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This Is Where Gilligan's Island Was Filmed

"Gilligan's Island" was a popular TV sitcom that aired on CBS from 1964 to 1967. Starring Bob Denver as Gilligan, the clumsy first mate of the S.S. Minnow, and Alan Hale Jr. as the boat's Skipper, Captain Jonas Grumby, viewers watched as the story of a would-be three-hour tour on a charter boat turned into three seasons of antics, with a cast of shipwrecked passengers that included Hollywood starlet Ginger Grant (Tina Louise), Professor Roy Hinkley (Russell Johnson), Kansas farm girl Mary Ann Summers (Dawn Wells), and wealthy Thurston Howell III (Jim Backus) and his wife Lovey (Natalie Schafer).

The show ran just shy of 100 episodes, per IMDB, and featured many failed attempts for the rescue of the castaways, by strangers who would happen upon the island. While the premise –- and the ability of the castaways to whip up coconut cream pies and electric generators out of practically nothing, thanks to the innovations of the Professor –- is often looked back on as being quite silly, series creator Sherwood Schwartz defended the show's legacy in an interview with The Archive of American Television: after all, decades before reality TV threw strangers together to have their lives taped on shows like "Survivor," Schwartz came up with the idea to place seven strangers in a location they couldn't escape.

"Where could they be that they had to get along with each other?" Schwartz said. "That was the idea for the show, and it's the most important idea in the world today. For people who toss away the show as just a silly broad comedy, it's deeper than that."

Where, indeed? Over the years, many have thought that this tropical island looked like a nice vacation spot. However, the true location where "Gilligan's Island" was filmed may surprise you.

Gilligan's Island was not really filmed on an island

In real life, while "Gilligan's Island" appeared to be filmed on an island, it was not. The "lagoon" set was located on CBS' Studio City lot, according to the Los Angeles Times, after previous attempts to shoot on a beach in Malibu were thwarted by fog. The lot filming was far from perfect, as traffic noise from the nearby Ventura Freeway could sometimes be heard in the background. In addition, the man-made lagoon's water temperature was so cold that Denver had to sometimes wear a wetsuit under his signature Gilligan outfit.

However, even though most of the series was shot at the CBS studio, the pilot for "Gilligan's Island" was mostly filmed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, per GilligansIsle.com. The Hawaii location was chosen after producers ruled out filming off the California coast on Catalina Island for a small, but important reason — a lack of palm trees. However, the filming of the pilot in Hawaii did encounter obstacles, most notably when the final day of filming in Honolulu Harbor (where the crew planned to shoot the S.S. Minnow's "three-hour tour" launch) was scheduled to film on November 23, 1963, only to be interrupted when the shocking assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy led to a delay, as the harbor was closed for the next few days (via Observer). Five decades later, many eagle-eyed viewers have noticed the American flag flying at half mast as the Minnow cruises the harbor in the show's opening credits.

Sadly, in 1995, the show's famous lagoon area, on the CBS Studio City lot, was flattened into an employee parking area. As the late Dawn Wells told the L.A. Times, "They've paved over a lot of memories, as far as I'm concerned."