The Castaways on Gilligan's Island
The Castaways on Gilligan's Island is a 1979 made-for-television comedy film that continues the adventures of the shipwrecked castaways from the 1964–1967 sitcom Gilligan's Island and the first reunion movie, Rescue from Gilligan's Island, featuring the original cast from the television series with the exception of Tina Louise, who was replaced in the role of Ginger Grant by Judith Baldwin. Written by Al Schwartz, Elroy Schwartz and series creator Sherwood Schwartz and directed by Earl Bellamy, it was first broadcast on NBC May 3, 1979. Unlike the independently-produced Rescue from Gilligan's Island, this and the subsequent The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island were produced by MCA/Universal Television.
|The Castaways on Gilligan's Island|
|Written by||Sherwood Schwartz|
|Directed by||Earl Bellamy|
Alan Hale, Jr.
|Music by||Gerald Fried|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer||Sherwood Schwartz|
|Producer||Lloyd J. Schwartz|
|Editor||Albert J. Zuniga|
|Running time||70 minutes|
|Production companies||Redwood Productions|
Sherwood Schwartz Productions
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
|Picture format||Color (Technicolor)|
|Original release||May 3, 1979|
|Preceded by||Rescue from Gilligan's Island|
|Followed by||The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island|
The movie picks up after the end of Rescue from Gilligan's Island. The castaways are once again stranded on the same island they were previously on. They are desperately searching for fresh water after the storm has contaminated the underground springs. Gilligan stumbles upon two previously undiscovered WWII airplanes. It is learned that the island was a base of operations for the Army Air Corps during World War II, and the abandoned hangar was obscured by the jungle brush. The tsunami from the previous movie has exposed the hangar. The Professor believes he can combine the two planes into one and fly them back to civilization. He cobbles together an airworthy plane and, dubbing it Minnow III, the castaways take off.
During the attempt to fly to Hawaii, the plane has engine trouble. The Professor orders Gilligan to jettison some weight, causing him to fall out and parachute down to the island. The castaways opt to return for Gilligan, although the Professor warns it will be impossible to take off again. Immediately after landing, the engine falls off, and the Skipper surmises it would have been certain death had it happened while airborne. Gilligan inadvertently has saved the castaways. The group finds Gilligan is safe but they are dismayed, as the plane was their final hope of rescue. However, a U.S. Navy captain suddenly appears saying that the castaway's plane was detected on radar long enough for them to track it to the island. The castaways once again return to civilization, and the U.S. government pinpoints the island's location to prevent future castaway incidents. After being rescued, Mr. Howell decides to build a resort hotel on the island, calling it a "living tribute", to the years the seven castaways lived together on the island.
The second half — which was originally intended as a pilot for a Love Boat-type of weekly series — picks up a year later, with the island now a tropical resort fully linked to civilization called "The Castaways" which is based on the theme of vacationers indulging on a lifestyle similar to original castaways without electricity, cars, newspapers, radios, televisions, & telephones as escapism from their everyday routine. The resort is owned by Mr. Howell who also makes the other castaways silent partners in the hotel. The rest of the castaways also work as staff members of the resort, where the Skipper and Gilligan man a motor whale boat, aptly named Minnow IV, that shuttles people to and from cruise ships that stop at the island.
On one such trip, the Minnow IV brings two married couples to the island. One couple has Henry Elliot (Tom Bosley), a workaholic real estate business man from Cleveland, whose wife, Myra (Marcia Wallace), is trying to get to relax and forget about work, as well as an unaccompanied minor named Robbie (Ronnie Scribner). It is initially assumed the kid belonged to either the Elliots or the other couple on the boat, but neither couple claims the boy (the Elliots mention their kids being back home, and Henry actually forgets how many they have), nor does any other couple staying on the island.
Henry continues to fuss over work, despite Myra and the rest of the castaways trying to help him relax, but nothing helps; not a massage, not fishing, not snorkeling, nothing. Henry even finds the only pay phone on the island (hidden in a fake tree in the lobby, and used only for emergencies) and tries to call his office back in Cleveland, then panics because no one answers there, only for Myra to remind him of the time zone difference. Henry finally decides to placate his wife by changing out of his suit (which he had been wearing since getting off the Minnow IV) into a pair of shorts and a polo shirt, and does not shave. She is not too impressed with his new look or his sudden desire to adapt to the vacation, but she reluctantly goes along with it. It is shown to be an attempt to use reverse psychology to drive Myra to want to leave sooner, but she caught Henry telling that to another couple they have spoken to before (one of whom is a dentist, and is glad to get away from work for a vacation), and winds up threatening to have them stay for many weeks.
