Interesting Secrets You Didn’t Know About ‘Gilligan’s Island’

From the catchy theme song to the crazy concept of being stranded in the middle of nowhere Gilligan’s Island was a huge hit. The beach was hot and the girls were hotter, which helped it become one of the most syndicated TV programs of all time. Gilligan’s Island still has a fan base that follows the ’60s story line. If you are anything like us, you will love reading these Interesting Secrets You Didn’t Know About Gilligan’s Island. Don’t worry, it won’t take long… nothing like a three-hour tour or anything.

She Did Her Own Stunts

Despite being the oldest castaway with the most prissy attitude, Natalie Schafer was quite the opposite in real life. Even though The Skipper fell and broke his arm in real life, the Millionaire’s Wife did all of her own stunts. As Gilligan’s Island was being filmed, she was in her mid-60s. The young-at-heart actress did everything from fall into fake quicksand to jump into the lagoon. That is impressive to say the least and Natalie Schafer deserves a round of applause!

She Did Her Own Stunts

Did They Shake On It?

As the story goes, CBS President Jim Aubrey had to be persuaded to air the risqué television show. Therefore, he and producer Schwartz made a deal: once the ratings started to decline, the crew had to be rescued, and the network would play a follow-up show featuring their rescued lives. We all know who got the better half of that deal! The CBS president clearly underestimated the power of the plot along with the charm of the cast. Was the gang ever rescued off of the island? Well, if you remember watching the original footage…

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Did They Shake On It?

They Go Way Back

As you watch the show, you come to learn that The Skipper puts up with a lot of nonsense from Gilligan. You might often wonder why The Skipper still remains friends with Gilligan after everything that has happened. Well, it turns out they served in World War I together (yes, they are old). During their time at war, the duo served on a destroyer together and Gilligan saved The Skipper’s life. Wow, that is deep and actually makes us like the show a little more.

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They Go Way Back

Call Me… Gilligan

Often times, writers or producers of hit films and shows have specific actors or names in mind for their characters. However, that was not the case for the lead star. Despite the entire show referencing his first name, Sherwoodd Schwartz, the producer of the show, had no clue what to name Gilligan. In fact, he randomly picked a name in the phone book and that is how he got Gilligan’s Island opposed to Tom’s or Brian’s, we suppose. Yes, phone books used to be a real life to look up people’s actual phone numbers…

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Call Me… Gilligan

Their Government Names

Just in case you were wondering (because we know you are), the real names of the famous characters are as follows: Jonas “Skipper” Grumby, Ginger Grant, Thurston Howell III (the millionaire), Lovey Wentworth Howell (and his wife… you sang that, didn’t you?), Professor Roy Hinkley, and Mary Ann Summers. To be completely honest and ironic at the same time, Gilligan was the one and only character on the show without a real full name. Oh well, it was his island after all!

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Their Government Names

Something Fishy Is Going On

Now the FCC President was Newton Minow. The producer of Gilligan’s Island Sherwood Schwartz disliked that man very much. The president infamously pushed for educational shows on television because he remarked that the TV programming at the time was “a vast wasteland.” Shots fired! Well Sherwood Schwartz apparently got the last laugh because he named the boat on the show the S.S. Minnow, you know, the one that sank. *Mic drop. Sherwoodd Schwartz for the win! Well, at least his name was minnow like a fish? Bahaha…

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Something Fishy Is Going On

Strong Genes In The Van Dyke Family

Like with many other iconic roles throughout Hollywood, Gilligan was almost someone else. Jerry Van Dyke, who is the little brother of Dick Van Dyke, was the producer’s first choice for the lead position. We are not quite sure what happened (probably scheduling conflicts; it’s almost always that), but Bob Denver ended up as Gilligan. He played in 99 episodes in all three seasons. Jerry Van Dyke went on to appear in a handful of notable films and TV shows, but he also turned down the role of Don Knots in The Andy Griffith Show. Who was his agent or manager or whatever at the time?!

