CJAD: This evening we are talking with Bob Denver. The star of among other things GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. He was also in THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS and such shows as THE GOOD GUYS. We'll talk about all of those things in this hour. We go to the phone lines to speak to Mr. Bob Denver. Hello Bob.
BOB: I suppose I should start with "SKIPPER!" (laughter)
CJAD: How are you?
BOB: Fine, how are you doing Peter.
CJAD: Fine, fine. You have a new book out. It's called GILLIGAN, MAYNARD & ME. Published by Citadel Press. What made you decide to put a book out at this time?
BOB: The publishers last year decided that they were looking for old stars that had series. (laughter). And that was perfect timing, because I was doing pretty much nothing last winter, so I sat around the house and sort of worked on my computer and wrote it out. I'm sure the book THE BRADY BUNCH....the kid that wrote about the book, you know.....
BOB: It sold pretty well, so I guess all the publishers decided, "well we can make a buck."
CJAD: You're living in where, is it West Virginia now?
BOB: West Virginia on top of a mountain. I've been snowed in for three days.
CJAD: How does someone who was a star of a major sitcom in the 60s end up in quiet little West Virginia these days?
BOB: Well, my wife was from here. We came back out, I guess three or four years ago. I looked around and said it was really a gorgeous State and would you mind moving back home and she said, "No." So you know, it was just.....our preference would be to live in Hawaii, but when we go there we don't do anything. We just kind of quit. So I know I wanted to keep working and fooling around. And this is really easy for me to get in and out of....well sometimes it is, (laughter).
CJAD: Let's talk a little bit about GILLIGAN.
CJAD: You did that show for only three years, correct?
BOB: Right, 98 episodes.
CJAD: 98 episodes. I guess you had no idea a the time you were going into this the phenomenon it would become?
BOB: No, I would have made a better deal Peter. (laughter). I would have made some kind of a deal. No, it's 30 years this year. It's been on the year continually for 30 years. And it's been fun to watch the audience, because it's been the same every year. Pretty much the same, except in the mid 80s the older folks in their 70s and 80s started taking the autograph pictures home for themselves. (laughter). "No, that's for me it's not for my grandson!" (laughter)
CJAD: Now, when that show was first being cast, you weren't the first choice for Gilligan, were you?
BOB: No, he was looking, I guess, for the Van Dyke brother.
BOB: Jerry, yeah. Then when I met with him, I had a meeting with Sherwood Schwartz, the producer, writer and creator. And when he and I got done talking, I was on the floor laughing when he told me the premises of some and the guest stars and things, I said, "Are you sure the network is going to let you do this?" And he said, "Yeah, I have permission to shoot the pilot," and I said, "Well fine, it would be great." So we shook hands and that was the deal. Then we shot the pilot of the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian string there and I still couldn't believe it when I was in Hawaii for two weeks shooting a half hour situation comedy that was so stupid and silly. And then I figured well, if it didn't sell at least I got a nice, you know, two weeks. I stayed an extra two weeks so I had a month on the island. I figured that was really nice. If it didn't sell, fine. Then of course it sold and became a hit.
CJAD: Now in the long run you along with all the other cast members have been typecast in the roles you played, but ironically, wasn't one of the reasons Mr. Schwartz didn't want you initially is because you were typecast as Maynard?
BOB: Yeah, they said to him, "there's this guy named Bob Denver that did a beatnik on DOBIE GILLIS," and he said, "he did a beatnik! Well, I'm not looking for that kind of character. I'm looking for a stumbling innocent type." But after we met and had our meeting, we talked for about an hour, and we just got along real good. I guess our favourite book was ROBINSON CRUSOE as kids, both of us, so we had a lot in common.
CJAD: Now, you yourself just a few minutes ago said it was a rather silly premise. A couple of week's ago we were talking on the air with Steve Allen and we talked about various television shows and he wasn't too flattering with your show or the BEVERLY HILLBILLIES. Those are shows that critically speaking were not necessarily beloved by the press.
BOB: Oh, no.
CJAD: Yet, the audiences seemed to just fall over themselves watching them.
BOB: Yeah, it's interesting. The critics just killed our show. I think out of 100 reviews there were 99 bad and one good one. But it didn't bother us because we knew we were doing something really silly and something very, very broad. You know, a lot of physical comedy. But the premise, I felt was just really hilarious. And then, I had a cast that was excellent. You know, each person was perfect as the character. What's happened is it picks up kids every year. I get letters. Just last week I got one from a mother who said, "the one year old is watching it in the highchair. Please send an autographed picture." (laughter). Here it is 1994 and it just rolls on. I understand why a lot of the intellectuals or the elite don't really get behind it because it's that kind of comedy that you can put down really easy.
CJAD: When you did shoot the pilot and you looked at the script for the first time, did you think it would sell?
BOB: I had no idea. It was just so much fun to do that kind of comedy, plus I met Alan Hale and doing physical comedy with Alan was probably the most fun.
CJAD: Didn't Natalie Schafer who played Lovey Howell only take the pilot because she wanted to go to Hawaii?
BOB: That's right! Her story was that she was in Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta, one of those cities in Mexico on a vacation and at the time her mother was ill in Los Angeles and a telegram came to her table at dinner and she read it and burst into tears and all of her friends with her on vacation said, "oh Natalie, is it your Mother? Is something wrong?" And she said, "No, the pilot sold!" (laughter). That was one of her favourite stories. I mean, she had...they kind of almost convinced her it wouldn't sell. It was just a vacation for her. After we started shooting, she really got into it. She was really a great lady.
CJAD: One of the shows that I was a big fan of was THE GOOD GUYS.