Meanwhile, Robbie, the unaccompanied kid, is sneaking around the island, and even snatches a hamburger from the Skipper's plate when he is not looking. As he is doing this, he climbs trees, swings from tree to tree via vines like Tarzan, and even shows a lot of skill as a gymnast. His parents end up coming over from the cruise ship to find him after realizing he was not in the ship's gym or on the boat at all. Gilligan goes out and eventually finds him, and learns he ran away from his parents due to undue pressure put on him to work hard to go to the Olympics, and how he would love to be more like a regular kid and not be practicing for eight hours a day on the weekends. Gilligan does not agree to hide him from his parents and eventually he is reunited with them, where his parents learn why he ran away and agree to dial it down, realizing they never listened to what he really wanted.
Another story is the luau planned for that night and how the Professor found ancient masks to hang at the beach for it. The desk clerk, Naheeti (played by Hawaiian actress Mokihana), warns of evil spirits coming from the masks, which the Professor naturally blows off. He then shows stickers on the insides of the masks saying "MADE IN CHICAGO" to put everyone's mind at ease. Later on at the luau, Henry is seen finally relaxing for real and enjoying himself, apologizing to Myra for being so uptight. When Myra suggests coming back in a year, Henry says he wants to return in six months and see if he can talk Mr. Howell into building condos on the island (to which Myra laughs). The Professor also admits to everyone the "MADE IN CHICAGO" stickers on the masks were placed on them himself to try to prove there is nothing to worry about. Of course, after that, the smaller masks move, and the pole the big mask was on falls onto the table they are sitting at, sending a bowl of poi in the air, landing on the Professor's head. The Professor offers no comment to that.
- Bob Denver - Gilligan
- Alan Hale - The Skipper
- Russell Johnson - The Professor
- Jim Backus - Mr. Howell
- Natalie Schafer - Mrs. Howell
- Judith Baldwin - Ginger
- Dawn Wells - Mary Ann
- Tom Bosley - Henry Elliott
- Marcia Wallace - Myra Elliott
- Ronnie Scribner - Robbie Sloan
- Judith Searle - Mrs. Sloan
- Rod Browning - Dr. Tom Larsen
- Joan Roberts - Laura Larsen
- Peter MacLean - Fred Sloan
- Natasha Ryan - Little girl
- Mokihana - Naheeti
In the wake of the ratings success of Rescue from Gilligan's Island, NBC wanted Sherwood Schwartz to produce a new Gilligan's Island series for them. Schwartz objected to reviving the show in its original format due to the aging cast and because he didn't want to repeat his old ideas. He instead suggested the idea of a new hour-long series where the castaways would run a resort hotel on the island. Each episode would feature different guest stars with their own storylines, a premise he compared to The Love Boat. NBC agreed and wanted to order seven episodes to begin airing in three months. Schwartz felt that didn't give him enough time and instead made an agreement to produce one pilot for the current TV season, which became this 90-minute TV-movie, with an option to produce seven series episodes for the fall season.
The Castaways on Gilligan's Island aired on NBC on May 3, 1979 from 8:30 to 10:00 p.m. It suffered a sharp decline in the ratings compared to the previous TV-movie. Schwartz blamed this in part on a last-minute change in its air date. It was moved up eight days from what had been previously advertised to a Thursday, a school night for kids, and put up against Mork and Mindy, a top-rated show at that time. In light of the mediocre ratings for the TV-movie, NBC opted not to order the hour-long series.
- Schwartz, Sherwood (April 15, 1994). Inside Gilligan's Island: A Three-Hour Tour Through The Making of A Television Classic. St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 235–236. ISBN 0-312-10482-0.
- Schwartz, Sherwood (April 15, 1994). Inside Gilligan's Island: A Three-Hour Tour Through The Making of A Television Classic. St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 239–240. ISBN 0-312-10482-0.