‘Gilligan’s Island’ Creator Opened Up About Wanting to Help Children in Hospitals

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Beyond the glee and laughter that comes from watching “Gilligan’s Island,” the show can have an even more profound and meaningful impact on some people.

The creator of the show, Sherwood Schwartz, believed in his work and was able to see the kind of impact it had on people. During an interview with Television Academy from 1997, he opened up about helping children in hospitals. He shared that there are waiting rooms in hospitals that are named after “The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island.”

“It was my theory, which I have discussed with doctors, when a child comes to a hospital it’s an awesome sight, and it’s sterile and it’s unfriendly … So, I figure if we call the rooms that and we put pictures of the stars around the room, they thought that was a terrific idea,” Schwartz said. He also said that he and his wife contributed money to these different hospital rooms.

The result is a more welcoming environment for children that have to go to the hospital.

Further Evidence of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Impact

As it turns out, Schwartz said the impact of the show isn’t something only he noticed. He would often visit the hospitals with stars like Florence Henderson and Alan Hale Jr. Schwartz also shared that Tina Louise from “Gilligan’s Island” had some trouble understanding how her role on the show could really mean something to viewers. One day, she was eating dinner at an Italian restaurant. This is the moment where she finally began to understand the impact of “Gilligan’s Island.”

A woman came up to her and said that her husband was dying from cancer. They had exhausted medication, but there was still one thing that helped relieve his pain.

“He loves you. He watches ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ and sits and watches you. That’s the only thing that overcomes the pain,” the woman said to her. All she wanted was for her to sign something because she really thought it would make a difference for her husband.

She shared the story with Schwartz and it was clear to him that after losing her way, Louise finally understood the importance of her character.

Hilarious Story About the Show

In that same interview, Schwartz shared that he got a strange request for a meeting after the show had been on for only 10 weeks.

He recalled that the Coast Guard asked him for a meeting. Apparently, people were sending telegrams to them asking why the Coast Guard couldn’t spare a vessel to rescue these deserted people. These concerned viewers, while somewhat delusional, gave Schwartz a good laugh.

“Now who did they think was laughing at what was happening to these people? Where did they think the music came from, and the commercials?” Schwartz said. Maybe it just shows that “Gilligan’s Island” was very believable.