Gilligan's Island is an American TV sitcom originally produced by United Artists Television. It aired for three seasons on the CBS network, from September 26, 1964 to September 4, 1967. It was sponsored by Philip Morris & Company and Procter & Gamble. The show followed the comic adventures of seven castaways as they attempted to survive and ultimately escape from a previously uninhabited island where they were shipwrecked.
Gilligan's Island ran for a total of 98 episodes. The first season (consisting of 36 episodes) was filmed in black-and-white though they were colorized in later syndication. However, the next two seasons (62 episodes) and three TV movie sequels were filmed in color.
Enjoying solid ratings during its original run, the show grew in popularity during decades of syndication. Today, the title character of Gilligan is widely recognized as a comedic American popular culture icon.
The two-man crew of the charter boat S.S.
and five passengers on a "three hour tour" run into a tropical storm and are shipwrecked on an uncharted, uninhabited island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean
. The episode "The Pigeon" places the island approximately southeast of Hawaii
, while the episode "X Marks the Spot" gives a location near 140° longitude
, 10° latitude
, which puts it about to the southeast.
Executive producer Sherwood Schwartz believed in avoiding exposition, and so he composed the sea shanty
-style theme song
, "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle", as a capsule summary of the castaways' predicament. This was done so that first time viewers would instantly understand the premise. He took the same approach with the theme to "The Brady Bunch
- Bob Denver as Gilligan, the bumbling, accident-prone crewman of the S.S. Minnow. Denver was not the first choice to play Gilligan; actor Jerry Van Dyke was offered the role, but he turned it down, believing that the show would never be successful. He chose instead to play the lead in My Mother the Car, which premiered the following year and was cancelled after one season. The producers then looked to Bob Denver, the actor who played lovable beatnik Maynard G. Krebs in the The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. None of the show's episodes ever specified Gilligan's full name, nor clearly indicated whether "Gilligan" was the character's first name or his last. On the DVD collection, Sherwood Schwartz states that he preferred the full name of "Willie Gilligan" for the character. Denver himself, on various TV/radio interviews (The Pat Sajak Show; KDKA radio), said that "Gil Eggan" was his choice. The actor reasoned that because everyone yelled at the first mate, it ran together as "Gilligan". In the (unaired) pilot episode, it has been debated whether Lovey Howell refers to Gilligan as "Stewart", or steward. On Rescue from Gilligan's Island, the writers artfully dodge the recitation of Gilligan's full name, when the other names are announced.
- Alan Hale, Jr. as Jonas Grumby, the "Skipper". A longtime actor in B-westerns, Hale so loved his role that, long after the show went off the air, he would still appear in character in his Los Angeles restaurant, Alan Hale's Lobster Barrel. Although the Skipper was a father figure to Gilligan, Hale was only 14 years older than Denver. It is alluded in one episode that Gilligan pushed the Skipper out of the way of a loose depth-charge when they were both serving in the United States Navy.
- Jim Backus as Thurston Howell, III, the greedy millionaire. Backus was already a well-known actor when he took the part. He was perhaps best known as the voice of the cartoon character Mr. Magoo. He reused some of the voice inflections and mannerisms of Magoo in the role. He was well known for his ad-libs on the set. The origin of the uber-rich Howell character dates back to 1940's radio when Backus portrayed "Hubert Updike III" on The Alan Young Show.
- Natalie Schafer as Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth Howell, Thurston's wife. Schafer had it written into her contract that there were to be no close-ups of her, perhaps due to her advanced age. Schafer was 62 when the pilot was shot although, reportedly, no one on the set or in the cast knew her real age, and she refused to divulge that information. Originally, she only accepted the role because the pilot was filmed on location in Hawaii. She looked at the job as nothing more than a free vacation, as she was convinced that a show this silly would "never go".
