Try as the producers might to make the show timeless; it was clear to everyone watching, especially after the fact that it was set in the sixties. Chief among the details that nail it down in the decade is the fascination with Polynesian culture. A few years later, the Howells or Ginger would like much more likely to jet to Las Vegas instead of taking a three-hour cruise.
The Skipper is a WWII naval veteran and was relatively youthful in his forties. The sets were studio-bound, there was an implausible laugh track, and the Howells are clearly the millionaires of the past when it would take a billionaire to get the same effect now.
We almost got to see Jayne Mansfield in Gilligan’s Island
When it was decided that Ginger would be a movie star instead of a secretary, famous Marilyn Monroe-like actress Jayne Mansfield was approached to play the part of the fiery and soon-to-be sex-symbol character, Ginger. Jayne dismissed the offer following the advice of her third husband and went on to become a nightclub entertainer and a singer and one of the early Playboy Playmates.
Jayne was also the first major American actress in a Hollywood film to have a nude scene in the film Promises! Promises! Sadly, her career was cut short early, as she was killed in a car accident in 1967. To recognize her life’s work, the Hollywood Publicists Guild declared a "Jayne Mansfield Award" would be given to the actress who received the most exposure and publicity in a year.
We almost got a fourth Gilligan movie
Gilligan creator, Sherwood Schwartz, planned on making a fourth and final film for Gilligan’s Island, in which the castaways discover that humanity was wiped out by a nuclear war. The main story of the film included Gilligan marrying Mary Ann and having a baby boy with her. The boy would later discover that the world wasn’t actually destroyed, which sounds funny and tragic at the same time.
Eventually, the idea for a fourth movie got scrapped, and the nuclear war was apparently subverted. Fans speculate whether this would have been a great movie or not, but we think it would have been worth it just to watch our two favorite characters get married and have a child. Luckily we still have fanfiction for that.
A horse helped Alan Hale Jr. get the part for Skipper
During casting for Gilligan, Schwartz couldn’t find a perfect fit for the role of Skipper, as he was eventually the last character to be cast. The problem was the trouble of finding an actor that can combine qualities of being strong and tough while also being relatable and loveable through a caring personality.
When Alan Hale Jr. got the call that he’s invited to audition for Gilligan’s Island, he snuck off the set of Bullet for a Bad Man in Utah the day after filming and traveled to Los Angeles using various methods, from hitchhiking, airplane, taxis and even horseback riding, just to audition for the part of Skipper. Thanks, Alan!
The show was canceled while the cast was on vacation
For a year (1966 to 1967) Gilligan's Island aired on a prime time slot on Monday nights. By the time the show was in its 3rd season, the sitcom’s ratings had fallen well out of the top-30 programs. The show’s relatively low ratings and stiff competition and demand from both fans and NBC, caused the studio to quietly cancel the show while the cast was away on vacation.
To add insult to injury, some of the cast had purchased properties near the set due to the long-term nature of the production. Sherwood Schwartz had confirmed that the series would be renewed for a fourth season. Not exactly the best way to end an iconic TV show that would go on to make history, but life sometimes acts in funny ways.