This Gilligan's Island orchestra was composed using a trick every kid's tried at least once
The castaways play a tune sure to send you right back to your childhood.
It didn't take long for the castaways on Gilligan's Island to crave tunes, and in the 26th episode "Music Hath Charms," the radio didn't cut it anymore. They decided to make their own orchestra. But where on Gilligan's Island would they find instruments? Apart from the fog horn on the Minnow, the island wasn't swimming with music-makers. So, like anything else on the island, they had to improvise, and the result, according to Gilligan's Island composer Gerard Fried, was a sound that any kid who's ever sat bored at a lunch counter knows well.
In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Fried revealed that the orchestra song that Mrs. Howell conducts in "Music Hath Charms" was composed almost entirely by blowing on the tops of bottles. Watch the clip above to hear for yourself and just try not to be sent right back to your childhood, when you likely pursed your lips together to see if you could make a bottle of soda pop sound like a flute, too. Fried said:
“On the island, they wanted music. Well, where are you going to find music on the island? They found seashells, so I wrote a whole score, where we had…[crew] blowing across the tops of bottles to imitate seashells. So that was the whole score.”
Fried was responsible for much of the incidental music you heard on the show, and in his interview, he also revealed the source of those low tones you'd hear any time what he called "buffoonery" occurred, an instrument known as a contrabassoon or double bassoon, able to reach an octave lower than its smaller counterpart. Other than updating the theme song from season to season, though, Fried said there wasn't a lot of work for him to do on set. That's why the bottle-blowing scene in "Music Hath Charms" stands out so much to the composer.
When asked about any other challenges he faced composing music for Sherwood Schwartz's famous series, Fried couldn't think of a minute he didn't enjoy in Sherwood's indoor outdoor world. He said, "There wasn’t much music … it’s 5 or 6 minutes for a half hour show. It was easy to work, and it was fun to record… I smile when I think of it.”