Eliot Stein Interviews Bob Denver

(c)Eliot Stein

I interviewed the late Bob Denver just before he went to that big uncharted island in the sky. Most Americans have a special place in their hearts for Denver as the lovable Gilligan on "Gilligan's Island." His first television starring role was that of beatnik Maynard J. Krebbs on "Dobie Gillis.

 

" ELIOT: Has it troubled you that you have been stereotyped because of Gilligan?

BOB: Absolutely not. The new fans are all little kids and everybody smiles when they see you. You can't ask for more than that!

 

ELIOT: Do you make any money from the reruns?

BOB: Nope, I was paid off in 1968 for Gilligan.

 

ELIOT: Did you think at that time, the show would be aired in syndication forever?

BOB: Of course not, or I would have made a better deal!

 

ELIOT: Are you given any legal right to represent yourself as the character "Gilligan" for public appearances?

BOB: They don't bother me about it. Let's face it, I'm Gilligan!

 

ELIOT: What was your first big break in show business?

BOB: Maynard on "Dobie Gillis."

 

ELIOT: Did you create the character for the producer?

BOB: Max Shulman created the character for the pilot and I went out and played it as a beatnik. I was pretty much left alone to create it!

 

ELIOT: What do you think the reason is for the great love that continues today for both Maynard and Gilligan?

BOB: I thinks it's a wonderful childhood memory. Gilligan is timeless! If they brought the show back, it would be made the same way!

 

ELIOT: Over the years, you pop up from time to time on TV sitcoms. Do you get lots of requests to do this? BOB: Anytime there is a dream sequence needed for a sitcom-- they call Gilligan!

 

ELIOT: Did you have anything other than that red shirt?

BOB: My dressing room consisted of red shirts, blue pants and hats. That wasn't too bad because the skipper and professor had the same PROBLEM! I had 24 red shirts to change every week! ELIOT: Tell me about a show you did called "Space Nuts." BOB: That was for Saturday mornings. We did 16 of them in 1973 on ABC. It amazes me how many people remember that.

 

ELIOT:What did you do before you took up acting?

BOB: I started acting when I was a junior in college. It was either going to be acting or a law career. I worked at the post office before that. I sometimes delivered mail to famous people!

 

ELIOT: Could you recommend a college for a young aspiring actor?

BOB: Loyola University in L.A. Huge theater dept. Every actor has their own favorites!

 

ELIOT:Did you like the name Gilligan? Did you make it up?

BOB: I liked it a lot. The producer found it in a phone book.

 

ELIOT: If you were deserted on a desert island, which of the castaways would you choose? BOB: I would choose Mary Anne. She wins every contest that is conducted on favorites.

 

ELIOT: How come even though there were two eligible single women on the island, you and the skipper slept in the same hut?

BOB: Why wasn't there any sex on the island? We didn't even have a bathroom---get real!

 

ELIOT:Why didn't Tina Louise do any of the reunion TV movies?

BOB: Tina Louise didn't show up in the TV movies because of either money or image.

 

ELIOT: Does Bob Denver have a philosophy to share?

BOB DENVER: Life isn't that serious. Have fun!