Remembering 'Gilligan's Island,' 'Brady Bunch' creator Sherwood Schwartz
The Times wasn't kind when it reviewed "Gilligan's Island" in 1964, writing, "'Gilligan's Island' is a television series that never should have reached the air this season, or any other season." But the series defied critics and lasted for three seasons, eventually becoming a staple of syndication.
Its creator, Sherwood Schwartz, died of natural causes Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. He was 94.
Schwartz's impact on pop culture will long survive. In addition to "Gilligan's Island," Schwartz created the family sitcom "The Brady Bunch." Each series came affixed with its own memorably jolly theme song, with lyrics written by Schwartz.
Schwartz once said he created "Gilligan's Island," which aired on CBS from 1964 to 1967, as an escape from his seven years on "The Red Skelton Show," for which he served as head writer and won an Emmy in 1961.
There was nothing quite as escapist as the wacky tale of seven people on a small charter boat, the SS Minnow, who set out on a "three-hour tour" and wound up shipwrecked on an uncharted South Pacific Island.
Starring Bob Denver in the title role of the boat's bumbling crew member, "Gilligan's Island" famously featured the exasperated skipper (Alan Hale Jr.), the millionaire and his wife (Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer), the professor (Russell Johnson), the naïve country girl (Dawn Wells) and the sexy movie star (Tina Louise).
Schwartz also wrote the lyrics for the show's memorable theme song.
For all its crude sight gags, low-brow humor and pratfalls, Schwartz viewed "Gilligan's Island" as something more: It is, he proclaimed, "my version of a social microcosm, where seven people from various backgrounds had to learn to live together."
Below, re-live the theme song for "The Brady Bunch," and share your favorite Schwartz memories.
Clips from Schwartz's signature shows can't readily be embedded via YouTube, but Show Tracker invites readers to share their fondest memories of these popular programs.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Sherwood Schwartz with "Brady Bunch" star Florence Henderson in 2008. Credit: Associated Press.