Monday, February 06, 2017

Who Says Lightning Doesn't Strike Twice in the Same Place?

It must have been routinely challenging for the castaways to fill the time on Gilligan's Island.

Sometimes there were visitors to the island, and that usually gave everyone something to do, but other times, like the episode that first aired on this night in 1967, "Gilligan's Personal Magnetism," it was just the seven castaways on the island.

And as the episode began, the two shipmates, Gilligan (Bob Denver) and the Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.), were bowling with a homemade ball and homemade pins. A storm was rapidly brewing, though, and the Skipper thought they should stop, but Gilligan went through the motions and was about to release the ball when a lightning bolt struck and sent him flying through the air.

Gilligan seemed to be all right, but his bowling ball was stuck to his hand. The Professor (Russell Johnson) theorized that the lightning affected the iron in Gilligan's blood and made him electrically charged and acted as a kind of magnet. In fact, to avoid receiving an electrical shock, any person who tried to touch Gilligan in any way had to wear rubber gloves.

The Professor figured he could use the generator from the Minnow to create a counter–charge that would crumble the ball from Gilligan's hand. In trial runs it worked, and the Professor told Mary Ann (Dawn Wells) to fetch Gilligan, which she did.

But when the Professor used it on the ball, nothing happened.

Meanwhile, another storm was brewing — and Gilligan was struck again. This time the ball was knocked from his hand — but Gilligan had been rendered invisible.

Everyone sympathized with Gilligan's predicament at first, but but he became a bit annoying. People were always stumbling over him, and he could overhear conversations he wasn't supposed to hear. The Professor thought he had found a solution for this problem as well, and he wrapped Gilligan in strips of cloth that had been dipped in lead ore to absorb the charge.

When wrapped in that cloth, Gilligan looked like a mummy and was understandably eager to have the strips removed, but he was told they would have to stay on him for awhile. When left unattended, he went walking over to the girls' hut and frightened Ginger (Tina Louise) who went running into the jungle and snagged Gilligan's strips in her brush as she did. By the time she realized what had happened, all the cloth had been pulled from Gilligan and he had disappeared.

When I say Gilligan had disappeared, I mean he had disappeared completely. It wasn't merely that he was no longer wrapped in cloth so you could see where he was; he had gone away, leaving a note explaining that he didn't want people stumbling over him.

The castaways lamented his apparent departure — Mr. Howell (Jim Backus) offered a reward for information on Gilligan's whereabouts; when told he didn't need to pay them money for information that would bring Gilligan back, Howell replied that his hope had been that Gilligan would overhear the offer and turn himself in — and the Professor speculated that the strips may have been applied long enough to have some effect. It turned out he was right. Gilligan, still invisible, had been sitting there listening to the nice things that were being said about him, then gradually became visible again.

Well, it helped kill some time on Gilligan's island.