Though he has other starring roles in his career, actor Bob Denver is most known for his role as the loveable castaway in “Gilligan’s Island.”
Though the show only aired on CBS for three seasons, accumulating 98 episodes, it is largely known as a comedic masterpiece. The show, which aired from 1964 to 1967, is still relevant in today’s comedic culture. It isn’t a surprise to hear “Gilligan’s Island” still in reference today, five decades after going off the air.
A debate still rages as to why the popular show was taken off the air in 1967. Featuring an ensemble cast, with Denver in the leading role, the show took in even more popularity during syndication. Denver’s role of the goofy but well-intention Gilligan made the show into a cultural icon.
With its popularity and success, many wonder about the network’s decision to pull the show after only three seasons. In a 1994 interview with a Canadian radio station, Denver points the finger at television critics hurling bad reviews at the show. He says that the show is meant to be a little goofy and that intellectuals and elitists weren’t in on the joke.
Bob Denver Recalls Criticism of ‘Gilligan’s Island’
“Yeah, it’s interesting. The critics just killed our show,” Denver says. “I think out of 100 reviews there were 99 bad and one good one. But it didn’t bother us because we knew we were doing something really silly and something very, very broad.”
Despite criticism of the show, Denver and the Gilligan’s Island cast were on the march forward with the sitcom. He proclaims the show’s brand of humor isn’t for everyone, but that many found the show entertaining due to the silly antics.
“You know, a lot of physical comedy,” he says in the interview. “But the premise, I felt was just really hilarious. And then, I had a cast that was excellent. You know, each person was perfect as the character.”
Despite the show’s success and cultural relevance, Denver says he understands the reasoning behind the criticism. Pointing out the show still carries relevance in 1994.
“Here it is 1994 and it just rolls on,” he says. “I understand why a lot of the intellectuals or the elite don’t really get behind it because it’s that kind of comedy that you can put down really easy.”
Denver passed away in 2005, but his legacy as “Gilligan” lives on as an American icon.