Monday, January 2, 2012


On January 2nd, 1990 Alan Hale Jr., a.k.a. The Skipper, died after a battle with thyroid cancer. Despite a long and varied career, Hale is known mostly for his portrayal of Jonas Grumby -- or -- the Skipper -- in the tv show Gilligan's Island.

Hey little buddy!  You holdin?
 He would be forever typecast after the show, as would every other member of the Gilligan's Island cast -- giving a new meaning to the word "castaway."  Years after the show has ended, none of them would truly get off the island.  

I'm a goddamn serious actor, dammit!
 The late seventies brought three post-series tv movies about the castaways.  In 1978 there was Rescue from Gilligan's Island.  In 1979, there was The Castaways on Gilligan's Island and in 1981, the final and deepest cut, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island.   To say it was awful, is a compliment.  The Globetrotters actually kill a shark by throwing basketballs at it.   The professor in his infinite wisdom decides to build a team of robots to play basketball against the Globetrotters, but fails, of course,  in finding a way to harness his serious brain power to find a way off the island.  Oy. 

The subsequent animated series -- there was more than one of them --  helped to hide the shame these actors probably felt, especially since the show was created in a time before residuals and royalties.

In the later years, Alan Hale, Jr. was particularly successful pimping out his former identity as the Skipper.


In fact, he owned a restaurant called "The Lobster Barrel," that operated during the 70's and 80's on Hollywood's "restaurant row." He was known to greet customers in his signature skipper's hat and sign autographs and take pictures with customers.

In the 80's Hale has a cameo in the Michael Keaton film Johnny Dangerously.  He played an Irish police chief.  It was a nice cameo and gave us a small sense of what he probably could've done if he wasn't spending all his time choking his little buddy on an island secretly located in Burbank.


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