Gilligan and his Island friends return home

June 5, 2010 | By | 6 Replies More

Today my wife surprised the family by renting a DVD of Gilligan’s Island episodes from Netflix.   I hadn’t seen any of these shows for decades–they originally ran from 1964-1967 on CBS.   Not that I forgot that the show was goofy.   How long did it take to write one of those episodes, 30 minutes?  Yet watching two of the episodes tonight did remind me that Gilligan’s Island strongly imprinted its images upon the young version of me, perhaps more strongly than anything I remember from back then (I was 8 years old when it originally ran).   The characters looked exactly how I remembered them, and the plots were embarrassingly predictable, just how I remembered them as a child.  I’d like to say that viewing these episodes served as some sort of time travel, but I simply can’t.  And the series continues to live on in syndication and DVD rentals, with new generations being exposed to it. Gilligan’s Island is a world-class meme, a meme that allowed millions of people to put up their feet to have a bit of mindless fun once each week.

And today I was reassured that Mary Ann was as gorgeous as I remembered her.  Yes, I far preferred Mary Ann over Ginger.  I always did, even as a pre-pubescent viewer.   And I was not alone in my preference.

On several occasions over the years, I have found myself in discussions where someone raises the concern that too many of today’s children waste valuable time that they should be spending exposing themselves to more intellectually rigorous activities.   Inevitably, some high-accomplished person in the room then reminds the rest of us about the huge number of hours that most of us spent watching Gilligan’s Island when we were children, the original runs and the re-runs.   Yet many of us turned out OK.  Or at least that is the argument.

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Category: Entertainment, History

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (6)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    That show has more layers than most modern kids shows. Notice the use of character musical themes. Note that almost every episode has at least one comment on current events or trends.

    And Mary-Ann

    <img src="http://fcbahistory.pbworks.com/f/1266115740/Dawn%20Wells.jpg"&gt;

    • Erich Vieth says:

      But Dan, doesn't it come down to the classic question: Is it a choice regarding a one-night stand or is the woman you're going to marry?

  2. I would have accepted Mary Ann either way, Erich. I think it ironic that a stupid (and yes, it was a stupid show—doesn't mean it wasn't funny, but…) could boast a woman who could upstage every glamor queen that ever graced an adolescent's fantasy life. There was never any contest for me between Ginger and Mary Ann. Ginger was a walking one-night-stand. Mary Ann was…well, Mary Ann.

  3. Yeah…I know. (sigh)

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    From Wikipedia: Dawn Wells as Mary Ann Summers. Wells was a former Miss Nevada when she auditioned for the role. Her competition included Raquel Welch and Pat Priest. The pilot episode had a different character ("Bunny") played by actress Nancy McCarthy. After it was shot, the network decided to recast the roles of the Professor and the two young women. She wrote The Gilligans Island Cookbook and starred as Lovey Howell in the musical stage adaptation of the show.

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