Gilligan’s Island is a classic television show that perfectly encapsulates ’60s culture. Featuring a large, ensemble cast, and simple, funny storylines, Gilligan’s Island ran on television for a relatively brief period of time but managed to make a big impact.
These days, Gilligan’s Island is still popular with viewers, many of whom find themselves drawn to the slapstick comedy and over-the-top characterizations. Fans are finding themselves more engrossed in the series than ever before, even diving deep to learn about the origins of the perennially popular theme song.
When did ‘Gilligan’s Island’ debut on network television?
Gilligan’s Island premiered on television in 1964. Starring actors like Bob Denver, Jim Backus, Alan Hale Jr., Natalie Schafer, and Tina Louise, Gilligan’s Island featured a deceptively simple premise: a group of mismatched passengers on a three-hour boat tour is capsized after a rough day at sea.
The castaways float to a deserted island, where they set up camp and figure out how to manage life in isolation, all while waiting for the highly-anticipated rescue effort.
At the forefront of the hijinks is Gilligan, the bumbling first mate. More often than not, Gilligan is the one responsible for anything that goes awry on the island, and he is often taken to task by the Skipper, played by Alan Hale Jr. Right away, Gilligan’s Island became very popular with viewers, but ultimately, the series only ran for three years, a total of just under 100 episodes, before going off the air.
‘Gilligan’s Island’ remains popular to this day
Even though Gilligan’s Island only lasted on television for three years, it became a cult classic in short order. Even after the series ended, many fans clamored for the characters to return, and showrunners produced several made-for-television movies, starring most of the original cast.
These movies adopted even more out-there scenarios than the TV show, but fans still loved the opportunity to see their favorite characters back in action.
To this day, Gilligan’s Island remains a classic television standard, a show that serves as both a time capsule of ’60s culture and an entertaining way to enjoy simple, broad comedy. There have even been rumors about a possible reboot of the show — rumors that have been fueled by series creator Sherwood Schwartz.
Who wrote the theme song for ‘Gilligan’s Island’?
One of the most memorable aspects of Gilligan’s Island is the peppy theme song, which tells the story of how the castaways ended up on the island in the first place. As it turns out, there were several versions of the show’s theme song before Sherwood Schwartz settled on one he liked.
According to a report by Mental Floss, the original version of the song, which was composed by Schwartz himself, had very different lyrics than the one that viewers are used to and even had a different sound. Schwartz ended up scrapping the first version and trying again.
After Schwartz wrote the final version of the song, he enlisted the popular singing group The Wellingtons to sing the theme — and the version that most viewers now recognize was born. Still, he ended up tweaking it once more after the first season, changing up some lyrics to mention the Professor and Mary Ann, who had been listed as “the rest” in the previous version of the song.