Friday, February 16, 2007

Ginger's - I mean, Gilligan's Island

The name of this blog comes from a phrase that was used often on one of the most popular television shows of all time. Like it or hate it, you’ve probably heard of “Gilligan’s Island.” Last Sunday was the birthday of actress Tina Louise, who played (sigh) Ginger on the show. That seems like a good enough reason for a quick look back.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale about a show that seems like it ran forever, but actually only ran for 98 episodes. The reason it seems like it ran forever is that it was practically “re-run” forever. Like “I Love Lucy,” “Gilligan’s Island” was syndicated across the nation after it went off the air. It is perhaps the first and best example of a show that actually grew in popularity after it was no longer in production. (“Star Trek” may be the ultimate example of this, but Gilligan works just as well).

“Gilligan’s Island” is ridiculous, and that’s pretty much exactly why we love it. In the “Unofficial Gilligan’s Island Handbook,” each of the cast members was asked what the ultimate message of “Gilligan’s Island” was. Almost all of them gave a similar answer: It was just fun.

I remember Gilligan for the silly situations, a few classic episodes, and Ginger. Oh, Ginger. . . She was my sex symbol before I knew what sex was. If the Fonz was the poor girl’s James Dean, then Ginger was the poor man’s Marilyn Monroe.

I need to note: I like Mary Ann, too! The whole “Ginger vs. Mary Ann” argument is kind of futile. It’s sort of like asking, “Which would you rather have, the perfect woman, or the perfect woman?” Well, how can I lose either way? Also, Mary Ann probably never would pretend to like somebody just to get what she wants. And we all know that Ginger would do that in a heartbeat.

The show had some profound moments. When Gilligan and the crew eat some seeds that allow them to read each others’ minds, it doesn’t take long for everyone to realize that this is not a good idea. When Gilligan gets rid of the plant where the seeds came from, no one is mad at him. That’s an interesting tale on a show that the uninformed don’t think has any merit.

Joey Greene’s “Unofficial Gilligan’s Island Handbook” was also a lot of fun for me. It came out before the Internet got “big”, and it was great to see that there were people much more obsessed with the show than I was! I think it’s still available, as are similar books by Russell Johnson and Bob Denver.

Sadly, as of today, you’ll have a hard time finding “Gilligan” on the air. But the series is available on DVD, and hopefully will be for all time to come. This is definitely a piece of the “vast wasteland” that needs to be preserved.

Sometimes, when the world is too much with me, I think about places I would like to get away to. Gilligan’s Island seems like a good choice to me. Friendly people (not counting the headhunters of course), nice scenery, all-natural foods, etc. All I would need is a radio. Of course, I would probably have to live on the other side of the island, so that I wouldn’t disturb the chemistry that can only be found between the seven stranded castaways who have captured my heart. But I suppose it might be possible to visit a certain redhead every once in a while. . .I know a really nice beach over there where we can be all alone. . .until Gilligan comes running by. :)


SHIP AHOAX: One of the best shows I've seen in any series. Ginger's magic trick may turn into the castaways' salvation. An honestly entertaining and interesting episode.

HI-FI GILLIGAN: Something silly turns into something moving and profound. Gilligan gets hit on the head, and his head turns into a radio receiver. By the end of the episode, we get a wonderful picture of how each of the castaways cares for each other. A must-see.

SEER GILLIGAN: When Gilligan eats the seeds from a plant, he gains the ability to read minds. And we learn why it might be a good idea not to eat those seeds.

HIGH MAN ON THE TOTEM POLE: Because two heads are better than one.

ALL ABOUT EVA: Because two Gingers are better than one.

UP AT BAT: Great kiddie Halloween fun.

THE FRIENDLY PHYSICIAN: If only they could have put Mary Ann's brain into Ginger's body. . .

GHOST A GO-GO: Beware of ghosts bearing gifts!