BOB: Oh, one of my fans! One of my few fans!
CJAD: Yeah, I watched that. It was on for what, two years with Herb Edelman?
BOB: Right and Joyce Van Patten.
CJAD: I was looking through some of the credits. Some of the things you've done. I have a couple of books in front of me besides yours, which kind of show television series as they go along. When you think about it, you had a pretty successful run there. You went from DOBIE GILLIS, to GILLIGAN'S ISLAND to THE GOOD GUYS. You had a decade where you were just busy from one show to another. A lot of actors can't say that.
BOB: Yeah, I had about 11 years starting in 59 to 70. And then I decided that was it. I just said that's enough, I want to go back to stage work. So I was on Broadway for about four months. Woody Allen's play, PLAY IT AGAIN SAM. He left, then I took over. Then I took it on the road for about almost six or seven years. And then, just as theatres do everything that is available off Broadway, I came on the circuit and dinner theatre was very hot in this country then. It was hilarious. People coming to see plays. They didn't even know what they were. "Whaddya call that!" I would say, "it's a play." "No kiddin', how long has it been around?" I'd say, "about 4,000 years." "No kiddin'." (laughter). But it was really fun for people who would never go to the theatre. I mean they would never...they figured they would have to get dressed up or do something. The wife would drag them and tell them it was a big buffet and they could eat all they wanted to and just be quiet during the show. We did good comedies. We did all the Neil Simon's, my wife and I, so we had a great time.
CJAD: Do you find in doing a role like Gilligan, and the typecasting that you get, and other characters that you have played....let's be honest. Some of the characters you've played have not been some of the brightest guys.
BOB: No, no. They were leaning toward nebbish. They weren't terribly dumb, but they weren't terribly bright.
CJAD: I mean, you're an educated guy. You were a political science major.
CJAD: And you were also a teacher.
CJAD: Do you find sometimes that people come up to you and they think you are Gilligan.
BOB: No, that's really funny, because I thought maybe after, you know, in the 70s something would happen, but now it's 30 years and people have been coming up to me and they know it's just a character I made up. It's such a fantasy, the whole show is. For kids it's like a whole thing of frustration. He never gets off the island. Where did all those clothes come from? How did he do that? (laughter). So it's kind of fun and they've always been polite. In 30 years I've had no one come up to me with any kind of rude remark or anything that's weird. They just grin because I'm in their childhood. The show is stuck in their childhood and it's a real good memory for them.
CJAD: Yet I understand, looking through some trivia books, that some people did take it kind of seriously. I understand the U.S. Coast Guard got some calls from concerned viewers who suggested that they try and rescue you guys off the island.
BOB: There was an Admiral in the East here somewhere. He's was a retired Admiral and he was in his 70s and he got the coordinates. We gave them out one time. The longitude and latitude, which if you looked it up was in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Ocean. He knew the chain of command, so he called Washington and Washington called Hawaii and pretty soon they had one of the cutters steaming up. One of the young sailors came up to the Captain and said, "Sir, I think it's a TV show." And he said, "what, son!" He says, "I think it's a TV show, sir." They checked it out again and found out of course that it was. They came on the set, the Commander did, with this huge stack of memorandums and everything else that came out of Washington. We almost really got rescued.
CJAD: Let's go to the phones. Paul from Lachine, you're on the air.
CALLER: Good evening Peter and good evening to Mr. Denver or Maynard or what every you would like.
CALLER: I have a question I've been wanted to ask for a long time about GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. Now the Professor, that was played by a chap, wasn't his name Russell, something-or-other?
BOB: Russell Johnson.
CALLER: Did he play with Wally Cox in MR. PEEPERS?
BOB: I don't know. He has a book out you know.
CALLER: Oh he does. Well I'll have to get that. I thought you might have known that.
BOB: I know he did a lot of features. One of his favourite photographs I saw on the set was him holding Ronald Reagan in some kind of western where apparently Ronald was dying. I guess Russell was playing the "black hat", you know.
CALLER: I think I remember him as playing opposite Wally Cox as another school teacher in MR. PEEPERS way back then, but I'm not sure.
BOB: He's very modest so he never told us about his credits before.
CALLER: I'll have to get a book and look that up.
BOB: Yeah, and Dawn Wells, who is Mary-Ann, has a cookbook out, which is really a lot of fun.
CALLER: Yes, I've heard about that and that sounds like a good deal too.
BOB: It's got thirteen coconut cream pie recipes (laughter)
CALLER: Wow! Anyway, it was a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you very much.
BOB: Thank you sir.
CJAD: We go to Mark. You're on the air.
CALLER: Hi Bob!
BOB: Hi Mark, how's it goin'?"
CALLER: Boy what a pleasure, I tell ya! I suffer from what my Mother calls "the GILLIGAN'S ISLAND syndrome." I'm 37-years-old. I'm driving home from the office. I've had a less then perfect day, and I tell you, it just got better! I can answer probably any....I mean it's been more then a few years since I've watched GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, except for the last time I was in the States watching Nickelodeon or something like that. But I still remember "roomus igloomus" when you ate the poison mushrooms
BOB: Oh, no kidding, you are a fan! (laughter)
CALLER: I can go back and answer all of these questions and it's a pleasure to talk to you.
BOB: Well thank you.
CALLER: You know, we grew up I guess....what year's did the show run from?
BOB: 64 to 66.
CALLER: Yeah, 64 to 66. So the 60s, you know, was not all that fun for a lot of people, and I guess it helped everybody develop with a great sense of humour.
BOB: I guess so. Really, with all the people who come up to me, they just say "thanks" because they remember when they were a kid, they ran home from school or whatever and turned it on.
