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Gilligan’s Island season 1

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Gilligan's Island: The Complete First Season (DVD)
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Gilligan’s Island season 1 (DVD)

Gilligan’s Island season 1 – Most critics lambasted Gilligan’s Island as low-brow humor.  Most people, however, merely watched it and laughed until their sides ached.  I loved it then and now, and recommend it highly.  This DVD setcontains the first season’s 36 episodes, containing some of the funniest scenes ever to grace the television screen.  The slapstick interaction between the Skipper(played brilliantly by Alan Hale Jr.) and Gilligan (by the late, lamented Bob Denver) rank with the great comedy teams – a modern day Laurel and Hardy.  The Skipper and Gilligan are clowns in the classic sense, and hilarious because of it.  The rest of the cast fit that description as well. And the interactions between any of them are well worth watching.  If I had to pick a favorite episode, I couldn’t; they’re all that good, with so many classic scenes, it’s hard to choose.

Are there any caveats to the DVD? Well, the first season was filmed in black & white, so the three-DVD set isn’t in color, except for the extras – commentary by creator Sherwood Schwartz on the unseen pilot episode, Tropical Trivia Tidbits (yawn), Gilligan’s Island Survival Guide (yawn), and “Before the 3 Hour Tour” profiles on the favorite castaways.  That’s the only ‘complaint’ I can come up with.  Any reason for not buying the DVD?  Only if you plan to get all three seasons – you can order the complete Gilligan’s Island series instead of season by season, and save a few dollars.  Feel free to look at reviews of Gilligan’s Island Season 2 and Gilligan’s Island Season 3 as well.

I rate it 4 clowns     on a 5-clown scale.

Episode Synopsis of Gilligan’s Island, Season 1 DVD

Pilot Episode:

The original pilot is quite different from the TV series. Ginger, Mary Ann and the Professor are different people, played by different actors and actresses. Mary Ann’s name is Bunny and her character is more like the current Ginger. Ginger is more like Mary Ann but still called Ginger. The Professor is very much a ladies man. Since the episode never aired, the show was drastically altered, characters were replaced. So was the now, unforgettable theme song.

Two on a Raft

The castaways find themselves marooned on the island. Gilligan and the Skipper set sail on a home-made raft in an attempt to find help. After sailing for days and battling obstacles such as sharks and Gilligan’s unending hunger, they land back on Gilligan’s island without realizing it

Home Sweet Hut

A hurricane is coming, so the Castaways must quickly build one large community hut in which to weather the storm. However, they soon get on each-others nerves, so they later decide to branch out and build individual huts.

Voodoo Something to Me

The Skipper fears that the island is full of ‘voodoo’ when he thinks that Gilligan has been turned into a monkey.

Goodnight Sweet Skipper

The castaways hear on the radio that a plane is going to be flying over their island. But they will be unable to contact them because their transmitter is broken.

Wrongway Feldman

When Gilligan finds an old airplane hidden in the jungle, the Castaways discover a long-forgotten aviator living on the island. Hans Conried guest stars.

President Gilligan

The castaways decide that they need someone to be the leader on the island, and so they hold elections.

The Sound of Quacking

The Castaways are faced with running out of food, when a blight threatens to destroy many of their plants. When Gilligan finds a duck in the lagoon, a difficult decision must be made.

Goodbye Island

Gilligan discovers a special tree sap that can be used to make a good tasting pancake syrup. Then the professor discovers that the same tree sap also makes a super glue, that may allow the castaways to repair the Minnow.

The Big Gold Strike

Mr. Howell discovers a gold mine on the island. He then hires Gilligan to work in the mine. When gold fever strikes the castaways and Mr. Howell is unwilling to share the gold, they begin to charge outlandish prices for the supplies and food that Mr. Howell needs.

Waiting for Watubi

While digging, the Skipper uncovers a carved statue of a Tiki God. He then believes a curse has fallen on him for disturbing the resting-place of Watubi, and that his days are numbered.

Angel on the Island

Mr. Howell decides to put on a play, staring Ginger, after she begins to suffer from home sickness. Trouble begins, however, when Mrs. Howell decides she wants to play the starring role. Mel Blanc is the voice of the parrot.

Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk

During Christmas, the Castaways get homesick and remember the first day they were shipwrecked. When Santa Claus “appears” on the island, many suspect he is the Skipper in costume. However, just as Santa departs while wishing the Castaways a Merry Christmas, the Skipper appears from the other direction.

Three Million Dollars More or Less

Mr. Howell loses $3 million to Gilligan in a golfing contest. Mr. Howell then tricks Gilligan into trading for a worthless oil well that he owns.

Water Water Everywhere

Talk about a painful irony: though surrounded by water, the Castaways suddenly discover that their supply of fresh drinking water is running out.

So Sorry, My Island Now

The Castaways are captured by a Japanese sailor who thinks that WWII never ended. When the other castaways are captured, it is up to Gilligan to save them. Vito Scotti guest stars.

Plant You Now, Dig You Later

While working for Mr. Howell, Gilligan unearths a chest. The castaways think it must contain a pirate’s treasure.

Little Island, Big Gun

A mob leader and his henchmen, fleeing from the police, land on the island. Larry Storch guest stars.

X Marks the Spot

In a test of a deadly new missile, called “Operation Powder Keg,” the Air Force chooses an “uninhabited island” which just happens to be Gilligan’s Island.

Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy

Gilligan discovers a jungle boy living on the island. He shows them a hole in the ground that causes objects to float. The professor theorizes that it is expelling either helium or hydrogen. Kurt Russell is the guest star.

“St. Gilligan and the Dragon

Angry because the men haven’t kept their promise to build them private houses, the women decide to move to the other side of the island in protest.

Big Man on Little Stick

Handsome surfer Duke Williams rides a giant tsunami to the island. At first, the castaways are excited as Duke thinks he will turn around and surf back to Hawaii (and send help). However, after seeing Mary Ann and Ginger, he decides he may want to stay for a while.

Diamonds Are an Ape’s Best Friend

A gorilla is enchanted by Mrs. Howell’s perfume and kidnaps her. After Gilligan accidentally spills the perfume all over his shirt, the gorilla decides to release Mrs. Howell and exchange prisoners.

How to be a Hero

After Gilligan is unable to save Mary Ann from drowning in the lagoon. The Skipper must jump in and rescue both of them. The castaways then devise schemes to boost Gilligan’s ego, and help him feel like a hero.

The Return of Wrongway Feldman

The castaways are revisited by ‘Wrongway’ Feldman.

The Matchmaker

Mrs. Howell decides to engineer a romance between Gilligan and Mary Ann.

Music Hath Charm

Mrs. Howell decides to form a symphony orchestra, to make up for the lack of culture on the island. Gilligan’s drum beats, as they drift across the water, hold special meaning to angry natives on a nearby island.

New Neighbor Sam

The Castaways overhear the voices of gangsters discussing buried treasure and threatening their lives. The voices turn out to belong to a parrot, who then leads the castaways to the “treasure.”

They’re Off and Running

Mr. Howell wins all of the Skipper’s possessions betting on turtle races. Even when he feels bad and switches the turtles so that Skipper will finally win, he still wins!

Three to Get Ready

The Skipper insists a stone found by Gilligan will grant the finder three wishes before sundown. The professor, of course, insists it is just superstition.

Forget Me Not

The Professor tries to cure the Skipper’s amnesia by hypnotizing him and taking him through time.

Diogenes, Won’t You Please Go Home

The Castaways discover that Gilligan has been keeping a secret diary. When they read it, they all seem to disagree with how certain events unfolded and tell their side of the story.

Physical Fatness

Gilligan and the Skipper plan to join the Navy when they are rescued. However, when weighing themselves, they discover that Gilligan must gain weight, while the Skipper must diet.

It’s Magic

Gilligan finds a raft, oh wait, no, the Great Raftini’s magic trunk. Ginger knows how to use the magical tricks. And the castaways plan to use the magic to scare away angry natives if they ever got to their island again.

Goodbye Old Paint

A famous painter who has renounced civilization, Dubov, visits the island (with a short-wave radio, of course). The castaways are hopeful that Dubov will give them his transmitter. But soon discover he does not wish to go back to civilization.

My Fair Gilligan

After Gilligan saves Mrs. Howell’s life, Mr. Howell decides to make him his son. He immediately puts Gilligan through basic training to be a millionaire’s socialite son (dream sequence). Changing the way he walks, talks and dresses. However, Gilligan and the rest of the castaways miss the “old Gilligan.”

A Nose By Any Other Name

A fall from a coconut tree gives Gilligan an inflated nose and a deflated ego. When Gilligan decides he wants the Professor to perform plastic surgery on his nose, the Professor pretends to perform the surgery. Instead, he relies on the recuperation time behind the bandages to allow the swelling to go down. When the bandages are finally removed, Gilligan decides he is happy with his old nose!

Editorial Review courtesy of Gilligan’s Island, the complete first season, courtesy of

Despite critical barbs as sharp as a Maroobi spear, Gilligan’s Island has proven unsinkable. Its first season was 1964’s top-rated show. The expository theme song is one of television’s most quoted, and its characters–the Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.), first mate Gilligan(Bob Denver), the millionaire (Jim Backus) and his wife (Natalie Schaefer), a movie star (Tina Louise), “and the rest” (Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells, as the Professor and Mary Ann, wouldn’t get their opening credit props until season two)–are pop culture icons. Revisiting the first season’s 36 episodes is a not-guilty-at-all pleasure. Some sure and surprising hands piloted these inaugural episodes, including Ida Lupino, Jack Arnold (The Creature from the Black Lagoon), Christian Nyby (The Thing), and Richard Donner (who went on to direct Superman and Lethal Weapon).

The “seven stranded castaways” from the ill-fated S.S. Minnow (slyly named for former Federal Communications Commission head Newton “vast wasteland” Minow) received memorable visits from the likes of Hans Conreid as errant pilot Wrong Way Feldman, a young Kurt Russell as Jungle Boy, and Larry Storch as a Cagney-esque bank robber. But these were mere diversions from the heart of the series; the no-man-is-an-island social microcosm that creator Sherwood Schwartz conceived as an anti-war parable (this courtesy of his optional commentary during the fabled unaired series pilot). In the Christmas episode “Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk,” Santa Claus himself drops in to lift the disheartened castaways’ spirits. “You could have been enemies,” he tells them, “instead of a family group who all learned to get along.” This is they key to this series’ enduring popularity. That, and the unending debate: Ginger or Mary Ann? —Donald Liebenson

Updated December 19, 2021

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