‘Gilligan’s Island’: Why One Woman Told Bob Denver That Show Saved Her Daughter’s Life

by Matthew Wilson

Though it was only on the air for three seasons, “Gilligan’s Island” developed a legion of fans that enjoyed the island-themed sitcom. It also once saved a girl’s life. Not many TV shows can say the same.

According to series star Bob Denver, a woman credited the show with saving her daughter’s life. In a 1993 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Denver detailed the saving power that the sitcom apparently had. At least for one girl.

A thankful fan told Denver that her daughter had been in a coma. And she had woken up to watch her favorite episode of “Gilligan’s Island” when it aired. Like Lazarus, she opened her eyes and rose from a medical grave. The 9-year-old had been in a coma for a long time but woke one day at her mother’s urging.

“One woman said, ‘Thank you for saving my daughter’s life,'” Denver told the outlet. “Her daughter was in a coma from a car accident. She was like 9 and her favorite show was ‘Gilligan’s Island.’ It would come on at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Every day she would turn it on and say to the little girl, ‘This is your favorite show. You should really wake up and watch it.'”

‘Gilligan’s Island’ Woke the Girl From Her Coma

The woman kept the repetition up every day while her daughter was in the hospital. She hoped to reach her somewhere in her comatose state and wake her up. It took the girl’s favorite episode of “Gilligan’s Island” to finally make her open her eyes.

“She was in a coma for a long time,” Denver continued. “She said one time, ‘Here is your favorite episode.’ And the little girl opened her eyes, sat up, and said, ‘OK, Mom.’ She came out of the coma just to watch the show. I said, ‘You are certainly welcome.'”

In a separate 1994 interview, Denver confessed that the show was never a hit with the critics. They hated the goofy nature of the show and its comedy. But fans loved the show and continue to love it. The adventures of Gilligan and his island gang have their place in pop culture.

And for fans, the show will always have a special place in their hearts, especially for a mother and her daughter. Because while Gilligan never managed to save himself from the island, he saved a young girl through the TV set.