‘Gilligan’s Island’: Skipper Actor Alan Hale Jr. Hitchhiked Out of Utah to Test for Role

by Matthew Wilson

Alan Hale Jr. ended up starring on “Gilligan’s Island” for three seasons. But getting the role ended up being an adventure for the actor.

Hale was filming a movie in Utah when he got word the studio wanted him to test for the role. So, the actor did everything in his power to make it to his audition. In 1988, Hale recounted the journey he went on to get his role as Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island.”

“It’s a rather amazing story. I was in Saint George, Utah, doing a picture with Audie Murphy. I got this call to come down,” Hale said during the interview. “It was kind of a difficulty. How was I going to get there? There were no planes out of there. There were no rent-a-cars or anything.”

So Hale took to the nearest highway. And he tried to flag down the first car that came his way. The actor ended up hitchhiking all the way to Las Vegas.

“I went out on the highway with my thumb. And I hitchhiked out of Saint George. Got down to Las Vegas, flew from Las Vegas into CBS,” Hale said.

Alan Hale Jr. Lands ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Role

Lloyd J. Schwartz revealed that his father Sherwood Schwartz wanted Hale to play the role of Skipper. Sherwood was the creator of “Gilligan’s Island” and had trouble filling the role. He saw Hale while at dinner one night and realized he was perfect for the role.

Schwartz recounted Hale’s journey for the part as well, making it seem like some grand journey to get to the audition on time. But Sherwood knew who he wanted from the beginning.

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.

Hale Jr. and Bob Denver ended up making an iconic pair as the Skipper and Gilligan on the show.