Once upon a time, in a land before COVID-19 and barking snakes, ‘Gilligan’s Island’ star Dawn Wells was able to do things on Facebook like wish her fans a “great weekend” and share blissful 90s television clips. Not just any clips, however. In August of that year, the Mary Ann Summers star hit her followers with one of the best crossovers television has ever seen.
That’s a whopper of a statement, sure. But have you seen Gilligan and Mary Ann’s appearance on ‘Baywatch’?
Yes, you read that right! In 1992, two-and-a-half decades after the final episode of ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ the show’s two most beloved characters (don’t @ us) returned to TV audiences in the most unexpected of ways. That year saw a beach-laden crossover of epic proportions, as both Bob Denver and Dawn Wells reprised their classic roles for 90s sensation ‘Baywatch.’
“I hope you are having a great weekend. Fabulous time for all this weekend in Kanab Utah,” Wells starts off her 2019 post for all to see. “Everyone was so nice! Wonderful history in Kanab. Many Westerns shot there,” she continues.
Wow. When’s the last time you read anything this pleasantly pedestrian on Facebook? Anything pre-2020 feels like two decades ago.
Anyway, Wells then switches on a dime, as one could comfortably before the apocalypse began, to “Did you know that Bob and I were on Baywatch playing our characters from ‘Gilligan’s Island’? Enjoy!”
Who needs a segue when you’re Mary-damn-Ann? Without further ado or pandemic-lamenting, watch the clip below as Gilligan and Mary Ann make their way from an uncharted desert isle all the way to Malibu, Cali:
‘Gilligan’s Island’ and ‘Baywatch’ Mashup
Within, ‘Baywatch’s Erika Eleniak assumes the role of Ginger Grant, and may we say, what a mashup.
According to the ‘Baywatch’ section of Fandom.com, Erika picked this very spoof episode as her favorite of her entire run on the series. For Eleniak, “sharing a kiss with the actor who played Gilligan himself, Bob Denver,” was a career highlight. So much so, in fact, that Eleniak would later compete in the ‘The Real Gilligan’s Island’ reality show’s Season 2, reprising her role as “Ginger.”
As for the crossover itself, the episode is appropriately titled “Now Sit Right Back and You’ll Hear a Tale.” It’s the sixteenth episode of ‘Baywatch’s Season 2, and hit unassuming television fans February 24, 1992.
The entire plot of “Tale” is a loving, tongue-in-cheek (Literally) spoof of ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ Within, ‘Baywatch’s Eddie (played by a very lucky Billy Warlock) gets to teach some good ol’ mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Mary Ann’s Dawn Wells. While, of course, a just-as-lucky Bob Denver gets pushed up against a tree by Erika Eleniak’s Shauni-du’-Ginger.
Sadly, Dawn Wells passed in 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19.
As you can see above, it’s goofy, but in the best and most ridiculous of ways. Modern television could take a cure or two from this mashup, and we’d all be the better for it. ‘Baywatch’ on ‘Yellowstone,’ anyone? No?