Tuesday, September 06, 2005


The weather started getting rough

It's among my top 5 favorite show of all time. Gilligan's Island had the bright colors (after the first season) to appeal to kids, the sexual undertones to appeal to adolescents, and the sense of whimsy and a nod to the audience to appeal to in-on-the-joke adults. And the anchor of the show, if you will, was the inimitable Bob Denver, whom as you likely know died today at 70.

I loved everything about the show, from the pitch-perfect opening number (it sounded like an old sailor's song, but with enough pep to let us know that nothing bad was really going to happen), to the four - count 'em, FOUR - different episodes that featured doppelgangers of the various castaways, to the games you could play trying to match characters up with the Seven Deadly Sins (Mary Ann = envy, the Professor = Pride?). It had the iconic number of characters, the lucky number seven, the number of dwarves, the number of samurai ... the number of Real World Strangers (I'm pretty damn sure that MTV's show is just a differently edited version of Gilligan's Island ... and Survivor is an ugly stepchild).

One of the more intriguing things to me was that from the reruns, the first episode seemed more like a second episode. Now I know why:
The original pilot was filmed in November on 1963 but never aired until October of 1992. In the original pilot, the characters of the Professor and Ginger were player by a different actor and actress. There was no character of Mary Ann. In the pilot, there was a character called Bunny. Bunny was the buxom blonde and Ginger was a practical brunette. In the pilot, Ginger and Bunny were both secretaries. The music for the original pilot's theme song was written by (a young) John Williams. This music had a Latin sound and the lyrics were sung with a Spanish accent. In the pilot, it was a six-hour trip, not a three-hour tour.

Thank God cooler heads prevailed.

And best of all, of course, was their musical tribute to both opera and Shakespeare, their musical version of Hamlet.

Bob Denver, of course, held it all together. His sense of comic timing was fantastic, and we know it was not a fluke -- Maynard G. Krebs proves that. He was a wonderful actor, a great icon, and the world is a worser place without him.

Thanks, Bob.

Very well said. As much as we will miss Bob Denver, he will continue to live on in our hearts and televisions.

P.S. Not to forget the educational value in the form of science lessons provided by the professor.
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