S. S. Minnow
|First appearance||Gilligan's Island Pilot (1963)|
|Propulsion||Unclear (see article)|
The ship ran aground on the shore of "an uncharted desert isle" (in the south Pacific Ocean), setting the stage for this popular situation comedy. The passengers included the skipper Jonas Grumby, his first mate Gilligan, millionaire Thurston Howell, III, his wife Lovey Howell, movie star Ginger Grant, professor Roy Hinkley, and farm girl Mary Ann Summers.
Origin of its name
A minnow is a very small bait fish, but the TV boat was actually named for Newton Minow, who Gilligan's Island executive producer Sherwood Schwartz believed "ruined television". Minow was chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1961, and is noted for a speech in which he called American television "a vast wasteland".
The ship prefix S.S. is used for ships that are powered by steam. However, incidents within the show have at different times implied the Minnow has either a gasoline engine, as in an episode where the Professor is trying to make spark plugs for the engine out of sea shells, or a diesel engine, as in a scene where, after the castaways use home-made glue to repair the boat, all its boards spring off, revealing what appears to be such an engine. Therefore the correct ship prefix should be either M.V. (motor vessel) or M.Y. (motor yacht).
S.S. Minnow II
The S.S. Minnow II was a successor boat purchased by the Skipper from insurance money for the first in the 1978 made-for-TV movie Rescue from Gilligan's Island. At the end of that movie, the cast and boat are wrecked on the same island, as shown by Gilligan's discovery of a plank with "Minnow I" on it. How they knew to call the first vessel "I" before there was a second is not explained.
The Minnow III is the plane built by the Professor in the made-for-TV movie The Castaways on Gilligan's Island, the sequel to Rescue From Gilligan's Island. It does not have the prefix "S. S.", as it is not a steamboat.
S. S. Minnow today
The S. S. Minnow used in the opening of the second and third season color episodes, previously named the Bluejacket, now resides at Schooner Cove Marina on the east side of Vancouver Island, in Nanoose Bay, British Columbia. Having put the boat through a major restoration, the new owner plans to use it for charters and sight seeing tours. It is equipped with an old life preserver with "S. S. Minnow" on it, as well as other show items.
- Robert M. Jarvis (1998). Legal Tales from Gilligan's Island 39. Santa Clara Law Review & Jamail Center for Legal Research. pp. 185–205. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- Associated Press, "Nostalgic Ride", Express (Washington, D.C.), Sep. 16, 2008, p. 21.
- "Gilligan's SS Minnow to offer 3-hour Vancouver Island tours". CBC News. 2008-09-13. Retrieved 2008-09-13.