Type keyword(s) to search

Quick Hits

When Everyone Was Crazy About Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan's Island

  • Actress Dawn Wells died of COVID-19 complications on Wednesday at the age of 82. 

    Wells' Mary Ann Summers, one of the beloved castaways on the vintage sitcom Gilligan's Island, was the personification of the "wholesome Midwestern farm girl" trope, combining the stunning appearance of a pageant contestant (Wells was Miss Nevada 1960) with down home Kansas sweetness. Her compassion and good humor made her the first crush of many a GenXer.

    The castaways themselves all had a thing for her, as you can see in this clip from when Gilligan, the Skipper, and the Professor all go crazy trying to court her once they hear over the radio that her old boyfriend from the mainland is getting married.

    That sunny disposition also made her the perfectly ironic choice to play the surly Darlene at the end of an episode of Roseanne that spoofed Gilligan's Island.

    Gilligan's Island ran for only three seasons on CBS, from 1964 until 1967, but grew in popularity as it was often shown in syndication for decades afterwards. 

    Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.

    TOPICS: Dawn Wells, Gilligan's Island