It was only ever supposed a three-hour tour, but as we all know, Gilligan and his friends ended up getting a lot more than they bargained for when the boat that they were traveling in got lost in a torrential storm.
After being marooned on a deserted and uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, the five passenger’s and two crew members of that S.S. Minnow had to learn to learn together while trying to find some way off the island.
Gilligan’s Island first aired In 1964 and audiences immediately took a liking to the quirky cast lead by Bob Denver as Gilligan and Alan Hale Jr. as the Skipper. Unfortunately, the fan base just wasn’t large enough to convince the network to keep the series going for very long.
Fans of the show were shocked when CBS unexpectedly pulled the plug on the campy series in 1967. Even though it had a pretty short run, Gilligan’s island remains an iconic piece of modern pop culture even in reruns -which in case you were wondering, have been continually airing in syndication for more than fifty years now.
And did you know that a fourth season of the series was actually planned for production but its sudden cancellation dashed those hopes to pieces. There is actually quite a bit of hidden trivia about Gilligan and his fellow stranded castaway friends that you probably weren’t aware of.
Well for one thing, did you know about the Gilligan’s Island board game that came out in 1965? Or how about all of the other collector’s items and merchandise that the show produced? Some of which is super valuable these days.
There’s a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes facts that are worth noting. Like, did you know that Natalie Schafer, the actress that played snooty Mrs. Howell, was actually a millionaire before she was cast for Gilligan’s Island?
And, Can you imagine if Gilligan’s Island had a different theme song? The mere mention of its theme music surely has just about everyone humming its infectious tune in their heads. It’s the very definition of an ear-worm, but, apparently, the producers of the show originally had an entirely different song in mind when developing the series.
Keep watching to learn more of the hidden truth behind-the-scenes of Gilligan’s Island. Some of this stuff is going to blow your mind.
Gilligan Carries A Moral Message
Some people classify Gilligan’s Island as a family show, while other perspectives present it as being more of an adult-oriented show exhibiting a lot of ‘unbridled sexual tension’ that younger viewers might not pick up on.
In truth, Sherwood Schwartz created the show after being inspired by the student body of his college class at NYU. He wanted to create a show about what he called, ‘dissimilar individuals’ who have to learn how to get along in order to survive.
Schwartz also wanted to use the show as a way of lampooning world politics. While Gilligan’s Island was never intended to carry an overtly political message, some of the situations the castaways got themselves into mirrored world events that were happening during the show’s run.
Sherwood believed that when the going gets rough, we as a society can learn to come together if we join forces and let go of our egos. The majority of viewers probably weren’t thinking about all these deep undertones because we were too busy laughing but Gilligan’s Island is in fact a lot deeper of a show than most fans probably realize.
And apparently, some fans of the show have come up with this theory that the seven shipwrecked passengers actually somehow represent the Seven Deadly sins. According to these folks, Ginger is lust, naturally, and Mrs. Howell is apparently gluttony. Her husband is said to be greed, Gilligan sloth, and Skipper gets the honor of being wrath. The perpetually vain Mary Ann of course is envy and the Professor is pride.
We think that this theory might be a bit of a stretch, but who knows. They might be on to something.
But if you think that’s a crazy interpretation of the show, wait until you hear what some people think the show represents politically.
By the way, if you’re enjoying this video so far, why not take a moment to give it a like and subscribe to our channel.
And make sure you watch this whole video. We haven’t even got to the juicy reveals yet, so hold your horses.
The Hidden Politics Of Gilligan’s Island
Sherwood Schwartz had always envisioned Gilligan’s Island as a social microcosm of sorts. According to him, Most of the metaphor and satire that he pushed for went right over the broadcaster’s heads. The show just billed itself as a comedy but in reality, it was much more than that.
In 1963, while filming the first episode of the series, the crew learned about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s murder took place the day before the last day of filming in Hawaii. What an ominous way to start out a show?
When a member of the crew learned of Kennedy’s assassination on the radio, they rushed to the set to deliver the news. The government issued an order closing all military installations including Honolulu harbor while Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president.
In the shows opening credits, you can actually see that the flag was at half-mast when Gilligan and the gang leave Honolulu Harbor aboard the S.S. Minnow. On a lighter note, The Minnow was reportedly named after famed FCC president Newton Minow, whom Schwartz deeply despised.
Schwartz Was Disappointed When Critics Didn’t Get The Metaphor
It’s pretty clear that Gilligan’s Island is a caricature of democracy – at least Sherwood sure thought so, but he was shocked that nobody seemed to be picking up on that little fact. It wasn’t until years later when author Paul A. Cantor wrote a book called Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization and addressed the political themes of the show that Schwartz felt vindicated. Finally, someone was picking up what he had been laying down for so many years.
