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The West Virginia Chronicles, vol. 2: Bad Rap/The Gilligan Connection

with 12 comments

West Virginia is the butt of many a redneck joke. Personally, I don’t see it. Those stereotypes are based on dispatches to newspapers in New York, Philadelphia and Cleveland a century ago when field reporters were covering labor skirmishes and family feuds for sensational headlines. Besides, for my money, people in Maine and Upstate New York know a whole hell of a lot more about being redneck than Mountaineers do.

Still, West Virginia’s reputation for being weird is not fully unwarranted. Astronomically fucked-up things happen there regularly–things that sound like Onion stories that were somehow picked up by legitimate news agencies that weren’t paying attention. For instance, Gilligan used to live in WV–or, Bob Denver, the guy we know as Gilligan, anyway. Yes, after the wild success of Gilligan’s Island and Dobie Gillis, he settled near Princeton and started a computer business and radio station.

Now here’s where the weirdness comes in. A few years back, Gilligan went sideways of the law. It seems he received 30 grams of primo through the mail. Guess who posted the general delivery ganja. None other than Mary Ann, herself (aka actress Dawn Wells). I had long since left the state and I still heard all about it in the national news. I can’t blame the press; it was a gimme if ever there was one. It lingered for a while, too.

After this episode, I never again watched an episode of Gilligan’s Island without trying to read some over-the-top subtext into it. I began to see Gilligan as an inept drug courier whose good nature and sense of humor nevertheless endeared him to his employers (much like David Della Rocco in The Boondock Saints). “Skipper”, so called for his propensity to skip his knuckles across a punk’s face, was obviously the muscle. He knew how to get things where they needed to go with very litle resistence. You’re starting to see the order of things, yes? Now we know why “Li’l Buddy” could wolf down those coconut creme pies like he hadn’t eaten in weeks. He was just blasted. (Unfortunately, he didn’t heed the sage advice of Mr. Tony Montana about getting high on one’s own supply.)

The professor used his scientific aptitude to cultivate the finest green ever to hit the streets of Honolulu. He might have been a tweaker, given his propensity to tinker with electricity and work off nervous energy on makeshift excercise bikes. (It’s sad, but pushers know that you sometimes have to get someone strung to make him a team player.) Ginger was a decoy. Her glamorous dress, elegant carriage and feminine charm could distract the most ardent customs official. “What about Mary Ann?”, you say. Well, I almost hate to say it, but does the term “strawberry” mean anything to you?

The Howells? They financed the whole operation–DUH! Their old-money existence was “dreadfully dull” and the thrill of dishing street drugs was ” simply delightful”. They took the monetary risks and reaped the rewards. They called the shots, using their Ivy League degrees and finishing school charm to hide their crunked-up criminal enterprise.

So, thank you, Gilligan (may he rest in peace) for making each episode new and fresh in my mind. And thank you for ensuring West Virginia will stay weird for a few more years to come.

Awesome, slightly related youtubes:

Stairway to Gilligan’s Island

Lost on Gilligan’s Island 

Related posts:


Written by Soylent Ape

November 8, 2007 at 2:08 pm

12 Responses

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  1. The “Lost on Gilligan’s Island” clip is awesome. Simply amazing.


    November 8, 2007 at 3:49 pm

  2. Cody: Isn’t it, though! It’s sloppy in some places but it’s filled to the brim with WTF.

    bagel of everything

    November 8, 2007 at 4:02 pm

  3. keywork.

    November 8, 2007 at 4:40 pm

  4. Bad part is, I remember when Little Buddy got busted because it was a few months after I’d left the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Motto: The Sears Wishbook is more absorbent and softer on the ‘roids than our rag). The BDT kissed Denver’s ass so much that it had to look like the victims in that episode of Star Trek about the salt vampire.

    Somehow, he started to present himself as a computer learning software whiz in that time period and the BDT probably started tossing his salad for him too.

    Frontier Former Editor

    November 8, 2007 at 7:39 pm

  5. @ Cody: Yeah, I cracked up at the /Lost/ parody!

    @ FFE: The Telegraph, like so many small-town rags, know where their bread is buttered. Well-to-do business owner = potential advertiser.

    @ Key: The Bagel is worth every bit of a grand and more!

    Soylent Ape

    November 9, 2007 at 6:58 am

  6. Hey, just looking out.


    November 9, 2007 at 11:19 am

  7. Thanks boys.
    Defend Bagel you must!

    bagel of everything

    November 9, 2007 at 6:15 pm

  8. Dawn wells Sent him the weed? Oddly she lives about 30 minutes from me in reddington beach. She’s even run for Mayor a few times I think…


    November 9, 2007 at 8:54 pm

  9. And the Professor turned 83 last week too

    Frontier Former Editor

    November 11, 2007 at 10:20 am

  10. I had no idea that Russell Johnson was still alive. Happy Birthday, Professor!

    Soylent Ape

    November 11, 2007 at 8:26 pm

  11. […] posts: The West Virginia Chronicles, vol. 2: Bad Rap/The Gilligan Connection The West Virginia Chronicles, Vol. 1: Defeated […]

  12. The prof was always my fave. Notice that the girls were always trying to snuggle up to him, but he would ignore them to go hang out with Gilligan.

    The Bagel of Everything

    February 23, 2008 at 5:54 pm

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