Author Topic: And Your Choice for the Best TV Theme Song Ever Is... 'Gilligan's Island'!  (Read 757 times)

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Offline Millee

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We started our Theme Song Thunderdome bracket with 32 of the greatest TV theme songs ever. You responded with more than 277,000 votes. And now that the dust has settled, Yahoo! TV users have officially selected one theme song as the best of all time: "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle," from "Gilligan's Island."

We admit it: We clearly misjudged this perennial favorite, saddling it with a lowly 12-seed in the bracket. But it proved us wrong by rolling through the tournament, knocking off heavy hitters like "Diff'rent Strokes," "The Addams Family," and "The Andy Griffith Show" on its way to the final round. And even going up against an all-timer like the "Cheers" theme song in the finals, "Gilligan" found a way to squeak out a narrow win, cementing its status as your favorite TV theme song ever.

[Related: See Who Beat Who in the Full Theme Song Thunderdome Bracket]

The enduring legacy of "Gilligan's" jolly sea-shanty theme is, of course, its impossible-to-forget lyrics (we know, we've tried) that told the entire tale of the S.S. Minnow's ill-fated "three-hour tour" in a single minute. And that was Sherwood Schwartz's intention from the start. Schwartz not only created the series, but also co-wrote the theme song (along with composer George Wyle), which Schwartz crafted as a quick way to get new viewers caught up without having to waste time on exposition. Schwartz went on to repeat this approach with another beloved '60s TV classic: "The Brady Bunch."

The "Gilligan" theme song underwent one major change after the show's first season: The Professor (Russell Johnson) and Mary Ann (Dawn Wells), originally referred to in the lyrics as "the rest," were added by name to the opening credits. The switch came thanks to star Bob Denver (Gilligan), who personally went to the studio and asked that Johnson and Wells be added to the theme. The studio refused at first, saying it'd be too expensive to reshoot the opening. But Denver insisted, even saying that if Johnson and Wells weren't included, he wanted his name out of the song as well. The studio caved, and "the Professor and Mary Ann" were shoehorned in at the very end of the theme for Seasons 2 and 3.

For a show that made such a huge pop-culture impact, it's a little surprising that "Gilligan" only aired for three seasons, ending its broadcast run in 1967. But the show's popularity skyrocketed in syndication, thanks to endless afterschool repeats in the '70s and '80s that implanted those lyrics into the minds of kids everywhere. The "Gilligan" theme later received the ultimate honor when it was parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic, who combined the theme with Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" for 1989's "Isle Thing."

To honor our new theme-song champion, we're including the full lyrics to "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" below. (Like you don't know them already.) Thanks to everyone who voted in Theme Song Thunderdome, and stay tuned in the months to come for more theme-song goodies from Yahoo! TV.

"The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" (Sherwood Schwartz/George Wyle)

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started with this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailin' 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 set ground on the shore of this
Uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan,
The Skipper too,
The millionaire and his wife,
The movie star,
The Professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan's Isle!
More Matchups

    Finals: (1) 'Cheers' vs. (12) 'Gilligan's Island'
    Final Four: (1) 'Cheers' vs. (2) 'M*A*S*H'
    Final Four: (2) 'The Jeffersons' vs. (12) 'Gilligan's Island'
    Round 3: (1) 'Cheers' vs. (5) 'Laverne & Shirley'
    Round 3: (2) 'The Jeffersons' vs. (3) 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'
    Round 3: (2) 'M*A*S*H' vs. (11) 'The Monkees'
    Round 3: (8) 'The Andy Griffith Show' vs. (12) 'Gilligan's Island'
    Round 2: (1) 'Cheers' vs. (8) 'Happy Days'
    Round 2: (1) 'Friends' vs. (8) 'The Andy Griffith Show'
    Round 2: (2) 'M*A*S*H' vs. (7) 'The Simpsons'
    Round 2: (2) 'The Jeffersons' vs. (7) 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'
    Round 2: (3) 'The Golden Girls' vs. (11) 'The Monkees'
    Round 2: (3) 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' vs. (6) 'Three's Company'
    Round 2: (4) 'All in the Family' vs. (5) 'Laverne & Shirley'
    Round 2: (13) 'The Addams Family' vs. (12) 'Gilligan's Island'
    Round 1: (1) 'Cheers' vs. (16) 'The Greatest American Hero'
    Round 1: (1) 'Friends' vs. (16) 'The Dukes of Hazzard'
    Round 1: (2) 'M*A*S*H' vs. (15) 'The Facts of Life'
    Round 1: (2) 'The Jeffersons' vs. (15) 'The O.C.'
    Round 1: (3) 'The Golden Girls' vs. (14) 'Dawson's Creek'
    Round 1: (3) 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' vs. (14) 'The Sopranos'
    Round 1: (4) 'All in the Family' vs. (13) 'Saved by the Bell'
    Round 1: (4) 'The Brady Bunch' vs. (13) 'The Addams Family'
    Round 1: (5) 'Laverne & Shirley' vs. (12) 'Family Ties'
    Round 1: (5) 'Diff'rent Strokes' vs. (12) 'Gilligan's Island'
    Round 1: (6) 'Taxi' vs. (11) 'The Monkees'
    Round 1: (6) 'Three's Company' vs. (11) 'Beverly Hills, 90210'
    Round 1: (7) 'The Simpsons' vs. (10) 'Miami Vice'
    Round 1: (7) 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' vs. (10) 'The X-Files'
    Round 1: (8) 'Happy Days' vs. (9) 'The Twilight Zone'
    Round 1: (8) 'The Andy Griffith Show' vs. (9) 'The Love Boat'

Offline Millee

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I call foul.  The theme song from "Peter Gunn" or "Hawaii 5-0" are still the best.   :taz:

Online massadvj

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I remember once I was on a tequila-soaked excursion out in the Pacific off the coast of Mazatlan, Marlin fishing.  My buddies and I decided to regale the crew by singing the theme to Gilligan's Island in Spanish.  You haven't lived until you've heard four drunken sots belting out:

"... el hombre de milliones y su esposa... el profesor y Maria Anna.. aqui en la isla de Gilligan (pronounced "hillyhahn")."

"She only coughs when she lies."

Offline andy58-in-nh

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I remember once I was on a tequila-soaked excursion out in the Pacific off the coast of Mazatlan, Marlin fishing.  My buddies and I decided to regale the crew by singing the theme to Gilligan's Island in Spanish.  You haven't lived until you've heard four drunken sots belting out:

"... el hombre de milliones y su esposa... el profesor y Maria Anna.. aqui en la isla de Gilligan (pronounced "hillyhahn")."


That's pretty damn funny, right there.
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Offline mountaineer

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What, no Beverly Hillbillies?
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Online NavyCanDo

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Notice today’s shows are not making the list. Gone are memorable TV show theme songs. Every one of us who grew up in the 1960s and 70s could either sing or at the very least whistle a dozen of them. Can you do the same with any of today’s shows?   The same poll taken 30 years from now will still have to list Gilligan, Beverly Hillbillies, the Addams Family, Get Smart, Mash, the Monkees, Andy Griffith, Happy Days, Green Acres, and many other classic TV shows.
As for my favorite TV show and theme song, it is Gilligan’s Island.   And to answer that other often asked question – for me it was Ginger over Mary Ann.
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Online jmyrlefuller

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TV theme songs these days are much shorter. I think a couple still are catchy. The Big Bang Theory is a silly little ditty. How I Met Your Mother can get caught in your head.

However, I tend to agree, the days of the elaborate, well-composed theme songs at least a minute long are a relic of days gone by.
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