HomeEntertainment‘Gilligan’s Island’: One Star Revealed Why They Started Charging for Signed Memorabilia

‘Gilligan’s Island’: One Star Revealed Why They Started Charging for Signed Memorabilia

by Keeli Parkey
(Original Caption) The cast of the television show, Gilligan's Island, that ran from 1964 to 1967. Left to right, Thurston Howell III (Jim Backus); Lovey Howell (Natalie Schafer); Mary Ann Summers (Dawn Wells, seated); Ginger Grant (Tina Louise); Willy Gilligan (Bob Denver); The Skipper, Jonas Grumby (Alan Hale Jr.); and The Professor, Roy Hinkley (Russell Johnson.)

Decades after the final episode of “Gilligan’s Island” aired on television, one of its stars made selling memorabilia from the show into a business.

So, which star was it? No, it wasn’t Gilligan himself, actor Bob Denver. It also wasn’t Alan Hale Jr., who played the Skipper. It was actually the sweet girl next door, Mary Ann Summers.

As fans are aware, Mary Ann was played by Dawn Wells. The actress talked about why she decided to start charging for signed memorabilia during a 2001 interview with Bankrate. The publication wanted to know if selling items from “Gilligan’s Island” was “lucrative.”

“Sort of,” was the answer Wells gave. She then went on to explain why she decided to sell memorabilia.

“You know what it is, I get requests all the time, and for years I did everything free, I sent out pictures for free, and you get to the point where it’s just exorbitant,” Wells explained. “You need a staff of two who have to open and sort the mail. So I’m selling it, as is everyone.”

However, this star of “Gilligan’s Island” did not wish to keep fans who couldn’t pay for the memorabilia from acquiring it just because they didn’t have the money.

“If there’s a person who can’t afford it, I give it away. I don’t like to say that, but I do. If there’s a sad letter, they’ll get it for nothing,” Wells explained. “I don’t make any money on it. It almost pays for itself. Some people have also come up with ideas for ways to make money on it, so I share that with them. Like someone comes up with a teddy bear, then it’s helping somebody else make a little living.”

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Dawn Wells Also Shared Her Thoughts About Making Money from Memorabilia During 2001 Interview

Unsurprisingly, during that 2001 interview “Gilligan’s Island” star Dawn Wells was asked if charging fans for memorabilia from a classic television show such as the one she was on was profitable. The answer she gave is an interesting one.

“I don’t think you could make a living,” Wells said. “If you’re retired, if you’re married and there’s another income, if you’re doing something else, it’s a nice little supplement.”

However, there was money to be made from her “Gilligan’s Island” fame, according to what Dawn Wells said in 2001.

“You can make a nice living doing personal appearances, you could make a personal appearance every week, but you don’t want to travel and do that every second of your life,” Wells said. “But I think ‘Gilligan’s Island’ is kind of unique in that it has lasted this long. I’ve been doing this for 30 years. Somebody may be really hot for four or five years and make a real good living at it, and then what happens?”

Dawn Wells passed away on Dec. 30, 2020. She was 82 years old at the time of her death.