- Tina Louise as Ginger Grant, the movie star. When regular shooting began, Louise clashed with producers, because she had believed that she was to be the main focus of the show (despite its title). Her character was originally written as a sarcastic and sharp-tongued temptress, but Louise argued that this was too extreme and refused to play it as written. A compromise was reached; Louise agreed to play her as a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball. The evening gowns and hair style used were designed to re-create the look of Myrna Loy. Louise continued to clash with producers and was the only cast member who refused to return for any of the TV movies that followed the series' cancellation, and the fourth season, which was later canceled to make room for Gunsmoke, saying that the role had destroyed her career as a serious actress. However, she did appear in a reunion of the cast on a late night TV talk show in 1988 and on an episode of Roseanne in 1995. In the first season, Ginger often wore gowns that looked as if they were tailored from S.S. Minnow tarps or similar ersatz cloth (some had the name of the vessel stenciled on them). Later on, she wore regular evening gowns with high heels. However, there were episodes where Ginger wore an almost tropical sarong style outfit while going barefoot. It was never explained why she brought so many changes of clothing on a "three-hour tour," though many fans postulate the trunk of silent movie props that washed ashore in one episode provided much of the wardrobe. In the pilot episode, the character of Ginger (a blonde secretary) was played by actress Kit Smythe.
- Russell Johnson as Roy Hinkley (The Professor). John Gabriel was originally cast, but the network thought he looked too young to have all the degrees attributed to the Professor. Incongruously, "the Professor" was in fact a high school science teacher, not a university professor. In the first episode, the radio announcer described him as a research scientist and well-known Scoutmaster. Johnson stated that he had some difficulty remembering his more technically-oriented lines.
- Dawn Wells as Mary Ann Summers. Wells was a former Miss Nevada when she auditioned for the role. Her competition included Raquel Welch. The pilot episode had a different character ("Bunny") played by a actress Nancy McCarthy. After it was shot, the network decided to recast the roles of the Professor and the two young women.
- Charles Maxwell was the uncredited voice of the "Radio Announcer", whose plot-advancing radio bulletins were eagerly tuned in to by the castaways in many episodes.
Pilot vs. first broadcast episode
episode was not broadcast, because of casting changes and restructuring of characters. In the pilot, the part of the Professor was played by John Gabriel
. Instead of the movie star and the Kansas
farm girl, the pilot had two secretaries: Ginger, a practical redhead played by Kit Smythe, and Bunny, portrayed by Nancy McCarthy as a cheerful, stereotypical "dumb blonde
The pilot had a different theme song with a Calypso beat and singer and somewhat longer opening credits shots, including scenes of Gilligan carrying the Howells' luggage to the boat, and spilling coffee on the Skipper during the storm. The episode proper begins with the castaways waking up on the beached boat, and deals mostly with practical problems: exploring the island, trying to fix the transmitter, building huts and finding food. Contrary to some descriptions, there are no flashbacks or detailed accounts of the characters' backgrounds.
The first episode actually broadcast, "Two on a Raft", is sometimes wrongly referred to as the series pilot. This episode begins with the same scene of Gilligan and the Skipper awakening on the boat (cut slightly differently to eliminate most shots of the departed actors), and continues with the characters on the boat, listening to a radio news report about their disappearance. This is the scene that reveals the names of the Skipper (Jonas Grumby) and the Professor (Roy Hinkley), which appear nowhere else in the series except for an episode in which the Maritime Board of Review blames the Skipper for the loss of the ship. There is no equivalent scene or background information in the pilot, except for the description of the passengers in the original theme song. Rather than re-shooting the rest of the pilot story for broadcast, the show just proceeded on. The plot skips over the topics of the pilot; the bulk of the episode tells of Gilligan and the Skipper setting off on a raft to try to bring help, but unknowingly landing back on the same island.
The plot for the pilot episode would eventually be recycled into that season's Christmas episode, "Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk", in which the story, concerning the practical problems on landing, is related via a series of flashbacks. Some of the scenes from the pilot episode were re-shot using the current actors, while other scenes with Denver, Hale, Backus, and Schafer were simply reused.
