Thursday, April 23, 2015


Does anyone remember Gilligan’s Island as a primetime television show? If you’re like me you don’t. All you know of the show is when it was in syndication, slotted for after-school television. And if you’re again like me, you never considered it “must see TV”. It was just something to watch while you ruined your appetite for dinner stuffing your face with candy and snack foods. And if you’re still like me, it got to the point where you had seen every episode more than once, memorized the theme song, and can still recall some scenes from the show to this day.
As cheesy as the show was, it did attract some notable guest stars who played some memorable characters. The following is my top ten guest characters listed in reverse order:

10. Jungle Boy
Played by a very young Kurt Russell. I don’t recall the premise of the episode, but I do remember he couldn’t speak the language. Kind of a young Tarzan.
9. The Headhunters
There were a few episodes where the headhunters showed up, played by various actors I’m assuming. One of the best episodes/scenes is shown in this clip:
8. Jonathan Kincaid- The Hunter
Played by Rory Calhoun. In one of the more sinister episodes, hunter Jonathan Kincaid uses the castaways’ “lost and unfound” status as an opportunity to hunt the most challenging game – a human. Namely Gilligan.
7. Dr. Boris Balinkoff
Played by Vito Scotti. Dr. Balinkoff was a mad scientist who lived in a castle on an island near the castaways. He would use the castaways as guinea pigs for his Frankenstein-like experiments. In this clip he hypnotizes Ginger:
6. The Mosquitoes
I don’t remember the actors but I remember the names of the members of this rock band that somehow landed on the island-- Bingo, Bango, Bongo, and……Irving! An obvious tongue-in-cheek nod to The Beatles, this episode is memorable for another band so good the Mosquitoes left the castaways behind in fear of the competition – The Honeybees
5. Harold Hecuba
Played by Phil Silvers. Hecuba was a brash movie producer who lands on the island after his private jet crashes. This episode was memorable for the Hamlet skit and for Silvers’ hilarious portrayal of his role.
4. Lord Beasley Waterford
Played by John McGiver. “The Pussycat Swallowtail” is one of the more memorable terms from the series. An eccentric British butterfly collector comes to the island in search of the rare insect and isn’t about to let his focus waiver despite the castaways’ attempts to coerce him into immediate rescue. One of the funniest scenes is when the gang resorts to trying to get Lord Beasley drunk in a series of group toasts, but they all pass out in a stupor as Beasley is unphased by the island moonshine.
3. Alexandri Gregor Dubov
Played by Harold J Stone. An abstract painter (representing the narcissistic “out of touch” artist) trying to get away from his critics. This was a great character. I can still hear the incoherent little ditty he would sing while painting a portrait of Ginger. I can also recall his accent. “Phooey on Gilligan!”
2. Japanese Sailor
Another role played by Vito Scotti. This dude was a riot. A Japanese sailor in ridiculously thick glasses takes the castaways hostage one by one ‘cuz – due to a lack of an operable radio - he thinks World War II is still going on. Another accent that sticks with me along with some classic lines that I’ve tried to imitate over the years when applicable – “U steam grahses”, “Aww, not handsome…garooking maybe”.
1. Wrongway Feldman
Played by Hans Conried. An incompetent World War I pilot known for going the wrong way. It was a close call between Wrongway, Dubov, and the Japanese Sailor but I’m going with Wrongway here. It was a great part but the clincher was the character’s name. It sticks to the point where I’ll refer to it in conversation sometimes. If someone takes a left instead of a right I’ll say “wrong way, feltman”.  Most everyone acknowledges the Gilligan reference.

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