SS- Thirty-five-foot charter boat on the maritime comedy series
GILLIGAN'S ISLAND/CBS/1964-67. Skipper Jonas Grumby (Alan Hale, Jr.), owner of
the S.S. Minnow, operated a charter boat service out of a tropic port with the
assistance of Gilligan (Bob Denver), his bumbling First Mate.
While on a simple
three-hour sightseeing tour, the ship's crew & five passengers were caught in a
violent storm (storm hit at heading 062) which shipwrecked them onshore of an
uncharted desert island somewhere 300 miles southeast of Hawaii. Fortunately,
all survived but the tiny craft was damaged beyond repair.
The other castaways included millionaire Thurston Howell III
(Jim Backus); his society wife Lovey Howell (Natalie Schafer); Ginger Grant
(Tina Louise), a redheaded movie star with a great set of curves; Roy Hinkley
(Russell Johnson), a brainy science teacher everyone called "The Professor"; and
Mary Ann Summers (Dawn Wells), a simple country girl.
Setting up housekeeping on
the island, the seven learned to live off the land, weather tropic storms, fend
off savage natives, and a variety of other kooky plot lines.
During one of the
numerous attempts at escaping the island (Episode No. 8 "Good Bye Island"), the
Professor decided to repair the S.S. Minnow with the nails he made from ferrous
oxide found on the island. Unfortunately, the nails either shattered like glass
or exploded when hit.
castaways Mary Ann and Gilligan discovered that tree sap (used for pancake
batter) made a perfect glue, and so the Professor and the Skipper started gluing
planks to the boat and prepared to leave the island. But just before the boat
was launched Gilligan accidentally found out the glue's holding power was only
temporary and the Minnow's stick-and-glue repair job quickly self destructed.
1978, in a two-part special Rescue From Gilligan's Island, the castaways finally
got off the island and returned to civilization (scenes shot at Marina del Rey
in Los Angeles).
With money received from the insurance policy from his old boat
the Skipper bought a new, even better boat, and christened it the S.S. Minnow
To celebrate, all of the castaways reunited onboard for a maiden voyage
which ironically shipwrecked on the same island they had left, just months
Two sequel TV movies Castaways on Gilligan's Island (1979) and
Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island (1981) found the castaways turned
entrepreneurs as they operated a desert resort hotel built with funds from the Howell
The series also spawned two animated series THE NEW ADVENTURES
OF GILLIGAN and GILLIGAN'S PLANET and plot twists on the series ALF, BAYWATCH
TRIVIA NOTE: The "tropic port" from which the S.S. Minnow "set sail" was actually the
port of the Waikiki Yacht Club located at 1599 Ala Moana Boulevard in Honolulu,
Hawaii. The boat used for the series was a thirty-five foot cabin cruiser found
in a Honolulu boat yard. To create its shipwrecked appearance the bow and stern
of the boat were marked with chalk circles and a man with a sledgehammer slammed
holes into the boat. A crane then lifted up the boat and put it on a barge which
was towed to Moloa'a Bay for filming. The Minnow is now resting somewhere in a
boat yard in Long Beach, California.
The S.S. Minnow was actually named after Newton N. Minnow, the
former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission who delivered his now
famous speech at a broadcaster's convention in 1961 that denounced television as
being "America's vast wasteland." Producer Sherwood Schwartz, insisted Mr.
Minnow had "ruined television." Schwartz, of course, was the creator of
GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and THE BRADY BUNCH.
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