|Gilligan's Island episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||George Cahan and
|Written by||Dee Caruso and
|Original air date||October 3, 1966|
After curmudgeonly film producer Harold Hecuba (Phil Silvers) crash lands near the island during an around the world talent hunt, the castaways are forced to tolerate him until his rescue plane arrives. When Ginger asks him for a role in his next movie however, Mr. Hecuba laughs at the idea, causing Ginger to become so upset that she refuses to return to civilization with the rest of the castaways.
Hoping to change Mr. Hecuba's mind, Gilligan suggests that they perform a play for Mr. Hecuba so that he might reconsider Ginger's talent and ultimately decide to use her in a movie. From the limited resources available on the island, they create a musical version of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. The cast performs three songs for their show. These parody the "To be or not to be" speech of Act III, Scene 1; the "Get thee to a nunnery" exchange between Hamlet and Ophelia later in the same scene, and Polonius's "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" speech from Act I, Scene III.
- Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
- Do not forget: stay out of debt.
- Think twice, and take this good advice from me:
- Guard that old solvency!
- There's just one other thing you ought to do.
- To thine own self be true.
Hecuba awakens as the castaways rehearse at night, taking over the production. When help arrives Hecuba departs alone, leaving behind all the others in order to take full credit for the musical version of Hamlet he intends to stage as his next project.
In order of appearance:
- Hamlet: Gilligan
- Claudius: Thurston Howell, III
- Gertrude: Mrs. Howell
- Ophelia: Ginger
- Polonius: The Skipper
- Laertes: Mary Ann
Although the show Gilligan's Island seldom earned awards of any sort, "The Producer" was selected by TV Guide as one of the 100 greatest television episodes of all time. In Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization, Paul A. Cantor terms the Hamlet production a "full-scale Broadway show" and notes the episode as "evidence of the degree of sophistication the castaways are able to achieve in their supposedly primitive state..." Cantor also observes in an introduction to Hamlet that this episode is one of several recent examples that demonstrate the enduring popularity of Shakespeare's play, since audiences continue to recognize references to the centuries-old drama. Cantor places the episode within the framework of a tradition of Hamlet parodies that dates back to the nineteenth century. Yet Michael D. Bristol interprets these parodies, including the Gilligan's Island episode, as reflective of "a distinctively modern experience of subjectivity" in Shakespeare's version of the character.
- Listed as the number 3 greatest sitcom episode of all time according to the book Inside TV Land.
- Part of the first song of the episode is featured in the Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode with Bob Denver, Dawn Wells, and Russell Johnson.
- Silvers' Gladasya production company helped finance the Gilligan's Island series (and according to several reports, Silvers earned more money from his percentage in that series than from any of his own endeavors).
- In 1997 TV Guide ranked the episode number 52 on its '100 Greatest episodes of All Time' list.
- Thomas C. Foster (2003). How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines. HarperCollins. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-06-000942-7. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- Sherwood Schwartz (1994). Inside Gilligan's Island. Macmillan. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-312-10482-5. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- Paul Arthur Cantor (2003). Gilligan unbound: pop culture in the age of globalization. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 20, 218. ISBN 978-0-7425-0779-1. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- Paul Arthur Cantor (2004). Shakespeare, Hamlet (second edition, introduction). Cambridge University Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-521-54937-0. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- Michael D. Bristol (1996). Big-time Shakespeare. Taylor & Francis. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-415-06017-2. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 185. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9.