The first season of the show was filmed in black-and-white — later colorized for syndication — while the program’s second and third seasons (along with the three television movie sequels) were filmed in color.
Gilligan’s Island a surprise hit on TV (1965)
The Los Angeles Times (California) May 26, 1965
The canary-eatingest smile in TV today is being worn by Sherwood Schwartz, creator and producer of Gilligan’s Island.
Most of TV’s critics gave Sherwood’s brainchild the honor of being the worst series to smell up the medium since the birth of “The Beverly Hillbillies” three seasons ago.
James Cornell, program analyst for the N W Ayer ad agency, who does a pre-season handicap of TV’s rating race, tabbed Gilligan as one of the flops of the season’s new series, and placed it number 74 in the total list of 96 network shows.
Last month, Sherwood picked up Mr Nielsen’s latest rating book, and found Gilligan tied with Red Skelton for seventh place among TV’s Top 10 shows, and his smile grew even wider.
“I’ve never claimed Gilligan was the greatest thing since the wheel,” Sherwood comments, “but when someone asked me recently if I thought it was, I said to him, ‘Which wheel?'”
It’s easy to see that Sherwood is enjoying himself immensely. As a writer of comedy for the past 25 years (he started with Bob Hope on the radio), Sherwood knows there aren’t too many laughs along the way for his breed. He’ll make the most of it while he can.
Some of the critics may be rocked a bit to learn that Sherwood believes he has fashioned a social satire in Gilligan.
“Granted, my characters are broad, but I have six types, whose patterns of social behavior make them react to type regardless of where they are,” explains Hollywood’s newest Jonathan Swift.
Gallery of slapstick on Gilligan’s Island
“The Skipper is the physical brute,” Sherwood continues, “then there’s the rich man and his wife, the glamour girl, the intellectual, and the country girl. Gilligan, of course, is the innocent.”
Underneath a heavy layer of slapstick and some terribly obvious joke lines, Sherwood the satirist maintains there is an undercurrent of sharp and significant byplay.
Unfortunately, a large segment of the Gilligan audience must be missing this. Of the 2,500 letters which Sherwood reports the series receives, most are written by viewers between the ages of 10 and 16.
“They don’t have anything particular to say about the show, just that they love it,” says Sherwood. “Parents write, too, though. They are glad their kids like it, because they say there’s no sex or violence.”
some viewers may have trouble squaring that reaction with the regular appearance Tina Louise as Ginger, one of Sherwood’s seven shipwrecked types.
“Yes,” admits Sherwood, “Ginger is sexy, but it’s fun sex. because nobody in the show reacts to her sexiness.”
If there is some added social significance to that situation, Sherwood didn’t bother to explain what it might be. Intellectuals watching Gilligan probably have no trouble figuring it out.
Coast guard missed the boat
Earlier this season, Sherwood received a visit from a Cmdr. Doyle of the US Coast Guard. He had in this portfolio a dozen or more telegrams from distraught Gilligan viewers who wanted to know why the Navy with all of its latest radar equipment couldn’t locate this island and save these poor souls. That’s a problem with satire not everyone gets it.
A perplexed father recently wrote Sherwood to report that his 9-year-old daughter had changed her name to “Gilligan’s Island,” and refused to answer to any other name.
Sherwood hasn’t said what answer. if any, he had for this father. The least he can do is send the girl a Gilligan T-shirt. Yes, merchandise (games, coloring books and clothing) for Gilligan is on the way, and will be in the stores by September.
It’s all part of Sherwood’s mad, mad, mad world of TV satire.
The crew (and cast) of Gilligan’s Island
Did you know The Skipper’s real name? What about the Professor?
- Gilligan (Bob Denver)
- Jonas ‘The Skipper’ Grumby (Alan Hale Jr.)
- Thurston Howell III (Jim Backus)
- Natalie Schafer (Mrs. Lovey Howell)
- Ginger Grant (Tina Louise)
- Professor Roy Hinkley (Russell Johnson)
- Mary Ann Summers (Dawn Wells)
For a show about people lost on a supposedly deserted island, they sure had a lot of visitors! Some notable guest stars included Kurt Russell ( Jungle Boy), Zsa Zsa Gabor (Erika Tiffany-Smith), Richard Kiel (Russian Agent), Don Rickles (Norbett Wiley), Phil Silvers (Harold Hecuba) and Sterling Holloway (Burt).
Gilligan’s Island opening & closing credits (color)
Gilligan’s Island sitcom season 1 intro (black & white)
Gilligan’s Island TV opening lyrics
Just sit right back
And you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day,
For a three hour tour,
A three hour tour.
The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost.
The Minnow would be lost.
The ship set ground on the shore
Of this uncharted desert isle
The Skipper too.
And his wife,
The movie star,
The professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan’s Isle.
Gilligan’s Island TV show theme: End lyrics
So this is the tale of our castaways,
They’re here for a long long time.
They’ll have to make the best of things,
It’s an uphill climb.
The first mate and his Skipper, too
Will do their very best,
To make the others comfortable
In their tropic island nest.
No phone, no lights, no motor car,
Not a single luxury
Like Robinson Crusoe
It’s primitive as can be.
So join us here each week, my friends,
You’re sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castaways
Here on Gilligan’s Isle!
The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island (1981)