Breaking news . . . all five passengers and two crew members of the SS Minnow were rescued when Coast Guard helicopters spotted smoke billowing from what looked to be a homemade raft out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Upon closer inspection, the pilot realized that the 7 people aboard the ‘hutboat’ had to be the missing castaways whose boat, the SS Minnow, failed to return to port back in 1964.
None the worse for their ordeal, the castaways came close to capsizing the already rickety hutboat as they jumped up and down, waving, to attract the attention of the chopper pilot. Finally realizing they had indeed been spotted, all 7 settled down to await the arrival of the fireboats that would escort them back to the marina and civilization.
Crowds gathered at the marina today in hopes of catching a glimpse of the sensational seven as they made their way up the gangplank to face the onslaught of media. Hoping to return to their normal lives after the initial flurry dies down, all seven spoke at length of their Robinson Crusoe existence for the last fifteen years. When asked what he most wants to do now that he’s been rescued, Gilligan the first mate exclaimed, “I’m going to Disneyland!”
We welcome Gilligan, Jonas Grumby (aka the Skipper), Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell III, Ginger Grant (away from the silver screen far too long), Professor Roy Hinkley and adorable Mary Ann Summers back to civilization and into our hearts.
The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island was a serious attempt to create a new series that would place six of the original castaways back on TV where many fans felt they belonged. Once again, Tina refused to be part of the reunion movie, so actress Judith Baldwin reprised her role as Ginger for a second time. Fans often ask why Tina didn’t play a part in the reunion movies. Bob couldn’t speak for Tina, but he did say she got far more press by NOT doing the movies than she ever would have gotten had she appeared in all of them.
In the second GI movie, Gilligan finds a World War II plane on the island (how the gang missed it for more than 15 years we’ll never know), and the Professor assures them he can make it fly. Believe it or not, he does manage to get the plane in the air, but an engine quits, forcing the crew to return to the island. This time, however, their luck changes when the plane is picked up on radar and they’re rescued once again – this time with much less fanfare.
After this rescue, Mr. Howell decides ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ and builds a hotel on the island, employing all of the castaways. He even calls the hotel “The Castaways”. During this time in television history, two of the most popular shows on the air were Love Boat and Fantasy Island. The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island was Love Boat,Fantasy Isand and Hotel all rolled into one – the plan was to feature guest stars every week in two or three different plot lines. The guest stars in this pilot movie were Tom Bosley of Happy Days and Marcia Wallace from The Bob Newhart Show.
The fate of the show was sealed when the powers-that-be decided to break the movie in two one-hour segments and air them a week apart. The ratings went through the cellar, unlike the Rescue, which broke ratings records. After that, none of the cast or crew had any hope that the show would be picked up as a series. However, it did make way for a third and last GI movie – The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.
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