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CBS Wanted Gilligan’s Island To Ditch The Island


Schwartz recalled Aubrey’s arrogance more than anything. Although Aubrey was in the room with his superior officers, he still felt permitted to idly throw paper airplanes. Schwartz figured that Aubrey was entitled to a certain amount of arrogance, however, as the man had, with its 1962-63 season, lifted CBS to the top of the ratings pile; 14 of the top 15 shows at the time were overseen by Aubrey. The only non-CBS show in the top 15 was “Bonanza,” an NBC show

Aubrey was throwing paper airplanes as a way to show his displeasure with Schwartz’s pitch for “Gilligan’s Island.” It seems he had a better idea for the show: a show without castaways. Aubrey wanted a travelogue show, not a desert island show. Schwartz wrote: 

“Another paper airplane took off. Was it simple eccentricity, or was Mr. Aubrey trying to tell me something? Although this was Mr. Paley and Dr. Stanton’s first exposure to the concept of ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ Mr. Aubrey and I had discussed the show many times. And we had a major disagreement. Mr. Aubrey loved the idea of Gilligan, the Skipper, and their little charter boat, but he wanted me to call the series ‘Gilligan’s Travels.'” 

What would “Gilligan’s Travels” be about? By Schwartz’s recollection: 

“In Mr. Aubrey’s view of the series, the shipwreck, the Castaways, and the deserted island were simply the first episode. In succeeding episodes of the show, Gilligan, the Skipper, and the rebuilt S.S. Minnow would take other passengers on other trips to other places.”

A tour of various exotic locales, each one with a new set of characters? It certainly sounds more “primetime” than several lonely figures trapped in a single location. Perhaps a fine idea for a series, but it wasn’t what Schwartz pitched.

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