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Strong Genes In The Van Dyke Family

The Other Gilligan’s Island

Remember how we just said Jim Aubrey, former president of CBS, had little to no faith in the success of Gilligan’s Island? Well, he thought it would be a good idea to air his own spin-off of the show (even though it was never aired yet). Even though Jim Aubrey was a bit off on his chronological order, his experiment did not help Gilligan and the squad’s case because it was cancelled after one season. Check out The Bailey’s of Balboa, but we aren’t sure why you would really want to because it was just eh.

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The Other Gilligan’s Island

Tell Us How You Really Feel

The theme song is nearly the most popular thing about Gilligan’s Island. The notorious tunes are catchy and will get stuck in your head! Tell the truth; you’ve been humming it in your head since you started reading this list. Did you know the first season had a totally different opening? The lyrics did not feature Mary Ann or The Professor; the verse only referred to the pair as “the rest.” This, of course, led to a recurring joke on set and they were called “the rest” sometimes. It was all in good fun, at least we think.

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Tell Us How You Really Feel

A Little Touch Of Déjà Vu

Are you ready for this fun fact about Gilligan’s Island? It’s a good one: you can sing the popular gospel song Amazing Grace along to the tune of Gilligan’s Island theme show, and vice versa. Maybe that is why the song is so familiar and catchy. that is pretty smart to make a theme song a multi-purpose tune that an audience might already know and connect with on some level. They say you learn something knew everyday. Well, check that off of our list of things to do today!

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A Little Touch Of Déjà Vu

From Tropical to Western

Even though the ratings were soared at the beginning of the show, and were still decent when it ended, Gilligan’s Island was ultimately cancelled in order to free up a time slot. Word on the street is Gunsmoke, which was a long-time running western show needed that airtime. Well, business is business or whatever. Gilligan’s Island is more known than Gunsmoke (maybe?), but that did not stop Gilligan’s Island finding ways to pop up on our TV screens one way or another.

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From Tropical to Western

Once The Professor, Always The Professor

Remember what we said earlier about each character being a specific profession, too? Well, here we go: the beloved professor, played by Russell Johnson, thought he was typecast. He did adore working on the show, but after the hit TV series was cancelled, he never really broke away from his role as The Professor. He was always viewed as the same funny guy he was on Gilligan’s Island. He appeared in a plethora of shows and movies before and after the island life. He sadly passed away in 2014 at the age of 89.

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Once The Professor, Always The Professor

Don’t Leave Us Hanging

After Gilligan’s Island was cancelled, fans had unanswered questions! Gilligan and “the rest” (see what we just did there?!) were eventually rescued off of the island, but it was not at the end of season three. Since audience was left with a cliffhanger, a reunion movie was made in 1978 called Rescue From Gilligan’s Island. Just like the TV series, it was popular and a second movie titled Castaways on Gilligan’s Island was created. The films were lackluster in terms of quality, but they received high ratings nonetheless!

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Don’t Leave Us Hanging

The Millionaire Is Not Faking His Smile Anymore

A fourth movie was planned for the crew, but as we all know, it was never developed. The story line wanted Gilligan, The Skipper, and everyone else to discover the world was left in shambles because of a nuclear war. It could’ve worked even though it does sound farfetched compared to the initial plot of being stranded on an island. We are not really sure what happened, but the actors probably wanted out of the roles more than ever.

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The Millionaire Is Not Faking His Smile Anymore

Who Remembers ALF?

The ’80s had big hair, high shoulder pads, and a bunch of wacky TV characters including ALF. The cat-eating alien had a dream he was on the island with the castaways in 1987. It was comical like all of the other episodes, but because Gilligan’s Island was so big, everybody loved it that much more. Gilligan, Mary Ann, and The Skipper all appeared in the crossover episode. It might sound a little crazy, but trust us when we say it’s a cult classic that fans will never forget!

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Who Remembers ALF?

