At Long Last, He's Finally Off the Island


Bob Denver, a.k.a. Gilligan on Gilligan's Island, has died. From a Chi Sun-Times obit:

Denver's show never should have lasted. It was dumb, stupid and moronic—all three. A boat goes out in the Pacific for a three-hour cruise and shipwrecks on a deserted island for many years with a skipper, Gilligan, a movie star, a Kansas girl, a brainiac and a millionaire couple. How absurd.

"Gilligan's Island" did last, living for just three years—98 episodes in 1964 to 1967, on CBS—but surviving in syndicated perpetuity for decades afterward. Why? Largely because reruns swamped daytime TV back in the days when there was no real cable. Most of us had just ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, and no self-respecting latchkey kid would watch PBS and the Cookie Monster.

So it would be, like, 3:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. I'd go home and wait for Gilligan to get hit on the head by the skipper's cap. That wasn't funny. It was reassuring, like seeing a McDonald's on a vacation.

Whole thing here.

Official Bob Denver site here.

Occasional Reason contributor and Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in an Age of Globalization author Paul Cantor discusses other reasons for Gilligan's Island's enduring popularity here.