‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Made Guest Appearance on ‘Married… With Children’

by Joe Rutland

What do Al Bundy, Peg Bundy, and “Gilligan’s Island” have in common? Glad you asked. A popular star from the CBS sitcom showed up.

Obviously, the Bundys were the parents of Kelly [Christina Applegate] and Bud [David Faustino] on “Married… With Children.” It just so happened that in an episode called “Kelly Bounces Back,” Tina Louise made an appearance. Louise played Miss Beck in the popular sitcom.

In the episode, Kelly invented what she calls “The Bundy Bounce” to help her in a modeling audition for a car. Yet Bud, being Mr. Smooth as always, shared Kelly’s idea with another aspiring model headed for the same audition. Now it’s on like Donkey Kong because Kelly has to get rid of her competition ASAP.

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Is Now Last Surviving Member Of Original Cast

This episode first aired on Oct. 28, 1990, in the series’ fifth season on Fox. It also marked one of the rare times Louise, who played Ginger Grant on “Gilligan’s Island,” did a guest-starring role.

Louise played Grant, one of seven stranded castaways, for the show’s entire three-season run on CBS. She, though, never appeared in any of the reunion movies with the rest of the original cast.

Upon co-star Dawn Wells’ death in December 2020, Louise is now the oldest living original cast member of “Gilligan’s Island” at 87 years old.

The show has remained popular in reruns for decades. The show’s stars never received lucrative royalty payouts from the sitcom. Bob Denver, obviously, starred as Gilligan while Alan Hale Jr. was the Skipper. Other members of the cast besides them included Wells as Mary Ann, Russell Johnson as the Professor, Jim Backus as Thurston Howell III, and Natalie Schafer as “Lovey” Howell.

“Gilligan’s Island” almost put one of CBS’s popular Westerns on the cancellation heap. The show’s ratings were better for a bit than “Gunsmoke,” which had been on the network for 12 seasons as of 1967. It left CBS executives in a spot about which show to keep.

Wells bluntly said the show ended so “Gunsmoke” could continue. In an interview from 2013 with Esquire, she talked about why she believed the show ended.

“What happened was ‘Gunsmoke’ was canceled, and we were moved into their time slot,” Wells said. “Mrs. Paley—the wife of the board chairman [William Paley]—had been on vacation when ‘Gunsmoke’ was canceled, and when she got home, she said, ‘You can’t cancel ‘Gunsmoke’. It’s my favorite show.’ So they canceled us.”

So “Gilligan’s Island” was one person’s decision away from staying on CBS. It would have changed a lot of things for the show’s cast. Alas, they had to disperse and find other work after the series was over and done.