CALLER: Yeah, maybe too much, as my Mother would say, but what the heck, I'm all the better for it.
BOB: You know, I sign pictures for Moms. They come up to me and they say, "I need two autographs for my sons." And I write down "Charles and Edward" and I say, "how old are they" and she goes "37 and 38." (laughter)
CALLER: Well I gotta go home and tell my wife and kids that I spoke to Gilligan and they're going to think I'm completely off my rocker.
BOB: And he yelled SKIPPER!
CALLER: (Laughter) I still sing the song in the shower, you know.
BOB: I'm sure.
CALLER: Anyway, it's been a real pleasure.
BOB: Mine too.
CALLER: Good luck
BOB: You too.
CJAD: Thanks for the call........When I was talking to people in the office and friends of mine telling them that we were going to be talking to you, Bob, everyone started singing the song.
BOB: (laughter) You can get 10,000 people together. Perfect strangers and say, "let's sing something", and somebody says, "let's sing the theme from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND" and at the end of the song everybody's friends. "Remember the one where he did....", "...remember that episode!" It's really fun to watch.
CJAD: Can you ever go somewhere without hearing it? Are you tired of that song by now?
BOB: No, I don't hear it quite that much. I hear it on interviews and things. I was in THE PUMP ROOM in Chicago, a fancy restaurant there, and they have a little trio playing in the corner almost semi-classical chamber music, and as I walked to my table I heard (does an imitation of a chamber version) (laugher). I never quite heard that version before (laughter).
CJAD: There's also a reggae version out there.
BOB: There's a rap version too.
CJAD: It's quite the hit. Let's go back to the lines. Carla in TMR, you're on the air.
CALLER: Hi, I just want to say Gilligan, ah, sorry, Bob.
BOB: Oh, call me Gilligan, it's okay.
CALLER: I'm greatly honoured to be talking to you. I have seen each GILLIGAN'S ISLAND show I'd say a minimum six times and I know all the words. I know the scripts by heart. It certainly did get me through the turbulent 60s. Why I'm calling is because we don't get GILLIGAN'S ISLAND up here in Montreal, which is....
BOB: No kidding.
CALLER: I know, I know, I don't understand it either.
BOB: I'll have to talk to Mr. Ted Turner. Ted Turner owns it now. I can't believe he doesn't have it in the market.
CALLER: So what I'm doing is I have some friends in Florida who are taping it for me and they mail the VCR tape cassette up here, and I get the six hours of taped GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. Okay, so that get's me through the year.
BOB: (Laughter) That's great!
CALLER: What I wanted to ask is, would it be possible...I've gone to the VCR stores and I've asked for some GILLIGAN'S ISLAND VCR tapes to rent and I couldn't believe it. They said they didn't have any either.
BOB: No, because Columbia House is putting them out. They're going to put out all 98 episodes.
CALLER: Oh, are they!
BOB: You can buy the first one for $4.95. I guess you get the original pilot too with that and I guess two other episodes and they're going to be doing it for the next couple of years.
CALLER: In the next couple of years?
BOB: Well they're out now.
CALLER: Okay. Well, just to tide me over, I have those friends taping for me in the States and mailing them up here, because they are absolutely the best show that has ever been made.
BOB: Well thank you.
CALLER: It's pure comedy. It's just wonderful. Everyone I know has only good things to say about it and I really appreciate the work you've done.
BOB: Well thank you very much.
CJAD: Well tell me Carla, do you have a favourite episode?
CALLER: Oh gee, you caught me off-guard with that one.
BOB: That's all right. Most people don't. I mean, over the years I figured the fans would have one favourite one, but it's never happened. Everyone has one that just struck them.
CALLER: I like the one where they found the radio active seeds in the boxes, and then they would eat the carrots and they could see for 10,000 miles.
BOB: That's right! (laughter) Crazy premises, crazy premises.
CALLER: Exactly, but pure comedy.
CJAD: So Carla, where you aware of the fact that there is a book out there now?
CALLER: No, I wish that you could just repeat the name and the author and so on.
CJAD: GILLIGAN, MAYNARD & ME, and the author is Bob Denver. I went and checked it out in the bookstore myself today, because they were supposed to send me a copy but it didn't get here on time. Mail with two countries, you know how that works.
CALLER: Yes, yes.
CJAD: So I went and picked it up today myself, so it's there is the stores, Carla.
CALLER: And what's it about.
BOB: It's about Gilligan and the character Maynard that I played in DOBIE GILLIS and how I got started.
CALLER: Okay, well it was really a pleasure. I'm going to be telling everybody that I spoke to you on the telephone.
CALLER: Okay, thanks a lot.
CJAD: Thank you for the call. Bye-bye......After you did such shows as Gilligan, and the concern about being typecast, both by Maynard and by Gilligan, were there any characters that you or your agent thought you were perfect for and you just didn't get the part.
BOB: No, I can't think of anytime where I had a part and I got knocked off because of typecasting. I never got through the initial part of getting the part.
CJAD: Is there anything you see on contemporary television today that you say, "gee that would be a part that I would like to tackle myself"?
BOB: Oh, I would like to be a guest star on NORTHERN EXPOSURE.
BOB: Yeah, I could play a real crazy character because they certainly have enough nutty people on that show. They have dream sequences and all kinds of fantasy. I'd like to guest star on that. Last year I did an EVENING SHADE with Burt Reynolds and I got to play myself. I had to go to my acting teacher to figure that one out! (laughter)
CJAD: Do you watch much television?
