Here's why the appeal of Gilligan's Island has lasted for decades
The show, along with its characters, are iconic.
For a show that was unceremoniously canceled after three seasons, Gilligan's Island sure has had some lasting impact. The show seemingly never went off the air; immediately after it was axed, Gilligan set sail for syndication. It spawned an animated spin-off. There were made-for-TV movies, reunion specials, books, merchandise and more.
After it stopped getting made, Gilligan's cultural influence continued to swell, cementing the show as an indelible piece of Americana.
The '90s were a particularly fruitful time to be a fan of the show. Gilligan's Island: The Musical opened off-Broadway. Three of the show's principal actors wrote and published books. There was Bob Denver's "Gilligan, Maynard and Me." Russell Johnson had "Here on Gilligan's Island." Mary Ann had a cookbook. Series creator Sherwood Schwartz, too, capitalized on the memoir mania, releasing his "Inside Gilligan's Island." Everybody had a take, and the audience was there for each of them.
There was also the role Gilligan played within the larger pop culture landscape. References in movies like The Addams Family and Coming to America kept Gilligan in the public consciousness.
A 1993 piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch allowed Ron Turner and Bob Ranking to chime in regarding the show's continued cachet. Both men served as presidents of the Original Gilligan's Island Fan Club. So, what about the show made it so resonant for so long?
"Innocence" offered Rankin. "There's no violence unless you count Gilligan getting hit on the head with Skipper's hat. Kids like the slapstick."
Turner, on the other hand, pointed to the well-constructed character, based on believable archetypes.
"Everyone can find someone to relate to. For people who like science, there's the Professor. Ginger has glamour. For money and the social elite, there's Mr. and Mrs. Howell. The Skipper is the tough reader. Mary Ann is the girl next door."
But what about the show's title character?
"People who aren't lucky can relate to Gilligan," said Turner. "I do."