“Gilligan’s Island,” Corny? Nonsense. Okay… maybe a little goofy at times, but what TV comedy isn’t? Well, opinions were pretty split when the show first aired in 1964. Even Dawn Wells, the “Gilligan’s” star who played Mary Ann on the relatively short-lived show thought it was corny at first.
Running for three seasons from 1964-1967, “Gilligan’s Island” followed a group of shipwrecked men and women on a deserted island who could never quite manage to escape, despite guests passing through all the time.
It was a funny premise but not that easy to sustain. And Dawn Wells wasn’t alone in thinking the show was a little ridiculous at the time. In the years since it originally aired, however, the comedy has developed a bit of a cult following.
According to IMDb.com, the only awards the show ever won came in the mid-2000s, over 35 years after the last episode premiered.
It’s also important to note that the show actually had decent ratings. It was almost brought back for a fourth season. But according to MentalFloss.com, CBS decided to get rid of it because the network needed room for “Gunsmoke.”
“Gilligan’s Island” Star Called The Show Stupid
In an interview from PopEntertainment.com posted in 2013, Dawn Wells discussed what it was like to be part of the show. She was asked if she felt any differently about the show now than she did when it was on the air. Her response?
“It’s shown all over the world, and you can understand that. When you actually stop and think about it, yeah, it really is stupid, but yet they really did have something. I thought it was corny when I was doing it, but I recently saw it and went, ‘This is funny!'”
So clearly Dawn has come around on the show a bit. But in the interview from 2013, she remembers what it was like in the 1960s.
She says, “I know what the press said: they said it was the stupidest show ever and it wouldn’t last more than 20 minutes. I think the cast and the crew were fabulous, but I don’t think I would have watched it.”
She may not have watched it. But at least it seems like Dawn Wells had a good experience during her time working on the show.
Unfortunately, the “Gilligan’s Island” star passed away in December 2020. Dawn Wells will forever live on through Mary Ann.