Do the names Jonas Grumby, Roy Hinkley or Eunice Wentworth Howell sound familiar? How about Mary Ann Summers or Willy Gilligan? Certainly, everyone knows the names Thurston Howell III and Ginger GrantÖ if not, you must have been marooned on a desert isle for more than forty years! Anyway, "Gilligan, the Skipper too, the Millionaire and his Wife, the Movie Star, the Professor and Mary Ann" are here on DVD now. With the enormous popularity of owning favorite TV shows on DVD, it was only a matter of time before GILLIGANíS ISLAND: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($40) would cruise onto the little digital format that everyone loves. My love for GILLIGANíS ISLAND started back in my misspent childhood, when the show was appearing daily in syndicated reruns. As a kid, I found the show to be totally hilarious and this DVD set allows me to relive the goofy good fun of my childhood- without the annoying commercials I hated so much back then.
For the three of you out there unfamiliar with the premise of GILLIGANíS ISLAND, the show features the comical misadventures of the passengers and crew of the S.S. Minnow, who find themselves marooned on small, uncharted island after a violent storm blew hundreds of miles off course- and away from the Hawaiian Island chain where they were taking a three hour tour. Many episodes had the recurring theme that the castaways would find a possible way off the island, which the title character would manage to screw up at the last minute. GILLIGANíS ISLAND starred Bob Denver as Gilligan, Alan Hale Jr. as The Skipper, Jim Backus as Thurston Howell III, Natalie Schafer as Mrs. Howell (AKA "Lovey"), Tina Louise as Ginger Grant, Russell Johnson as The Professor and Dawn Wells as Mary Ann. GILLIGANíS ISLAND probably has endured for four decades because each member of the cast imbued their character with real comic charm, not to mention that every episode of featured a strong dose of physical comedy, which is universal and timeless.
GILLIGANíS ISLAND: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON comes to DVD in a three disc set that features all 36 episodes that were aired in the showís freshman year. 36 episodes! Wow! I guess actors worked a lot harder, for a lot less compensation back in the 1960s. Anyway the 36-featured episodes are as follows: Two On A Raft, Home Sweet Hut, Voodoo Something To Me, Goodnight Sweet Skipper, Wrongway Feldman, President Gilligan, The Sound Of Quacking, Goodbye Island, The Big Gold Strike, Waiting For Watubi, Angel On The Island, Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk, Three Million Dollars More Or Less, Water, Water Everywhere, So Sorry, My Island Now, Plant You Now, Dig You Later, Little Island, Big Gun, X Marks The Spot, Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy, St. Gilligan And The Dragon, Big Man On Little Stick, Diamonds Are An Ape's Best Friend, How To Be A Hero, The Return Of Wrongway Feldman, The Matchmaker, Music Hath Charm, New Neighbor Sam, They're Off And Running, Three To Get Ready, Forget Me Not, Diogenes, Won't You Please Go Home?, Physical Fatness, It's Magic, Goodbye, Old Paint, My Fair Gilligan and A Nose By Any Other Name.
Warner Home Video has made all 36 episodes that comprise GILLIGANíS ISLAND: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. It should be noted that season one of GILLIGANíS ISLAND was filmed in black and white, while the subsequent two seasons of the show were produced in color. I was surprised at how good these forty-year-old episodes look on DVD. With some minor exceptions, the episodes generally appear sharp and rather well defined. There is the occasional slightly soft looking shot, plus the credit sequences donít look as good as the episodes proper, but for the most part, fans are going to be mighty delighted with this presentation. Blacks are solid, whites are stable and the grayscale is quite good. The film elements seem very well preserved, with only occasional blemishes cropping up. Additionally, film grain remains very mild, when it is noticeable within the episodes. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which provide one with access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as supplemental materials. The series original unaired pilot episode is provided, with optional commentary from creator Sherwood Schwartz. I donít think that the series would have worked nearly as well with the three different cast members featured in the original pilot. Certainly, the platonic relationships of the series are a lot more believable with the Professor, Ginger and Mary Ann on the island, rather than with the other actors and incarnations of the characters found in this unaired pilot. Tropical Tidbits or pop-up trivia is provided for the episode Two On A Raft. Gilliganís Island Survival Guide is a trivia game that tests ones knowledge of what to do if marooned on a desert isle. Before The Three Hour Tour offers a glimpse into the development of the characters, by examining the original treatment that was devised by Sherwood Schwartz, which was to give the writers an idea of who the characters were before they became marooned on the island.
GILLIGANíS ISLAND is every bit of the goofy good fun that I remember from my childhood, maybe even more so, now that it is available on DVD- sans the annoying interruptions of commercials. Warner has done a fine job with the showís presentation on DVD- looking far better than the syndicated TV rebroadcasts I remember. If you are a fan, then GILLIGANíS ISLAND: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON is a must have for your collection.
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