The last episode of the show, "Gilligan the Goddess
", aired on April 17
, and ended just like the rest, with the castaways still stranded on the island. It was not known at the time that it was the last episode, as a fourth season was expected, but never happened.
In its last year Gilligan's Island was the lead-in program for the CBS Monday night schedule. It was followed for the first sixteen weeks by the sitcom Run, Buddy, Run, starring Jack Sheldon as a young accountant on the run from the mob after he overhears a gangster plot a murder. The time slot from 7:30 to 8:30 Eastern was filled in the 1967-1968 season by Gunsmoke, moved from its traditional Saturday 10 p.m. time slot.
The shipwrecked castaways want to leave the remote island and various opportunities present themselves. They typically fail due to some bumbling error committed by Gilligan. Sometimes this would result in his saving the others from some unforeseen flaw in their plan, as in the episode "Splashdown", wherein an unmanned space capsule with sensitive technology lands in the lagoon
, Gilligan allows the other castaways to talk over him, failing to tell them in time that the capsule is floating away. As the group yells at Gilligan for his "error", the capsule is blown up by NASA
via remote control. Another example is in episode "Goodbye Island"; while looking for tree sap for Mary Ann's pancakes, Gilligan discovers a very strong glue-like substance that the Professor believes, because it is strong and waterproof, is permanent, and therefore can be used to repair the damage to the Minnow
. However, Gilligan later discovers that the substance is not permanent at all...it's temporary!
When the crew do not heed his warnings, the boat starts to break apart hilariously until it is completely destroyed. Despite this, the ship was still prominently presented in the opening titles for the rest of the series' run.
One episode ("The Big Gold Strike") in which the castaways discover a rich vein of gold on the island, is notable in that Gilligan is not responsible for the failed escape: the other castaways, having agreed to leave the gold behind, each smuggle bags of gold onto a makeshift raft; the combined weight of all the gold sinks the raft to the bottom of the lagoon. Gilligan is the only one who does not smuggle any gold.
When the castaways are kidnapped to a mad scientist's lab in the episode "The Friendly Physician", they succeed in leaving the island and onto another piece of dry land for the only time in the series.
Recurring elements centered on one of three primary themes. The first deals with life on the island. A running gag is the castaways' ability to fashion a vast array of useful objects from bamboo and other local material. Some were simple everyday things, while others were stretches of the imagination. Russell Johnson noted in his autobiography that the production crew enjoyed the challenge of building these props. Some bamboo items included framed huts with thatched grass sides and roofs, along with bamboo closets strong enough to withstand hurricane force winds and rain; the communal dining table and chairs, pipes for Gilligan's hot water, a stethoscope, and a pedal-powered car.
The second theme involves visitors to the "uncharted" island. One challenge to a viewer's suspension of disbelief is the frequency with which the castaways are visited by people who do nothing to assist them. Some have ulterior motives for not assisting the castaways. Others are simply unable to help, incompetent, or are prevented from sending messages by Gilligan. Bob Denver, Jim Backus, and Tina Louise each had feature episodes in which look-alikes come to the island (who were, of course, played by themselves). The island itself is also home to an unusual assortment of animal life, some native, some visiting.
The third recurring theme is the use of dream sequences in which one of the castaways "dreams" he or she is some character related to that week's storyline. For example, after being bitten by a bat, Gilligan dreams he is Dracula. All of the castaways would appear as other characters within the dream, as was done in The Wizard of Oz. The only exception is in Mr. Howell's dream in the episode "The Sweepstakes", in which Mrs. Howell is not present. In later interviews and memoirs, almost all of the actors stated that the dream episodes were among their personal favorites. In the Jack and the Beanstalk dream sequence of the episode "V for Vitamins", the smaller version of Gilligan, running from the Giant (played by the Skipper), is actually Bob Denver's son, Patrick.
is the unofficial name for the island, though it is never called such in the series. In "The Little Dictator", President Rodriguez, a deposed dictator from the fictional South American nation of Ecuarico, asks the name of the island. Mr. Howell says that "Howell Hills" has been suggested (though in fact it hadn't). Rodriguez then declares the island will be called "Ecuarico West".
