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The cast of Gilligan’s Island: Bob Denver was Gilligan; Alan Hale, Jr., was the captain; Jim Backus was Thurston Howell III, and Natalie Schafer, his wife; Tina Louise was Ginger; Russell Johnson was the Professor; and Dawn Wells was Mary Ann.

COSTA RICA EXTRA – Among the many shows marking anniversaries this month (“Friends” celebrates its 20th, and “The West Wing” its 15th), “Gilligan’s Island,” if you can believe it, its 50th.

The comedy, which debuted in September 1964, only ran three seasons. Critics didn’t love it, to put it mildly. But viewers got a kick out of tale of the three-hour tour that stranded the crew and passengers when the Minnow landed on an uncharted desert isle.

Think you know everything about the famous castaways from Gilligan’s Island? Think again! Here are a fact about the hit show that will surprise even the most ardent fan: The Coast Guard would often receive telegrams from people who didn’t realize the show wasn’t real.

“Gilligan, the Skipper, too, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and Mary Ann, here on Gilligan’s Isle … ,” opened each episode’s theme song.

Thanks to endless reruns, viewers of all ages can probably remember who played who: Bob Denver was Gilligan, the accident-prone first mate (whose first name was Willie, though never mentioned ont he show); Alan Hale, Jr., was the captain; Jim Backus was the millionaire, Thurston Howell III, and Natalie Schafer was Lovey Howell, his wife; Tina Louise was Ginger, the movie star; Russell Johnson was the Professor; and Dawn Wells was Mary Ann, a girl-next-door type of gal.

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For decades, male viewers have debated that immortal question, Ginger or Mary Ann?

For decades, male viewers have debated that immortal question, Ginger or Mary Ann? But let’s not leave out female viewers, many of whom had a thing for the Professor.

So, who was the best character on “Gilligan’s Island”?

I realize this may not be the most pressing issue you can spend your time pondering, but sometimes you just need to think about something completely and totally unimportant.

Can’t get that theme song out of your head? Well, here’s a clip of the opening credits (with the much lesser-known end credits song.)

You can thank me later.

Article first appeared on Costa Rica Extra, reposted with permission


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