Remembering His Mates
“Working with Alan was a joy. He was a pure professional. Always knew his lines and was capable of improvising at the last minute. Many times, just before the take, we would whisper to each other what we were going to do in the scene. No rehearsal, we trusted each other. Every once in a while we would get a crew member to burst out laughing, ruining the take. This is the highest compliment. We knew the audience at home watching would laugh too. As I look back on those years working with Alan, I realize more and more, it was a special time. We had great fun together and he made the work seem easy. He brings a smile to my face even now.”
Often referred to as the Laurel and Hardy of their day, Bob and Alan had a special relationship that lasted all through the series and beyond. Alan was a gentle giant, who took great care never to hurt Bob during any of their much loved physical schtick, which included hammock gags and numerous whacks at Gilligan with his famous Skipper’s hat!
“What can I say about Jim? When Alan didn’t have me laughing, Jim did. When he arrived on theset, the jokes started, and they were good ones. One of the things I liked about him was that he was always up. Full of energy. One of his favorite things to do involved the soundman. When he exited a hut, he did what he called ‘mumble-offs’. With his back to the camera, he would mumble a bunch of words in a low voice. The content was sometimes rated triple X. I’d tell him, “C’mon Jim, this is a family show.” He’d just laugh!”
“Natalie was a hoot. She was another actor who was always prepared. This was no surprise because she had 25 years of appearing on Broadway, plus numerous film credits. The Time of Your Life, The Snake Pit, 40 Carats to name a few. We’d rehearse a scene a couple of times, then shoot it.
For Natalie it was all the same. Many times, after the scene was filmed, she would ask, “Was that a take?” We would tell her, yes, and she would say, “Oh, good.” She had a great sense of humor, proven by the fact that she picked out all of the clothes that Lovey Howell wore.”
Excerpts from Bob’s book, “Gilligan, Maynard and Me”. To read more about Bob’s memories of “Gilligan’s Island” and
the gang, order a copy of his book in Gilligan’s Gift Gallery.