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10 Things You Didn't Know About Gilligan's Island

Even today Gilligan's Island is still considered one of the all time classic TV shows.

The story of how a three hour cruise ended with the passengers of the SS Minnow being stranded on a remote island has remained a popular tale over the years.

The antic's of first mate Gilligan, the Skipper, a millionaire and his wife, a movie star, the professor and of course Mary Ann are still being shown all over the world more than fifty years later.

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Beside's the fact we can't figure out how the professor could invent fully working cars, jet packs and ovens but couldn't fix a hole in a boat, we've discovered a stack of other things that we didn't know about our favorite castaways until now.

1) THE PROFESSOR AND MARY ANN WERE ONLY EXTRA'S WHEN THE SHOW FIRST STARTED

In the show's original series both Russell Johnson (who played the professor) and Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) were referred to as 'the rest' because they didn't appear in the original pilot episode.

Bob Denver, who played Gilligan, took it up with the producers to include them from the second series onwards.

2) WHAT WAS GILLIGAN'S FIRST NAME?

The show's creator Sherwood Schwartz gave the lead character the first name of 'Willy' on the shows original script, however Bob Denver believed he should only ever be named simply Gilligan, kind of like an early version of Madonna or Cher! 

3) THE MILLIONAIRE'S WIFE WAS A REAL MILLIONAIRE

Natalie Schafer who played Mrs. Howell, along with her then real life husband, Louis Calhern had invested heavily in Beverly Hills real estate in the early 1960's.

When she died in 1991, Schafer left a large chunk of her vast fortune to her dog (she didn't have any kids), with instructions that the rest of her money be donated to the Motion Picture and Television Hospital after the dog’s death.

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4) THE SHOCKING REASON THE FLAG IN THE OPENING SCENE IS AT HALF MAST

The opening to the shows first series shows a US flag in the background flying at half mast. Reason being this scene was filmed on November 22 1963, the day President Kennedy was killed. 

Production on the show was then shut down for two days as a mark of respect.

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5) FROM COWBOY TO SKIPPER OF THE SS MINNOW

Alan Hale was filming a western called Bullet For A Badman in Utah when he was asked to audition for the role of the skipper.

The producers wouldn't let him leave the set, so he snuck out by riding on one of the horses, before hitch hiking to Las Vegas airport and flying to Los Angeles before returning to the set of the western without anyone noticing!

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6) WHERE DID THE SS MINNOW GET IT'S NAME?

The ship was actually named after Federal Communications Commission president Newton Minow.

Show creator Sherwood Schwartz took a dislike to Minow after he called television programming “a vast wasteland” and pushed for more educational programs to be shown.

Schwartz added an extra 'N' into the ships name to avoid any potential legal action.

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7) WHY WERE GILLIGAN AND THE SKIPPER SUCH GOOD FRIENDS?

Despite Gilligan constantly bumbling and infuriating the skipper, the two were always best buddies.

The back story of the two characters is that they had served together in the navy, and Gilligan had saved the skippers life after he pushed him out of the way of a potential explosion.

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8) WHICH CASTAWAY MADE THE MOST MONEY FROM THE SHOW?

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann, was fortunate enough to have her then husband advise her to ask for an amendment in her contract. While the other actors received payment for filming each episode and then only the first five times it was repeated, Wells could foresee the show being repeated endlessly world wide and is the only one to still receive money from it.

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9) THE THEME SONG SOUNDS FAMILIAR

As well as being written by John Williams who went on to write the music for Star Wars, Jaws and much more, the theme song is also VERY similar to 'Amazing Grace'

Sing along for yourself...

10) WHY DIDN'T ANYONE LIKE GINGER?

Apparently Tina Louise was an even bigger diva than her character Ginger! According to an article in 1965:

“Denver will not say why he and the glamorous Tina do not get along, nor will any of the castaways – they just ignore her, and she ignores them. Between scenes, while the other six principals chat and tell jokes together, she sits off by herself.”  

Louise also refused to appear in any of the reunion movies and TV specials.

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