The main setting for every episode except "The Friendly Physician", the island is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, a large number of them being fictional, such as the Wasubi berry ("Agonized Labor") and the Mantis khani ("Gilligan Gets Bugged"). Some, such as the chimpanzee and gorilla, are African and therefore are out of place in the South Pacific. Coconut is a staple part of the castaways' diet and bamboo is used to make numerous inventions.
The topography of Gilligan's Island is very inconsistent throughout the series. However, the island has many caves, a volcano ("Operation: Steam Heat"), and a gold mine ("The Big Gold Strike").
The music and lyrics for the Gilligan's Island
theme song, "The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle", were written by Sherwood Schwartz
and George Wyle
There were two versions of the theme during the run of the show: one for the first season and another for the second and third. In the original theme song, the Professor and Mary Ann were referred to as "and the rest".Actors Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells were originally considered "second-billed co-stars", but with the growing popularity of their characters, their names were inserted into the lyrics.
Wells has stated that it was Denver who went to the studio executives to get them added to the opening credits. The studio originally refused, stating that it would cost too much to re-shoot and re-score the opening. Denver pointed out that it was in his contract that he could have his name anywhere he wanted in the credits, so they could move it to the end credits along with Johnson and Wells. The studio capitulated. Wells said that Denver never mentioned this to anyone in the cast, and she did not find out until years after the show ended what he had done.
The first season version was recorded by The Wellingtons and had a folk music sound. It starts with an acoustic guitar strumming for two bars before the lyrics start. The instrumentation, which includes a slide guitar, is subdued and very Hawaiian sounding.
The second and third season version was not credited to a particular group in the credits, but according to Russell Johnson in his book Here on Gilligan's Isle, it was performed by a group called The Eligibles. It begins with a mini-fanfare, and has a more traditional pop music sound but with spaghetti western-like underpinnings. The instrumentation is much more prominent in this version, and it does not have any slide guitar.
The show's original pilot episode featured a calypso theme song with different lyrics. Notably, the original length of the voyage was "a six-hour ride", not "a three-hour tour.
The theme song has been covered by many bands, most notably Bowling for Soup for the TBS show The Real Gilligan's Island.
Filming of the show took place at the CBS
' Radford Studios
complex in Studio City, California
. The same stage would later be used by "The Mary Tyler Moore Show
" and "Roseanne
" (which, coincidentally, featured "Gilligan's Island" prominently on one episode). The lagoon was drained and used as a parking lot during the show's off-season, and was the last remaining element of the show until it was demolished in 1997 as part of an expansion project.
Cave scenes were shot in Newport Beach, California, across from the southern tip of the Balboa Peninsula, in a park just off Ocean Blvd.
Four different boats played the part of the S.S. Minnow. One was used in the opening credits and rented in Ala Wai Yacht Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Another was used in the opening credits in the second season, and eventually turned up for sale on Vancouver Island in August 2006, after running aground on a reef in the Hecate Strait on the way south from Alaska. One boat was used for beach scenes after being towed to Kauai in Hawaii. The fourth Minnow was built on the CBS Studios set in the second season. The Minnow got its name in an ironic joke. It was named for Newton Minow, chairman of the U.S. FCC, who was most famous for describing television as "a vast wasteland".
According to Here on Gilligan's Isle by Russell Johnson and Steve Cox, many shots from the first season opening credits were filmed the week after the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A clue to this is a panned shot early in the sequence in which an American flag is clearly at half staff.
