‘Gilligan’s Island’ Pilot Actually Featured 2 Secretaries

Gilligan’s Island is a classic TV series. In the 1960s, the sitcom about seven stranded castaways became part of the CBS Network’s lineup. Although it ran for only three seasons, it was a popular series with legions of longtime and new fans. Like many shows, Gilligan’s Island underwent many changes before its pilot in 1964.

The 'Gilligan's Island' cast with creator Sherwood Schwartz and director Jack Arnold.
Gilligan’s Island cast with creator Sherwood Schwartz I CBS via Getty Images

‘Gilligan’s Island’ was initially going to be called ‘Marooned’

Fans know Gilligan’s Island is named after the first mate Gilligan (Bob Denver). One of the running gags throughout the series is Denver’s character screwing up the castaways’ chances of being rescued. While the premise of the series remained the same, there were a few changes from the initial pilot.

According to MeTV, the show’s original title was Marooned. While the title fit with the sitcom’s premise, creator Sherwood Schwartz changed it. After some tweaks, the series got its name from everyone’s favorite bumbling first mate.

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There were originally 2 secretaries on ‘Gilligan’s Island’

The Gilligan’s Island castaways consisted of people from different backgrounds. The first mate and the Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.) were at the helm of the shipwrecked Minnow. Then there were the millionaires, Mr. and Mrs. Howell (Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer) and the Professor (Russell Johnson). Of course, the group wouldn’t be complete without movie star Ginger Grant (Tina Louise) and farm girl Mary Ann Summers (Dawn Wells).

While the original pilot consisted of most of the castaways, two characters were missing. The movie star and Mary Ann weren’t featured in the pilot. According to Fandom, two secretaries named Ginger and Bunny were part of the castaways.

Kit Smythe and Nancy McCarthy played the 2 secretaries named Ginger and Bunny

Gilligan’s Island would have been different if the creator had kept the original cast from the pilot. Kit Smythe played the redheaded, sarcastic secretary Ginger. Smythe’s other acting credits include shows such as Bewitched, Gunsmoke, and Police Woman.

Nancy McCarthy played Ginger’s kind but dumb friend Bunny. McCarthy is an established theatre and TV actor whose credits include My Three Sons and The Donna Reed Show. Aside from acting, McCarthy also worked as a fashion model.

Smythe and McCarthy weren’t the only casting changes made from the pilot. John Gabriel initially was going to play the Professor but was replaced by Johnson. Gabriel would later rise to fame on the soap opera Ryan’s Hope.

While many fans would agree the casting changes made the show better, one must wonder what could’ve been. In 1992, TBS ran the original pilot, and fans saw a glimpse of the initial castaways.

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