Gilligan’s Allegory

Some people have conspiracy theories and whatnot associated with popular brands and people. Gilligan’s Island did not escape the same fat. However, this one might not be a theory after all considering producer Sherwood Schwartz wrote about it in his book. Did you know that each character is supposed to represent the Seven Deadly Sins? Can you guess which is which?

The Professor – Pride
Thurston Howell III – Greed
Ginger – Lust
Mary Ann – Envy (of Ginger’s looks)
Mrs. Lovey Howell – Gluttony
The Skipper – Anger or wrath
Gilligan – Sloth

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Gilligan’s Allegory

If He Was Born On The Island, They’d Call Him Baby Boy

All this talk about names seems like a bit much, but we bet there was a handful of you shouting out this little tid bit of information when you were reading those other items: Gilligan’s real name is Willy. It is never, ever mentioned on the show. We are starting to see why the NBC President was a worried about the initial success of the show. The producers could not even decide on a name!

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If He Was Born On The Island, They’d Call Him Baby Boy

Help Me Ginger, Help, Help Me Ginger

This picture is borderline creepy so let’s explain it and move on. This is actually a real band called The Wellingtons. In fact, these guys sang the show’s popular theme song. The reason why they look like that in the photo is because the rockers appeared on an episode of Gilligan’s Island as a Beatles spoof band called The Mosquitoes. That is quite interesting. It does look like a skit out of That ’70s Show, so they must have been pretty spot on. Now you know and can move on as promised.

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Help Me Ginger, Help, Help Me Ginger

That’s What We Call Ride Or Die

Alan Hale, Jr. took quite the journey to get to his audition for Gilligan’s Island. We aren’t sure if you will believe us but here goes nothing: The Skipper did practically everything except skip to his audition. The dedicated actor first rode horseback then hitchhiked to an airport. From there, he took a plane to the right city and a taxi to the studio. Wow! Ironically, Alan Hale, Jr. did not use a boat, either, but he did prove his devotion to the role.

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That’s What We Call Ride Or Die

A Historically Bad Day For Everyone

We all remember when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated; it was a horrific event that turned the whole country on its heels. It also offset the production for Gilligan’s Island. The cast and crew was ready to film the pilot at Honolulu Harbor. However, after his tragic and untimely death, Honolulu Harbor and all of the other military installations were shut down for two days. That way, servicemen and women could mourn along with the rest of the American people.

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A Historically Bad Day For Everyone

Art Imitating Life

The darling Lovey Howell was portrayed by Natalie Schafer. Of course actresses are wealthy in general, but she was rolling in the dough before her TV and film career took off. She was very smart and brave, which led to finding luck in real estate throughout Beverly Hills. Natalie Schafer purchased and sold property at the perfect time, which resulted in her striking it rich! It must have been easy enough for her to play a wealthy person on Gilligan’s Island.

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Art Imitating Life

The True Millionaire Of The Bunch

No other castaways receive royalty checks like Dawn Wells. At the time of her deal, her husband was a talent agent and knew a thing or two about this industry. Per his advice, she added a clause to the already fine print of her contract. It demanded syndicated royalties. This was a genius move because she is still getting paid for work she did over four decades ago. Gilligan’s Island is one of the most syndicated TV shows of all time! Good for you Mary Ann!

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The True Millionaire Of The Bunch

She Doesn’t Look Like A Mary Ann To Us

Raquel Welch was and still is a gorgeous woman. Although she has not done much acting, she was quite the sensation during the ’60s and ’70s. Raquel Welch could have took her fame and fortune to a new level considering she auditioned for the role of Mary Ann. Obviously, it wen to Dawn Wells instead. We are pretty happy with that because we cannot really picture the fresh-faced girl as anyone else.  Considering the cast had a hard time finding work after Gilligan’s Island, maybe Raquel Welch good the lucky end of the stick after all.

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She Doesn’t Look Like A Mary Ann To Us

A True Fan ‘Til The End

Just like any other cult classic, fans will never forget the familiar faces of Gilligan’s Island. The cast admitted that they would receive a great deal of attention years and even decades after the last episode aired. Russell Johnson, who played The Professor, was invited to speak at a biomedical conference in 2001 because all of the doctors were huge fans of the show. Hey, milk it for what it’s worth, right? We would still recognize them in 2017.