Under pressure from the network president, William S. Paley
and his wife Babe, as well as many network affiliates and longtime fans of Gunsmoke
(which had been airing late on Saturday nights), to reverse its threatened cancellation, CBS rescheduled the Western to an earlier time slot on Monday evenings. This had been Gilligan's Island's
timeslot in its third season. (The show ran on Saturdays in its debut season, before moving to Thursdays in season two.) Though Gilligan's Island
's ratings had slumped from 24.7 (18th) to 22.1 (22nd) out of the top 25 (possibly as the result of two timeslot shifts in two years), the series was still profitable. Nevertheless, it was cancelled at practically the last minute. Some of the cast had bought houses based on Sherwood Schwartz's news of verbal confirmation that the series would be renewed for a fourth season.
As an homage to the show, however, one episode of Gilligan's Island had a dream sequence filmed on the Gunsmoke set.
Reunion films, clones and spin-offs
The success of Gilligan's Island
spawned a number of clones and spin-offs
- Dusty's Trail was a 1973-1974 syndicated television series by Sherwood Schwartz starring Bob Denver as "Dusty" and Forrest Tucker as "Mr. Callahan", the assistant to the leader of a wagon train and his irascible boss. Its cast was made up of nearly identical character roles as Gilligan's Island.
- The New Adventures of Gilligan was a Filmation-produced animated remake that aired on ABC Saturday (and Sunday) Morning from September 7, 1974 to September 4, 1977 for 24 episodes (16 installments airing in 1974-75 and 8 new ones combined with repeats in 1975-76). The voices were done by the original cast except for Ginger and Mary Ann, voiced by Jane Webb. An additional character was Stubby the Monkey, voiced by Lou Scheimer.
- In a 1978 made-for-TV movie, Rescue From Gilligan's Island, the castaways did successfully leave the island, but had difficulty reintegrating into society. During a reunion cruise on the first Christmas after their rescue, fate intervened and they found themselves marooned on the same island at the end of the film. It starred the original cast except for Tina Louise, who refused to participate and was replaced as Ginger by Judith Baldwin. The plot involved Soviet agents seeking a memory disc from a spy satellite that landed on the island and facilitated their rescue. Gilligan and the Skipper "rescue" Mary Ann right as she is to marry her long time fiance, which contradicts the series where it was established that Mary Ann had no boyfriend after having made up a story about a boyfriend to keep the others from feeling sorry for her.
- In a 1979 sequel, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island, they were rescued once again, and the Howells converted the island into a getaway resort, with the other five castaways as "silent partners". Ginger was again played by Judith Baldwin. This sequel was intended as a pilot for a possible new series in which the castaways would host new groups of tourists each week, using the all-star cast anthology format made popular by The Love Boat. The series never materialized, though the premise was the basis of a short-lived 1981 series titled Aloha Paradise.
- In a second sequel, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island (1981), villains played by Martin Landau and then-wife Barbara Bain (who also appeared together on Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999) try to take over the island to gain access to a vein of Supremium, a valuable but volatile element. This time, Ginger was played by Constance Forslund. They are thwarted by the timely intervention of the Harlem Globetrotters. Jim Backus, who was in poor health at the time, only appeared at the very end of the episode, arriving back on the island. David Ruprecht played the role of Thurston Howell IV, which is odd, since it was established in the series that the Howells were childless (though he may have been adopted).
- Gilligan's Planet was an animated science fiction version produced by Filmation and starring the voices of the Gilligan's Island cast save for Tina Louise (Dawn Wells played the voices of both Mary Ann and Ginger). They escape from the island by building a spaceship, and get shipwrecked on a distant planet. Only 12 episodes aired on CBS (Gilligan's old network) between September 18, 1982 and September 3, 1983. In one episode, they travel to an island, get shipwrecked there, and Gilligan observes, "First we were stranded on an island, then we were stranded on a planet, and now we're stranded on an island on a planet."
- The original cast members (along with Sherwood Schwartz) reunited on television only once, on a 1988 episode of The Late Show with Ross Shafer.
