‘Gilligan’s Island’: Alan Hale Jr. Actually Called This ‘Andy Griffith Show’ Character ‘Little Buddy’ First

by Keeli Parkey
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The classic sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” is known for many things.

There’s the popular theme song, the rambunctious comedy, the goofy characters, etc. Another thing the show is also known for is the Skipper referring to his S.S. Minnow first mate Gilligan as “Little Buddy.”

But, did you know that “Gilligan’s Island” is not the first time actor Alan Hale Jr. referred to someone as his “Little Buddy”?

Before he became famous for playing Captain Jonas “The Skipper” Grumby on “Gilligan’s Island,” Hale also appeared on another classic television show. That popular program was “The Andy Griffith Show.”

According to IMDb.com, Hale appeared in the 13th episode of the show’s second season. The episode is titled “The Farmer Takes a Wife.” In this episode, Hale plays farmer “Big” Jeff Pruitt. And, “Big” Jeff goes into Mayberry looking to get married. The lady he picks is none other than Thelma Lou, the love interest of Barney Fife.

And, it is Barney who Alan Hale Jr. as “Big” Jeff Pruitt refers to as “Little Buddy” on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

It sort of makes sense when you think about it. Barney Fife, as played by Don Knotts, and Gilligan, as played by Bob Denver, have some things in common. They are both loyal to the man in charge – be it Sheriff Andy Taylor or the Skipper. They are both a little goofy and they are both good for laughs.

“The Farmer Takes a Wife” episode originally aired on Jan. 1, 1962, according to IMDb.com. This was two years before Hale began his tenure on “Gilligan’s Island.”

You can watch clips of Alan Hale Jr. on “The Andy Griffith Show” here. The clip includes him calling Barney “Little Buddy.” You can compare that to him calling Gilligan “Little Buddy” on “Gilligan’s Island” here.

Here are a Few Things You Might Not Know About Alan Hale Jr.

Alan Hale Jr. is probably most famous for playing the Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island” from 1964 to 1967. And, according to IMDb.com, it was a role he seemed to wholeheartedly embrace. In fact, he was often seen wearing a hat like the Skipper’s even when he wasn’t in character. He even donated the hats after he wore them so they could be auctioned off for charity.

How Hale came to play the Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island” is also interesting. IMDb.com reports that Sherwood Schwartz, the show’s creator, wasn’t having much luck finding during auditions an actor to play the Skipper on his new show. Interestingly, Carroll O’Connor of “All In the Family” fame had even tried out for the part.

As fate would have it, both Hale and Schwartz were eating in the same restaurant in Hollywood during this time. Hale was reportedly wearing a Civil War uniform while he was there having his meal.

Schwartz got a look at Hale and thought he would be a good fit for the Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island.” The rest is television history.

Outsider.com