The Professor has died [Russell Johnson of "Gilligan's Island"]

Remember, they did repair the Minnow in one episode? Problem was, the glue turned out to be no good and the boat fell apart!

You’d’ve thought, though, that he could have come up with something a lot better than that… :frowning:

Another side story. As noted, Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells were relegated to “and the rest” status in the original theme song. It was Bob Denver who fixed this. As the show’s lead, he pressured the studio into filming a new title sequence where the Professor and Mary Ann were named like everyone else.

The impressive part is Denver never told Johnson or Wells he had done this. They just assumed the studio had decided to change the title on its own. It was decades later that they learned from somebody else that Denver had been the one looking out for them.

Russell Johnson appeared as a Professor (!) in This Island Earth with Rex Reason, who played -----Cal Meacham. A name that sticks in my head, for some reason. If you go to his website, you’ll find that Rex Reason (who still looks and sounds better than I ever did) is selling autographed pictures of the two of them from This Island Earth.

Johnson seems to have been cursed to play scientists and technicians.
Besides his long-running role as The Professor, Roy Hinckle, in Gilligan’s Island and its various spinoffs and sequels, and in This Island Earth, he also played a scientist twice on the original Twilight Zone, a technician in The Attack of the Crab Monsters (where he kills the title monster, at the cost of his own life) and in The Space Children.

He was also in It Came From Outer Space, as Reality Chuck observes, although there, for once, he wasn’t a scientist.

If I was stuck on a desert island with Dawn Wells, fixing the boat wouldn’t have been my priority, either.

And This Island Earth was the film Mike and the bots were subjected to in MST3K:Tye Movie.

Nitpick: They had to film new titles anyway, because they were moving from B&W to color that year. What Bob did do was ensure that the Professor and Mary Ann were mentioned by name, automatically raising the salaries of both Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells.

He did so by threatening to invoke an article in his contract saying that as star of the show, he could have his title in any position he wanted; if Russell and Dawn were going to be left out again, he told the studio to put his name last. As mentioned above, he never told anyone who wasn’t at that meeting about what he did.

And that, my friends, is pure class! :cool:

Hmm. I didn’t realize he was born in the city I grew up in: Sarnia, Ontario. (Dave " Rueben Kincaid" Madden that is.)

James Doohan was also from Sarnia.

He also guested on an episode of “The Invaders”, portraying the lawyer of a man on trial for murdering one of the aliens. The twist: He was an alien himself.

Russell or Dave? :dubious:

Dave Madden was one of those actors who could move his whole hairline - every time Danny did something stupid and he frowned or gaped, his forehead would grow or shrink an inch.

I wonder if ultimately Gilligan’s Island a good thing or bad thing in his life.

Bad: It hopelessly typecast him, and while he had some talent you couldn’t look at him without thinking “it’s the Professor”, and while I doubt he died indigent it certainly didn’t make him rich because shows didn’t pay much then and no residuals. Had to get irritating being recognized for something you did decades ago that hamstringed you without paying.

Good: It did enable him to get recognized, and even low level fame has its perks. And acting is not a logical profession; there are numerous actors just as talented or more who were never able to make a living at it.

So I’ll go with ‘Chaotic Neutral’.

Danny Bonaduce said that Dave Madden was his surrogate father. His own family was very dysfunctional and he started spending every moment he could with Madden’s family; they remained close throughout his life.

Bonaduce and Cassidy both said that Madden was a charming hypochondriac who when asked how he was doing would always answer “I’d have to get better to die.”

I thought actors whose shows went into syndication were set for life. I believe that’s the case now. What changed, and when, and for what reason?

I’m totally ignorant on this topic, but again, I thought syndicated shows meant lots of money for the actors involved.

I think it’s always depended pretty much on the contract you sign. Shatner, e.g., had a percentage of ST: TOS right from the beginning. Nimoy did not, and he wouldn’t until he renegotiated his contract at the beginning of the second season; by then, of course, he had the clout to demand a piece of the action. Junior members of an ensemble cast would have a much more difficult time getting such recognition.

I recall seeing an interview with Russell Johnson where he said that his favorite Gilligan’s Island episodes were the ones with dream sequences. I can see why. I still laugh at his gape mouthed, British twit interpretation of Sherlock Holmes in Gilligan’s vampire dream.

Back in the era of* Gilligan’s Island*, actors were only paid for a set number of reruns (typically something like 7) when a show went into syndication. Wikipedia says that changed in the mid-1970’s.

Here’s an article that really doesn’t make the subject more clear, except to say that the author got a check for 67 cents for his appearance in an episode of The Facts of Life.

As terenti said, it depends on the contract. And Gilligan’s Island was broadcast back in the sixties before there were cable networks and home viewing. I doubt anyone anticipated how many times those episodes would end up being shown.

One person who benefited from this was Audrey Meadows who played Alice on The Honeymooners. Most actors had agents or lawyers who specialized in show business to negotiate their contracts. But Meadows had some family members who were regular lawyers. So when they were negotiating Meadow’s contract one of the things they asked for was perpetual residuals. Which was a joke back in the fifties - shows back then might be shown as a rerun once if that. The idea that anyone would want to rewatch an old television show seemed as unlikely as the idea somebody would want to reread an old newspaper. So the studio representatives were undoubtedly laughing to themselves about the inexperience of Meadow’s lawyers as they agreed to the demand. The result, of course, was that Meadows was getting monthly checks from the studio for the rest of her life.

I see what you did there. :wink:

Just noticed him last night in a 1959 episode of Gunsmoke.


I don’t. :confused: