Alan Hale Jr. hitchhiked to get his ''Gilligan's Island'' role

How far would you go to get the role of a lifetime?

As an actor, auditioning for a role can be a long and arduous process, one that can sometimes last even longer than the series you're auditioning for. However, when an actor really wants a role, they're willing to move heaven and earth just for the chance to audition.

This was the case for Alan Hale Jr., who was in Utah filming a movie when he received the call that CBS was considering him for a role on Gilligan's Island. Hale Jr. was expected to visit CBS to discuss this further, but there was one small problem: The movie's budget was relatively small, and there was no way for Hale to secure a means of travel directly to CBS.

Hale recounted the experience during an interview, shared with Bob Denver in 1988. "I was in St. George, Utah, doing a picture with Audie Murphy and I get this call to come down. Well, we had a small budget picture and there was kind of a difficulty as to how I was going to get there. There were no planes out of there, there were no rental cars...so I went out on the highway with my thumb."

Yes, you heard that correctly. Hale hitchhiked out of St. George, Utah in order to begin the trip to his destiny of playing The Skipper. Hale Jr. continued, "I hitchhiked out of St. George, got down to Las Vegas, and flew from Las Vegas into CBS."

The good news is that by the time Hale Jr. arrived at CBS to meet with Sherwood Schwartz, it was almost certain that he had the role. Hale Jr. said that Shwartz told him when he arrived, "If you'd like to be The Skipper, you are." So, Hale Jr.'s visit was mainly to see how he acted in contrast with some of the other potential characters. However, it's safe to say that it was fate that he played the Skipper, even if it took a trek to get there.

Watch Gilligan's Island on MeTV!

Sundays 3 & 3:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

4 Comments

Zip 7 months ago
I remember reading that when Sherwood Schwartz saw Alan Hale Jr. in a restaurant, he said to his lunch partner, "That's the Skipper!"
Since Sherwood had Alan pegged for the role, if might have been nice of him to arrange for Alan to get there.
Regardless, I am glad Alan made it and became the Skipper. I can't imagine how different it would have been if Caroll O'Conner, who tried out for the role, would have gotten the part.
GOOSEYGOOSE9 7 months ago
Gunsmoke Was On Verge Of Cancellation In 1967 By CBS And Cancelled Gilligan's Island Instead.
LoveMETV22 7 months ago
Suppose if he had gone a bit further, maybe he could hook up with Bugs Bunny and continued on to CBS.

Runeshaper 7 months ago
You have to give props to the person that gave Hale Jr. a lift! Without that person, who knows what would have happened?!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?