The ‘Battle of Gilligan’s Island’ Wasn’t The Original Theme Song
We’re willing to bet that some of you out there are still humming along to the Gilligan’s Island theme song. We know how infectious it is. But the tune that we all know and love wasn’t even originally going to be the theme song for the show. The pilot actually featured an entirely different song than the one we’re familiar with. If you’ve ever heard it, you’re probably grateful that they went with their second choice.
So who wrote the Gilligan’s Island theme song that we’re all accustomed to? That would be none other than celebrated composer John Williams. John has a pretty impressive resume too. He’s won two Emmys, three Golden Globes, 25 Grammys, 52 Oscars. and put out over 20 Gold and Platinum records.
For Gilligan’s Island, he was credited as ‘Johnny Williams’. And as you probably already know, he went on to compose theme songs and music for Jaws, ET, Star Wars, and many more iconic films. Williams also conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra for many years. If you didn’t know about the alternate theme song that’s probably because the pilot featuring it didn’t air on TV until 1992.
Where Was Gilligan’s Island Anyways?
Okay, so this is an issue that has inspired contentious debate over the years. And apparently, some of the provided clues conflict with others hinted at by the show, so we may never truly know the location of the island. But even so, we still might just be able to get a general idea of where the Island might be.
One episode gives coordinates of the island as approximately 140 degrees latitude by 10 degrees longitude. Unfortunately, the laws of physics prohibit such a coordinate from existing. Another episode suggests that the shipwrecked crew were 250 miles south of Hawaii.
The iconic lagoon set was actually built in Studio City, Los Angeles in 1964. Today it’s an employee parking lot, but several other filming locations were used throughout the show’s production.
For the pilot, filming took place at Zuma Beach near Malibu, California, and Hanalei Plantation Resort and Moloaa Bay in Hawaii. The first S.S. Minnow was purchased at Honolulu Harbor, and the islands featured in the opening credits have been identified as Coconut Island in Hawaii, Sandy Cay in the Bahamas, and Marina Del Rey in California.
Endless Wardrobes And Other Flubs
It’s no surprise that Gilligan’s Island had experienced production goofs during its run. Most shows have a few gaffes from time to time. But Gillian’ actually had one right out of the gate. In the opening credits for example eight people can clearly be seen abroad the S.S. Minnow when there should have only been seven.
In another early episode Mary Ann and Ginger both discuss how they can smell fudge burning in their hut, but when the structure falls down it’s completely empty. In another episode, the professor attempts to glue the Minnow back together. Of course, it falls apart but just two episodes later the vessel can be seen completely intact.
One of the biggest blunders that the show made however is the sheer amount of clothing and makeup that Mary Ann, Ginger, and the Howells seem to have even though they only ever intended on going on a three-hour yet. Ginger and Mary Ann are never seen wearing the same outfit twice. So what’s the deal? Was Amazon using their drones to make wardrobe dumps once a week or is somebody on the island a master tailor and failed to ever tell us?
Ginger Slept In The Nude
Ginger was originally played by actress Kit Smyth. In the pilot and she was far less sultry than the version of the character that Tina Louise would later play. In fact, Ginger was originally envisioned as a school teacher.
Tina Louse was a little upset when the show started picking up steam. Her agent had originally led her to believe that she would be the star of the show and when she found out that that wasn’t the case, there was a lot of tension on the set.
Louise much preferred acting in films over television series and she would often break away from the rest of the cast to work on other projects. Polls suggest that viewers actually preferred Dawn Wells as Mary Ann over her character which you think might have put a strain on their relationship but the two actresses were actually very close friends.
Gilligan’s Island debuted just two years after Marilyn Monroe passed away. A lot of fans like to compare Ginger to Monroe. One thing that the network censors failed to catch in the second episode of the series was when Ginger was roused out of bed wearing nothing but a sheet. Just like Monroe, who famously slept in the nude, so did Ginger.
Louise would later regret starring in the show. She felt like she had become typecast and that appearing in the comedy had ruined her movie career. She declined to appear in subsequent shows documenting Gilligan’s Island after the series wrapped up.
Well, here we are at the end of another facts-packed video.
We’d love to hear from you! After all, without our viewing audience, we’d be nothing.
Which of the Gilligan Girls did you secretly always have a crush on, Mary Ann or Ginger? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
And before you go, make sure you take a second to give us a like and subscribe to our channel. Tap the bell icon to turn on notifications so you can keep up with all of our future videos.