‘Gilligan’s Island’: Alan Hale Jr.’s Wild Story About Making It to an Interview for the Show

by Madison Miller

Alan Hale Jr. proved he would do whatever it takes to get to his “Gilligan’s Island” audition.

Hale played Captain Jonas “The Skipper” Grumby on the 1960s sitcom. His character gets trapped along with six others after the SS Minnow is compromised. He goes through a lot to survive and prosper on the small island.

Hale also went through a lot just to audition for his role as Skipper.

Alan Hale Jr. ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Audition

According to IMDb, Hale was filming “Bullet for a Badman” in 1964 when he got a casting call for the show. In order to make it there in time, he had to ride out of Zion National Park in Utah on horseback.

Once he made it to the highway he had to hitchhike all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada. When Hale made it here he was able to catch a plane and fly to his interview.

It all turned out to be worth it as Hale landed his role on the show for three years. The show became the trademark role of his career, but he never minded people heavily associating him with his role as Skipper. In fact, he would even visit children in the hospital dressed in his outfit from “Gilligan’s Island.”

Casting ‘The Skipper’

While it was quite the journey for Hale to get to his audition, casting the role of Skipper turned out to be a challenge in general.

Sherwood Schwartz was the creator of the series. His son, Lloyd J. Schwartz, wasn’t involved with the original series but was the producer of the reunion films. He intimately understood casting and the characters.

He also helped tell the story of that moment his father had finally found the perfect Skipper. It was after tirelessly looking and almost running out of time.

“Dad was upset because it was getting down to the wire. He was at a restaurant with my mother and at another table was Alan Hale, Jr., who my dad didn’t know, but he said, ‘That’s the guy!’ He didn’t approach him or anything, but the next day he told the casting director to pursue him. It turns out after that dinner, Alan had flown out to Utah, but they got him to come back and do the test from whatever Western movie he was doing. I think he actually had to hitchhike and had a truck take him to Vegas, and from there he flew in and he tested opposite Bob and that’s how he got the part,” Lloyd J. Schwartz said, according to Closer Weekly.

The show had struck gold when they cast Hale as the lovable leader of “Gilligan’s Island.” It had completely changed Hale’s image in the industry and launched him into stardom.

Hale himself was as obsessed with his character as many fans are.

″He enjoyed every single minute of it. He wore his skipper’s hat all the time,” Bob Denver said to AP News after Hale passed away in 1990 from cancer.