‘The Andy Griffith Show’: One Guest Star’s Appearance Predicted His Catchphrase on ‘Gilligan’s Island’

by Joe Rutland

Classic TV shows have surprises in guest stars. Consider an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” with a future “Gilligan’s Island” star on it.

Actor Alan Hale Jr. appears in a 1962 episode as farmer “Big” Jeff Pruitt, who comes into Mayberry in search of a wife.

Pruitt finds himself stopping off at the sheriff’s office, where he meets up with Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) and Deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts).

There is one point in the episode where Pruitt picks up Fife and calls him his “little buddy.”

Do you have any idea on what other show that name appears in classic TV jargon?

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Sees Alan Hale Jr. Use Nickname

If you guessed “Gilligan’s Island,” then give yourself a pat on the back. When Hale went on the “Griffith” show, “Gilligan’s Island” had not even been created yet by executive producer Sherwood Schwartz. This is according to an article on ME.tv.

The term “little buddy” is important to remember, but we’ll get back to that in a minute.

Hale Jr.’s appearance is memorable for calling Fife by that term, yet it’s something the actor apparently did with everyone he worked with or met. Yes, he’d call people that he knew closely “little buddy.”

Hale eventually found himself cast as The Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island.”

Skipper Calls Gilligan ‘Little Buddy’ On ‘Gilligan’s Island’

One day, he was shooting a scene with Gilligan (Bob Denver) and, after the scene, called him “little buddy” on the set.

Schwartz heard this go on and on, so he worked it into the show’s scripts that The Skipper would call Gilligan his “little buddy” all the time.

This comes from the art-imitating-life file for television. When “Gilligan’s Island” fans are either watching or talking about the show, there’s only one “little buddy” in their minds and that’s Gilligan.

There is no way Barney Fife would be associated with that title at all. But in classic TV lore, it’s important to look back and see where certain names or events got their start.

Alan Hale Jr. was a jovial, friendly man in real life. He somewhat embodied The Skipper’s humor in himself. Hale’s father, Alan Hale Sr., was a character actor in films featuring Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Clark Gable, among others.

But he’ll be forever tied among the seven stranded castaways on that dang island. While The Skipper, Gilligan, and the others weren’t rescued before being canceled by CBS after three seasons, a TV movie years later managed to get them off it. Thankfully, they wouldn’t have to worry about headhunters anymore.