‘Gilligan’s Island’: What Was the Most-Watched Episode of Show’s Original Run?

by Joe Rutland

It’s hard to believe that Gilligan’s Island had so many episodes that didn’t draw the most-watched title. The one that did is a doozy.

According to Ratingraph, the No. 1-watched episode is called “Don’t Bug the Mosquitoes.” It aired during the 1965-65 season on CBS.

The synopsis of this episode comes from IMDb. It states, “The rock band ‘The Mosquitoes’ arrive on the island for some much-needed R&R. But the castaways try to make their lives miserable so they’ll want to leave–and take them with them.”

Rock band The Wellingtons appeared as “The Mosquitoes” on the episode. That should not surprise too many classic TV fans. They were the band that recorded the Gilligan’s Island theme for its first season.

George Patterson, Kirby Johnson, and Ed Wade made up the band’s lineup.

Another quick tidbit about this episode: In it, Mary Ann, played by Dawn Wells, has a solo. But Wells did not sing herself. The voice dubbed in was Jackie DeShannon, who had a smash hit single with “What The World Needs Now Is Love.”

Obviously, other Gilligan’s Island cast members included Bob Denver, Alan Hale Jr., Tina Louise, Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, and Russell Johnson. It was on CBS from 1964-67.

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Reunion Film In 1979 Was To Become Sort-of ‘The Love Boat’ Type Show

But the castaways never leave the island in the show’s original network run.

They are rescued, though, in a 1978 made-for-TV flick called Rescue From Gilligan’s Island.

About a year later, another TV movie called The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island came out. It was this one that show creator Sherwood Schwartz had plans.

IMDb states that this film was supposedly viewed as a pilot for a show like The Love Boat.

Now watching Gilligan or The Professor play matchmaker is an interesting thought.

Yet they ended up going back to the island as they could not connect with a different society.

Russell Johnson Found His Way To The Island By Way of Military Service

One of the show’s stars who really had quite a real-life story was Johnson, who played The Professor.

He actually served in the U.S. Army Air Force as a second lieutenant. Johnson receives a Purple Heart. This comes after both ankles broken from crashing his plane over the Solomon Islands. His plane is shot down by the Japanese military.

But Johnson went to acting school on the G.I. Bill and he would end up being Professor Roy Hinkley.

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann, remembered Johnson after he died in 2014 at 89 years old.

She said Johnson “was the funniest person on the set, he had the greatest sense of humor.”

Wells said she had no idea that he’d gotten a Purple Heart.