BOB: Oh yeah. I watch, like, NORTHERN EXPOSURE, HOME IMPROVEMENT and I love Charles Kurault on SUNDAY MORNING. And my comedy channel, C-Span, (laughter). Some of the routines are a little long, but otherwise it's funny.
CJAD: The Packwood stuff is good. Let's go to James in Scottstown.
BOB: Hi James, how you doing?
CALLER: Good. I have one question for you. How did the professor invent the radio made out of coconuts. How did he make that? Where did he find the parts?
BOB: Actually all of his inventions, they could work, if all the stuff he had was really true. Everything would work. He had to memorize everything verbatim. Sherwood Schwartz, the man that wrote it has three degrees and I think one was in engineering. I said to Russell one time, I said, "how do you memorize all that dialogue? All those words?" And he said, "that's not the hard part. The hard part is looking it up in the encyclopedia to know what I'm saying!"
CALLER: That sounds pretty good. How long have you been doing that?
CJAD: The show was on for three years James, but it seems like forever though, doesn't it?
CALLER: Yeah, I keep watching it even today. I got the video tapes of it now.
BOB: Oh, great!
CJAD: Thanks for the call.....John in NDG, you're on the air.
CALLER: Mr. Denver, I just wanted to call and tell you that it's a pleasure to speak to you. I wanted to know what's it like being one of the most recognized stars in the world, or one of the seven most recognized stars in the world? I mean, everywhere you go, you must.....
BOB: 30 years on TV does help.
CJAD: Is there a place where GILLIGAN'S ISLAND is not seen?
BOB: I don't know. Dawn Wells was on a Samoan island that they had to take an outrigger to get to, right, paddle out to it. She went into the chief's hut and the chief's wife went MARY-ANN! (laughter) They had no electricity, no TV and it turns out that the chief's wife had gone to another island to study nursing and seen the show there.
CALLER: Incredible. Thanks a lot.
CJAD: Thank you for the call John. Lenore in Montreal West.
CALLER: Oh yes, hi. I was just wondering what happened to the rest of the cast. I love you very much and I'm just curious. How does it work out in the end.
BOB: Well Tina Louise is in New York pursuing a dramatic career. Ginger. And Dawn Wells, Mary-Ann; and Russell Johnson, the Professor.....
CALLER: Do you get married, or you don't
BOB: No, no.
CJAD: Let's back up for a minute Lenore, are you talking about the actual actors or the characters they play?
CALLER: The characters they play.
CJAD: Okay, so what happened to the castaways, is what you're asking?
BOB: They're still on the island.
CJAD: They're still there?
BOB: They never got off the island.
CALLER: They never got off the island. But if you did get off the island in the end of the series did you end up marrying any of them or what happened to you?
BOB: Well we did a rescue in 77. A movie, a two hour tv movie. And we got off the island and we kind of went back to civilization. And then at the very end of the movie the Skipper got a new Minnow, Minnow II. And the passengers got on board for another three hour tour and of course you know what happened. A big storm and back on the island again. But that's just about all that ever happened to the characters.
CALLER: So there was no marriage or anything between any of the characters on the island?
CALLER: Oh geez, my heart breaks. (laughter). Thank you so much.
BOB: Looking for romance!
CJAD: Let's go back a little bit to what Lenore was sort of asking. Let's ask about the cast members themselves. What has happened to the cast members?
BOB: Well three of them are gone. The Howells and the Skipper. Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer and Alan Hale have passed away. There's four of us left now.
CJAD: And what are you all doing now?
BOB: Dawn Wells and Russ Johnson, we get together like two or three times a year and we get rescued wherever there's a body of water. (laughter). It's really fun. Because we'll be at an airport and Dawn will be standing, like ten feet behind me, and some young man in his 20s will come up to me and say, "oh, I really loved the show" and all of that. And I'll say, "yeah, and what did you think of Mary-Ann?" And he would say, "oh, wow, I thought she was really great!" Then I said, "would you like to meet her someday?" and he goes "oh, boy, oh, let me tell you that would just....oh, boy!" and then I say, "there she is!" And the guy just turns red, becomes nine years old right in front of my eyes. (laughter). Can't talk, shuffling! (laughter)
CJAD: The three women who I think who were a big hit with a lot of kids, even though they may have been overshadowed by their more glamourous sidekicks would have to be Betty from Betty and Veronica, Betty Rubble and Mary-Ann. Those are the three.
BOB: Oh yeah. Over the years they've had contests wherever I go. And they even had national contests to see who the guys like the most, Ginger or Mary-Ann, and Mary-Ann always wins like 75% at least.
CJAD: It was a more innocent age when the show was done. Could you make a show like that today...and that goes a little bit to what Lenore was asking about romance. I mean, you did a show like that today, there would to all kinds of hanky panky going on......
BOB: We didn't even have a bathroom on the island Peter, we couldn't have any hanky panky (laughter). No, I guess you could do it again. The people that I've talked to in any age group, all the way up to 70s and 80s, they're still looking for that kind of comedy. They really are. It's the networks' decision. They just feel, I guess, that if they put it on they'd to open for all kinds of criticism from the critics and people saying, "you're going backwards", so I guess they don't feel like, you know.......I guess there's an audience out there for it though.
CJAD: Theatrically speaking, the 60s are back again. We've seen BATMAN on the screen. We've seen THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES on the screen.
BOB: You'll probably see Gilligan on the screen too. Sherwood Schwartz has a big summer movie. You know, like one of those big blockbuster movies like they did last summer and the summer before. Of course, none of us would to in it.
CJAD: Well, if you couldn't to in the Gilligan movie, who would you cast?
