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Bamboo Guitars. . . and the Rest Made Here on Gilligan's Island

Gilligan Was Beneficiary of the Professor's Quick Cure For Baldness


Along with the inevitable repetitions of all those irritating songs and annoying commercials, Christmas also brings reruns of many forgettable TV shows. Carol (Florence Henderson) loses her voice before her Christmas solo on The Brady Bunch, Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife show the true meaning of Christmas to crotchety store owner Ben Weaver in The Andy Griffith Show, and Bart accidentally burns up all the gifts on The Simpsons.

The one sitcom Christmas episode I actually look forward to seeing again is Gilligan's Island, and not because Skipper (Alan Hale) doubles as Santa Claus on the show. “Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk” includes flashbacks of the wreck of the Minnow, some even from the pilot episode.

If you watch closely at the footage the morning after the wreck, you will see two castaways who were not in any of the subsequent episodes. That Mary Ann is Kit Smythe rather than Dawn Wells, and that professor on the boat is John Gabriel instead of Russell Johnson.

We fans of course identify Johnson as the real Professor, whose seldom used name in the series is Roy Hinckley. He is the character who invented all sorts of devices throughout the various episodes, almost everything except something that would make the boat once again navigable.

Here are my favorite inventions of the Professor, some of which would be considered valuable patents even in today's high-tech world.

-acoustic guitars made out of bamboo. They were played by the Skipper, Thurston Howell III (Jim Backus) and the professor himself for a band to challenge the Mosquitos. Gilligan (Bob Denver) sat in as the drummer.

-a coconut shell battery re-charger. Imagine being in Florida or Hawaii without having to depend on your standard charger when your source of juice has died.

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-a strychnine serum that could cause temporary paralysis. Professor Hinckley used it on Gilligan

-a drug that makes people invisible. Russell Johnson's character creates this through a mistake, intending to cure Gilligan of the magnetic power that has the boy attached to his bowling ball in an episode called “Gilligan's Personal magnetism.”

-a bamboo lie detector. Using the horn from the ship and the battery from the radio, this polygraph machine is used to determine the identity of “Lovey's Secret Admirer.”

-a tropical pool table. Made only of materials from the island for the benefit of Mr. Howell and the Skipper, this billiard set would be valuable because of its ability to be stored outside on a patio or deck.

-jetpack fuel. Since most of us are not wealthy enough, like say Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, this primitive invention would allows us to visit outer space on a cheap budget.

-a tonic that instantly cures baldness. When Gilligan goes bald in “Hair Today Gone Tomorrow,” the lovable egghead conjures a super quick tonic for fabulous follicular return.

-handmade helium balloons. Instead of having to take a shopping strip to the local crowded party store, all you need to make your own festive accessory are a couple of rubber raincoats and some tree sap.

-a bamboo xylophone. In case you need to augment your band of acoustic guitarists with a percussion instrument, you could follow the Professor's lead and build one of this arrangement of bells.

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