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A True Fan ‘Til The End

The Skipper Was A Trooper

Filming on an island posed some serious risks just as being stranded on one would, and The Skipper proved it! Alan Hale Jr. fell out of a coconut tree and broke his arm one day while shooting. In genuine Skipper fashion, he did not complain. The devoted and amazing actor continued to film the entire season on Honolulu Harbor. After production was finished, he went to the hospital to take care of his broken arm. That is because only the strong survive on Gilligan’s Island.

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The Skipper Was A Trooper

Jayne Mansfield

Tina Louise played the very sexy Ginger. Even super cute Mary Ann was envious of her shapely figure and good looks. However, another bombshell of the decade nearly scored the role. Jayne Mansfield considered playing Ginger, but we all know how that ended. Even though this blonde’s career spanned over two decades, we still loved her best in The Match Game. We are pretty sure the men in the room would disagree and opt for her film The Girl Can’t Help It or Single Room Furnished.

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Jayne Mansfield

A Cheapskate

Jim Backus played The Millionaire Mr. Howell on Gilligan’s Island. He was clearly a great actor because anyone who knew him in real life knew he was a frugal spender. The cast members actually teased Jim Backus quite a bit for his non-frivolous ways. He even went to lunch and forget to bring his a wallet. It supposedly happened more than once, so it was only right that “the rest” of the castaways never let him live it down. Well, that is how people stay rich, right? By being cheap.

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A Cheapskate

Skipped Over

Remember how we said “the rest” of the cast was left out during the original opening theme song? Well the real reason behind the deletion is because Tina Louise, who played Ginger, requested no other names be said in the list after hers. Well, she definitely had that movie star attitude thing down pact! And this was before the camera’s even started rolling. It is no wonder she had problems on set. The Professor and Mary Ann probably felt a certain type of a way about the whole ordeal.

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Skipped Over

California Lagoon

This is pretty interesting: did you know the lagoon featured on Gilligan’s Island was actually a man-made body of water. All of that lush greenery and everything was fake props! Not only was it fake, but it was located in Studio City, California. Obviously, it proved beneficial for the hit series among other shows and films, but after Gilligan’s Island was cancelled, the studio transformed it into an employee parking lot. Sadly, we have a feeling the interns don’t care they are walking were Gilligan and Ginger used to fish.

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California Lagoon

A Movie Star Attitude

Maybe one of the main reasons why Tina Louise did not get along with other cast or crew members is because she thought she was supposed to be the star of the show! Well, it wasn’t called Ginger’s Island for a reason, but Tina Louise claims she was mislead about her role. She knew she would be stranded on an island as a movie star, but clearly she missed an important part there about how the world doesn’t revolve around her. Too bad.

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A Movie Star Attitude

Politically Correct

Out of all of the professions listed, The Secretary does not ring a bell. Unless you are a diehard fan of Gilligan’s Island, you probably won’t remember the two ladies that were secretaries in the pilot. Don’t feel too bad if you missed it though because those jobs were not good enough to last until the end of the first season. Color televisions came in and the secretaries went out. Sorry ladies, now you are not even referred to be that anymore. It’s administrative assistant!

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Politically Correct

What’s In A Name?

Talk about typecasting! Each of the characters on Gilligan’s Island represented a specific trait in society. So all of those cliché roles were actually done on purpose; nowadays, you would more so see that as a spoof with “the fat, funny guy,” “the shy, girl-next-door chick,” “bratty, rich girl” we could go on and on. Anyway, that is why each character is referred to by their profession rather than their names. For example, you might not know if he’s Jim or Bob, but you know the hit series had a Skipper and a Professor, too.

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What’s In A Name?

