The Pilot Episode
The Pilot Theme Song

Pilot Video

The "tale of a fateful trip" actually began on November 26, 1963, when the S.S. Minnow left Honolulu Harbor for a Hawaiian tour. In the original theme song we learn that "Ginger and Bunny" were secretaries and that all the passengers were taking a "six-hour tour" (later to be changed to a three-hour tour). Also, according to the theme song, they were "all talking trips that they cannot afford!" I wonder how much the exotic trip - with free lunches - cost? The 'Professor' was a high school teacher who was not exactly like the all-American boy....or was he? His shirt was unbuttoned down to his naval and it's obvious he was meant to be a 'sex symbol' type of Professor (a real stud) ! Not exactly a Jack Armstrong type. But, as Mrs. Howell once said, "You can't exactly choose the type of people to be shipwrecked with." In place of Mary Ann was 'Bunny.' Or was 'Bunny' in place of Ginger? It's hard to tell because Bunny was the buxom dumb-blonde type while Ginger was a more practical brunette. Although these characters dated the show, we can perceive that Bunny got her secretary job based on other 'credentials' while the Ginger secretary was probably able to type!

However, leaving all suppositions beside, it was the Skipper, Gilligan and all the original passengers who actually sold the series. Back in "those days," TV shows had to be audience-tested before they aired. I often think that today's shows would be better if there was some audience testing, but it seems that the only test they have to pass is a ratings test. (The ultimate test. If they fail....they're gone!) Anyway, the show was "tested" on a Saturday and those tests were so extraordinarily high that the CBS research department insisted on testing it again, the next day. They brought in a new audience and the curves matched exactly. Even the highest points of audience interest were the same. According to Sherwood Schwartz, the 'fishing sequence' sustained the highest peak of audience involvement. So, with such a high evaluation, CBS couldn't ignore "Gilligan's Island" any longer....but they couldn't leave it alone either. After the pilot was sold, the three characters were changed along with the actors. The Professor became less of a sex-symbol (persona) to more of an analytical type. 'Bunny' became Mary Ann, the sweet-girl-next-door, and Ginger became an actress. We all know these characters but it's important to know how the show started. The "long-lost-pilot" was recently discovered buried in the Turner/UA files and was first aired on October 16th, 1992. Just to make sure that the pilot was a 'Et,' your fan-club sent out over 1,000 press releases to all the big newspapers and TV/cable stations. Cable rating-wise it was a blockbuster! But, did you notice that long with the Howells, the mainstay of the series never changed. The Skipper remained the courageous captain and Gilligan remained, well he remained "Gilligan"!

Ginger - Kit Smythe
Bunny - Nancy McCarthy
The Professor - John Gabriel