This week marks the anniversary of the premiere  of Gilligan’s Island on CBS in 1964. Audiences loved the show, but the critics hated it, and it lasted just three seasons.  Though short-lived, the show’s impact on pop culture is undeniable. Here are some things you  might not know about this classic show.

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The cast seems perfect – but it could have turned out very different. Jayne Mansfield turned down the role of “Ginger”; Carrol O’Connor tested for the role of “Skipper”; Jerry Van Dyke turned down the role of “Gilligan”, and Raquel Welch auditioned for the role of Mary Ann.


In the opening credits, the American flag flying over the harbor can be seeing flying at half mast. The reason was because of the assassination of President  John F. Kennedy shortly before the shot was filmed.

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As the show progressed, producers had planned to introduce a new character – a pet dinosaur – but ultimately decided against it because of the cost of special effects.

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The lagoon set is the same one used for “Creature From the Black Lagoon”. The set was located in Studio City, CA – and sometime the microphones would pick up rush hour noise from the nearby freeway.

RKO Radio Picture

The premise of Gilligan’s Island was partly inspired by a 1939 film starring Lucille Ball called “Five Came Back”. The characters in the film included a wayward pilot and co-pilot, a botanist and his wife, a sultry woman with a shady past,  and a rich playboy and his wife.