Watching Our Water Ways

Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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Amusing Monday: Remembering TV show themes

May 20th, 2013 by cdunagan

Yahoo TV recently ran an online survey to determine the most favorite television theme song of all time. The survey was conducted as a bracketed tournament with 32 “seeded” tunes pitted against each other, one pair at a time. It was patterned on the NCAA tournament.

The top seeds, deemed the most likely winners, were the themes to “Cheers” (“Where Everybody Knows Your Name”) and “Friends” (“I’ll Be There For You”), followed by “Mash” (“Suicide is Painless”) and “The Jeffersons” (“Moovin’ On Up”).

Visitors to the website were encouraged to consider each song in the head-to-head competitions before voting.

I learned about the competition after it was over, while looking for amusing water-related material. Still, I enjoyed listening to the old TV songs. Thankfully, for this blog entry, the winner was the theme to “Gilligan’s Island” (“The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle”), which is shown on this page. The song, seeded at “12,” won out in head-to-head competitions against:

“Different Strokes,”

“The Addams Family,”

“The Andy Griffith Show,”

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,”
and

“Cheers.”

Obviously, organizers of the competition were surprised about the voters’ top choice, but the song has been copied and parodied many times through the years.

One of the great tributes to the song was a blending of “Gilligan’s Island” with “Stairway to Heaven” by Little Roger and the Goosebumps (second video player).

Finally, if you’ve ever watched the TV show, can you tell me Gilligan’s first name, or even whether “Gilligan” is his first or last name? Apparently, the answer remains a mystery to this day, according to a detailed analysis by Snopes. See “Willy Gilligan?”

Apparently, long before the series began, a reference was made to the character in a conceptual sketch, which mentioned the name “Willy Gilligan.” Later, however, it was decided to call the characters by their first names — except for Mr. and Mrs. Howell — which might suggest a completely different answer to this question.

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"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist

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