- Gilligan's Island: The Musical was first produced in the early 1990s, with a script by Lloyd Sherwood, Sherwood Schwartz's son, and songs by Schwartz's daughter and son-in-law, Hope and Laurence Juber. After extensive revisions since 2001 it has been produced at various theaters around the U.S.
- Gilligan's Island: Underneath the Grass Skirt (1999).
- Gilligan's Island: The E! True Hollywood Story (2000), a backstage history of the show, featuring interviews with some of the stars or their widows.
- Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three Hour Tour in History (2001) was a docudrama where Bob Denver, Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson reminisce about the show.
- On November 30, 2004, the TBS network launched a reality series titled The Real Gilligan's Island, which placed two groups of people on an island, leaving them to fend for themselves a la Survivor — the catch being that each islander matched a character type established in the original series (a klutz, a sea captain, a movie star, a millionaire's wife, etc.). While heavily marketed by TBS, the show turned out to be a flop with a very "Survivor"-like feel, but little of its success. A second season began June 8, 2005 with two-hour episodes for four weeks. TBS announced in July 2005 that a third season of the show would not be produced.
Television and video distribution
United Artists Television
originally produced the series (in association with Phil Silvers
' Gladysya Productions and CBS) and subsequently distributed it in syndication. UATV became MGM/UA Television
in 1981 after United Artists
merged with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
. In 1986, Turner Broadcasting System
attempted to purchase MGM/UA, but after amassing huge debt, sold most of the acquisition back, but kept the company's considerable library. This library, which would be managed by Turner Entertainment
included the pre-1986 MGM film and television library, the pre-1948 Warner Bros.
films and short subjects, and US rights to much of the RKO Pictures
library - in addition to this series. The Silvers estate (successor-in-interest to Gladysya) retained its share of ownership (both Turner and the Silvers family now share the show's copyright). Some years later, after Turner merged with Time Warner, Warner Bros. Television
became responsible for the show's distribution, and continues to do so today. The entire series has been released on DVD through corporate sibling Warner Home Video
, and online via AOL's IN2TV
Unusually for such a successful American television series, the program is virtually unknown in the United Kingdom — only thirteen episodes were ever shown there.
All three seasons of Gilligan's Island have been released on DVD in Region 1 by Warner Home Video.
|| Region 1
|| Additional features |
|The Complete 1st Season
|| February 3 2004
- Includes the rare pilot episode
- Commentary by creator Sherwood Schwartz on the pilot episode
- Tropical Tidbits trivia for the premiere episode "Two on a Raft"
- Gilligan's Island Survival Guide
- "Before The Three-Hour Tour" featurette
|The Complete 2nd Season
|| January 11 2005
- Introduction to Season Two by Sherwood Schwartz and Russell Johnson
- Commentary by creator Sherwood Schwartz on "The Little Dictator"
|The Complete 3rd Season
|| July 26 2005
- Introduction to Season Three by Sherwood Schwartz and Russell Johnson
- Commentary by creator Sherwood Schwartz on "The Producer"
- Documentary: "Gilligan's Island: A Pop Culture Phenomenon"
Ginger or Mary Ann?
The question of which one men prefer, and to a lesser extent, who women view themselves to be more like, has endured long after the end of the series. It has inspired videos, essays, and even the occasional sermon. By most accounts, the wholesome, high-maintenance
Mary Ann has consistently outpolled the glamorous but demanding Ginger since the very beginning.
In popular culture
- Alan Hale Jr guest starred on The Wild Wild West. At the end, he remarks he is going on a vacation to a "desert island" and a brief musical cut from Gilligan's Island is played. The opening scene of the Minnow in a storm was also reused in an episode of The Wild Wild West called "The Night of the Bleak Island".
