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Gilligan's Island - The Complete First Season



DVD Release Date: February 3, 2004 (Warner Bros. Home Video)
black & white/916 min.
MSRP: $39.98
Number of discs: 3
Number of episodes: 37 (counting lost pilot)
Languages and subtitles: English, Closed Captioned, Subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
Special features: “Lost Pilot Episode with commentary by creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz,” “Tropical Tidbits: On Screen Factoids on episode ‘Two on a Raft’,” “Gilligan’s Island Survival Guide” and “Before the Three-Hour Tour.”


Skipperrrrrr!!! One of the most popular sitcoms of all-time is now on DVD, “Gilligan’s Island: The Complete 1st Season.” Join the adventures of the seven stranded castaways on an uncharted deserted island now on your DVD player. With Gilligan, the Skipper too, the Millionaire and his wife, the movie star, and the Professor and Mary Ann – here on Gilligan’s Island!

The series stars Bob Denver as Gilligan, Alan Hale Jr. as the Skipper, Jim Backus as Mr. Howell, Natalie Schafer as Mrs. Howell, Tina Louise as Ginger and Dawn Wells as Mary Ann. The show launched on CBS in 1964 in black and white. The first season featured 36 classic episodes. But before those episodes there was also an unaired pilot, which was never aired until cable network TBS aired it nearly 30 years later. In the lost pilot, the theme song was very different and three characters were played by three other actors. Instead of the movie star and the farm girl, there were two secretaries. One was named Bunny, played by Nancy McCarthy. The other one was named Ginger Grant, but she's not like the Ginger in the series at all. She was more like Mary Ann of the series. The role in the lost pilot of Ginger was played by Kit Smythe. The professor character was a high school teacher, and not a real professor like he was in the series. John Gabriel played the role in the lost pilot. Not to worry folks, the lost pilot is indeed on this set!

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Memorable episodes from season one include the very first aired episode “Two on a Raft,” the Christmas themed “Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk,” “So Sorry, My Island Now” and “Gilligan Meets the Jungle Boy.” Gilligan’s Island in season one also had some familiar faces and voices. Two episodes had legendary voice Mel Blanc as a voice of a parrot. Guest stars include Vito Scotti (who appears many times in the show's run), a young Kurt Russell (“Gilligan Meets the Jungle Boy”), Dennis Miller (“Big Man on a Little Stick”) and Hans Conried (as Wrongman Feldman in two episodes).


As far as the packaging goes, the cover is in a blue scheme. A color photo of the seven castaways in a hut style border frame with the SS minnow sign holding it, is featured. The background of the cover has the island and the ocean. A picture of Gilligan saluting is next to the Gilligan’s Island logo, which is in its trade mark yellow color. The case cover is the same as the box cover. The back of the box has three black & white small photos. It also has a brief synopsis of the show and some info on the buoyant bonuses to float your boat! And below the special features info has the major credits of the show’s first season. The case has black and white photos inside with episode info surrounding the discs. It is a nice digipak foldable case.

Disc 1 Side A has the lost pilot with commentary by Schwartz, Episode 1, and the bonus features. Disc 1 Side B has episodes 2-8, Disc 2 Side A has episodes 9-15, Disc 2 Side B has episodes 16-22, Disc 3 Side A has episodes 23-29 and Disc 3 Side B has episodes 30-36.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menu screen has the theme song playing with the same photo used for the cover. The pointer is a coconut, very creative. Each disc, except Disc 1 Side A, has Play, Episodes, and Languages as the options. Disc 1 Side A has Two on a Raft (first episode), Bonus Material, and Languages. When you select bonus material you can choose the lost pilot, with commentary by Sherwood Schwartz. You can turn the commentary off, if you don’t want to watch it with that on. Then you can have the first episode (“Two on a Raft”) with Tropical Tidbits on or off. Tropical Tidbits are factoids on screen on the episode. After that are the other extras. Unfortunately, there are no scene selections or even chapters on this set. So if you want to watch a particular scene, you will just have to fast forward. I was disappointed with Warner Bros. for not including this.

Video and Audio Quality:

The video is in black and white, how it originally aired. Good to hear it isn’t the colorized episodes TBS made. Fans like to see the show unedited and how it aired originally, and this set does that. The quality of the episodes is decent and they look good. The audio is in mono and you might have to turn up the volume a bit to hear well.

Special Features:

Now, let’s talk in detail about those special features. They are all located on the first disc, on side A. Let’s start with the lost pilot. It runs a little over 24 minutes counting the opening and closing credits. The theme song is different. Three of the actors are different. Want to know more about that? Then turn on the commentary option given by Sherwood Schwartz! He explains everything well and tells great stories. Such as, who sang the theme for the unaired pilot? One neat thing I noticed is when you have the commentary on, the English subtitles automatically turns on so you know what is going on in the episode, since Schwartz is talking. I liked that.

The next special feature is the Tropical Tidbits on the “Two on a Raft” episode. I like this feature, too. You can have it on or off, if it annoys you. If anyone has ever seen Nick at Nite’s Pop-Up Brady Bunch episodes, it is very similar to that. Some great factoids are given. Such as, a brief scene in which you can see the three actors from the lost pilot! The factoids take about 1/3 of the screen and it looks like an ocean wave. The next feature is the “Gilligan’s Island Survival Guide.” This runs for about 7 minutes and 30 seconds and is hosted by some guy named Buck Thomas, if that’s his real name. It’s very corny and seems to poke fun on the show. It is humorous though. He gives multiple choice questions. I could do away with this feature. Something like interviews or bloopers would have been better to have. The last feature is “Before the Three-Hour Tour.” It starts with about a 30 second intro introducing the feature. Then you come to a screen in which you can choose which of the 7 castaways you want to learn more about. Each castaway bio is about 30-40 seconds in length. It’s pretty interesting to listen to it.

Final Comments:

This set is not that bad. The episodes are great to watch. The commentary and Tropical Tidbits are the best features. For those of you have never seen the lost pilot, it is a must watch. For season two, I hope we get even more extras. Network promos would be nice, interviews with the remaining cast would work, and bloopers, too. Bob Denver would be interesting to hear on commentaries. For now, buy this DVD set and you will never get off your couch, like the castaways will never get off the island!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video quality: 4.5/5
Audio quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.6/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 08/05/04

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