Ginger vs. Mary Ann: Who got more fan mail?

And Dawn Wells knows exactly why.

It's one of the great cultural binaries of all time. The debate sits astride with "Beatles or Stones," as a touchstone for generations. As new viewers come to Gilligan's Island every year, the war of preference wages on. Everybody has a favorite — some people like Mary Ann, and some people like Ginger.

According to a 1999 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there might be a single statistic to resolve the dispute with a clear winner. Post-Gazette staff writer Ed Masley writes that Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann, received more fan mail.

Wells, for her part, thinks she knows why.

First, there's the girl contingency of viewers. To them, Mary Ann was much more of a role model than Ginger was. They were able to look up Mary Ann, and connected with that character more, according to Wells. 

And what of the boys?

"Mary Ann would be the one that you would trust," says Wells. "She'd be kind to you. You could take her to the prom, or if she turned you down, she'd still be your friend, whereas you might be a little terrified to approach a Ginger because she was so much more worldly than you. Mary Ann was your first crush. She was the first girl you would kind of fantasize about when you were 12 or 13 because she was the good girl."

While fan mail isn't the only measure of success, it does at least point to a partiality of the letter-writing set.

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5 Comments

Bapa1 23 days ago
To hell with both of them, give me Mrs. Howell! Awwoooooooooo! (wolf sound).
jmworacle 23 days ago
The thing about Mary Ann was that she was genuine. Ginger was plastic. Both women were beautiful physically.
Coldnorth jmworacle 18 days ago
IMO Maryann was upbeat and usually in a good mood and had a nice smile, whereas Ginger was always moody, and didn’t play the part well. Lovey Howell played her part beautifully. Seemed to me Ginger thought she was too good for her part. I didn’t see it that way at all. Remember, we all have opinions and I’m sure there are many others that strongly disagree with me. That why I like the comment sction
daDoctah 24 days ago
Only TV star I ever wrote to in those days was Adam West (I was 7 or 8), but it never would have occurred to me to write to Tina Louise. I probably figured she couldn't read, or she'd have someone else answering her fan mail for her.
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