- A small music band Little Roger and the Goosebumps did a parody of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" by setting the words of the Gilligan's Island theme song to the music of Stairway.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic paid tribute to Gilligan's Island three times. Once in a spoof of Tone-Loc's hit, "Wild Thing", entitled "Isle Thing", from the UHF Soundtrack Album (a rap parody), and again in a spoof of Coolio's "Gangsta Paradise", entitled "Amish Paradise", from Bad Hair Day (four lines of the rap parody are a verse from the closing theme). He also mentions Gilligan in his song "Couch Potato" (a parody of Eminem's "Lose Yourself"). Also, in another number, that is only played on the Straight Outta Lynwood tour, Yankovic spoofs T-Pain's I'm N Luv by singing, "I'm in Love With the Skipper"
- Sitcoms ALF and Roseanne paid homage to Gilligan's Island in the sense that the scenes were actually duplicated and cast members made guest appearances: . In the ALF episode "Ballad of Gilligan's island", (also known as "Somewhere Over the Rerun"), Alf is so obsessed with the show, he dreams he is on the island with the castaways. Denver, Hale, Johnson and Wells played their old roles. In Roseanne, Roseanne imagines herself on the island as Ginger, Dan as the Skipper, Jackie as Gilligan, and Mark as the Professor. During the closing credits, Tina Louise, Bob Denver, Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells appear, playing the Roseanne characters, and Sherwood Schwarz himself also appears.
- Casados con Hijos, a remake of FOX's long-running sitcom Married... with Children that aired in Argentina in 2005 and 2006, uses the same format as Gilligan's Island. Also, in an episode of Married... with Children, Kelly has a book report due on Robinson Crusoe, and Bud "helps" her, only instead of a report on Robinson Crusoe, he actually makes her write a report on Gilligan's Island, with the main character's name substituted.
- The 1987 movie Back to the Beach featured Bob Denver, dressed in his Gilligan attire, as a bartender in a seaside bar. He apparently was Gilligan in this movie because of his dress and the fact that he hates being called "little buddy". Also, at the end, he is seen dancing on the beach with a girl whom he has told of some harrowing ordeal ("Thank God it's over," Denver says) that must have involved being stranded on an island; then Alan Hale, Jr., in his Skipper attire shows up and tells Bob it's time to prepare for another "three hour tour". Denver refuses: "It's NEVER just a 'three hour tour'!!" Hale grabs him and they leave, presumably to another cruise that will inevitably end in another island shipwreck.
- Bob Denver, Dawn Wells and Russell Johnson appeared on a first season episode of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast as themselves. Space Ghost refused to believe that the show wasn't real, Zorak claimed to have made a cameo appearance in an original episode of the show, and Johnson belittled Space Ghost until the host used his power bands to end the interview.
- In the VeggieTales video God Wants Me To Forgive Them!?!; the Larry's Lagoon is a direct parody of Gilligan's Island.
- When Justice Thomas B. Galligan of the New York State Supreme Court developed a reputation for sentencing accused criminals, the jail at Rikers Island was nicknamed Galligan's Island.
- In the film Galaxy Quest, a parody of Star Trek, Gilligan's Island is mentioned as one of the shows the Thermians thought were "historical documents" with the leader saying, "Those poor people" in reference to the castaways.
- MADtv spoofed the show as "La Isla de Gilligan", a program wherein the cast speaks Spanglish throughout the skit and Gilligan, once again, prevents them from leaving the island.
- In the movie Coming To America, Arsenio Hall's character the Rev Brown cites the show in a sermon preached at a beauty pageant, comparing the achievement of Gilligan getting off the island with such biblical feats as Joshua's victory at the Battle of Jericho and Daniel's escape from the lion's den.
- On the radio show Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?, two audience members demonstrated that the words and music to the Gilligan's Island theme and the hymn Amazing Grace are interchangeable and proceeded to demonstrate.
- In a ninth season episode of The Simpsons, "Simpson Tide," Bob Denver appears as himself. Although dressed as Gilligan, he claims that he dislikes being treated as the Skipper treated Gilligan on the show. Everything he says is met with laughter, despite his insistence that he is not being funny.
