‘Bonanza’: Leader of ‘Gilligan’s Island’s’ Castaways Appeared in Iconic 1959 Episode

by Joe Rutland

Television stars can be found on different shows over the years. “Bonanza” actually had one actor on it before his success in another show.

Alan Hale Jr., who played the Skipper on CBS”s classic sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” appeared during the NBC western’s first season in “The Saga of Annie O’Toole.” It was the seventh episode of “Bonanza.” Little did people know at that time the western saga would go on to become a major hit.

Anyway, Hale Jr. plays Swede Lundberg, a man who has two land claims out west. One of them paid off with silver.

O’Toole, played by movie actress Ida Lupino, is Lundberg’s fiance. She nabs one deed since O’Toole staked Swede. O’Toole comes west with her father, who ends up dying in Nevada. While her dreams of mining silver were there, she ends up feeding silver miners.

‘Bonanza’ Episode Just One Of Many Shows Alan Hale Jr. Appears On in Career

Adam Cartwright, played by Pernell Roberts, becomes O’Toole’s partner in her kitchen. Cartwright also ends up being her attorney as an enemy challenges her land claim. This was quite an interesting episode of “Bonanza” and brought Roberts to the forefront.

Obviously, Hale Jr. nabbed roles on TV shows like “Bonanza” before and after becoming the leader of those seven stranded castaways on “Gilligan’s Island.”

Among them are “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” and “Perry Mason.” Hale also had an interesting cameo appearance on ABC’s hit show “Batman.”

He was the son of character actor Alan Hale Sr.

Hale Became Beloved Figure Thanks to ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Role

For three seasons, Hale Jr. played the Skipper, and that role pretty much set him as typecast for any future work. Yet it also made him a household name for generations thanks to the miracle of reruns.

Hale Jr. died on Jan. 2, 1990, at 68 years old. One time, his costar Bob Denver, who played Gilligan, said he could never do anything to hurt him on “Gilligan’s Island.”

“It was fun,” Denver said in a 1994 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Alan Hale was the best person I could have picked in a million years to be my partner in doing physical comedy.

“I couldn’t hurt him. I could climb on him, bounce on him, roll all over him and he would go, ‘Are you done?’ He would never hurt me,” Denver said. “He was just too big and strong. You can’t rehearse a lot of physical things we did, but you can’t do it by the numbers. Whatever happens, you’ve got to trust each other.”

One could tell that trust was deep between Denver and Hale Jr. on “Gilligan’s Island.”