Rescue From Gilligan’s Island (1978, directed by Leslie H. Martinson)

I know that this is going to shock some people but Rescue From Gilligan’s Island is dumb.  In fact, it is not just dumb.  Instead, it is very, very, very dumb.  It’s just about the dumbest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen.

The first TV movie sequel to the 60s television show about a group of castaways on an uncharted isle, Rescue From Gilligan’s Island picks up ten years after the final episode of Gilligan’s Island.  The castaways are still living on the island and trying to figure out how to get back home.  There’s the Skipper (Alan Hale, Jr.) and Gilligan (Bob Denver).  There’s Mary Ann (Dawn Wells), the Howells (Jim Backus and Natalie Schaefer), and the Professor (Russell Johnson).  Ginger is also there but there’s something different about her.  Tina Louise refused to return to the role because she always said appearing on Gilligan’s Island ruined her career.  Ginger is now played by Judith Baldwin, who looks glamorous but who also plays her role distressingly straight, as if she was the only person unaware that nothing about Gilligan’s Island should have been taken seriously.

After ten years of being stranded, the professor finally figures out how to get the castaways off the island!  You’ll never believe the plan he comes up with.  He decides that the castaways should build, get this … a raft!  Ten years on the island and it never occurred to them to just make a raft?  The castways do get some help from a tsunami, which pushes them out to the ocean.  And then when Gilligan sets the raft on fire, they’re saved by the Coast Guard.

(How did they spend ten years on the island without killing Gilligan?)

Despite having been away from ten years, everyone settles back into their old routines but it’s not just the same.  The Professor tries to teach but the students just want to hear about what it was like to be marooned on an island.  Ginger returns to acting but is expected to now appear in PG-rated films!  Mary Ann agrees to marry her old boyfriend, Herbert, despite not loving him.  The Howells go right back to their old lives because the Howells are just as weird as on the mainland as they were on the island.

As for Gilligan and Skipper, they try to convince their insurance company to pay to fix the Minnow so that they can go back to giving three-hour tours but to do that, they have to convince all of the castaways to sign a form swearing that the Skipper was not liable for what happened during that last tour.  (But, even if they could fix up the Minnow, why would anyone want to take a tour with the Skipper and Gilligan when the entire world probably knows that doing so mean risking having to spend ten years on a deserted island?  There’s a reason why no one wanted to fly with George Kennedy after the fourth Airport movie.)  So, Gilligan and the Skipper travel the country and visit old friends while being pursued by two Russian agents (Vincent Shiavelli and Art LeFleur) who want to steal a metal disc that Gilligan found on the island.

I told you it was dumb.

Dumb it may have been but it was also the highest rated show for the week that it aired.  While this didn’t lead to a new series, it did lead to two more made-for-TV movies.  In the first one, the castaways opened a resort.  In the second one, they teamed up with a group of sports superstars and kept Martin Landau from exploiting the island’s natural resources.  Dumb as this movie may be, it was necessary steps towards teaming the Skipper up with the Harlem Globetrotters.

One response to “Rescue From Gilligan’s Island (1978, directed by Leslie H. Martinson)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 1/31/22 — 2/6/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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