The Movie Star

Ginger fulfilled the role of the “movie star,” which fit perfectly into the crazy Gilligan’s allegory theory. As we mentioned before, Tina Louise, who played Ginger, had a hard time getting along with the producers. Therefore, instead of playing nice, she split as soon as the show was cancelled. Tina Louise complained about finding more work after Gilligan’s Island, but refused to play Ginger in all of the spin-off shows and sequel films. After everything was said and done, it took five different ladies to fill the shoes of Ginger after Tina Louise left.

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The Movie Star

The Man Behind The Voice

Despite being stranded, the castaways managed to not only have a radio, but also receive signal. The voice, which was left uncredited belonged to the great Charles Maxwell. He also played in Bonanza and Gunsmoke. As a writer and an actor, he is most known for The Adventures of Superboy, The Power of the Resurrection, and Down Liberty Road. The radio voice, Charles Maxwell, sadly passed away in 1993 at the age of 79.

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The Man Behind The Voice

The Million Dollar Question

It is the classic question that everyone has been asked at least once in their lifetime: “If you were stranded on a desert island, what one item would you like to have?” This is precisely the question producer Sherwood Schwartz was asked at one of his college classes. The producer attended NYU before creating one of the most popular syndicated sitcoms of all time. His answer resulted in a million-dollar TV show. We said we wanted to take our iPhone… how pathetic.

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The Million Dollar Question

Unlucky With Love

From 1957 until 1993, Marin Landau and Barbara Bain were not only terrific actors in hit films, but they were married. They seemed to have reached wedded bliss, especially when they appeared on Mission Impossible and Space: 1999 together. Sadly, after performing in The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island TV movie in 1993, they divorced despite having two children. We are not sure what happened, but they never acted together again and neither one of them remarried. Maybe they should give it a try again.

Unlucky With Love

Is This A Joke?

Let’s analyze a couple things. First of all, Gilligan’s Island was cancelled to make room for a Western. Second, Sherwood Schwartz continued to create spin-offs of the sitcom. Well, the producer took it one step too far with this silly knockoff called Dusty Trail. Even the cover of the film looks like a spoof! The entire thing was a complete flop, or as they say in the 21st century: an epic fail.

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Is This A Joke?

It’s Near The City Of Atlantis

On the sitcom, the island is described to be about 250 miles southeast of Hawaii. If you are not a geography buff, we can tell you right now that this island is either completely fictional or uncharted territory. To be honest, we love tropical areas. Sunny days and refreshing ways is all you really need, but that does not mean we want to set sail for some unknown land. After all, look what happened to Gilligan and his crew! We will stick to the resort spots, thanks.

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It’s Near The City Of Atlantis

These Two

Just a few months before Gilligan’s Island wanted Tina Louise and Bob Denver as their main castaways, they had acted together for a teen comedy called For Those Who Think Young. Just by looking at the cover, there was water involved. However, instead of going from a three-hour-tour to stranded on an island, this happy-go-lucky flick has to do with surfing with friends. Tina Louise and Bob Denver did not realize how difficult it would be to get a dramatic role after Gilligan’s Island.

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These Two

Gilligan in Drag

Well, even after the show was cancelled and the films stopped, Gilligan’s Island remained relevant throughout the world of TV sitcoms. It went from popular ’70s shows to ’90s sitcoms like Roseanne. The cast actually reunited on the raunchy family comedy. It was a lovely tribute to the show. Ginger was Roseanne, Mary Ann was Darlene, and Gilligan played a hysterical Jackie. If you never watched this episode, you are definitely missing out on a good laugh because these actors carried on the jokes into new decades.

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Gilligan in Drag

A Tribute to Gilligan

Did you realize that it was Alan Hale Jr. playing the chef named Gilligan on Batman? This was obviously a direct reference to his earlier days on the island. During his one-episode appearance, a police chief walks into a diner, sees Alan Hale Jr., and says, “Right, Gilligan, one large milk and a hot pastrami!” For those of you who watched both shows, you probably smiled to yourself and moved on. It was a nice tribute to a Bob Denver and the whole cast and crew of Gilligan’s Island.