BOB: Well, I guess for the Skipper......I don't know. Sherwood has a great cast. He has like Martin Short for Gilligan, which I think he would do a really funny job. I forget who he has for the Skipper, but he has all major stars. Whether they're going to do it or not, that's another thing.
CJAD: Okay, let's go back to the lines. Dennis in Le Plateau, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, hello Bob, how are you doing?
CALLER: I just wanted to call. I'm in my 30s and I've really enjoyed listening and watching your show. It's too bad we don't get GILLIGAN'S ISLAND in Montreal.
BOB: Well, I'm gonna see about that.
CALLER: I really appreciate that. Maybe you can call up Ted tomorrow morning and ask why not?
BOB: Yeah, I'll call Ted (laughter)
CALLER: Alright, take care. It was nice talking to you.
BOB: Thank you.
CJAD: The show you did before. DOBIE GILLIS. You played Maynard Krebbs on that show. How was it creating that particular character?
BOB: Oh that was fun. He was a beatnik, you know, when he first started out in the first and second year. And nobody knew what a beatnik was, except that they really like music and I made him a real jazz fan. You know, Thelonius Monk and Bill Evans and all the big jazz people that were popular at the time. I was left alone pretty much to create the character because nobody knew exactly where I was going with it, so it was really a lot of fun. So for my first series and my first acting professional job it was just a great deal of fun.
CJAD: During the span of the program, if I'm not mistaken, were you not actually drafted?
BOB: Yeah, I was drafted. I had done four episodes and I had got drafted into the army, actually. I went down for the physical and I went 4F because I had a broken neck back in the 50s. So I went back to the set to tell them. I was so excited. I could go back and pick up and do the rest of the first year. They had signed Michael J. Pollard to take my place as my beatnik cousin. I walked on the set and they said, "what are you doing here?" I said, "I'm 4F, they don't want me." And they said, "yeah, funny, funny, when are you going?" I said, "no, really." And they just wouldn't believe me, until finally after three or four hours of just standing there Max Schulman came over and he said, "are you serious, you didn't get drafted?" And I said, "no!" He said, "just go home. We signed this man here, Michael, for 30 shows and this is the first one he's doing. Just go home, please. We'll call you." And then they put me in the next week. They paid Michael off. He did one episode and got paid for 30. He came out of New York and he said, "I'd heard of going to California to discover gold, but I didn't know it was true until now." (laughter)
CJAD: What was it like working with some of the cast members. Warren Beatty was on that show for awhile, wasn't he?
BOB: Yes, in about six or seven in the first year, but we all knew he wasn't destined for situation comedy. He was heading for the motion pictures.
CJAD: You tell a story about him getting locked in a dressing room.
BOB: Oh, yeah, we had one of those little canvas knock-down dressing rooms on the stage and somebody locked him in. I don't know who did it. Instead of yelling to get out or trying to knock it down, he just waited till the cameras rolled and it was during a take, and he starting singing an aria in an operatic voice that just carried two miles. (laughter) The director yells "CUT...WHAT IS THAT?....WHERE IS THAT?.....WHO'S DOING THAT?" They went over to him and said, "Warren Beatty is locked in his dressing room." He said, "well, let him out! We can't shoot with that kind of noise. Good God!" (laughter)
CJAD: Let's go back to the lines. We have John in a car phone somewhere. Hi John.
CALLER: How are you?
CJAD: Fine and you?
BOB: Hi, John.
CALLER: Hi. I cannot believe who I'm talking to. I just can't believe it. But you know, there is one thing I'll never forget about you, and I gotta find out, and I hope somebody hasn't asked the question already? What happened to your hat?
BOB: (laughter) I have two hats left from that series. That's all I have left.
CALLER: And nobody bothered to put them in the Smithsonian or anything?
BOB: Nah, the Smithsonian doesn't ask for anything back from Gilligan. They haven't dropped that low yet.
CJAD: They have Archie's chair. They have Fonzie's jacket.
CALLER: Exactly, I think your hat should to placed in a glass case somewhere in the Smithsonian for all the us who remembered you with that hat and no other piece of clothing on that show.
BOB: One time I gave it to Alan Hale. I guess it was like in the third year. He was always hitting me with his hat and so I gave him my hat and said, "let's make it different, hit me with my hat" (laughter), but I have a big button on my hat and he hit me and I went "OW", and they yelled "CUT", then they said "what's wrong?" and I said, "that really hurt. Hey Alan, from now on, use your hat. Just leave my hat alone!"(laughter)
CALLER: Well thanks. It's been nice talking to you.
BOB: Same here.
CJAD: Bye, bye.....Francine in Pierrefonds.
CJAD: Hi Francine.
BOB: Hi Francine.
CALLER: Hi, I'm calling on behalf of my husband who really wanted to make the call, but he's hyperventilating right now, (laughter), so I guess I'll do it for him. What he wanted to know, and me is well, is whether you often got confused with your character? Do you have any anecdotes relating to that?
BOB: No, the character Gilligan was such a, you know, such a fantasy character. I did...you know...every show try to make him a little....show he had some brains. There was like one where I had this thing...what was it?....a wishing...you could make three wishes. And it was supposedly a rock or something I had and I made believe I threw it in the jungle and the whole rest of the cast ran in the jungle looking for it and I just palmed it and put it in my eye like a monocle, so I was teasing them also. But I never got confused. People don't get me confused.
CALLER: Oh, I thought people were silly sometimes. The people you deal with in your everyday life. I don't know, your dentist or something.
BOB: No it's more in everybody's childhood, so they understand it as they get older. Of course it was just a TV show and it was just a character I played.
CALLER: Oh well. Hi from Manny and my little girl Tiffany.
