Here’s What Happened to the Cast of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Before, During and After Being Shipwrecked

When you look at Gilligan’s Island, which is currently celebrating its 55th anniversary (and is featured on MeTV’s “Three Hour Tour” airing on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time), what you get is an ensemble of actors who managed to establish a genuine connection between each other, and, even more importantly, one between all of them and the viewing audience. And that connection has lasted for all these years, as this particular example of Classic TV has been handed down from one generation to the next with no sign that those seven stranded castaways are going anywhere as far as the fans are concerned.

Created by Sherwood Schwartz (who also created The Brady Bunch), the idea was to take a microcosm of society and strand them on an island following a shipwreck to see how they would interact with each other. Of course, this sounds like the making of a serious drama (Lost might be a good example), but this was obviously a comic take, which brought together — as detailed in the show’s opening theme song — Bob Denver (“Gilligan”), Alan Hale, Jr. (“the Skipper, too”), Jim Backus (“The Millionaire”) and Natalie Schafer (“and His Wife”), Tina Louise (“the Movie Star”), Russell Johnson (“The Professor”) and Dawn Wells (“Mary Ann”).

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Warner Bros

Gilligan’s Island ran on CBS from 1964 to 1967, and hasn’t been off the air since. The cast (minus Tina Louise) reunited for a pair of Saturday morning cartoons (The New Adventures of Gilligan and Gilligan’s Planet) and a trio of TV reunion movies that began airing in the late 1970s, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.

Lloyd J. Schwartz, Sherwood’s son, may not have been very involved with the original series, but he did serve as producer of the reunion films and was intimately involved in every aspect of their making. He certainly recognizes the endurability of the show, and how much the audience loved the cast and their characters. In fact, all of that played into an impromptu moment during the making of Rescue from Gilligan’s Island.

“There were several interesting moments in Rescue,” relates Lloyd. “One is that we were down in the Marina and we didn’t have a lot of money, because this was an independent project. The idea was that we were going to have the Castaways being towed on this boat and there’s supposed to be thousands of people there cheering them on. We didn’t have money for extras, so I had an idea and sent the assistant director out to tell everybody everywhere around the area that we were filming Gilligan’s Island. Usually you try to stop that, but we needed them and all of those extras were just regular people who wanted to get a look at the cast.

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Wally Fong/AP/Shutterstock

“Then,” he continues, “there was a parade after which they literally start to walk away to go off to their separate lives. I went to my dad and I said, ‘These people have been on this island for 15 years, right? They can’t just walk away.’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’ I’m more sentimental and I said, ‘I’ll show you.’ They start to walk away and then they realize the reality that they won’t necessarily be seeing each other again and they run back and embrace. I haven’t watched that movie religiously, but I saw it and it’s very touching. That was a spontaneous thing on the set and it worked, because they needed that moment.”

When it comes to the cast of Gilligan’s Island, before, during and after the show, there have been many moments that are worth looking back at. Joined by Lloyd, that’s exactly what’s to follow.

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