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Encyclopedia > Gilligan's Island

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Gilligan's Island

Gilligan's Island was an American TV sitcom from the 1960s. Early episodes were filmed in black-and-white; later episodes in color. The theme tune for the show 'Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...' is familiar to many.

The Gilligan of the show's name is the hapless deckhand. Other characters are the 'Skipper' (referred to as Jonas Grumby in the pilot), the 'Professor' (referred to as Roy Hinkley in the pilot), millionaires Mr. and Mrs. Howell, movie star Ginger Grant, and farm girl Mary Ann. The show's plots revolved around the characters' failed attempts to get off the island that they have been shipwrecked on.

One of the astounding things about the show is that the Professor is a genius able to construct practically anything from palm fronds and coconuts, but he is unable to build a boat. Another strange and puzzling fact is that the S.S. Minnow was on a three hour tour—so why did the passengers carry all of their luggage on the trip?

According to the show's creator and cast the name "S.S. Minnow" was actually named after Newton Minow, who was chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission in 1961. In a much-publicized speech, he called television a "vast wasteland." The boat was named after the man who, Gilligan's Island producer Sherwood Schwartz[?] insists, "ruined television." Minow gave networks authority and placed the power of programming in the hands of the networks. He did this after Gilligan's Island was started.



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