The next time you watch Gilligan's Island, pay attention to the opening credits and see if you can spot the connection to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy...
I confess I've had a lifelong weakness for Gilligan's Island, the goofy CBS show that aired for three seasons in the 1960s. While the seven castaways remained stranded on that island after the series was unceremoniously and unexpectedly canceled in 1967, Gilligan, the Skipper "and the rest" were eventually rescued in a 1978 made-for-TV movie -- the creatively titled Rescue From Gilligan's Island.
Too young to watch the show when it originally aired in primetime, I've caught the antics of the ill-fated crew of the S.S. Minnow and its passengers ever since as they live on in syndicated immortality.
Recently, with the significant attention focused on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, I stumbled upon a strange connection between that watershed event in U.S. history and Gilligan's Island. The show's pilot episode was filmed in November 1963, at the same time President Kennedy took his ill-fated trip to Dallas, Texas. After learning of JFK's assassination and death on November 22, the crew decided to continue shooting the pilot episode in Hawaii.
On November 26 -- four days after JFK's assassination and one day after his burial -- a sequence was filmed that was used in the opening credits of both the pilot episode and during the first season (the B/W episodes) that captures the S.S. Minnow departing the harbor as it begins its "three-hour tour." (This sequence contains the "hidden connection" between President Kennedy's assassination and Gilligan's Island.) As the camera pans to the right to keep the boat in the center of the frame during the opening credits, watch the upper-right section of your screen and you will see an American flag briefly appear in the background at half-mast. (This fansite photo shows what you should look for during the opening credits.)
Flags on November 26, 1963, were lowered to half-staff in honor of President Kennedy following his death, which these opening credits inadvertently captured.
Could you spot the half-staff flag? Did you know that JFK had two caskets? Ginger or Mary Ann? Please share your thoughts by posting a comment below.