While “Gilligan’s Island” only last three years, from 1964 to 1967, it had a lasting impact on entertainment for decades. Its reach was so far that it even influenced another legendary TV show of a different genre.
Long after the show stopped airing new episodes, “Gilligan’s Island” got a special shoutout from the ’90s hit series “Star Trek: Voyager.”
There’s an intentional reference to the classic sitcom during a behind-the-scenes video from the set. In the video, which acted as part of the promotional efforts for Voyager’s first season, actor Garrett Wang takes viewers on a set tour and provides a look at the set and design pieces.
Around the 1:40 mark in the video, Wang shows off a row of display terminals from the Voyager set. The camera zooms in to show some of the tiny letterings on specific panels, something you wouldn’t usually see in an episode.
One panel featured some interesting lettering, typically only visible to the cast and crew. The panel featured the opening lines of the theme song from the beloved “Gilligan’s Island.”
“Just sit right back, and you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.”
Although it may seem unusual for the cast and crew of “Star Trek” to hide a “Gilligan’s Island” easter egg in plain sight, it does make sense, considering the show’s similarities.
The Similarities Between ‘Gilligan’s Island’ & ‘Star Trek’
As you’ll recall, both “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Gilligan’s Island” basically followed the same sequence of events: two crews who both get off their course and try to get back home.
As for Gilligan and his crew, their journey back home was considerably shorter than their outer space counterparts. They were also confined to a single planet, as the storm blew their boat off course somewhere in the South Pacific.
For Janeway and her crew, they needed to return to the Alpha Quadrant from the far-away Delta Quadran. Unlike “Gilligan’s Island,” their trip was expected to take the crew several generations— pending they didn’t find a wormhole.
Despite their differences, Gilligan did make it to outer space.
Even after the story ended in 1967, the how briefly came back for the live-action version of “Gilligan’s Island,” which ended with the crew still marooned on the island. Later, the characters came back for two brief animated series. The first was “The New Adventures of Gilligan,” which aired in the ’70s.
The second was the even briefer “Gilligan’s Planet,” which followed the characters as they got stranded on a distant planet. This animate spinoff also featured voiceover work from some of the original cast of “Gilligan’s Island,” including Gilligan himself and singer Bob Denver.