The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island

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The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's island
The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island.jpg
Written by David P. Harmon
Gordon Mitchell
Al Schwartz
Elroy Schwartz
Sherwood Schwartz
Directed by Peter Baldwin
Starring Bob Denver
Alan Hale, Jr.
Dawn Wells
Jim Backus
Natalie Schafer
Russell Johnson
Constance Forslund
Theme music composer Gerald Fried
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Lloyd J. Schwartz (producer)
Sherwood Schwartz (executive producer)
Hap Weyman (producer)
Editor(s) Beryl Gelfond
Albert J.J. Zúñiga
Cinematography Keith C. Smith
Running time 90 minutes
Production company(s) Universal Television
Distributor NBC
Original channel NBC
Original release May 5, 1981

The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island is a 1981 made-for-television movie. It is the third of three movies that reunited the cast of the 1964-67 sitcom Gilligan's Island.


The former castaways own and operate the vacation resort "The Castaways." The Harlem Globetrotters, a traveling troupe of merry basketball players, are on a plane ride over the Pacific Ocean when it has engine trouble and they are forced into an emergency landing onto Gilligan's Island. After a brief time struggling in the jungle, they are discovered by Gilligan and Skipper and welcomed to "The Castaways." Meanwhile, J.J. Pierson, a corporate raider and the worst business rival of Thurston Howell III, has a plan to bamboozle the owners of The Castaways (Gilligan and his friends) into signing over ownership to him, as the island contains supremium, an ore which provides large sources of energy. Eventually Gilligan and the Skipper uncover the conspiracy, with Pierson agreeing to tear up the fraudulent contracts if the Globetrotters play his team, the New Invincibles, which is a team of robot players. Notable sports broadcasters Chick Hearn and Stu Nahan appear as part of the basketball game scene, with Hearn calling the play-by-play action of the climactic showdown. The Globetrotters have no idea how to defeat a team of robots, until Gilligan unknowingly says they have not done any of their fancy tricks, causing the Professor to give a halftime pep talk to the Globetrotters that the New Invincibles would be caught off-guard. The Globetrotters start scoring against the New Invincibles, but when injuries sideline a couple of the players, Gilligan and Skipper must serve as substitute Globetrotters.



The original script was going to be known as The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on Gilligan's Island, but was changed to have the Harlem Globetrotters star instead.[citation needed] In the original series, the Howells are childless. Despite this, a new character of Thurston Howell IV (the Howells' son, portrayed by David Ruprecht) was added due to the ailing health of actor Jim Backus. Thurston Howell III was written out of the script by saying he was tending to business on the mainland United States and ordered his son to manage the island resort. In an effort to keep up continuity, Backus insisted on making a cameo appearance and he is featured briefly at the end. Neither of the previous actresses who played Ginger agreed to reprise their role in this film. Bob Denver's wife, Dreama, having previously appeared on an episode as a cavewoman, appeared as Charlene, Mrs. Howell's overly-punctual secretary.

This would be the final performance together of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, the husband and wife team best known for their starring roles in Mission: Impossible and Space 1999. They divorced in 1993.

Like the original sitcom, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island featured a laugh track.

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