Monday, June 02, 2008

Honourable Mentions: Gilligan’s Island – Up at bat

Whilst I knew the name Gilligan’s Island I was fairly unaware of the show, as far as I am aware it either never made it to the UK, was relegated to unpopular scheduling spots or I just missed it. However, when visiting Trash Aesthetics, as is my want, I noted that Chick Young had written a Top 10 Vampire Babes of All Time article and added, as an honourable mention in post-script, Tina Louise from the show.

As I have the compulsion to view all things vampiric, I tracked down the episode – which was in season 3 of the show and entitled “Up at Bat” – but whilst it is a vampire episode I have decided to go for an Honourable Mention. Why? Simply because I really am unaware of the series. It struck me, watching this one episode, as gentle slapstick from an earlier age and really not my cup of tea. Had I grown up with the show, or even was more aware of it from adulthood, then perhaps I could do it justice in review. Perhaps I’m ducking the responsibility here, but a mention it is.

Those who are, unlike I was, aware of the show will know it concerns the crew – Skipper (Alan Hale Jr) and Gilligan (Bob Denver) – and passengers – millionaire Thurston Howell III (Jim Backus), his wife Lovely Howell (Natalie Schafer), Professor Roy Hinkley (Russell Johnson), movie star Ginger Grant (Tina Louise) and wholesome farm girl Mary Ann Summers (Dawn Wells) – who went on a three hour pleasure cruise, got caught in a storm and were shipwrecked on an uncharted island.

This episode begins with Skipper and Gilligan carrying coconuts back to camp. They rest and Gilligan spills his sack of nuts – one rolls into a cave. He retrieves it but is bitten, on the neck, by a bat. Skipper is convinced it is a vampire bat and thus Gilligan is convinced he will become a vampire. They take their fears to the Professor.

The professor dismisses their fears as “silly, superstitious fables”. It might have been of interest that the dialogue ties turning into a bat in with the rising of the moon, but this did not seem to be a hearkening back to older myths but rather a confusion of the contemporary vampire and werewolf myths by the writers, in my opinion.
The Professor does suggest the Gilligan have the wound dressed. The young girls are in their hut and Ginger has lost the silvering on her mirror. When they go to get bandages Gilligan looks into the mirror and, of course, there is no reflection as he sees straight through the glass. (We won’t get logical and question how he missed that nothing else was reflected and he was seeing dead ahead.)

Trying to go to sleep that night Gilligan is fretful, not helped by Skipper wearing a scarf (to protect his neck from his friend) and tying a string to Gilligan’s foot, in case he should fly away. His stress manifests as sleep walking, untying the string, wearing his blanket as a cape and seeking out a neck – Mrs Howell’s neck to be precise. To stop his fears the Professor then whips up an anti-vampire potion – actually a mild sedative.

When the skipper awakes in the morning Gilligan has gone and a bat is in his bunk. Now we are really talking the worst excesses of crap bat syndrome here – blooming awful. Anyway, they catch the bat and the professor realises it was only a fruit bat. Gilligan has left a note – he has run away to save his friends, they search for him…

Gilligan is in the cave, he’s made a door and locked himself in. When he sleeps he dreams of vampires and the show moves from the island to Transylvania 1895 – where the principle actors take on other roles. The Howells are now rich travellers looking for lodgings. Let in by the old hag (Mary Ann), they are set up as a snack for Count Gilligan and his vampire bride (Ginger).

Thrown into the mix are bumbling detectives Inspector Sherlock (the Professor) and his side kick Colonel Whatney (the Skipper). This all ends up, after some ridiculous slapstick, with a fight between the detectives and Gilligan complete with batman style “kerpows” (a technical term) – until, that is, Skipper finds and wakes Gilligan.

So there you have it, vampires in Gilligan’s Island. If you are a fan of the show I’m sure you’ve already seen it, if you are a vampire completist, you’ll want to see it for that reason only. Vampires get everywhere, as I have said many times before. Everywhere except, in this case, imdb. Whilst the episode is on the season 3 DVD set it is not listed on the imdb episode list. However the imdb series page is here.


Chick Young said...


I'm honored. Glad you enjoyed it. Gilligan's Island is indeed a childhood and adult favorite of mine. Up at Bat was my all-time favorite (naturally) - but the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde episode is also brilliant. Frankly, I love them all - especially seasons 2 and 3 (even sillier and more dream sequences!!).

When I get some time, shall I rapidshare the Monkees episode as an mp4 for ya?

Chick Young said...

Oh, and many thanks for your kind words about my site. I wish I had more time to devote to it. You're an inspiration!

If only we could do something about that Salem's Lot remake review...

Taliesin_ttlg said...

cheers chick.

sure would love to see the Monkees episode - a series I did see as a kid :)

iro the Salem's remake... if we agreed on everything it would get tremendously boring! lol

Anonymous said...


I am also a big fan of Gilligan's Island and still find the humor refreshing, though if you did not grow up on it it may seem a little odd or slow. I recently got the boxed set of Hogan's Heros (no Vampires in the series yet I fear) and while the humor is nto as funny as when I was a wee lad it is still funny to me.The Gilligan show had a basic premise that was repeated over each week, so simple yet effective, as were many of the old comedy shows like Bewitched or I Dream of Jeanie as well.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Bill, I think that is very true. I did grow up with Bewitched and still enjoy watching it.

If I found that I had the time to sit through all of Gilligan's Island then I would have felt comfortable reviewing this episode... as it was my first experience thereof I really didn't think I'd do it justice - thus the honourable mention.

You mentioned Hogan's Heroes (which rings a very vague bell) and there is always a chance that vampires will crop up in it at some point (they have that habit)... I was reminiscing about a show of my youth, recently, one B.J. and the Bear - you know the one, truck driver and his chimpanzee. Turns out there was a genre interesting episode as B.J. transports coffins, in one episode, for use on set of a vampire movie... be careful with a google - language has shifted since those more innocent days!

I'm still keeping an eye on the TV listings as they are sporadically showing Starsky and Hutch - and even they had a vampire episode. As soon as I catch it there'll be a piece on here!