CJAD: What was that Francine?
CALLER: My husband, Manny, says "hi" and my one year old.....you know she feels the excitement in the air. She's not sure exactly why, but we'll show her tonight.
BOB: Okay (laughter)
CJAD: Bye, Bye.....Jacques in St. Laurent.
CALLER: Hi Bob, I'd like to call you Gilligan.
BOB: Go ahead!
CALLER: Alright. So I remember, after hard working days, because I'm in my 60s now, semi-retired. When my day would to over I'd get home and pour out a good beer and synchronize to your program and I had a good time just listening to you all.
BOB: You had a half an hour where you just forgot all the problems.
CALLER: Oh it was marvellous. And you know what I want to congratulate you about is that it was wholesome comedy. You never reverted to vulgar jokes. You never cursed or anything like that.
BOB: No, nothing suggestive
CALLER: Clean comedy.
BOB: Yep. That's what everybody says they like about it.
CALLER: Yes, and there's another thing. I remember one program where you had inhabitants on that island and they were all disguised as a lost civilization or something, and they came out with their faces smeared with red and blue and whatever. That was funny. But the time that I was dismayed was when you were just about to make it off the island and things went all contrary to your plans. I was disappointed. I was so involved. I was disappointed.
BOB: We never could to rescued. That would have been the end of the series.
CALLER: I know. I realize that at the end of the program. (laughter). Anyway, thank you very much for all that pleasure you've given us.
BOB: Ah, it was a lot of fun doing it.
CALLER: Okay Gilligan, have a good stay in Montreal.
CJAD: Actually, he's in Virginia.
CALLER: You're in Virginia right now!?!?
BOB: West Virginia.
CALLER: Oh my God, I thought this program was coming out of Montreal.
CJAD: Well I'm here if that's any consolation to you Jacques.
CALLER: (laughter) Any snow down there?
BOB: Yeah, I've got a foot and a half down here. I haven't gotten off my mountain for three days.
CALLER: The Americans always say that the cold and the snow comes from Canada, but I don't think that's true.
BOB: Well you do get those northeasters, you know.
CALLER: Okay, have a good evening.
CJAD: Thank you for the call. Bye, bye....When you were doing the show, GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, did you ever.....as we were saying some people find the show a little silly. Did you ever get a script and say, "ah wait a minute, this one is really over the edge!"
BOB: Yeah, we'd say that and a crew member would walk by and say, "did you see next week's yet?" (laughter)
CJAD: The one that comes to mind is actually one of the two hour movies. GILLIGAN'S ISLAND meets the Harlem Globetrotters.
CJAD: That was a little far fetched.
BOB: Oh, yeah, oh yeah. It really was. My wife was in that one. She played the Howell' s social secretary. If you didn't have an appointment you didn't get to see them, even though they were standing right behind her, (laughter).
CJAD: Back to the lines. Brian in Pointe Claire, hello you're on the air.
CALLER: Hello Bob.
CALLER: Oh this is terrific. I can't believe I'm talking to you.
BOB: Well thank you.
CALLER: I don't have any questions really. I just wanted to wish you all the best and thank you for a lot of entertainment. If you're ever looking back at your career and the work of your career I just wanted you to know that you've given us all a good many laughs and you just can't put a value on something like that.
BOB: Thank you so much.
CALLER: Yeah, thank you.
CJAD: Thank you for the call....James in Lennoxville.
BOB: Hi James!
CALLER: Hi, I couldn't give up the chance to speak to an icon.
BOB: Oh, I'm one of those Russian paintings.
CALLER: No, I just thought it was great.
BOB: Thank you.
CALLER: All the episodes were great. I never really saw very many, except in reruns. So it just meant a lot to me to see them all. My brother, actually, asked this question and I was wondering. Did the SPACE NUTS ever get off the planet?
CALLER: Did they ever make it back?
CJAD: That was the Saturday morning show you did, right?
BOB: Well SPACE NUTS.....I can't believe people saw that. I did sixteen of them for Saturday morning and I think they only ran once. More people saw that. A Saturday morning cartoon. It must have had everybody locked in pretty tight.
CALLER: What is it with you getting caught in these places though? Getting caught on islands, on planets.
BOB: We shot two of those in a week and I don't even remember anything about them.
CJAD: It just seems that your career seems to have you stranded somewhere.
BOB: When I was doing DOBIE GILLIS, I got blasted off to the moon with a chimp in a rocket, and I landed on a deserted tropic island. That should have told me something was coming. (laughter)
CALLER: Oh well, I just wanted to say thanks for all the great shows and it's nice to actually speak to you.
BOB: Thank you.
CJAD: Bye-bye.....In looking through another book I have, which talks about television pilots, in addition to a lot of the successes that you've had, you've had your share of pilots that didn't do well or didn't sell.
BOB: Oh yeah.
CJAD: The one thing I noticed that interesting about a lot of the shows you have worked on is that there is an association with Sherwood Schwartz.
BOB: Oh yeah, sure. Sherwood, as a producer, he was one of the best writer producers. It's amazing. That man was just amazing. We never knew there were any problems when we were shooting. He kept all the network craziness away from us. He was writing scripts literally four months in advance, so that special effects and props always got them in plenty of time. It was like working on a.....you just memorized your words and went down there and had a great time. It wasn't until afterwards when I left that I realized that not everybody was in the same situation. So every time I had a chance to work with him I did.
CJAD: You did a show called SCAMPS.
BOB: SCAMPS. Oh yeah, that was a half hour pilot with nine kids under the age of ten. It tested really well. Universal tested it and the network tested it and it did real well. In fact it was for many years in the preview house, if you could beat that half hour pilot you could get on the air. Of course we didn't get on.
