Natalie Schafer thought Gilligan's Island first script was awful
Being stranded on an island looked good on camera but not on paper for Schafer.
It's always interesting to hear what actors thought of their roles or shows before they became a hit. Some had a lot of faith in their productions, and others, well, they thought it would flop.
In the words of Natalie Schafer, she thought Gilligan's Island would be an "utter bomb." She played the marvelous Mrs. Howell, who was filthy rich, as was her husband. Gilligan's Island only had three seasons, but it found success, which Schafer didn't think would happen.
In an interview with Copley News Service in 1965, the actress talked about how she took one look at the show's script and felt it would be a failure.
"I read the first script and said to myself, 'My heavens, this is awful!'" Schafer began. "Now, you see, I can't bear being tied down. On Broadway, I'd never sign a run-of-the-play contract. And as for a television series — well, I thought we'll go to Hawaii and film the first episode, as we did, and the show will be an utter bomb, and I'll move on to other things."
Boy, was she wrong. It's something that the actress had no problem admitting.
She added, "But I was wrong, as were the critics and that man, who shall be nameless, who was president of CBS. And now, two years later, I'm still on Gilligan's Island and it's a hit show and isn't it heaven?"
There are many ways to describe Schafer's character. She was a millionaire, a motherly figure to Gilligan and... bird-brained? When the actress was asked to describe her role, she painted the perfect picture of Mrs. Howell.
"Mrs. Howell is, oh, rather bird-brained, but completely feminine. Whatever her husband likes, she likes — of course he's rather idiotic too. She's gay and foolish and she and her husband adore each other. We get fan mail from youngsters and they mention this very thing — perhaps they want their parents to be gay and foolish and madly in love."
Gilligan's Island is still a success decades later as viewers worldwide tune in to watch the adventures of seven people stranded on the island.