60 Eerie Photos Captured Behind-The-Scenes

By Sarah Norman | May 5, 2023

'Gilligan's Island's Lagoon Was A Studio Lot Filled With Water

A peek behind the scenes or an untold story can reveal so much more about our favorite shows and movies. Why did Mary Tyler Moore wear that silly wig on her new show, and who were those Hanson brothers in Slap Shot? These are the mysteries of the screen (big and small) that stay with us for years, seemingly never to be solved. But there are explanations and anecdotes -- everything has some back story or secret origin. What was in the bottle before Barbara Eden (Jeannie) moved in? What's George Harrison doing in that Monty Python movie? And what is up with the mask that Michael Myers wears -- is it really a Star Trek thing? Take a moment to dig deeper and you might find the fact or tale that makes you enjoy a series or film even more.

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Source: Closer Weekly

The relatively convincing lagoon of the fictional island where Gilligan's Island was set was wholly artificial. It was constructed at CBS Studio Center, in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles, and the water was only about 4 feet deep. Because the set was near a freeway, shooting often had to be stopped because of noisy rush hour traffic. Palm trees and other vegetation were strategically arranged to block buildings in the background, but sharp-eyed viewers can occasionally spot the structures. 

The water in the lagoon became famously filthy as it stagnated over the months of shooting. To prove its toxicity, Bob Denver (Gilligan) and Alan Hale Jr. (the Skipper) released a live fish in the water -- and the fish died. The network eventually agreed to change the water when the show's stars demanded executives go for a swim in the lagoon.

The 'L' Was Penny Marshall's Trick To Remind Viewers Of Laverne's Name

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Source: IMDB

You could depend on audiences to know (or at least guess) that a show called Laverne & Shirley would be about two women, one named Laverne and the other Shirley. But would they remember, week-to-week, which one was Laverne and which was Shirley? Arguably not -- and when this is a concern, writers often will work a character's name into the opening lines of a show to establish who's who.

It's a clumsy bit of exposition, and actress Penny Marshall felt there had to be a better way. She decided upon a visual clue: Laverne's famous "L" monogram. Just as Batman doesn't really need to say "I'm Batman" (although, for some reason, he does) because he has a big bat icon on his chest, Laverne never needed to remind the audience that she was Laverne -- it was always right there in that flowing script "L."