Home Entertainment How Gilligan’s Island’s Creator Hilariously Pitched The Show

How Gilligan’s Island’s Creator Hilariously Pitched The Show


In Paula Finn’s 2018 book “Sitcom Writers Talk Shop: Behind the Scenes with Carl Reiner, Norman Lear, and Other Geniuses of TV Comedy,” Finn interviewed producer and writer Dava Savel, who worked on shows like “Will & Grace” and “That’s So Raven,” and Savel recounted a story about how “Gilligan’s Island” came to be:

Here’s a funny story for you about a pilot. I knew Sherwood Schwartz for thirty years, and he once asked me, “You know how I sold Gilligan’s Island?” I said, “How?” He said, “I wrote this song, and I’m on my way to the studio. I stop to get my gas filled, and I say to the gas station guy, ‘Can I sing something to you, and you tell me if you’re gonna watch this show?'” So he sings the whole thing, and the guy says, “That sounds like a good show to me.” Sherwood goes, “That’s what I thought!” So that’s how he sold it.

If that gas station attendant had not been as receptive to Schwartz’s song, who knows what could have happened? Maybe the writer/producer would have tweaked the lyrics at the last minute, altering the chemical perfection of the existing song to such a degree that the “Gilligan’s Island” theme might have never become the perfect earworm we all know. Maybe Schwartz would have gotten dejected at the prospect of a regular TV watcher being disinterested in his idea and scrapped the pitch altogether. The possibilities are endless, but we’re certainly glad things shook out the way they did. Talk about a fateful trip.

To learn the saga of the utterly chaotic, last-minute recording of the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song, be sure to check out our article about that here.

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