Gilligan’s Island Theme Song

What we have here for the theme song of the television series, Gilligan’s Island, are three different and distinct versions. We have a Calypso version for the pilot episode, a different version for the post-pilot first season, and another version for the second and third seasons. We’ll first talk about the second and third versions since this is what most people are familiar with.

The theme song for Gilligan’s Island is aptly titled, “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle.”

First season version

This version of the song was written by show producer Sherwood Schwartz, with George Wyle. The first year’s version was sung by The Wellingtons, featuring Les Brown Jr. (son of Big Band Leader Les Brown and his Reknowns), who later became a guest in one of the first season’s episodes as “Bingo.”

Later version

There are two claims to who sung this version, one by a group called The Eligibles, and one by someone named Gerald Fried. I do not know which is correct, but Gerald Fried was not part of The Eligibles. The song had a fuller, more stereo sound, did not use the hula instrument, but used more of other instruments to create a sort of orchestral sound.

Lyrics for first season and later versions

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from 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. (sound of thunder)

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’s aground on the shore of this
Uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan, the Skipper too,
The Millionaire and his wife,
A movie star, the Professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan’s Isle!

So this is the tale of our castaways,
They’re here for a long, long time
They’ll have to make the best of things,
It’s an uphill climb.

The first mate and the Skipper too,
Will do their very best,
To make the others comfortable,
In their tropic island nest.

No phone! No light! No motor car!
Not a single luxury,
Like Robinson C-ru-soe, it’s primitive as can be.
So join us here each week my friends,
You’re sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castways,
Here on “Gilligan’s Isle.”

Calypso-pilot version

This was the song used from when the original pilot. It had a Calypso theme to it and was a lot longer. Although not credited, the Calypso-themed song was sung by John Williams. This pilot episode was not broadcast due to casting changes.

Lyrics for the Calypso version

In tropical sea is the tropic port,
Vacation fun is the favorite sport,
This is the place where the tourists flock,
Renting the boats at the busy dock.
Two secretaries from U.S.A.
Sail on the Minnow this lovely day.
A high school teacher is next aboard;
All taking trip that they cannot afford.

The next two people are millionaires;
They got no worries, they got no cares.
They climb aboard, and they step inside,
With just enough bags for a 6-hour ride.

Tourists come, tourists go;
Tourists touring to and fro.
These five nice tourists, they take this trip,
Relaxing on deck on this little ship.

The weather is clear, and the sun is hot (sound of thunder)
The weather is clear? I think it is not!
Tourists come, tourists go;
Tourists tossing to and fro.

The captain is brave (Aye, carumba! What a storm!).
The captain is brave, he’s a fearless man,
And Gilligan help him all that he can.
The wheel, she break, and lose all control;
S.S. Minnow do the rock-and-roll!

The sea is now calm, and the weather grand;
There is the Minnow upon the sand.
What happen now, will give you a smile:
The adventures of Gilligan… and the skipper…
And the millionaire… And Mrs. Millionaire…
And the other tourists… on Gilligan’s Isle!

We leave all our friends on this tropic shore,
Perhaps they will be here, forevermore.
Maybe a rescue will set them free?
Tune in next week, and then you will see!