ cancellation in 1967, Hale appeared in three TV movies and two cartoons in which he once again voiced the title character. Hale, however, enjoyed being typecast as the Skipper despite the fact that most actors dislike such situations. The actor, as reported by, donned his iconic costume during visits to children’s hospitals in an effort to brighten the patients’ days.

Hale passed away on January 2, 1990, but he will be remembered fondly by generations of TV viewers thanks to reruns of Gilligan’s Island.

Actors on the set of a popular TV show definitely don’t prepare themselves to be eaten alive by a colossal lion. On the contrary, in 1966, that nearly happened to Gilligan’s Island actor Bob Denver.

In “Feed the Kitty,” Episode 24 of Season 2, Denver nearly becomes a lion’s next meal. The show centred on the massive animal, but production nearly ended in disaster.

The episode’s central conflict involves the arrival of a container containing a lion destined for a zoo on the island. Although the rest of the cast is afraid of the lion, Gilligan forms a close relationship with it after he extracts a thorn from the lion’s paw. And yet, before the castaways form a close friendship, Gilligan is just as terrified as the others. In spite of the fact that a trained lion was featured in the Gilligan’s Island episodes, it is nonetheless a lion. Everything was going smoothly during rehearsals, but when it came time to start shooting, the lion had different plans.

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The moment in which Gilligan attempts to defend his hut from the lion is widely regarded as one of the funniest in the show’s history. He doesn’t realise, however, that the lion has already entered his hut and is resting on his bed. Unfortunately for Gilligan, he and the massive beast are now both imprisoned inside his fortified hut. A roar echoed through the hut while the colossal lion remained on the bed. Within a fraction of a second after that, the lion went at the actor, trying to leap off the bed and attack Denver.

Luckily, the bed wasn’t securely fastened, so before the lion could fully leap, the bed pushed it backwards so it couldn’t pounce on Denver. The lion is said to have come within inches of Denver that day before its trainer managed to corral it, so that bed may have actually saved his life.

Although this is a humorous TV clip, the actor was actually in serious danger.

While the episode became a fan favourite, all Bob Denver cared about was getting through production without getting hurt. Given that Gilligan actually came dangerously close to being a lion’s supper, the episode’s title is ironic.

Denver finally opened up about the terrible experience many years later. A small mouse, he joked, because that’s what he looked like in that moment. Yet, contrary to what one might assume, the actor stressed that this was no funny affair.

While many actors encounter hazards that sometimes require them to give up their acting careers altogether, there are a few who take on acting because of it. And such people who experienced the latter include Gilligan’s Island cast members Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells.

Penn State alum and native Russell Johnson had quite the resume before landing the role of The Professor on Gilligan’s Island, but he wasn’t always headed for Hollywood. It is known that when he was eight years old, his father passed away, and his mother, unable to care for all of her children, placed him in an orphanage. He remained there throughout his high school years. Once he finished school, he was left with only one viable option: enlisting in the armed forces during World War II.

Johnson eventually enrolled in a radio and mechanics school and served on a B-25 bomber crew that completed 44 missions. He received numerous prestigious decorations, including the Purple Heart, which is given to soldiers who have been killed or wounded in action. In an interview with the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader from 2007, Johnson recounted the incident, adding that it was an operation they had done severally. They had been dispatched to the Philippines to bomb a Japanese airport from a height of only one hundred feet. However, they took some gunfire which killed their radio operator, and they inevitably found themselves in the ocean.

He was fortunate to be rescued despite having fractured both of his ankles in the mishap. Johnson was one of the several people the Army’s Sea Rescue team brought to safety; he was then taken to a military hospital in New Guinea.

After a successful recovery, Johnson decided to pursue acting.

Dawn Wells is famous for her portrayal of Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island. Mary Ann was adored by many due to her stunning good looks. Dawn passed away a year ago from the dreadful COVID-19. Shortly before her passing, she discussed her early life and how they inspired her to pursue acting. An injury was the true motivating factor behind her career shift.

She had originally planned on pursuing a career in ballet. Subsequently, she settled on becoming a paediatric surgeon. But it took a persistent knee problem to change her perspective and led her to consider becoming an actress. She excelled in high school debates and wanted to pursue a career in speaking and dancing. But unfortunately, most of her knees came out of joint. Consequently, she enrolled at Stephens College, which catered specifically to female students. She was in college and planning to become a doctor, but her knees prevented her from participating in any physical education classes, so she enrolled in a theatrical class instead.

She gave herself two years to figure out her future because she realised that acting professionally was a long shot. She thought to herself, if nothing stuck, she’d go back to med school and figure something else out. Fortunately for everyone, she got the part of Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island.

The show’s star, Dawn, reportedly received more fan letters than any other cast member. But she was so modest that she didn’t think she was the most well-liked character on the show. It is pretty arguable that her character was the most well-liked because everyone could relate to her. Every kid who has watched the show knows that Ginger was just too much. One would need a high level of sophistication to connect with the character. Mrs Howell, on the other hand, was old enough for your grandmother. And that, by default, left Mary Ann as the well-liked character. Undoubtedly, Dawn will be missed. What would happen if she never got a sprained knee? She sure had talent enough for both ballet and medicine.

There you have it. It’s now time to hear from you. In the comments section below, your favourite part of the video. And also, tell us who your favourite Gilligan’s Island character is. Remember to show your support by liking this video and subscribing to the channel. Enabling post notifications will ensure that you don’t miss any of our daily uploads. Catch you in the next one.

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