CASTAWAYS PICTURES PRESENTS: “What's THAT?!!” It's a hand, Skipper. :)

SMILE, YOU'RE ON MARS CAMERA: A camera meant to land on Mars lands on the Island instead. The silliness factor reaches its highest peak.

TOPSY-TURVEY: Gilligan sees everything upside-down. “One professor, two professor. . .”

SPLASHDOWN: What are the chances that one of the astronauts would be named “Sol?” Dang, talk about bad luck! And talk about funny!

VOODOO: Professor as a zombie. Ginger's rain dance. What more could you want – a giant spider?

THE PIGEON: A giant spider. And a man whose pigeon flies to the island.

SKIPPER: Professor, what are the chances this plan will work?
PROFESSOR: Well. . .a million to one.
SKIPPER: Oh, great! A million to one! What could be worse odds than that?
GILLIGAN: A million to none!
PROFESSOR: Exactly! At least there’s a chance!

SKIPPER: Ginger, you don’t need me. You’ve got Gilligan, you’ve got Mr. Howell, and you’ve got the Professor.
GINGER: Gilligan is just a boy, Mr. Howell is a married man, and the Professor is only interested in my mind!

This Gilligan fan club site has plenty of fun things, including a list of Ginger’s movie credits. Check it out!

If you’re willing to wade through a lot of pop-up ads, you can find some nice pictures of the Gilligan cast members by following the link at the site below:


FROM THE ‘I THOUGHT I HAD SEEN IT ALL’ DEPARTMENT: Apparently, the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker crawled into a sack of potatoes and bit Mr. Potato Head as well, creating the super-hero “Mr. Potato Spud-man!” Or something like that. This picture is from the recent national “toy fair.“ I assume we’ll be seeing the toy around the time “Spidey 3” comes out. Until then, we can plan for the ultimate battle with Darth Tater. :)


WEB CLAM: Do you like to eat clams? For some reason, here in SoCal, despite the fact that we are pretty close to an ocean, clams are hard to find on the menu. But I have had my share of clam chowder in my day, and I do approve of it. While searching for images of Tina Louise, I came upon Michael Marcus’ great clam Web page. (I also managed to find a Greta Garbo stamp and a picture of a dog with her puppies. Sigh. Web page surfing is not a perfect art yet.) Michael’s page has almost everything you would want to know about eating clams. Check it out!


THEIR OWN SERIES AT LAST! Two of my heroes will finally be getting their own TV series, albeit a very short one. The Muppet Newsflash blog has reported that Ernie and Bert will appear as animated characters in a series of 5-minute long episodes in “The Adventures of Bert and Ernie.” A handful of media outlets worldwide (including ABC in Australia) plan to air the series. I'm hoping that a kind muppet fan in Australia will be willing to trade episodes of this. (Anybody here from Australia?) You can read all about it at the blog posting here:

This is a great idea. But what isn't so great is the fact that (at this time) Sesame Workshop has NO plans to air it in the U.S.! Arrgh! Why on earth not? Bert and Ernie are certainly still household names here. It would make a great insert segment for Sesame Street. So why don't they show it here?

Actually, I sort of already know why not. Sesame Workshop has been turning its sights toward a younger child audience for many years now. So they would prefer to play it safe and feature Elmo making stupid comments in front of babies than feature anything innovative and imaginative like a clay animation series. Let the rest of the world have innovation, we'll settle for forced cuteness and stupid slapstick, because it's our job to please stupid overprotective parents.

Did I actually say that? How could I say such a thing? I'm such a nice guy. . .

Hehehehehehe. . . .


If you remember the 1950’s Superman TV show, you may recall that a few of the earlier episodes were not exactly meant for young kids. Fred Hembeck brings this up to Superman himself in his latest “Fred Hembeck Show” episode. Although perhaps some things are best left unsaid. . .


Congrats to the folks at for their new “sale” to TV Guide. Your hard work has paid off and you have reached a higher level of blog. :) Your site is appreciated. Here’s hoping for more great coverage in the future.