Dawn Wells played the innocent Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island. Later in her life, Wells capitalized on the popularity of her character. She released a book titled What Would Mary Ann Do?: A guide to Life which taught wholesome lessons on all aspects of life from the point of view of her classic character. She yearned for a bygone era. To her, things were falling apart, culturally. Kids weren’t respecting their mothers anymore. At the same time, there was a complete absence of Mary Anns anywhere on television. So, she envisioned the book as a way to revive the family-centered way that she was raised.
Dawn Wells passed away on December 30, 2020. However, she left her mark on film, television, and fans around the world before she passed. In 2015, Wells talked to Zachary Mule about her time on Gilligan’s Island and beyond.
The Gilligan’s Island Star Talks About Howard Stern
If there is one person in the media that is the anti-Mary Ann, it’s Howard Stern. For decades, Stern made a name for himself as one of the raunchiest shock jocks on the airwaves. People of a certain age know exactly who Stern is whether they’ve heard a moment of his show or not. He might be the most famous radio personality in history. If not, he’s at least in the top-five.
So, to think about the wholesome Gilligan’s Island star sitting down with Howard Stern is mind-blowing. She did it, though. In fact, she was on the show more than once. Her first outing with Howard Stern was on his short-lived television show.
In that episode, Gilligan’s Island stars Dawn Wells and Bob Denver took part in a parody of the classic show. The skit was called Gag Again’s Island. It featured Howard Stern dressed as Ginger and Denver and Wells reprising their roles. The plot focused on Ginger and Gilligan being on their “honeymoon,” just days after Skipper’s death. Later in the skit, the Howells show up and Mrs. Howell is pregnant. Gilligan’s monkey even makes an appearance. The gang was, truly, all there.
Honestly, it’s pretty gross. It’s the kind of shock humor that made Stern famous. At one point, one of the characters notes how shocking it is that Wells and Denver hadn’t walked off. You can tell they’re both incredibly uncomfortable with the whole thing. If you’re curious, you can check it out on YouTube. However, it’s pretty NSFW.
Years later, Dawn Wells returned to The Howard Stern Show on the radio. In the interview, the Gilligan’s Island star said that she was able to get all of Stern’s “nonsense” out of the way early in the episode. Then, they were able to have a serious discussion. According to Wells, they talked about the difference in education for boys and girls as well as the real heart of her classic character.
The grace with which she carried herself is just one more reason that we’ll always choose Mary Ann over Ginger.