- Entertainment and Media
The Lies and Mysteries of Gilligan's Island
Sign me up for that three hour tour!
I grew up watching Gilligan’s Island. It took four decades to admit it, but I loved the show. This program made being stranded look so good, I was more than willing to sacrifice grade school and roll the dice on taking a three hour tour on a cruise ship strangely named the Minnow, all in the hopes of eventually being “stuck” on an island with millionaires and beautiful women.
They had everything set up perfectly in their island utopia. Gilligan and the Skipper gathered food, constructed living quarters, and continually patrolled the island in deterrence of danger. The Professor’s inventions provided much-needed time saving devices and actually created an atmosphere of leisure. Mary Ann was a nurturer, tending to duties that comforted and supported the others. Mr. and Mrs. Howell provided social opportunities with country clubs and parties, while Ginger was the central figure in cultural endeavors that included theatrical productions, beauty pageants, pop musical groups and even fortune-telling. Despite the occasional squabble, everyone got along well and they not only survived, they flourished. They cooperated and worked toward that glorious day when they might be liberated from their exile. Or, did they…?
How can I say this? How can I admit I was wrong? The castaways of Gilligan’s Island knew full well they had what we all wanted, and attempted to hide the truth from the world. They had no intention of being rescued. They lied to me! They lied to us!
Seven stranded castaways--or something far more sinister?
Let's examine the facts!
We must start with the theme song. They tell us “the mate was a mighty sailing man, the skipper brave and sure.” Huh? Gilligan was many things, but I doubt anyone would consider him a mighty sailing man. If this song is telling us the truth, Gilligan was cunning and shrewd, and his bumbling persona was an act to justify his concerted efforts to remain on the island, carefully hidden from society! The Skipper might have been sure, but one has to question his bravery in the light of his many fears and superstitions. His acceptance of native superstitions was so profound that he thought Gilligan had been turned into a monkey—and later, that he had been cursed by a small wooden statue. We’re told the Skipper was brave, but his fears were many.
The deceit doesn’t end there, however. The song tells us that “if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost.” Uh, guys…the Minnow was lost! Finally we are informed that the ship set ground on “the shore of this uncharted desert isle.” I might have missed something, but it looked like a tropical isle, not a desert isle. I mean, there were trees everywhere, and they seemed to have a water source. It wasn’t even a deserted isle, as they soon found an airplane pilot, a jungle boy and an artist living there, curiously oblivious to each other. It is just as hard to believe the island was uncharted in light of all the folks (like the pop group, the Mosquitoes) who intentionally made their way there. Someone knew how to find this little chunk of island real estate on a map!
Want further proof that we were conned into believing the Castaways wanted to return to “civilization?” During the first year on Gilligan’s “uncharted” island, they were visited by a pilot, a Japanese soldier, a gangster, the jungle boy, a surfer, the pilot (again), native tribes from nearby islands, and an artist. The next two years found them in the company of a native family from another nearby island, an exiled dictator, Russian cosmonauts, a rock band, a wealthy socialite acquaintance of the Howells, a robot (!), a Howell impersonator, a spy masquerading as a ghost, a crazed scientist, a Gilligan impersonator who was really a Russian spy, a movie producer, a witch doctor, a butterfly collector, the crazed scientist (again), headhunters from a nearby island, a gambler/kidnapper, a Ginger impersonator, a big game hunter, an actor pretending to be an ape-man, still more headhunters from another nearby island, a slave girl from a nearby island, and a King from a nearby island.
A quick count reveals that twenty-seven individuals or groups visited the island while the Castaways were stranded there, and two of them even returned. Even if Gilligan bumbled through every encounter, the others should have been savvy enough to convince someone to give them a ride home. This can only mean no one wanted to leave….
Who are these castaways?
An occurrence that staggers the imagination and cries out for investigation is the idea that identical twins of Gilligan, Mr. Howell and Ginger all appeared on the island. Think about this for a minute—seven castaways on one island and three of them have a double that just happen to show up. There is a possible explanation—the Castaways themselves were the doppelgangers, perhaps part of a nefarious identity theft ring that went a step too far. Gilligan looks eerily similar to a young beatnik named Maynard G. Krebs, best friend to Dobie Gillis. Could it be possible Krebs replaced an able sailor named Gilligan in order to drop out of society?
In the film “A Very Brady Sequel,” it was even suggested Carol Brady’s first husband was the Professor, hopelessly lost at sea. It makes complete sense to believe the Professor would rather hang out on a tropical island with Ginger, Mary Ann and the rest than face life with Carol (Brady) and those three daughters—especially the little one with the lisp. It’s all so clever, really.
Each time a stranger came ashore, the Castaways hatched a plot to ensure the visitors would not or could not return for them. Fifteen years later, they finally ran out of tricks and their return to the United States was documented on “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island.” After briefly sampling civilization following their rescue, they reunited for another cruise, set sail into another storm, and got stranded on the same island—again. How ingenious is that?
Okay, castaways, or whoever you are—the game is up. We know what you’re doing. We understand that you want to spend the rest of your lives on an island paradise. We recognize the allure of that quiet, leisurely existence. We comprehend there was probably a lot more fun going on that we didn’t get to see. Just don’t tell us you were on a desert isle. Don’t try to make us feel sorry for you all—whoever you really are. Don’t expect us to believe you were the victim of an unfortunate circumstance, far beyond your control. You don’t have to lie to us.
The game is up. We get it. We understand.
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