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54 Years Later: Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know About ‘Gilligan’s Island’

The Professor Was Never Shirtless

According to Russell Johnson, when he first auditioned for the role of The Professor, the producers insisted that he would take his shirt off in front of the camera. He declined again and again, and at the end got the part without filming even one shirtless scene.

#1. Natalie Schafer Did Her Own Stunts On The Show

Schafer was in her mid-60s when she played the character of Mrs. Howell on the show, but that didn’t stop her from doing her own stunts. If the script called for Mrs. Howell to drown in quicksand or jump into the lagoon, Schafer would do that without any hesitations.

#2. Remember The Millionaire’s Wife? She Was A Real Millionaire!

Natalie Schafer was a real life millionaire with a known extravagant lifestyle even before the show aired its first episode. Schafer was married to Louis Calhern, and the two had a profitable real estate business in Beverley Hills. When she passed she left most of her money to her dog. After he passed, most of her money was donated to hospitals in the Los Angeles area.

#3. The First Theme Song

The first theme song for “Gilligan’s Island” was twice as long and had a Calypso style tune. We wish we could have heard it.

#4. Revenge Is Sweet

Remember the ship “Minnow”? It was actually called after Federal Communications Commission president Newton Minnow, who had some harsh words on the role of television shows in our lives. Schwartz hated him so much, he needed to find a way to get payback. We think he did it

#5. Gilligan Was Originally Played By Jerry Van Dyke

Schwartz really wanted Jerry Van Dyke to play the role of Gilligan, but after one look at the script, Van Dyke said it was “the worst thing I’d ever read.”


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