Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions


Welcome to the top ten most frequently asked questions about Gilligan’s Island as answered by Bob:

#1 Could you tell us the characters’ full names on the show?

Sure can. Here they are:

1) Gilligan – Willy Gilligan

(Never used. Bob would have argued NOT to use Willy, preferring JUST Gilligan)

2) The Skipper – Jonas Grumby

3) Thurston Howell III – Thurston Howell III

4) Mrs. Howell – Eunice Wentworth (Lovey) Howell

5) Ginger – Ginger Grant

6) The Professor – Roy Hinkley

7) Mary Ann – Mary Ann Summers

#2 What was your favorite episode of Gilligan’s Island?

Choosing one favorite episode would be really hard because I honestly enjoyed all of them, but if I had to pick a fave, it would have to be the dream sequences, which the whole cast enjoyed. I particularly remember the Gunsmoke take-off because we filmed it on the Gunsmoke set, which was different and fun after being on the island for so long.

#3) Did you ever get hurt doing the stunts on the show?

Came pretty close with a lion once in the episode where I’m stuck in the Howell’s hut, piling furniture up at the door to keep him out. Of course, he’s right there on the bed (even though I’m not supposed to know it) and as I scurried around in front of him, I must have looked like a little mouse because I heard the roar and my hair stood on end. The only thing that saved me was the twin beds splitting part when he tried to push off, then I turned to see the trainer in mid-air as he tackled the lion to keep him away from me. Other than that, none of us had any close calls. Believe me, that was close enough!

#4 Did it hurt when the Skipper hit you with his hat?

Since I was getting whacked with his hat every time I turned around, it’s a good thing Alan and I liked each other so much. He really was a gentle giant and made a big effort never to hurt me in any of the gags we did. Even the hammock gags, where he’d fall on me or vice versa, never injured either of us.

#5 Were the castaways close in real life?

Yes, our cast was very close. During the run of the series, we saw each other so much during the day we became like family. Then after the series ended, we stayed close, doing personal appearances together and seeing each other whenever we were close geographically.  Dreama and I maintain very close friendships with Dawn, as well as Russell and his wife Connie to this very day.


#6 How many episodes of Gilligan’s Island did you do?

We filmed 98 episodes in three years.

#7 Who were some of your favorite guest stars on GI?

We had lots of great guest stars over the years – Kurt Russell when he was a kid, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Vito Scotti (a wonderful character actor), Rory Calhoun, Sterling Holloway, Don Rickles, Hans Conried, Phil Silvers – to name a few. I enjoyed all of them, but the one who sticks out in my mind is Hans Conried. He was such a pro in his work and a real gentleman in his life. Of course, Rickles sticks out in my mind too because of his relentless digging at all of us. Even visitors to the set got it from Don. James Arness and Robert Conrad came to visit while he was there and both left after 20 minutes – they couldn’t take it! But what else could you expect with Rickles around?

#8 Was “GI” filmed on a real island or in the studio?

 The pilot episode was filmed on a real island – the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian chain.  The actual series was filmed at CBS Studios on the back lot, where they built a lagoon especially for the series right next to the Hollywood Freeway. We also worked on a sound stage, covered in sand and loaded with palm trees. 

That’s where we had all the huts and our dinner table.

#9 Which character did you like best – Maynard or Gilligan?

There’s really no way I could choose between the two. I enjoyed both equally, but in different ways. Maynard gave me the chance to do wonderful word comedy written by Max Schulman and you can’t knock that. When I was offered Gilligan, I chose it because that character gave me the chance to do physical comedy, which I love.

 With Maynard and Gilligan, I had the best of both worlds.

#10 Why did the theme song say ‘and the rest’ the 1st season?

It was a contractual thing that first year – Russell and Dawn’s contracts for the show didn’t specify that they would be credited up front with the rest of the cast. Obviously, since the question has been asked, all of you realize how ridiculous it was to have 5 of seven cast members  mentioned at the beginning of the show, and the remaining two referred to as ‘and the rest’. Happily, that was corrected the second season and they were included in the opening credits just the way they should have been 

from the very beginning of the series.

A fan’s excellent explanation for the ‘why so many clothes?’ question.

