Movies & Television that you love…and love to hate!
The Pitch: Gilligan’s Island (Season 5, Episode 5.5)
“CPO Grumby, are the preparations in place for our visiting dignitary?” General MacArthur asks to a person off-screen. The camera switches perspectives to reveal a young Skipper standing at attention.
“Yes, Sir! Guest quarters have been secured. The hatchway has been installed and is in full operating capacity. The film crew is in position and awaiting your orders. ”
(Two shot showing both men)
MacArthur twiddles his pipe a little then orders Grumby to stand at ease. “Tell me something…what’s your take on all this hubbub? You have my permission to speak freely.”
Grumby relaxes his shoulders. “It’s a cluster waiting to happen. All this pomp for a frumpy high-pockets. Don’t feel right. No, sir. Not at all.”
The General nodded. “Indeed. But he’s a very important frump and one we have to kiss the backside of if we hope to land this contract. Between us, CPO, I’d rather be knee deep in rice patties than playing Tracy Tour-guide but these orders come straight from Truman himself. Damn fool has a big rounder for our guest. Balderdash, if you ask me.”
“Well, best foot forward and all that.”
He spins and the two proceed off into the bowels of a huge facility. Solders scuttle past in all directions. The sound of tools echoes through the halls. The purpose of the place is unclear. The pair make their way to a steel ladder that leads up into the ceiling. MacArthur goes first followed by CPO Grumby. The ladder ends in a submarine style turn hatch. A few quick turns and the rush of fresh air floods in. The upper part of the hatch is inside a makeshift straw hut. The men exit and are met by a civilian dressed in a loud Hawaiian shirt. The civilian greets the pair and begins talking without being prompted.
“So we’ve got the scene set as you can see!” The director explains. “Mr. Howell will walk into the village where the ‘natives’ will greet him with gifts of fruit and homemade crafts. Then he’ll move over here….(Motions towards the hut the two have exited)….He’ll stand at a respectful distance from the entrance and say something. The smoke bombs will go off and then the Chief will “emerge’ from the hut and the two will shake hands. Easy as shit through a goose!”
MacArthur stares blankly. His sunglasses obscuring any real reaction.
CPO Grumby speaks up. “The General is pleased with everything. How soon before we get this over with? We are busy people, you know.”
The Director smiles. “Not much longer. Last radio transmission said he and his better half were estimated to be in flight as we speak.” No sooner does he finish than an actor dressed in a grass skirt and covered in tan body paint runs over with a piece of paper clenched in one hand. A look of distress on his face. “What?!!!What now?”
The paper is exchanged. The actor winces as the Director starts fuming and throwing his arms in the air. His face turning red as he swears and threatens bloody murder on almost everyone there. MacArthur shouts for silence. Everything goes quiet. Grumby takes the paper, reads it, frowns, and hands it over.
“Damn businessmen and their damned horse crap.” the General mumbles under his breath. “Alright! Break set. Let’s get this mess cleaned up. I want you men back in uniform by Thirteen Hundred or I will start kicking cans across the pond. Am i making myself clear?”
A round of affirmations.
“CPO, I hate dumping this on you but inform our other guest he’s going to have to wait for his big break. Our esteemed Mr. Howell has decided he wants to twist Uncle Sam’s crank for a few extra drops of gold before closing the deal. Bureaucrats run by greed being yanked around by Daddy Warbuck’s black sheep cousin. Don’t quote any of that, mind you.”
CPO Grumby salutes again and stalks off to speak with the aforementioned guest. The real village is a stone throw from the film set. The idea was that Howell has come to make peace with the natives and secure the rights to the island for his own interests. The base’s purpose has long been abandoned and now they’re gutting it for re-purposing. As what, he didn’t know. It didn’t matter to him anyway. Very soon he’ll be rotating back to the States and then retirement. He’d been putting away his pay for a good couple of decades. That sweet little schooner was going to be his! Maybe he’ll go bigger and open a charter service? He always loved the sea. All through Boot the other recruits nicknamed him “Skipper” because of his near-obsession with sailing and all things nautical. The dream was so close he could taste it.
The real village was a bit more progressive than the fake set’s huts and open fire pit. They had running water from a nearby waterfall, which also powered a small generator and a mill to grind wheat and flour. The homes were clay brick but treated against the elements with some kind of clear resin. Children of a mixed variety ran and played around Grumby as he walked to the Chief’s house. It was a small humble one story with a Spanish style staccato roof. Large pane windows allowed a clear view of the inside. Several tribesmen, some dressed in business suits, were gathered around a central figure. Grumby approached the door and was let in before he could knock. The air was thick with the smell of flowers and cooking food. A rather conflicting mix which caused Grumby to sneeze.
“God Bless you. ” Gilligan says from within the throng of men. They part to reveal the speaker to the audience. He is a bit younger but definitely the character we know. Bob Denver circa Dobie Gillis days.
“Beg pardon, Chief Gilligan, but I bear bad news…” Grumby begins and is cut off.
“He’s not coming. I know. We received a copy of your transmission.” Gilligan retorts .
Grumby is taken aback a bit by this. “But…but that was sent over military channels. How did you…?” His face becomes flustered. “I’m confused….you shouldn’t have access like that. This is irregular…”
Gilligan signals to one of his men to help Grumby to a chair. Another produces a flask and offers it to Grumby. Grumby looks at it curiously then takes it. He downs the contents in a series of quick swallows. His mood quickly melts back into a more calm mood.
“Now,” Gilligan continues, “You’ve delivered the message as you were ordered to do. Go back and make sure the renovations proceed as planned. We have a whole city to build and time is, unfortunately, not something we have a lot of. It seems plans have changed. That’s fine. Everything is going to to be just fine.” His voice is calm and kind. Grumby smiles and fades to black.
An empty cradle sits at the center of a room. Gilligan and The Skipper stand staring at the vacant bed.
“Any ideas on who took him?” Gilligan, looking a little older, asks sternly.
The Skipper responds with a sense of certainty. “Oh yeah. His night nurse. What’s her name? Marsha? She and her half-brother have been talking a lot about skinning out. I thought it was just rumor, is all. Children round here talk a mighty big game but mostly just smoke.”
Gilligan turns to The Skipper. “Find them. They must not leave. Do you understand?”
The Skipper nods like a trained dog. “Want me to bring them back or make an example of them?”
“Have fun. It’s been a while. You deserve a little release.”
Greg’s chest explodes as the axe splits through it. The Skipper pulls the weapon clear and turns his attention to the young woman meekly trying to crawl backwards away from him. She lets out a piercing scream as the blade comes down and buries deep in her face. He pulls the axe away again making sickly wet sounds as it comes loose. “Gotta get back to that raft of yours.” he sneers at their corpses. “Leaving a baby like that. What kinda mother are you anyway?! Kid deserves better than the likes of you two.” He spits and walks off.
The Professor is busy setting up a work station. He is lost in his thoughts and doesn’t see Gilligan and The Skipper watching from nearby.
“It’s time.” Gilligan says softly. “They’ve been exposed long enough. I can feel it. Now remember, you have to do this like you mean it. Don’t worry about hurting me, okay?”
The Skipper frowns. “But, Little Buddy, I could never hurt you!” He strokes Gilligan’s cheek slowly.
“I know.” He takes The Skipper’s hand and kisses the palm. “I need this to look as real as you can. Just imagine I’m someone you really really hate. Use that and let loose. I’ll be alright.” A quick flash towards where Mary Ann is absently meandering. When he sees her noticing The Professor’s activity he whispers, “NOW!”
The Skipper wanders over and engages The Professor in some small talk. Te rest we already know.