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Russell Johnson, The Professor on TV's "Gilligan's Island," dead at 89


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"Russell Johnson, an actor who made a living by often playing villains in westerns until he was cast as the Professor, the brains of a bunch of sweetly clueless, self-involved, hopelessly na?ve island castaways, on the hit sitcom "Gilligan?s Island," died on Thursday at his home in Bainbridge Island, Wash. He was 89."

 

The full obituary can be accessed via the following link:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/arts/television/russell-johnson-the-professor-on-gilligans-island-dies-at-89.html?_r=0

 

I was never a big "Gilligan's Island" fan as a kid, but I remember Russell Johnson in some memorable sci-fi films from the '50s like "It Came from Outer Space" (1953) and "Attack of the Crab Monsters" (an early Roger Corman effort from 1957). I believe Johnson also had supporting roles in a couple of Ronald Reagan westerns.

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Gilligan's Island is one of the first TV show I remember watching around 1973. Though the show is somewhat maligned I always liked it. The only two castaways left are Ginger and Mary Ann, (Tina Louise and Dawn Wells.)

 

Remember the One where they almost got off the island?

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Sorry to hear of his passing, I loved his Professor character on "Gilligans Island". It amuses me in that he suppose to be smart but couldn't engineer a raft. Personally I rather face sharks than Gilligan, lol!

 

RIP

 

tumblr_laetgp1H9z1qdw98s.jpg

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> Remember the One where they almost got off the island?

 

HaHa! That's my new "favorite question". I'll put it on my list with the other one, that goes, "What was the name of that Shirley Temple movie...You know, the one where she plays an ORPHAN?"

 

Yeah, his character's ability to do almost anything except fix a boat or build a raft made one wonder about the usefulness of scientists, but it was good fun looking in and making fun of. Bob Denver was at an auto show here in Detroit back in the mid '90's, and brought that up in a radio interview. Said that Russell never understood that facet of the character, but always had fun making jokes about it. And that nobody ever made a joke about it that the cast hasn't said first.

 

Sepiatone

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I found out about this last night on ME TV. Then they aired the episode where Gilligan reels in the crate of radioactive vegetable seeds, my favorite episode! RIP Russell Johnson.

 

p.s. I seem to remember Mr. Johnson being in a 1950's outer-space or monster type movie that was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 years ago. But I looked on Wikipedia and they listed no films for him. Hrrrmph!

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My favorite episodes of Gilligan's Island were the ones with the dream sequences. That's were in a sense they "got off the island.: Once they did a version of a DR Jeckell and MR Hyde. Maryann, (Dawn Wells) did a pretty funny version of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

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He was in one of my favorite episodes of "The Twilight Zone." In "Back There" (1961), written by the TV show's host and creator Rod Serling, Johnson played a member of an exclusive Washington men's club. Somehow, he gets sent back in time to April 14, 1865, and he tries to persuade people that President Lincoln will be assassinated at Ford's Theater that night. Only one person believes him -- and I should say no more if you've never seen it!

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The OP noted a couple of Johnson's sci-fi credits from the fifties: Attack of the Crab Monsters and It Came From Outer Space, but the one you're probably thinking of is This Island Earth from 1955. This film was given the MST3K treatment in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie from 1996.

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It's funny, but as much as that show was maligned and razzed, it seems millions of people know all about it. As dumb as it was, we still watched it. Up to a point at least. And though it's been off the air for decades, and many who watched it first hand don't bother with the reruns, it STILL has an impact on today's culture. I always now and then hear SOME referrence to it in overheard conversations. Even my kids, when younger and used to watch some of the reruns, brought it up back when we went to Niagra Falls one vacation. When I mentioned we were going to take a bus tour for about an "hour or so", one made the crack, "Are we gonna take everything we own with us, like they did in Gilligan?"

 

Plus, it DID keep us hormone driven adolescent "boomers" occupied with imagining being stranded on an uncharted island with Tina Louise and Dawn Wells!

 

Sepiatone

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Well I assume most people understood the jokes and plot lines were silly but the show had many things to make it popular. One was the two young ladies and how different they were. Mary Ann was the girl next door (but hotter than the average one we knew), for my teen generation. Ginger was sexy and had appeal to those that only grew up with the girl next door types.

 

Also there was a true sense of community on the show. Yes, we knew that each episode would end with failure as it relates to getting off the island, but how they worked as team was touching. There was banter but it was light and friendly. There wasn?t the bitterness between characters we see in many sitcoms today.

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Sepiatone wrote:

<< Plus, it DID keep us hormone driven adolescent "boomers" occupied with imagining being stranded on an uncharted island with Tina Louise and Dawn Wells! >>

 

Growing old with them isn't so bad either. :D

 

9706c49fde3481f

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