‘Gilligan’s Island’: Watch Bob Denver Struggle to Answer ‘Skipper’ on Classic ‘Password’ Episode

by Joe Rutland

Really, how hard is it for “Gilligan’s Island” star Bob Denver to not pick up “Skipper” as an answer on “Password”? It sure wasn’t easy.

Denver, who played Gilligan on the CBS sitcom, faces off against television actress Carole Wells in this episode from 1966. If you know how “Password” is played, then good. If not, then here’s a quick summary.

Host Allen Ludden would give a one-word clue to participants. There were two people on two teams, one a celebrity and another a contestant. The team with the most points at the end of “Password” would play a bonus round for prizes.

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Star Had Plenty Of Moments Where He Called Out ‘Skipper’

Now let’s get back to Denver for a minute. By this time, “Gilligan’s Island” was in its third season on CBS. People who watched the show knew Gilligan had a connection with the Skipper, played by Alan Hale Jr. In times of trouble, Gilligan can be heard yelling “Skipper!” on the island.

You would think this clue would be a grand-slam homer for Denver. Nope. Take a look and see whether Denver actually guesses the clue or not.

Imagine that. For more than two minutes, Denver can’t come up with the answer. Wells and her teammate cannot come up with that one-word answer, either.

Bob Denver would appear in a few other TV shows throughout his career after “Gilligan’s Island” was canceled after three seasons. His star, though, would be hitched forever to that series.

Denver died on Sept. 2, 2005, at 70 years old. Ludden died on June 9, 1981, at 63 years old.

Denver Played Big Part In Getting Show’s Opening Credits Changed

Fans of “Gilligan’s Island” are very familiar with the catchy theme song. They can pretty much hum it or even sing it during Karaoke Night at a local bar.

Yet the song went through a major change between the first and second seasons. So, the first season features five of the seven castaways in the opening sequence. Who’s left out? “The Professor and Mary Ann” would be the right answer. Actors Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells didn’t make the first-season cut. In fact, they were “and the rest” mentioned in the first-season theme song.

That didn’t sit well with Denver. He talked about what went down during a 1989 appearance on “The Pat Sajak Show.” Denver appeared with costar Wells on the show.

“I said to them (the show producers), ‘It’s not really fair. There are seven people on the island. You shouldn’t have ‘the rest’ stuck, put them at the front,'” Denver told Sajak. “And they said, ‘No. Contractually, they’re stuck back there.'”

That didn’t suit Denver. “And I said, ‘Well contractually, I get first billing, so I have the choice of where I want to go.’ They went, ‘Yeah?’ I said, ‘I’ll take the last billing then.'”

You can guess what happened. The theme song changed and Johnson and Wells got billing in the credits.

Good job, Gilligan.