As a Baby Boomer, I must comment on the passing of Russell Johnson, “Professor” Roy Hinckley on the Gilligan’s Island sitcom of the 1960s.
ABC News confirmed Johnson died this morning of kidney disease in his Washington state home. He was 89.
When the show originally broadcast, my family watched. The sitcom gained new life in reruns in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
My brother and I stepped off Mr. Draper’s bus about 3:15 p.m. during the school year. We grabbed a snack and headed for our family room to watch the 3:30 p.m. rerun.
Gilligan’s Island may have been the lamest, dumbest situation comedy ever, but it still remains funny in a low-brow, weird way.
The Professor played a straight man to a cast of fumble-fingered stereotypes. Although he was not really a professor, but high school science teacher, he solved all kinds of problems with ingenious creative solutions, until Gilligan messed it up.
How about rewiring that Jet Pac so Gilligan could fly up into the sky so a nearby military ship could spot him? The Professor suggested Gilligan take the radio up with him, and Gilligan heard a report that a UFO was in the neighborhood. Of course, the UFO was Gilligan, who flew off into a cloud causing rain which caused the ship to stop the search for the missing Jet Pac.
Yes, it is ridiculous.
To this day, my husband and I ask each other trivia questions from the show. Recently the ME Network has been running the show in its 7 p.m. (CST) slot. My regular news shows make me so upset that I frequently want to toss the television out the window (i.e. Chris Christie stories). Now I can turn over to ME and watch the shows I grew up with, including the original Bob Newhart Show.
Okay, so it’s not Anton Chekhov. Sue me.