I am a collector. Collecting is a great hobby, if you can afford it. I can’t. So my collection is a little different. There are lots of things to collect, but I have no interest in collecting physical things, mainly because I have no where to put them. Plus I have noticed that people who collect thins tend to be a little annoying about it, unless, of course you have a genuine interest in whatever it is they have devoted their life and/or life’s savings to. The problem is, you have to look at their entire collection of baseball cards, comic books, Elvis plates, or whatever, and pretend that you really care. And the stories surrounding their collection can do the impossible, which is, they are more boring than the collection itself.
My collection is different; I collect trivia. I have found this to be almost the perfect hobby. It costs no money, takes up no space in my house, and occupies very little of my time; all attributes that appeal to me. It is not entirely perfect, however. I have found that it is possible to annoy others with my collection. I have been threatened with bodily harm if I didn’t shut up. (The actual words they use are usually more colorful than just “shut up.”) And forget about playing Trivial Pursuit. Like Monopoly, it is a game that can bring out some very ugly emotions from the most stable of people. I am convinced that my wife and I would not be together if we attempted to play Monopoly together more than once every five years. An even then it’s a little touchy.
Lately, I have been working on a particular collection of trivia, specifically the full names of everyone from that hallmark of modern culture, Gilligan’s Island. Hey, I’m a child of the early seventies, what do you expect. Oh sure, Thurston Howell III and his lovely wife Lovey are easy. But how about Mrs. Howell’s maiden name. A little tougher than you thought, huh? Sure, everyone thinks it’s easy, but this trivia business is definitely not for weenies. I doubt that more than one person in a thousand know the professor’s name, or the skipper’s. And even rarer is the person who knows Gilligan’s full name. If you ever meet such a person, do not be afraid, they are mostly harmless. Please do not stare at them, as you will make them uncomfortable, and they may scamper back into the woods. Be careful, they may bite if cornered.
Here then for your approval is the complete list of passengers and crew that set sail that fateful day for a three hour tour. Yes, I know, if it was only a three hour tour, why did they take their luggage. My sister-in-law can explain it, but it involves Camelot, and John F. Kennedy, and is very bizarre. It is a little beyond the realm of my comprehension, although to hear her tell it, it makes perfect sense. That is until you sit down and try to sort it out for yourself. Enough about that, here then is the list: In addition to the Howell’s you may already know the full names of Ginger Grant and Mary Ann Summers. Those are the easy ones. By the way, Lovey’s maiden name was Wentworth. Give yourself extra credit if you remember that episode. The professor’s real name was Roy Hinkley. It was mentioned less often than Wentworth, which is to say it was mentioned once. Likewise only revealed once was the skipper’s name, Jonas Grumby. You really had to be paying attention to catch those.
At last we come to the holy grail of seven stranded castaways trivia. Gilligan’s full name. If you don’t remember it from the reruns, don’t feel bad, it was never mentioned. (Although they did mention a brother named Peter.) The question of Gilligan’s name has been a great kept secret from the masses for all these many years. A question left to only the most serious of trivia collectors. Gilligan was named by, Sherwood Schwartz, the creative genius behind the Island. (Okay, maybe genius isn’t the right word.) For many years, not even Bob Denver, Gilligan himself, knew his character’s full name. After growing tired of not being able to answer this seemingly simple question, Bob went to Sherwood to find the answer to this, the mother of all trivia questions. I saw Bob reveal the answer to this last piece in my collection tody on TV. It was truly a momentous occasion. At last, my Gilligan collection would be complete. Maybe now I would be able to sleep at night. As the great Bob Denver spoke the words, I felt a heavy weight lift from my shoulders. His full name was…Willy Gilligan. I feel much better now.