While it was a big surprise that the show ended so suddenly – the show was canceled while the cast was on vacation, as we know – for a long time it was rumored there were scripts for the planned fourth season that would have had Tina Louise’s character Ginger being rescued.
At the same time, two additional female characters were going to join the cast. However, this has been debunked. Louise has even gone on record by saying that while she didn’t enjoy the show, she wasn’t planning on leaving and would have been a part of the fourth season.
Natalie Schafer got down and dirty for the show
Natalie Schafer, in her 60’s at the time the show was being filmed, did not let her age or anything else for that matter get in the way of her getting down and dirty by doing her own stunts. Yes, that means Schafer would jump into the lagoon or fake quicksand without a stunt double. In 1965, she told “Let’s Be Beautiful” columnist Arlene Dahl that she stayed in shape by swimming and by following her special “ice cream diet.”
That’s right, although she was in her early 60’s when the show was originally filmed, actress Natalie Schafer decided that she would do all of her stunts by herself instead of relying on a stunt double. This means that all the dangerous and oftentimes dirty stunts we see the rich and spoiled Lovey Howell perform in the show were actually Natalie being very unspoiled and brave at her job!
Bob Denver also had a fantastic career following the show
In addition to his iconic role as Gilligan, Bob Denver went on to have a very successful career. Still, he made sure to respect the character by performing as either Gilligan or some parody of Gilligan every few years in shows such as Baywatch, The Simpsons, Meego, ALF, and many more including lending his voice for various animated shows.
Most of Denver's acting career was in television and even appeared in several films and on Broadway. He also made a modest income by making public appearances, often dressed up as Gilligan. In 1992, he played Gilligan to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a West Virginia fundraiser for the organization. Denver passed away on September 2, 2005, and we hope wherever he is right now, he’s making others laugh there too.
The ‘S.S. Minnow’ was used to annoy the chairman of the FCC
Fans believed that the name of the ship that brought us to Gilligan’s Island, the S.S. Minnow, was based on the name of a fish. But producer Sherwood Schwartz claimed that the name was inspired after Newton Minow, who sat at the time as the chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Newton changed TV forever when he made his famous scathing speech against television shows. The phrase with which he described television—a “vast wasteland,” would forever be attached to his name and still shows up as the first suggested result when you Google his name. In 2011, Minow told Advertising Age having more choice of shows was the most significant improvement in TV in the decades since his famous speech, which makes it “less of a wasteland.”
“The New Adventures of Gilligan”
After the live-action show ended before season four even got off the ground, the powers that be decided there was more money to be made with the brand, and so created “The New Adventures of Gilligan,” an animated show with the exact same premise and characters.
The show ran for two seasons and approximately a year – September of 1974 to October of 1975. It had twenty-four episodes, and most of the cast reprised their old roles. While the animated episodes are basically the same as the live-action plots, the biggest addition was an anthropomorphic monkey by the name of Stubby, who befriends Gilligan.