In Gilligan’s Island, Mr. Howell is so wealthy that he took hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and several changes of clothing with him for what was intended to be only their three-hour boat tour in Hawaii. In real life though, Jim Backus, the actor who played Mr. Howell, wouldn’t even bring his wallet to such a ride. It’s been claimed that the actor would often invite his crew to lunch and end up “forgetting” his wallet in the studio.
We all have a friend like that who seems to “forget his wallet” whenever there is a group outing, yet never forgets to collect when someone owes them something… Unlike that friend of ours, towards the end of the show, Schwartz allegedly gave Backus $300 to pay back the staff for the amount he stiffed them for throughout the time filming. Still, that’s definitely not what we’d recommend for the “10 ways to save money this year” section of the NYT.
One actor continued acting despite having a broken arm
Speaking of being tough, Alan Hale Jr., who played The Skipper, our favorite strongman captain of the S. S. Minnow, accidentally broke his arm during the filming of a scene when he fell from a coconut tree and missed his landing pad. ouch!
Of course, in addition to finishing the filming that day without saying a word to the crew about his broken arm, the easy-going Hale actually went on the finish the entire season of the show without anyone knowing about his injury. When asked by Schwartz about the incident and how Hale managed to hide his injury, throw coconuts, and lift Bob Denver with his broken arm, Hale responded by simply saying, “It wasn’t easy.” Risky business? Well, that’s show business.
Not everyone wants to become a sex-symbol
When Louise took the part of Ginger, a small-time actress who reminded us of Marilyn Monroe, she was arguably the most attractive of the five castaways on the show. Louise was worried that the role might cause her to be remembered as a sex symbol, which ended up being exactly what happened. Although accomplishing a lot in her career, to this day, the actress is mostly remembered as Ginger Grant.
Despite being limited by her famous role as Ginger, the actress is adored and beloved by her loyal fans, and went on to play jazz, sing, act, write, model, and even become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a lifetime member of the Actors' Studio. She is quoted as saying, "The best movie you'll ever be in is your own life because that's what matters in the end.”
Schwartz’s legacy lives on
Gilligan’s Island remains in syndication even today, and new versions of the iconic show, such as a musical adaptation, are constantly being made. The show has garnered a large audience of fans in all places. Its influence is worldwide. In Australia, for example, Gilligan’s Island is a massive success, along with The Brady Bunch, another show created by Sherwood Schwartz.
Schwartz’s granddaughter, Juber, has told MeTV.com that she’s still in contact with various daughters and granddaughters of the show’s cast. She is even still in possession of the bronze skipper hat that Alan Hale Jr. gifted to Schwartz as a gesture of immortalizing the now-iconic sitcom.
The first season’s credits didn’t include 2 major characters
During the first season of the show, the opening credits ended with the lyrics, “the moo-vie star,” and a photo of Ginger, with the words, “and also starring Tina Louise as ‘Ginger,’ written at the bottom. The theme song then ended with a rushed, “and the rest.” The reason for this was that Tina Louise’s contract stated no one would follow her name in the credits. We’ve heard of famous Hollywood actors who won't work alongside each other or those who won’t go on set without an outrageous supply of their favorite bottled water brand. But some of these requests seem a little more reasonable than others. For example: having someone pick out only the red M&Ms from an entire bowl for you — definitely a “primadonna” move.
Requesting a drink — acceptable. Having the contract state that you must be the last person whose name is shown when the credits are rolled — you decide. Apparently, Tina Louise found it quite acceptable and even fundamental to playing her role on the show. This caused some problems with the pacing and delivery of the credits, and in the end, the names of Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells were omitted. Bob Denver asked the show’s producers during the show’s second season to make sure they include the 2 actors in the opening credits because their roles were just as important to the show as the rest of the cast.