Bob Denver, TV Icon, Born Loser, Childhood Hero

by Mike Cunningham

The first TV Stars I fell in love with were Jack Benny and the Lone Ranger. That should make me 50 right? No, I was one of the first kids to grow up on the rerun. Before I started watching TV shows of my era like the Cosby Show or Family Ties or Cheers or Knight Rider or Dukes of Hazzard. I was watching shows my parents or grandmother watched.

Gilligans Island however was a show that only my sister and I could appreciate. My mom wasn't a fan of Gilligan. I assume she thought it was stupid. Or perhaps she preferred Bob Denver as Maynard G. Krebs ( the first Kramer).

Sitting here thinking about Gilligan right now, I have the taste of Cap'N Crunch in my mouth. Gilligan's Island was on after the morning cartoons, but on before shows like Hogan Heros or the Brady Bunch. I have probably seen every episode twice or three times. But then I looked at the Episode Guide and see that I don't remember any of them. Just a few like the time the cannibals took over the island and the professor made that potion that made you see multiple people. Or when Gilligan discovered teh radioactive food. Or how about the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Gilligan episode.

The one recurring theme in all these episodes? Gilligan goofed up and they were forced to stay on the island. His punishment? The Skipper would hit Gilligan over the head. I felt like Gilligan. Don't know why? I really wasn't a born loser. I was a good student, but somehow I identified with him.

I think it was later in life, when I began to feel like I was a born loser. Unlucky in Love. I once even lost on hooking up with a hot chick at a Halloween party to a guy dressed as... you guessed it Gilligan. Charlie Brown and Gilligan and the Phillies. Born Losers all. I identified with them all.

But who do you remember? Do you remember Lucy? Do you remember the Skipper? Do you remember the Atlanta Braves? Oh wait... let's forget that for a sec.

But seriously who is more lovable than the Born Loser. So I guess that's okay? Late in life, Gilligan wore his Gilligan's cap proudly. He knew that his obit would say proudly, Gilligan Dead at 70. It's better than the guy who invented CTRL-ALT-DEL isn't it?


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