"Gilligan's Island" star arrested for drug possession

By A.J. Jacobs
Updated June 19, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Those Hollywood bad boys sure have been acting up lately. Charlie Sheen. Christian Slater. Gilligan? Unless you’ve been marooned on a desert island, you’ve heard the disturbing news: Bob Denver, the dopey, red-shirted castaway on Gilligan’s Island, was arrested June 4 for possession of marijuana.

Denver, 63, who is free on bail, faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. He was busted after a package containing approximately 35 grams of pot was delivered to Denver’s West Virginia home by a drug enforcement task force officer. “He was very apologetic over the incident and remorseful,” Lieut. Bruce McNeill, a West Virginia drug enforcement agent, told the Associated Press.

Soon after, a West Virginia TV station aired an anonymously sourced report linking Dawn WellsGilligan‘s midriff-baring farm girl Mary Ann—to the package. There has been no further confirmation. Wells’ publicist says, ”The only thing I know is there was no involvement” on Wells’ part.

Maybe we shouldn’t be that shocked. Hatched in the heady ’60s, Gilligan’s Island was laced with more drug imagery than “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” For instance: Gilligan always had the munchies for coconut cream pie. The castaways had trippy dream sequences, partied with the rock band the Mosquitoes, and once scarfed down “special seeds.” And was it a coincidence that the show had grass skirts and all those “Little Bud” (or whatever the Skipper said) references? In short, Gilligan’s was the druggiest isle this side of Jamaica. Not to mention the rest of Denver’s groovy oeuvre—the surreal CBS Saturday-morning show Far Out Space Nuts, or his goateed beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on the 1959-63 sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (or was that Doobie Gillis?). You practically got a contact high watching him, Daddy-o.

Denver’s public seems to be behind him. “You can’t throw Gilligan in jail!” says Louie Knaiger, webmaster of the Gilligan’s Island fan club. “He enjoys being Gilligan. He enjoys the fans and appearances. He always wears his hat.”

A.J. Jacobs, with reporting by Kristen Baldwin and Kipp Cheng

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