CJAD: You did THE INVISIBLE WOMAN.
BOB: Right. That was a two hour TV movie. I don't know if that was a pilot. It more like a regular....I guess it was a pilot, yeah.
CJAD: HIGH SCHOOL USA.
BOB: Was that a pilot?
CJAD: At least according to this book I have here.
BOB: I think the reason is they shoot the pilot for tax reasons (laughter)
CJAD: And the revival of DOBIE GILLIS, which I saw. That was on a couple of years ago too, wasn't it.
BOB: Yeah, we did a two hour movie with that. That was a pilot to.
CJAD: And WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO DOBIE GILLIS?
BOB: Yeah, BRING ME THE HEAD OF DOBIE GILLIS.
CJAD: Let's go back to the phones. Diane in Kirkland, hello.
CALLER: Hi Bob, how are you.
BOB: Fine Diane.
CALLER: Good. I wanted to ask you question. Do you keep in contact still with some of the actors from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND.
BOB: Yeah, I see Mary-Ann and the Professor. We get together a couple of times a year and kind of go out and do a personal appearance.
CALLER: Oh that's wonderful.
BOB: Yeah, it's real fun.
CALLER: Great. Well I just wanted to say thank you for all the entertainment you've given us.
BOB: My pleasure.
CALLER: And I sure wish that we could have it on again so my children could enjoy it.
BOB: Well, we'll see what we can do about that. I'll tell the Turner organization that there's a lot of people in Montreal.
CALLER: Great. Well it was nice talking to you, and good luck with the rest of your career.
BOB: Thank you.
CJAD: Thank you for the call......Well we've been having this love in for about 45 minutes, Bob. I think we have to get to some of the dirt.
BOB: (laughter). There is no dirt.
CJAD: Did everybody get along on show?
BOB: Yeah, we all got along professionally. I mean, we all did our acting. I guess Tina wasn't too happy with the show, because in the TV GUIDE, I guess in 1965, she said that if she wasn't on it she wouldn't have watched it.
CJAD: So you already know where I'm going with this don't you.
BOB: I think so.
CJAD: Now, I was reading I believe it was in USA TODAY where she was not to happy with this book you have.
BOB: No, she got very upset because I said I heard her having sex in the dressing room next to mine. I didn't think that was very bad. It kind of struck me funny at lunch hour. I pounded on the wall and nothing happened. I mean I couldn't shut it down, the noise was so loud. She got very upset, but I think now she's kind of taking it with a sense of humour. I hope she is.
CJAD: Did she actually think that she had top billing when she first got that job?
BOB: Yeah, they had told her that in New York. They had told her that she was the star of the show. My problem is if you get fourth billing, wouldn't that to a clue? (laughter)
CJAD: I also understand that she left a Broadway show. I believe she was starring in a Broadway show, or was in a Broadway cast with Carol Burnett.
BOB: Oh, she had done that before.
CJAD: She had done it before?
BOB: Yeah, I guess she considers the show just kind of ruined her dramatic career, which I'm sure it did. But that's life.
CJAD: Going on to Alan Hale, I understand that he was also very, very loyal to the program.
BOB: Oh yeah, he was hilarious. I mean, we'd do personal appearance together up until he passed away and it was so much fun with him because he loved being the Skipper and he loved the little kids. I'd sign autographs behind him. A kid would come up and he'd say, "what's your name" and the kid would say "Billy" and he'd write Billy, then he'd say, "do you have a brother Billy?" "Oh yeah"......"and a sister, Billy?" And meanwhile, I'm signing the autograph pictures and I have a whole stack ready to go by the time he got through with the one kid. But he was the sweetest man. He really was.
CJAD: I heard a story that he actually broke his arm at the end of the second season and he didn't tell anybody.
BOB: No! It was like he had three more shows to do. We were on the third one and we had two more before we go on a break. He fell out of a tree and broke his wrist. I saw the Ace bandage on it the next week and I said, "what happened to your wrist" and he said, "oh, a little sprain, nothing wrong with it." It wasn't a year later that I found out that he waited. He did the two episodes. Two more weeks of work and then went and got it set. Because he doesn't want to shut it down and have everybody miss their vacation. He was the sweetest man.
(played the GILLIGAN'S ISLAND theme coming out of commercial break)
CJAD: Sorry Bob, I held out as long as I could.
BOB: (laughter) Just couldn't resist.
CJAD: Let's go back to the lines. Guy in St. Leonard.
CALLER: Good evening. Listening to that I could see myself as a little kid in my living room watching that again. Thank you. I'm 31-years-old and literally grew up with GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. And it's a pleasure to be talking with you Mr. Denver.
BOB: Thank you.
CALLER: Just two questions. You just touched on one of the topics about Ginger. Her feelings about the show and the tabloids and all of this. But did any of the actors, yourself included, have any input or ideas for the show?
BOB: Oh yeah. We could basically.....Sherwood trusted us. He told us, I guess in the first year, he said, "just don't go too far." And we all broke up laughing like, "whaddya mean, don't go too far Sherwood, you're writing the stuff!" But he trusted us. We could make up things and change lines and if it was really funny then we could do it. He got a kick out of it, because he'd watch the dailies of the day, you know, the shootings from the day before, and he'd come down and say, "where did that come from? That was really funny!"
CALLER: If I could take one second to share my favourite show, it was the one when the satellite crashed on the island and at the end you finally get the lens to work and you don't know and you're all covered up in feathers....oh I think that's funny. That's hilarious!
