Seven people on a three-hour boat tour ending up shipwrecked on a deserted island and having to learn to survive sounds like the premise of a drama. And that version of the idea has been done over the history of Classic TV. A lot. But to take that same concept and give it not only a comic but a silly twist did not seem to be something that would connect with the audience on an ongoing basis. Then again, Gilligan’s Island has been defying the odds (and especially the critics) since its 1964 debut.
Running until 1967 (but never being off the air since thanks to reruns), the show stars Bob Denver as Gilligan, Alan Hale Jr. as the Skipper (too), Jim Backus as Thurston Howell III, the millionaire; and Natalie Schafer as his wife, “Lovey” Wentworth Howell; Tina Louise as the movie star Ginger Grant, Russell Johnson as the Professor (Roy Hinkley) and Dawn Wells as Mary Ann (Summers). And this year, Gilligan’s Island is celebrating its 55th Anniversary.
“It’s mind-blowing that it’s been that long because I’m not that old,” laughed Dawn, 80, in an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly. “What’s amazing to me is that the critics hated it and thought it was the worst thing in the entire world, but we’ve never been off the air since 1964. That says something about what Sherwood Schwartz created, surely.”
A writer for radio and television, Schwartz is credited with creating four television series: Gilligan’s Island, It’s About Time, The Brady Bunch and Dusty’s Trail. With all due respect to the efforts put into It’s About Time and Dusty’s Trail, there are few television sitcoms in history that have enjoyed the longevity and enduring popularity of Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch.
For our exclusive interview with Dawn Wells, just scroll down!
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