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  #1  
Old 20 November 2014, 08:39 PM
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TV Gilligan's Island

Comment: Supposedly one of the "interesting facts" about Gillian's Island
is:

"The Coast Guard would often receive telegrams from people who didn’t
realize the show wasn’t real."

Sounds like an U/L to me!

It has all the markings - no attribution, and repeated verbatim as fact,
over and over again.

PLUS IT IS JUST UTTERLY IMPLAUSIBLE!

First of all, why "telegrams" and not phone calls. Even in the 1960's,
telegrams were sort of obsolete.

Second, people are remarkably stupid, I will give you that. But to think
the show was real? Who would be filming it and broadcasting it?

It just smacks of U/L but there is no way to disprove it, unless you can
get a comment from the Coast Guard...

See:

http://parade.com/340687/parade/5-su...ligans-island/

http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/ent...bc9c4d6a2.html

http://boards.soapoperanetwork.com/t...s-island-50th/

http://costaricaextra.com/2014/09/21...ligans-island/

http://allpoetry.com/topic/show/2689...lighter%20side...
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  #2  
Old 21 November 2014, 02:31 AM
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I guess the laugh track wasn't a clue?
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Old 21 November 2014, 02:36 AM
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On page 186 of Inside Gilligan's Island by Sherwood Schwarz he mentions that 10 weeks or so into the show a Commander Doyle of the Coast Guard came to his office and showed him some telegrams. Unfortunately page 187 of the book isn't included in the preview so the story isn't complete.
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Old 21 November 2014, 03:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrishDaDish View Post
I guess the laugh track wasn't a clue?
Or that the show featured a full cast complete with (IIRC) the name of the actors. Not to mention all of the commercials featured...

This to me sounds like the whole “war of the worlds radio broadcast caused a mass panic” legend. Anybody who actually believed in this myth was probably somebody rather clueless who heard only parts about the show (probably part of the opening credits or perhaps the pilot.

Those isolated incidents were probably seriously over blown because it made for a great story - possibly for a tabloid or an entertainment magazine - to attract attention to the show...

Just my take.
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Old 21 November 2014, 05:51 AM
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What, you question the Historical Documents? By Grabthar's hammer!
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  #6  
Old 21 November 2014, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
What, you question the Historical Documents? By Grabthar's hammer!
I love the reference. Slick. The show must go on.

Back to the OP, telegrams were still common to send long distance messages. Even into the 1980s I remember sending telegrams because it was much, much cheaper than a long distance call to another country or to the Arctic. People sitting on the East Coast of the US would likely find sending a telegram to Hawaii to be cheaper than calling (especially given that even in the 70s, not every house had a phone. I remember call boxes on the streets to alert the firehall).

As for the reality, I do know there are people that can't or won't differentiate reality from television. Soap opera players often recount how they will run into people in malls or in parks and get called by their character's name and get praised or chastised for real based upon what their character did.

Given the popularity of Gilligan's Island, I do think it well within the realm of the possible that several dozen people in the US and Canada would send telegrams to the Coast Guard.
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Old 21 November 2014, 03:31 PM
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Ponder

Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
People sitting on the East Coast of the US would likely find sending a telegram to Hawaii to be cheaper than calling
But why call Hawaii? If you wanted to notify the Coast Guard of something, you could just call the closest unit/office (of which there are plenty on the East Coast).

Quote:
Given the popularity of Gilligan's Island, I do think it well within the realm of the possible that several dozen people in the US and Canada would send telegrams to the Coast Guard.
Even though the Coast Guard might actually have been the proper agency for the circumstance (because they conduct search and rescue missions), I would expect most clueless people would actually have attempted to contact the Navy (since Gilligan's Island was nowhere near a coastline).
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Old 21 November 2014, 03:35 PM
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They could get clear radio broadcasts via a battery-powered radio, so they'd have to be pretty close to the coast. Besides, doesn't the island create its own coast?
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Old 21 November 2014, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
But why call Hawaii? If you wanted to notify the Coast Guard of something, you could just call the closest unit/office (of which there are plenty on the East Coast).
I would suspect that this is not common knowledge. Just as if you wanted to report a crime in Vancouver, you can contact Ottawa police. But, most people are of the mindset (myself included) that you need to contact the agency closest to the incident.

Plus, I just used east coast as an example. St Louis or Kansas City or El Paso could be the home of a person sending the telegram. From what I know they are a little light on "coast".
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Old 21 November 2014, 03:53 PM
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Flame

When people see smoke and/or flames on the horizon, they typically call the local police or fire department to report it or verify what's going on; they don't try to figure out which station is closest to where they think the fire is and call them instead.
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  #11  
Old 21 November 2014, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
When people see smoke and/or flames on the horizon, they typically call the local police or fire department to report it or verify what's going on; they don't try to figure out which station is closest to where they think the fire is and call them instead.
Not a valid comparison. 911 is local, the fire is local.

Problem in another state? Call local...

Does not compute for many, especially those that think scripted television is somehow reality.
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Old 21 November 2014, 06:47 PM
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There's always the possibility that they did call local and got laughed at so decided the problem was that the local people just didn't understand or care about those poor people.
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  #13  
Old 14 January 2015, 08:31 PM
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TV

In the book he says it was about 15 or 16 telegrams. Some mentally unstable people and a handful of others who had only heard something vague about castaways being shown on television (but hadn't actually seen the program and didn't know it was a sitcom) could easily account for those.

I suspect every program generates some letters from various forms of cranks who don't or can't understand that sitcoms and dramas are not real-life portrayals.
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