Bob Denver: ''I had Alan Hale as a big cushion''

Denver bounced more than ideas off of his co-star.

One of the most immediate forms of comedy is physical gags and goofs. While there are certainly more high-brow modes of generating laughter, a perfectly timed pratfall is universal. The pioneers of slapstick find new ways to create comedy outside the restrictions of language. If you fall down, it's funny all over the world.

A great example is Dick Van Dyke's ottoman trip in the opening credits of his The Dick Van Dyke Show. Rob Petrie walks through the door, sees his friends and family, and proceeds to trip over the ottoman and splat on the floor. It was funny enough to catapult Van Dyke into the comedy history books.

But physical comedy comes at a cost. All that falling and flailing can lead to plenty of bumps and bruises along the way. Bob Denver, a slapstick icon in his own right, put himself in harm's way countless times as the title character on Gilligan's Island. Luckily for our "Little Buddy," Denver was spared any of the pain one might expect from getting tossed around a TV show for three seasons. 

In a 1988 interview on The Late Show, Denver spoke about how he avoided getting hurt on Gilligan's Island.

"I was really lucky," said Denver. "Physically, I never got hurt." 

There was a subtle inflection as Denver emphasized the word "physically," perhaps referring to some of the struggles he had with Tina Louise on the set of Gilligan's Island

"I got close a few times, but I never did [get hurt]."

The show's host presses Denver for further details, recalling how frequently his character, Gilligan, would get physically thrown about in pretty much every one of the show's episodes. 

The key to softening these blows may have been Denver's castmate, The Skipper.

"I had Alan Hale as a big cushion," said Denver. 

Apparently, colliding with ol' Jonas Grumby wasn't quite as dangerous as it could've been.

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cperrynaples 2 months ago
That Late Show was the last appearance of Jim Baccus! He died a few months later!
cperrynaples 2 months ago
Well, the Skipper WAS a pretty big cushion...LOL!
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