Natalie Schafer thought Gilligan's Island first script was awful

Being stranded on an island looked good on camera but not on paper for Schafer.

It's always interesting to hear what actors thought of their roles or shows before they became a hit. Some had a lot of faith in their productions, and others, well, they thought it would flop.

In the words of Natalie Schafer, she thought Gilligan's Island would be an "utter bomb." She played the marvelous Mrs. Howell, who was filthy rich, as was her husband. Gilligan's Island only had three seasons, but it found success, which Schafer didn't think would happen.

In an interview with Copley News Service in 1965, the actress talked about how she took one look at the show's script and felt it would be a failure.

"I read the first script and said to myself, 'My heavens, this is awful!'" Schafer began. "Now, you see, I can't bear being tied down. On Broadway, I'd never sign a run-of-the-play contract. And as for a television series — well, I thought we'll go to Hawaii and film the first episode, as we did, and the show will be an utter bomb, and I'll move on to other things."

Boy, was she wrong. It's something that the actress had no problem admitting.

She added, "But I was wrong, as were the critics and that man, who shall be nameless, who was president of CBS. And now, two years later, I'm still on Gilligan's Island and it's a hit show and isn't it heaven?"

There are many ways to describe Schafer's character. She was a millionaire, a motherly figure to Gilligan and... bird-brained? When the actress was asked to describe her role, she painted the perfect picture of Mrs. Howell.

"Mrs. Howell is, oh, rather bird-brained, but completely feminine. Whatever her husband likes, she likes — of course he's rather idiotic too. She's gay and foolish and she and her husband adore each other. We get fan mail from youngsters and they mention this very thing — perhaps they want their parents to be gay and foolish and madly in love."

Gilligan's Island is still a success decades later as viewers worldwide tune in to watch the adventures of seven people stranded on the island.

Watch Gilligan's Island on MeTV!

Sundays 3 & 3:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


wallyandbagfan 19 days ago
Mrs. Brown Youve Got A Lovely
Daughter 1965
Dedicated to Ann Marshall who
Played Mrs. BROWNS Daughter
Angela Brown on My Favorite Martian 1964.
Angela Brown was a Mrmber of
wallyandbagfan 20 days ago
My Special Angel by The Vogues is
Dedicated To The Memory of
Gilligan's Island Cast Members:
Bob Denver
Alan Hale Jr
Jim Backus
Natalie Schaefer
Russell Johnson
Dawn Wells
jd4862 24 days ago
She was right, the show was terrible. I loved it as a kid but find it unwatchable now.
sagafrat69 1 month ago
One of the greatest t.v. shows of all time from a creative standpoint. The perfect cast and writers. A cartoon come to life was which is not easy to pull off correctly if you've seen the "Speed Racer" or "Flintstones" live action movies. Not an unfunny episode in the series. They captured lightning in a bottle in those 3 years that so far hasn't been duplicated.
CaptainDunsel 1 month ago
If you haven't seen it, watch "Surviving Gilligan's Island", the biopic about the show, produced by Dawn Wells. You'll learn just how amazing Natalie Schaeffer really was. The whole thing is worth a watch for any GI fan. But if you can't stand the wait, skip to 1 hour 7 minutes in...
Load previous comments
CoreyC cperrynaples 1 month ago
That was Barry Williams book Growing Up Brady that became a movie.
Fun Fact Mike Lookinland' s real life son played him.
CoreyC Adanor 1 month ago
Tina Louise like Robert Reed hated her role as Ginger.
cperrynaples CoreyC 1 month ago
I saw GUB but there was another movie that was just about the finale! BTW, I didn't know Robert Reed hated Ginger! But then again, we only learned the truth about him MUCH later...LOL!
vinman63 cperrynaples 1 month ago
Robert Reed was more into the professor.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Who doesn't wan to be "madly in love"? (-:
Load previous comments
Welcome To The Basement of The METV Comment Line!!
That's All Folks!
12 hours ro DOOMSDAY ??
Don Adams also did the voice of
Tennessee Tuxedo.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?