A Little History…
Did you know there were four different boats used at various times during the hit TV series Gilligan’s Island? This version, to the best of our knowledge, is the only remaining S.S.Minnow in service.
It could be seen in the opening credits transporting the crew and passengers as they set out on their famous three-hour tour. The resulting adventures have been a part of North American pop culture ever since; in fact most people can still recall the words to the show’s theme song, even though the last episode was filmed over forty years ago!
The boat had been quietly moored at Schooner Cove marina for a number of years, when the owner decided it was time to sell.
That’s where Quality Foods' Ken Schley came in, undertaking the task of placing the wooden-hulled Wheeler back in the limelight once more. A pair of skilled Nanaimo craftsmen spent more than two years restoring and beautifying the craft, and as you can see, the results are nothing short of state-of-the-art - and spectacular!
The restoring craftsmen, Jimmy Clark and his father-in-law Mike Kent, are the unofficial caretakers of this stunning piece of floating memorabilia.
How did the S.S.Minnow get its name?
The popular story is that a U.S. television industry executive, Newton N. Minow, once described 1960’s television as “a vast wasteland”. Gilligan’s Island creator Sherwood Schwartz named the marooned vessel after him.
Incidentally, the "S.S." is neither for Steam Ship nor Sailing Ship, but are the initials of the show's executive producer.
If the boat was named using proper naming protocol, it likely would have been M.V. S.S.Minnow (motor vessel) or M.Y. S.S.Minnow (motor yacht)
1964 Wheeler Playmate, 38 foot Express Bridge.
Engine: Detroit dual 165 horsepower inboard
Woodwork: wooden hull, mahogany
Capacity: 2 crew, 6 passengers
Original registered name: The Bluejacket
You may have noticed that the S.S.Minnow looks somewhat different than when it was on the show. Here's why:The second owner hired the Wheeler Yacht Company to convert the boat to a Salon Bridge in 1971.
The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle
by Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship
The Mate was a mighty sailor man
The Skipper brave and sure
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour
The weather started getting rough
The tiny ship was tossed
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost,
the Minnow would be lost
The ship's aground on the shore of this
Uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan, the Skipper too
A millionaire, and his wife
A movie star
The Professor and Mary Ann
Here on Gilligan's Isle
So this is the tale of our castaways
They're here for a long, long time
They'll have to make the best of things
It's an uphill climb
The First Mate and his Skipper, too
Will do their very best
To make the others comfortable
In their tropic island nest
No phones, no lights, no motor cars
Not a single luxury
Like Robinson Ca-rusoe
It's primitive as can be
So join us here each week, my friends
You're sure to get a smile
From seven stranded castaways
Here on Gilligan's Isle