- In the movie Dazed and Confused Kaye Faulkner (Christine Harnos) lays out how Gilligan's Island is "what's called a male pornographic fantasy."
- On Saved by the Bell, Screech often professes his love for the show, and there are other select references to Gilligan.
- Almost all baby boomers are able to recite the Gilligans Island Theme Song from memory
- In one episode of The Batman, a luxury liner is hosting a party in Gotham Bay, when an iceberg materializes in front of it. Telling the captain of the situation, he refers to him as Skipper, who in turn refers to the navigator as Little Buddy.
- In The Huntsmen 2: Bareback, a cultural island is peopled largely by the Castaways, their echoes in other shows, other characters played by the same actors, and even the director in a Morton's Saltbox collage of mirror images. Subplots involve the wealthy Miss Wentworth (oozing noblesse oblige) being clumsily wooed by the much younger but equally wealthy TJ Howell, and The Skipper having lost his authority to "Maynard," who has betrayed the Castaways by throwing in his lot with the headhunters/cannibals from the other side of the island.
- During the NASCAR Winston Cup Series races at Sears Point Raceway from 1994 until 2001, a makeshift overflow pit area, landlocked inside Turn 11 (the hairpin), was nicknamed "Gilligan's Island." The pit was very inconvenient and the subject of ridicule. The teams which qualified from 35th to 44th (these races were "combination" races with the West Series) were relegated to these 11 pit stalls, parallel to the main pit road, which carried 34 cars. Teams took a 10-second penalty each time they pitted to compensate for the shorter pit road. Prior to those years, teams had to access the garage area to make their pit stop. "Gilligan's Island" was removed when the track made improvements, as the pit road was extended to 44 cars in 2002. The section known as Gilligan's Island is located where the motorcycle Turn 11 (used by the IRL) is currently located.
- In "The Fairly OddParents", The Title is Spoofed
- In That '70s Show, characters are often seen watching Gilligan's Island.
- In "The Running Man", Damon Killian is quoted as saying "Well, it is a contact sport, okay? You want ratings. You want people in front of the television instead of picket lines. Well, you're not gonna get that with re-runs of Gilligan's Island".
- A comedy film starring twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, called Road Trip, features a scene wherein one of the leads calls the other "Gilligan" for making reckless plans that inevitably lead to failure.
- On the TV series Family Guy, the baby is named Stewart Gilligan Griffin.
- On the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, guest Dick Cavett said, “I’m working on an idea for a sitcom, Johnny. It’s a humorous version of ‘Gilligan’s Island.’”
- In the 2002 game Command & Conquer: Renegade, Captain Stuving was described as becoming a supporter of the Brotherhood of Nod when he was rescued from a desolate island after a crash during a three hour tour.
- Denver, Bob (1993). Gilligan, Maynard & Me. Carol Publishing Corporation. ISBN 0-8065-1413-2.
- Green, Joey (1988). Unofficial Gilligan's Island Handbook. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-38668-5.
- Johnson, Russell; Steve Cox (1993). Here on Gilligan's Isle. 1st edition, Perennial. ISBN 0-06-096993-8.
- Schwartz, Sherwood (1994). Inside Gilligan's Island: A Three-Hour Tour Through The Making Of A Television Classic. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-10482-0.
- Stoddard, Sylvia (1996). TV Treasures - A Companion Guide to Gilligan's Island. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks. ISBN 0-312-95797-1.
- Green, Amber (2008). The Huntsmen 2: Bareback. Carson City: Loose Id LLC. ISBN 978-1-59632-617-0.
- Gilligan's Island - The Complete First Season (DVD), 2004, Turner Home Entertainment, UPC 053939673425.
- Gilligan's Island - The Complete Second Season (DVD), 2005, Turner Home Entertainment, UPC 053939692624.
- Gilligan's Island - The Complete Third Season (DVD), 2005, Turner Home Entertainment, UPC 053939733129.