The Top Ten Botched Escapes from Gilligan's Island

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website. I am the world's biggest Gilligan's Island fan, and this was a tough list to narrow down. But, trooper that I am, I am hereby presenting my choices for the top ten botched escapes from Gilligan's Island. If the below plots seem stupid, ridiculous, and absurd to you, you're right! Welcome to the world of Gilligan's Island. For some reason, the ridiculous adventures of a goofy sailor, his skipper, a millionaire couple, a farm girl, a hot movie actress, and a professor on an uncharted island captured the hearts of countless millions of fans the world over. Not quite as subtle as Benny Hill, and not as scholarly as the Three Stooges, Gilligan's Island nevertheless, in my own humble opinion, contains all the elements for a fine show: great slapstick comedy, funny verbal comedy, incredibly gorgeous women, friendship, and excellent comedy acting performances by all seven cast members. Note: interestingly, the myth that "Gilligan kept spoiling the others' chance of rescue" is a bit of an urban legend. Of the 10 failed rescue attempts below, only the last one is directly caused by Gilligan -as we shall see. 1. The Mosquitoes It was the mid-'60s, and rock groups emulating The Beatles were everywhere. And on the island there were The Mosquitoes: Bingo, Bango, Bongo, and Irving.The four long-haired musicians came to the island for a bit of R&R, but the restless, very-anxious-to-get-off-the-island castaways just had to interfere. They dreamed up a four-man guy group (featuring Gilligan on drums) to scare The Mosquitoes into leaving. They were terrible, and flopped. But the three-woman group The Honeybees (Ginger, Mary Anne, and Mrs. Howell) really impressed them with their talent. The Mosquitoes were so impressed by The Honeybees, they fled the island, afraid of the competition. 2. Ginger's Lookalike, Eva Grubb Fed up with men and the male world (pretty much like every other woman who has ever lived, several times a year), a homely, drab woman arrives on Gilligan's Island. Knowing how unhappy drab women's lives are, Ginger, the sexy movie star, give unattractive Eva Grubb the Pygmalion once-over (makeup, a tight dress, and of course, the obligatory removal of the glasses). Lo and behold, Eva is now a sexy knockout -and a dead ringer for Ginger. She realizes that she is hot now, and can be attractive to men, so she leaves the island -alone- to take over and resume Ginger's acting career by impersonating Ginger in Hollywood. 3. The Jungle Boy A jungle boy is discovered living on the island. Holy cow -it's a young Kurt Russell! The castaways get a brainstorm: why not sew together a bunch of old raincoats and inflate them to form a hot-air balloon, one big enough to fly the jungle boy to civilization? Sure enough, their idea works, and the jungle boy is rescued. Unfortunately, he speaks no English, so he can't communicate to his rescuers about the castaways. (Interestingly, Kurt Russell was later to star in the movie Escape from New York.) 4. The Hollywood Producer

Before Steven Spielberg, before George Lucas, before Jerry Bruckheimer, there was Harold Hecuba. Played with typical panache by comic legend Phil Silvers, Harold Hecuba, the famous Hollywood producer, lands on Gilligan's Island. Hoping to impress him with her acting talent, Ginger, along with the other castaways, stage a musical version of Hamlet for Hecuba. Impressed he is, so he, like so many others, leaves the island without the castaways. He wants to put on the musical Hamlet idea into a movie and grab the concept's credit for himself! 5. The Russian Cosmonauts Ivan and Igor, two Russian cosmonauts, land on the island. They are actually going to take the castaways back to civilization with them, but no, it's never that easy, is it? The castaways somehow all get drunk on vodka and fall unconscious. Unable to rouse them awake, Ivan and Igor are forced to leave without them. 6. The Surfer Is it my imagination, or do an inordinate number of other people land on the island and somehow get off and manage to leave all seven castaways stuck there? And so we see the champion surfer, played by actor Denny Miller. Yes, he can surf off the island and get back to the mainland, but the muscular surfer has eyed the voluptuous Ginger and the innocent hottie Mary Anne. The girls respond in kind. After all, after several months of nothing but Gilligan, the skipper, and the professor, wouldn't you, ladies? But soon the ladies realize that they must act disinterested or the surfer dude will never want to leave. So Ginger and Mary Anne feign indifference to muscle boy (after initially drooling over his physique) and he decides to surf back to civilization. And he makes it -with one caveat. Surfer boy hits his head on a rock, gets amnesia, and can't remember any of the castaways or his experiences with them. 5. Wrong Way Feldman   Wrong Way Feldman, a disabused former pilot, has actually been living in seclusion (for 33 years yet!) on the island, before Gilligan and his pals arrived. The castaways finally fix up his plane and coax him to fly again. He does, and like all the others (except Gilligan and company, of course), he makes it back to the mainland. But they don't call him Wrong Way for nothing -he forgets the coordinates of the island and can't remember where it was located. 8. Wrong Way Feldman -Again! What are the odds of one person making it back to and back safely from Gilligan's Island not once, but twice? Oh, about a jillion gazillion to one, maybe? But our old pal Wrong Way Feldman, now disillusioned with civilization, flies back to the old island. Somehow, the castaways upset him so much he flies off again in his plane. Would you believe he makes it back home, and again can't help the castaways get rescued? If you don't believe it, you may be quite rational, but you are not a dyed-in-the-wool fan of Gilligan's Island. 9. Thar's Gold on That Thar Island! The castaways discover there was actually a raft hidden on the shipwrecked boat, the SS Minnow (well, fancy that)! Unfortunately, they also discover a lost gold mine on the island. The weight of the raft will only hold the castaways and their absolute essentials. But, in a scene reminiscent of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, the greedy castaways all secretly bring their gold stashes on board. The weight of the gold sinks the raft, along with their hopes of an escape. 10. The Mars Camera A satellite camera sent by NASA mistakenly lands on the island. Okay, it's simple enough. When NASA sees the images on camera of the seven stranded castaways, they will surely send someone to rescue them. But when Gilligan somehow upsets all the others, they chase him through some glue and some feathers, which stick to them. The castaways now all resemble giant birds, and of course, this is what the scientists at NASA see when the camera is activated. They assume they are seeing images of "birdmen" (and "birdwomen") on Mars. Then, to top himself off in his rescue-killing, Gilligan trips over the camera's wire and disconnects it -permanently.  


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I also remember an episode with a Japanese soldier that shows up by submarine, not realizing that the war was over... It was a super stereotypical portrayal. Anyone else remember that one? They probably haven't shown it in forever because it's so offensive...
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Great article Eddie. Leave it to you to write something so cool as failed escape episodes of Gilligan's Island. I used to love that the Professor could make all these cool gadgets and even manage to keep the radio running without batteries yet couldn't fix the hole in The Minnow. Go figure.
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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

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