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A Tribute to Gilligan

Bob Denver

Denver, Colorado is known for many things. It is not only the capital and most populous city of the rectangular state, but it has made international headlines for its leniency on medical and recreational marijuana use. Another cool thing is the fact that the city of Denver was named after Bob Denver’s great-great grandfather. You would be surprised how many words in the English language, including household names and products that are derived from surnames. (Think about it: Levi’s, Black & Decker, Denver…)

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Bob Denver

Gilligian… Is That You?

Did you know there was a cartoon based on Gilligan’s Island? Well, actually there were two! Saturday morning cartoons became a huge craze starting in the ’70s, so it only seemed right to make the popular TV sitcoms into animated series, too. Gilligan’s Planet only had 13 episodes before it was cancelled. His drawing looks like Shaggy’s cousin or something, but that is just our opinion.  Maybe they should have threw him in with the Scooby-Doo and his gang of monster-fighting nerds.

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Gilligian… Is That You?

No Means No

Other than The Skipper, The Millionaire, and Gilligan, who was left? Oh yes, that’s right: The Professor. The one and only piece of eye candy on the deserted island. During his audition, Russell Johnson was asked to take his shirt off. The actor refused, but he landed the part anyway, obviously. Aside from those other guys not, um, being our type, Russell Johnson is a good-looking man in his own right. He sure got a nice tan on that island.

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No Means No

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!

Every young boy was in love with the adorable Mary Ann. Dawn Wells played in every single episode of Gilligan’s Island except for one. She is notorious for her role as the stranded castaway. Dawn Wells was so popular as Mary Ann that her skirt from the show sold to the highest bidder at a Beverly Hills auction house. Go ahead and guess how much it went for… twenty grand! (We spelled it out so you actually had to read.) Anyway, that’s freaking fantastic if you ask us.

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Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!

Put A Lime In The Coconut

Did you ever wonder about those coconut cups?  The show hand a number of props, and we usually wondered where they came from considering their status on a stranded island. However, the set production did try to make everything seem authentic at first. They even used real coconuts for the cups. However, they started leaking all over set and it looked nasty on camera, so they had to switch them out for something fake. The cast probably did not miss the coconut juice stains!

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Put A Lime In The Coconut

Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number

A woman never kisses and tells! And apparently age is a sensitive issue as well because Natalie Schafer would never reveal her real age to any cast or crew during the time Gilligan’s Island aired. Natalie Schafer played the millionaire’s wife, Mrs. Howell on three seasons of Gilligan’s Island. It turns out she was 13 years older than Mr. Howell. Her on-screen husband was played by Jim Backus. Who is the real breadwinner here? Mrs. Howell seems like a bit of a cougar herself…

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Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number

And Ginger, Too

Ginger was the gorgeous redhead of the team. Tina Louise is most known for her role as the stranded beauty. However, she and the producers could never see eye to eye when it came to her character. Like many of her co-stars, Tina Louise complained that the show ruined her career. After it was cancelled, she could not revive her reputation as a serious actress. We loved her in Gilligan’s Island, but we don’t remember her in much beyond that, so she does have a point there.

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And Ginger, Too

Like Playing Dress-up

Although it did not happen a lot, the cast recalls how much they loved having a dream sequence in the plot. It allowed them to get out of their swimsuits and away from the sand. They were able to not only shoot off the island, but spread their wings a little more in terms of their acting skills. Gilligan’s Island may have had 99 awesome episodes, but if you think about it that is a lot of sun. Sometimes too much of anything can be a bad thing…

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Like Playing Dress-up

Archie At Sea

If you remember Gilligan’s Island, chances are good you also recognize this familiar face. This quick-witted potty mouth with no filter was almost The Skipper! It’s true. Carroll O’Connor tried out for the part and everything, but Schwartz turned him down. Luckily for everyone involved, he scored the lead on the hilarious All In The Family. Carroll O’Connor shined in that role anyway as did Alan Hale, Jr. as The (actual) Skipper. And that, kids, is how history is made.

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Archie At Sea