BOB: (laughter) In my book, I mention that episode, because the first time we did it we got covered in feathers and the network said we didn't have enough feathers on. That was the great comment from the network so we did it again. Then the network said, "they still don't have enough feathers." So the third time they did it, the prop man came in with....I've never seen so many feathers in my life. And plus the wardrobe people, this was the third time they had to sew feathers to the costume. They covered every square inch. I mean we couldn't even see. Believe me that was the hottest thing I ever wore. I now know why birds don't get cold in the winter.
CALLER: Well, it's been a pleasure Mr. Denver, thank you for all the memories.
BOB: Thank you.
CJAD: Thank you for talking with us. Bye, bye....I understand one of the things you talk about in the book too is about the scenes you had with Dawn Wells.
CJAD: You were both very fast talkers.
BOB: Extremely fast. Sherwood would write three pages of dialogue for us, which is supposed to run around three minutes and we would do it in 45 seconds and the script girl would have to go to the phone and say, "Sherwood, they did it again. We're two minutes short." (laughter)
CJAD: Back to the phones. Brad in Pincourt.
CALLER: Yes, hello Bob.
BOB: Hello Brad.
CALLER: It's a pleasure to talk to you.
BOB: Thank you.
CALLER: That was a North American classic you guys had on. It brought me through from black and white to color tv. (laughter)
BOB: That's right, the first year was black and white.
CALLER: That was like a quantum leap. All of a sudden. Were they all done in color?
BOB: No the first year was in black and white and the last two years were in color.
CALLER: Okay, because I saw the jump and that was it. The parallel that it strikes with me is the WIZARD OF OZ, because that wrong way guy, the pilot.....
BOB: Wrong-way Feldman.....Hans Conreid
CALLER: Wrong-Way Feldman who was supposed to take you guys with him and somehow he took off on his own. All of a sudden he said "bye" and he was off the island.
BOB: He was one of my favourite actors.
CALLER: Where was the click of the heals and "there's no place like home"? (laughter)
BOB: Very good! I never heard that one before.
CALLER: Thanks for the memories.
BOB: My pleasure.
CJAD: Bye-bye. We're getting a lot of memories from people who haven't had a chance to see the show lately because as I said it's not in this area, and still it's etched in their brains.
CJAD: Lorraine in Rosemount, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Bob Denver.
BOB: Hi Lorraine.
CALLER: Oh, it is such a pleasure to talk to you.
BOB: Thank you.
CALLER: I watched your show as much as I could. How long were you guys on the air?
BOB: Three years.
CALLER: Three years.
BOB: And then it's been rerunning since 1966.
CALLER: Okay, well it was one of my favourite shows and every time I think of the lagoon, I always look into my back yard and I saw well, "that was the lagoon there", because that was around the same time we got our swimming pool in the back yard. (laughter). I would just play with my brother in the backyard and always think about the Skipper and Gilligan and all that kind of stuff.
CALLER: Anyway, it was nice talking to you.
BOB: Same here.
CALLER: And take care.
BOB: You too.
CJAD: Bye, bye....The fans still love you. You started when you were very young. From school right into acting and at a very impressionable age. Early 20s. Did you ever have a fear of, or did anybody else around you have a fear of Bob Denver going "Hollywood."
BOB: Oh, I went Hollywood (laughter). I definitely did that.
CJAD: You did?
BOB: Oh sure, near the end of the ten or eleven years I kind of realized that I had gone Hollywood, so that's when I decided that I didn't want to stay in L.A. much longer and that's when I kind of left and went back out on the road and started doing theatre and stuff, just to kind of pull myself back together.
CJAD: In school you did theatre.
BOB: Oh yeah, I started on stage. That's the most fun, really.
CJAD: Stage is a passion for you?
BOB: Oh yeah, my wife and I in the last four years, we were doing a lot of stage. We just did THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT, just the two of us. It was a really great show and we have a trunk full of everything but the set, so we can show up and as long as you've got a set with the apartment we can do it.
CJAD: So, besides the book, what's on the horizon for Bob Denver?
BOB: Well, I'm going to build a whole chain of indoor miniature golf courses with the proceeds going to the handicapped locally and the theme, of course, is a jungle. If you get a hole on eighteen the volcano in the corner goes off. Maybe I'll have a headhunter or two in the jungle. (laughter). I want to get those done. I want to get the first one built here in West Virginia and then spread them out across the country and into Canada and all over.
CJAD: And what about an opportunity to see you either on the big screen or on the little screen. Do you have any plans for that.
BOB: No, I really don't make plans. They just call me from L.A. or Hollywood and whatever the come up with that sounds good, I fly in and do it.
CJAD: Does it make it more difficult to be remote from the scene either in New York or L. A., living in West Virginia?
BOB: No, either you have the part or you don't and if you're living there it doesn't seem to make a difference. People are basically actors....unless you have a series, there's no reason to live in L.A. Most of them, as you'll find out if you listen, they don't live in L.A. They're in Montana, they're in Virginia, they're in....well nobody in West Virginia, but me, but they're spread out because there's no reason to stay in the city unless you have to.
CJAD: Well it's been a pleasure talking to you Bob.
BOB: Well thank you Peter.
CJAD: It's been a lot of fun to have you on the air. We still have a lot of people who want to talk to you, but unfortunately we have run out of time. But your book is now available in the stores. It's called GILLIGAN, MAYNARD & ME, by Bob Denver. It's published by Citadel Press. It only came out in December so it fresh off the presses as they say.
BOB: I have an 800 number where you can call to get the book and order it.
CJAD: Oh really, what is that?
CJAD: I thank you for being with us on the program.
BOB: Well thank you Peter.