Gilligan’s Crib

I see where the CBS network has once again delved into their past for a new show idea. Hawaii Five-O premiered last week, and even though I haven’t seen it yet, I plan to at least give it a chance. I really loved the show when I was a kid, especially since they had a super-cool theme song, which they brought back for the new show. As we all know, if a TV show has a cool theme song it really adds to the show’s credibility. Some examples from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s:

Secret Agent Man – Johnny Rivers
Route 66 – Nelson Riddle
Peter Gunn – Henry Mancini
Hawaii Five-O – The Ventures
Mission: Impossible – Lalo Schiffrin
S.W.A.T. – The Rhythm Heritage
The Rockford Files – Mike Curb
Welcome Back Kotter – John Sebastian
Baretta – Sammy Davis Jr.
Miami Vice – Jan Hammer
Crime Story – a new version of “Runaway” performed by Del Shannon
Friends – “I’ll Be There For You” by the Rembrandts

There was a period, say ten years ago or so, that Hollywood was really cashing in on old TV shows: The Fugitive, Starsky and Hutch, Star Trek. Around that time, a friend of mine and I were coming up with TV shows that we thought should be made into major motion pictures, and just for kicks, we would come up with our own cast. For example, we thought about casting the old Andy Griffith show like this:

Andy – Jack Nicholson
Barney – Nicolas Cage
Aunt Bee – Kathy Najimy
Opie – Joaquin Phoenix
Ernest T. Bass – Gary Busey
Goober – Kevin Spacey
Floyd – Harvey Keitel
Theme Song – original song performed by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, with Keith Emerson doing the whistling part on the synthesizer.

OK, it was a little far-fetched, but hey, YOU try being a casting director. Not being content with that, we decided to re-cast Andy with an all African-American cast:

Andy – Carl Weathers
Barney – Samuel L. Jackson
Aunt Bee – Aretha Franklin
Opie – Gary Coleman (still alive at the time) (“Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout Barney?”)
Ernest T. Bass – Jimmie Walker
Goober – Ice T
Floyd – Ron Glass
Theme Song – original song performed by Herbie Hancock with a funk beat.

Not bad, but we didn’t think we had hit paydirt yet. Then it hit us right between the eyes…the old TV show that really needed to hit the big screen was Gilligan’s Island…with an African-American cast! The ideas poured out of us like water!

Gilligan – Chris Rock
The Skipper – Reginald VelJohnson
The Professor – Eddie Murphy
Thurston Howell III – Bill Cosby
Lovey Howell – Phylicia Rashad (they worked well together on Cosby)
Ginger – Halle Berry
Mary-Ann – Vivica A. Fox
Theme Song – the original theme performed rap-style by Snoop Dog

I hope that no one takes any racial overtones from this, because there are none intended at all. In fact, these ideas were reinforced about a month ago when I saw that the 2007 British movie “Death at a Funeral” was remade in 2010 with an all African-American cast that featured Chris Rock, Ron Glass, Danny Glover, Tracy Morgan and others. I rented it and it was hilarious! At one point, Chris Rock is asking the funeral director what’s going on because “my dad is flying out of that casket like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins!” (For those who don’t know, Hawkins’ signature tune was “I Put A Spell On You” and he would come up out of a coffin onstage.)

So the next time you’re watching an old favorite TV show, pause it for a minute or two and think about how you would re-cast it into a major Hollywood movie. Just close your eyes, and envision it. Maybe make it a parlor game at your next get-together…just don’t invite me. I usually like parties where people shout “let’s do shooters!” instead of “hey, I know a great parlor game we can play.”


About groovyrick

I live in a small town in Illinois with my wife and three kids. I am a part-time musician, part-time writer, and full-time dreamer.
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6 Responses to Gilligan’s Crib

  1. This was great! Loved the different casts and for some reason seeing Ron Glass’ name just cracked me up! Nice one. You did miss on cool TV theme song though…”Hey, hey, we’re the…”

  2. Davi says:

    Love it, love it, love it!! I know SO many people who’d love to play this game (while doing shooters). I can see Bill Porter and Michael Hill doing this, just to name two. I swear they can cover the dialogue for entire episodes of Mayberry (or Andy Griffith, heck if I know which one they’re doing).

    I love the casting of Halle Berry, which only further tilts me toward Ginger. Sorry, Vivica, it’s a Halle thing.

    Keep ’em coming, GroovyRick.

  3. Why am I Davi? Is there a theme – Groovy and Davi?

  4. Okay….third try.

    I loved this. I’d love to play this while doing shooters.

    I can think of at least two people – Bill Porter and Michael Hill, who’d love to get into the discussion above. I swear they can recite entire episodes of either Mayberry or AG Show.

    The selection of Halle Berry further strengthens my choice of Ginger over Maryanne (Vivica is no slouch; it’s a Halle thing).

    Keep ’em coming, GroovyRick!

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