So which one did Gilligan like best?
Rest in peace, Li'l Buddy.
Gilligan is gone. Bob Denver, the actor who played the dim-bulb first mate in 98 episodes of Gilligan's Island, died last week of complications from treatment for cancer.
U.S. News spoke to Denver several years ago. He shared some of his deepest thoughts about one of the silliest sitcoms of all time, which ran on CBS from 1964 to 1967 but followed him for the rest of his life via perpetual reruns.
He was, as a rule, grateful for the adulation he received for his Stan Laurelesque character. A mother once told him that her son had been in a coma for six months or so. Every day at 3:00 she tuned the TV to Gilligan's Island. And then, one day, the boy awoke.
"This is your favorite one," she told him. And he said, "It is my favorite."
"One of my aims when I shot the show," Denver said, "was to bring children out of comas."
Being an iconic village idiot had its downside. While Denver was visiting the urinal in a restaurant men's room, a drunken fellow began whacking him with a baseball capperhaps paying homage to the way that Gilligan was manhandled by the Skipper.
"He wouldn't stop; he kept hitting me all the way into the restaurant," Denver recalled. "He was so out of it. I said, 'Thank you for stopping,' and he got all red and stopped." But he returned 20 minutes later and asked if Denver would sign the baseball cap.
"I said, 'I don't think so,'" Denver said. He also found it unpleasant to rent a boat, because, really, how many times do you want to hear, "You gonna take it out for three hours? Ha ha ha."
As for the eternal questionwho was more alluring, farm girl castaway Mary Ann or movie star castaway GingerDenver felt it was no contest. He liked Mary Ann better, and he claimed that whenever there were polls, Mary Ann always beat Ginger by a margin of 3 to 1.
"I think Ginger just scared the guys," was Denver's take. And since movie stars should always get the last word, here's what Tina Louise, who portrayed Ginger, has to say about that: "I don't think so!"