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The Legacy of Gilligan's Island.

CNN has a really nice article on the passing of Russell Johnson, who we all know and love as The Professor from Gilligan’s Island.

Honestly, I still think being trapped on the Island is a great retirement plan.
Honestly, I still think being trapped on the Island is a great retirement plan.

Our modern nerd culture of chain watching seasons/series of a show and shipping cast and characters was born of the marvelous, campy shows from the 1960s and 70s. Shows like Gilligan’s Island. The plot is formulaic and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you think about it too hard, and the sets were obviously plastic, but it was always fun and the actors and show creators looked like they were having fun.

Gilligan’s Island was the first show I consumed in giant chunks as a kid. Nothing could make my weekend better than the words “Gilligan’s Island Marathon.” Its why I learned to program a VCR. The Professor and Maryanne were my first ship. And Gilligan’s Island made a subtle, but bold choice: their eye candy was a nerd. It wasn’t the Millionaire (dripping with wealth and social prestige), it wasn’t the Captain (the authority figure), it wasn’t the young, hip beatnik (though, it takes all kinds, I suppose): It was the academic. They made brainy sexy.

Smart, funny, great hair, can fix anything. What more does a girl need?
Smart, funny, great hair, can fix anything. What more does a girl need?

American cult pop culture is fun, usually cheesy, and part of our nerd heritage. Enjoy it for all its worth and for what has come because of it.

And if you haven’t seen it, Russell Johnson plays another brainy type in This Island Earth which has a fantastic MST3K treatment.

About stormraven

“Goldberry Riverdaughter” has been her friends’ and families’ resident book nerd since reading the Tao of Pooh at age eight. Since then her literary exploration has lead her straight to Lord of the Rings where she’s made her home. In addition to a staff reporter for Legendarium, she also runs Hells Hobbits. She has a degree in History, as well as a new-found penchant for disassembling literary canon. She lives with her equally nerdy husband and two gigantic cats enjoying table top games & cosplay.

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