February 05, 2006

As If You Needed More Evidence...

I was doing some thesis reading this evening (James Roman, From Daytime to Primetime: The History of American Television Programs, if you're interested), and was floored by this unequivocal confirmation of just what a bunch of crapola American television can be:

"Gilligan's Island became one of the most profitable syndicated television programs. There were 98 episodes, 36 black and white and 62 colour. There were also three television movies, Rescue from Gilligan's Island (1978), The Castaways on Gilligan's Island (1979), and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island."

My curiosity piqued, I googled the movie, and became more and more astounded by each piece of trivia that surfaced about it.

"Originally written as a vehicle for the famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, the film was retooled for the Harlem Globetrotters when the cheerleaders were unavailable." (IMDB)

This has to be a joke, right?

"The seven stranded castaways find comical chaos when an insane scientist, his trusty sidekick and the title basketball tricksters, playing robots visit their tropic island nest." (NY Times)

Playing ROBOTS?!?! I'm curious, was that part of the original script for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, or was that part of the 'retool' for the Globetrotters?

Actually, further investigation reveals that this is just a poorly worded sentence (shame on you, NY Times!!); the Globetrotters don't play robots in the sense of portraying them, they play robots in the sense of taking on a team of robots at basketball.

On reflection, I'm not sure which one of those is worse.

The plot is as follows:

"Though the entire bunch of castaways was rescued in one of their two previous TV movies, the Howells have turned the island into a hotel complex and all of the aged sitcomers have returned as co-owners. They still live in those idiotic bamboo huts, sleep in hammocks and fall over each other like nitwits---but now there's Love Boat-style bikinied tourists roaming about, so that Skipper can ogle them... Meanwhile, somewhere over the pacific, The Harlem Globetrotters are in their private plane when Coach Scatman Crothers informs them of an electrical malfunction. Landing in the ocean, they're menaced by the shark in Jaws (they throw basketballs at it and it goes away)...and wind up on Gilligan's Island, practising b-ball with coconuts." (AOL Member's Homepage)

While all this is going on, we also learn that a mad scientist (played by Martin Landau!!!!!) has discovered that the island is home to a valuable new element known as 'Supremium', with which he plans to take over the world. First, though, he needs to get free reign of the island...

"...by scaring off Gilligan and his buddies, but it soon settles to a basketball match between the doctors robots and the aforementioned Globetrotters" (IMDB)

And during said match, we witness the following exchange between Gilligan and Skipper:

"Crowd and Cheerleaders: (fast) G-I-L-L-I-G-A-N!
Gilligan: (to Skipper) Skipper, what are they spelling?
Skipper: Little buddy, they're spelling "Gilligan".
Gilligan: (to himself; after Skipper walks away) Oh, two 'I's." (TV.com)

Man, and I thought Joey was bad!


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