Talk about a classic TV mashup. Imagine tuning in to a “Gilligan’s Island” reunion movie in 1979 and seeing a “Happy Days” star.
This actually did happen in “The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island” and Tom Bosley, who played Howard Cunningham as part of the ABC sitcom, was part of the cast.
In this particular film, Bosley played Henry Elliott, a businessman who was a workaholic and always felt the need to work. That is not why a lot of people visited the refurbished island as it now is home to a resort designed by Thurston Howell III [Jim Backus]. Gilligan [Bob Denver] and The Skipper [Alan Hale Jr.] were among those made silent owners as well as employees of the resort.
‘Gilligan’s Island’ Original Cast Returns Except For Tina Louise
“The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island” was the middle of three reunion movies for the show’s cast. The first one was “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” and the third one was “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island.”
All of the original cast members returned for these TV movies except Tina Louise. In this reunion movie, Judith Baldwin played Ginger Grant.
As we noted earlier, “Gilligan’s Island” ran between 1964-67 on CBS. The lone original cast member still alive today is Louise, who is 87 years old. Bosley, who played on “Happy Days” in all 11 of its seasons on ABC, died on Oct. 19, 2010, at 83 years old.
Now if you think this crossover appearance by Bosley was something, then wait until you read about Backus’ trip to another sitcom.
Backus Found Himself On Another Classic TV Sitcom Before Becoming Castaway
Hold onto your bloodhounds, “Beverly Hillbillies” fans. Backus appeared in “The Clampetts Entertain” episode as Marty Van Ransohoff. He was the boss of the Clampetts’ personal banker Milburn Drysdale [Raymond Bailey].
That’s right. This “Gilligan’s Island” star, before finding himself among seven stranded castaways, popped up on the show.
Drysdale turned into a panicked banker because he didn’t want his boss knowing how simple-minded Jed Clampett [Buddy Ebsen] was around the money. Jed decided to throw a party so Granny [Irene Ryan] could hopefully find herself out of a funk.
Now Van Ransohoff wants to meet the Clampetts and see for himself what these people are like. Drysdale had been telling his boss how smart they were and actually lying to him.
One scene had Backus as Van Ransohoff sitting next to Jane Hathaway [Nancy Kulp].
“Jane, this is marvelous, simply marvelous and what a surprise,” Van Ransohoff says. “Who’d think that a stuffy millionaire like [Jed] Clampett would come up with a hillbilly party. The man is a genius and those accents. They must have been practicing for weeks.”
Hathaway replies, “Longer than that.”
Backus happened to be one heck of a voiceover artist, too. He was the voice of “Mr. Magoo” and starred in one of actor James Dean’s movies, “Rebel Without A Cause.”