Jeff Taylor from North Carolina

Hi Bob,

One of the biggest GI questions seems to be why the castaways took so many clothes on a 3 hour Hawaiian Island excursion. Well I have an explanation that I think fits with most of the GI storylines.

My explanation is the 3 hour tour was not a round trip. The 5 passengers were originally en-route to a remote Hawaiian club med type resort. The resort is owned in part by one of Mr. Howell’s companies.  It’s a real ritzy place that high society people go to just to get away from it all. Some guests at the resort stay for several weeks at a time. Mary Ann won the trip in a radio station sweepstakes. The Professor had been invited to the resort to speak at a convention of Asian college professors. The resort is very remote and not easily accessible by car. Guests use the boat shuttle service that is provided by the resort. The SS Minnow is one of several charter boats contracted by the resort to shuttle guests.

Guests en-route to the resort can choose the direct shuttle that takes about 30 minutes, or they can choose an island tour shuttle that takes about 3 hours. The 3-hour tour is very scenic and relaxing (usually), many guests prefer it over the 30 minute direct shuttle.

A guest’s wardrobe depends on their length of stay.  Guests may be attending parties or formal functions while at the resort, so they must pack for these events too. The Professor had only planned to stay a few days.  He was planning to prepare his speech while at the resort, so he brought along some of his scientific books, but not a lot of clothes.

Mary Ann’s visit was supposed to be two weeks. She was hoping to meet a rich man during her stay, so she brought a variety of modest, but appealing outfits. Ginger and the Howells were staying at least a month; with several respective parties and banquets to attend during their lengthy stay.

Mr. Howell had not planned to take the 3 hour shuttle with Mrs. Howell. He had a business meeting the next day in Honolulu and was going to join her later in the week for a long overdue vacation. Although he was not taking the tour shuttle with Mrs. Howell, he did accompany her in their limo to the marina to see her off. He had the chauffeur take their entire luggage, including a large steamer trunk to the dock for Gilligan to load onto the Minnow. The Skipper was preparing the ship for sailing. It was a bustle of activity. Gilligan was having troubles stowing the luggage because the Howell’s had so many things. But since Mr. Howell was part owner of the resort and the Skipper did want to lose the contract, he ordered Gilligan to do whatever it took to get the Howell’s belongings onboard.

When Mr. Howell got back in the limo to leave the marina, he discovered that Mrs. Howell had left her fur stole. Thinking she might need it, he decided to take the fur to Mrs. Howell before boat sailed.  He didn’t feel it would take long, so he instructed the chauffeur to keep the limo running. All of the passengers were onboard but Mr. Howell didn’t see his wife.  Mary Ann said Mrs. Howell had gone down to the lower cabin area to freshen up.  Gilligan was having trouble getting the trunk stowed away and the Skipper was trying to help him. Mr. Howell was unable to get the Skipper’s or Gilligan’s attention because of the noise of the idling Minnow engines and other boats in the marina.

It didn’t look like the Minnow was ready to leave yet so he decided to go on board and take the fur to Mrs. Howell. He went down below where he found Mrs. Howell. The Skipper and Gilligan were still struggling with The Howell’s heavy steamer trunk. Meanwhile Mr. Howell had given his wife her fur and was leaving the cabin but found the door was stuck. The Howells tried but was unable to get it open. They tried knocking and beating on the door, but apparently no one could hear them. They tried shouting but their screams were drowned out but the other boats in the harbor. By now the Skipper was frantic because the Minnow was over 20 minutes late sailing due to Gilligan’s troubles with the luggage. In their rush to get under way, they failed to realize the Mr. and Mrs. Howell were stuck in the lower cabin, even though Mary Ann had tried to tell Gilligan that she did not remember seeing Mr. Howell leave the boat after taking Mrs. Howell her fur.  They were well into the 3-hour voyage by the time they discovered Mr. Howell was on board. The Skipper offered to take him back, but Mr. Howell didn’t want to spoil everyone’s trip so he agreed to proceed on to the resort where he would catch the next return shuttle.

Well as luck would have it the Minnow’s radio failed and then “the weather started getting rough…” and you know the rest of the story.

That’s my explanation for the events leading up to the 3 hour tour.