‘Gilligan’s Island’: Alan Hale Broke His Arm Falling out of a Coconut Tree on Set

Alan Hale Jr. is best known as Skipper on Gilligan’s Island. Hale played the lovable Minnow captain for three seasons on the classic TV series. Hale was so dedicated to his role that he didn’t let an injury interfere with filming.

'Gilligan's Island' star Alan Hale Jr. once broke his wrist while filming the TV series.
Gilligan’s Island stars Alan Hale Jr. as Skipper and Bob Denver as Gilligan I CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

‘Gilligan’s Island’ star Alan Hale Jr. broke his arm by falling out of a coconut tree

In September 1964, Gilligan’s Island premiered on the CBS network and became an instant hit. Every week viewers tuned in to watch the latest hijinks from their favorite castaways. As the group leader, Skipper protected the castaways while helping The Professor (Russell Johnson) devise a rescue plan. However, their goal was often foiled by his clumsy first mate Gilligan (Bob Denver).

Throughout the series, the castaways sometimes found themselves in danger. During filming, Hale had a mishap that resulted in a severe injury. According to Outsider.com, Hale fell out of a coconut tree on set and suffered a broken wrist.

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The actor continued filming despite being injured

Despite being in pain from his injury, Hale continued filming the rest of the day. The next scene shot was one where Skipper had to carry his little buddy and a load of coconuts. Hale proved to be a trooper as he worked through filming because he didn’t want to halt production. None of his co-stars or the crew knew he was injured.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later, during a wrap party, that everyone noticed his broken arm. The show’s creator Sherwood Schwartz recalled Hale’s injury in his memoir Inside Gilligan’s Island. Schwartz was amazed by Hale’s dedication and perseverance. When he asked how Hale managed to continue filming with the injury, the actor had a simple answer, “It wasn’t easy.”

Alan Hale Jr. loved playing Skipper on ‘Gilligan’s Island’

As a child star, Hale was already an established actor in theater and films before his TV success. His other acting credits include movies such as The True Story of Jesse James and The Man Behind the Gun. Yet, it’s his role as Skipper from Gilligan’s Island that most fans remember him from.

Although the show was canceled in 1967, Hale reprised his role in three TV films and two cartoons. While most actors hate being typecast, Hale loved his Skipper role. According to IMDB.com, the actor dressed as the character when visiting children’s hospitals to cheer up patients.

Hale died on January 2, 1990, and although he’s gone, his memory lives on thanks to Gilligan’s Island reruns.

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