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The original Gilligan’s Island theme song & cast you probably don’t remember (1963)

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Gilligan's Island title credit

In the original “Gilligan’s Island” pilot produced for CBS, “Marooned,” filmed in November 1963, there were seven characters. Four — Gilligan (Bob Denver), the Skipper (Alan Hale), and Mr and Mrs Howell (Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer) — made it beyond that initial episode.

The three who were voted off the island were two secretaries — Bunny (Nancy McCarthy) and Ginger version 1.0 (Kit Smythe) — and the first professor (John Gabriel).

The pilot episode, shown below, opens with a Calypso-style theme song — sung by showrunner Sherwood Schwartz and written John Williams (as Johnny Williams). The following decade, Williams became known around the world for composing the “Star Wars” theme, and went on have a hugely-successful career that so far includes five Academy Award wins.

And while the incongruously Caribbean-flavored “Gilligan’s Island” theme song was certainly catchy… let’s just say wouldn’t ever make it on any kind of “Best of” album. (Sample line: “Tourist come, tourist go, tourist touring to and fro, these five nice tourists, they take this trip, relaxing on deck on this little ship.”)

MORE: Gilligan’s Island show intro, theme song & lyrics (1964-67)

The TV series with the lineup we came to know and love debuted on September 26, 1964. The powers that be decided to skip the first episode — and it wouldn’t be seen by the public until 1992. That meant that for decades, most people never realized that three people had already given back their torches and been sent back home.

But today, right here, we remember Bunny, Ginger the first, and the temporary Professor in pictures and video.


From the original Gilligan’s Island pilot episode

L to R: Skipper, Professor, Ginger, Bunny, Mr Howell, Mrs Howell

Scenes The original Gilligan's Island


Gilligan finally lands on Kauai

Moloaa, Kauai — Gilligan has finally landed on Kauai. It’s a good thing, too, because from the look of it, his boat could not have stood up much longer.

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Gilligan — played by Bob Denver, the Maynard G. Krebbs of “Dobie Gillis” fame — is cast as the sole crew member of a charter boat which smashes up on a tropic isle with a party of six, including the captain.

The adventures of the group form the nucleus of a proposed television series called “Gilligan’s Travels.”

The half-hour comedy series — which began a shooting schedule for the pilot film Tuesday — is the creation of Sherwood Schwartz, a writer and producer. Gladasya Production Co. is producing the series in conjunction with CBS and United Artists.

Besides Denver, who plays the wacky crew member of the beached Minnow, Alan Hale, a movie and television regular for many years, has the role of the skipper of the ill-fated ship.

Jim Backus — who is probably best known as the voice of “Mr. Magoo” — is cast as the millionaire, Mr Howell, who has chartered the boat.

The other four characters are played by Natalie Schafer, John Gabriel, Nancy McCarthy and Kit Smythe.

MORE: New sitcom Gilligan’s Island a surprise hit on TV (1965)

Scenes from Gilligan's Island lost pilot episode 1963 (4)


Meet the other original Gilligan’s Island castaways: John Gabriel, Kit Smythe & Nancy McCarthy

John Gabriel (as “The Professor”), Alan Hale Jr., Kit Smythe (as “Ginger”), Nancy McCarthy (as “Bunny”) / production still from the pilot of Gilligan’s Island TV show

Production still from the pilot of Gilligan's Island


Original Gilligan’s Island stars Kit Smythe (Ginger), Nancy McCarthy (Bunny)

Here, the girls are seen washing their clothes in the pilot episode

Scenes from Gilligan's Island lost pilot episode 1963 (3)


The Professor (John Gabriel)


Bunny & Gilligan


The original Gilligan’s Island pilot episode intro — “Marooned”

Filmed in November 1963 for the 1964 debut, the Gilligan’s Island pilot episode was never broadcast during the series’ run. It eventually aired many years later — on October 16, 1992. Here the opening credits are introduced by Bob Denver.

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