EVERYONE INTO THE POOL!
In 1988, Tina Louise reunited with the cast of Gilligan’s Island on the late night talk fest, The Late Show. This was almost 10 years after she turned down the offer to reprise her role of Ginger in the reunion TV-movie, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island to the ire and disappoinment of the sitcom’s fans.
Below is a clip from The Late Show where Tina talks about a just completed movie she starred in called The Pool. The movie was never released theatrically nor did it ever see the light of day on VHS or DVD.
The Pool was filmed in Boston and coincidentally my friend who was a college student at the time worked on the set as an intern. After watching this clip some 20 years later, he remarked, “The film looks crummy. If that was the best 30 second scene they could pull out I realize now why it never got a release. I recall reading the script before we started shooting and thinking this is nothing but a feature length Twilight Zone episode. Tina describes it as a metaphysical, suspenseful love story or something … it was really a 30 minute short with a twist. I recognized that when I was 20… why no one else did is beyond me.
Still it was a great experience for everyone on the set because EVERYTHING was so hands on and we all connected very well. The director was nice as were the producers. As for Tina Louise, we were forbidden to talk about Gilligan’s Island or Ginger on the set of the film. She was extremely sensitive about that so the crew was debriefed beforehand. I had to pick her up at the Four Season’s every now and then and bring her to the set. So we sat in the van and chatted about her past (other than Gilligan’s Island, of course) and I recalled that one of the first big works she did was the musical adaptation of “Li’l Abner” on Broadway and Al Capp, the comic strip’s creator, came from the same town where I grew up. It gave us something to discuss in the 20 minute ride over and she warmly loved to talk about work and her dynamic career beyond television.
But on the set she could be difficult at times. During the first days of filming, she would stroll around the outside shoot with a parasol. We understood it was to protect her skin, yet it looked quite eccentric – especially for us Bostonians. I understand she went on to market these parasols under her own health care company. Then on another day, she and I had a quarrel about letting me standing in for her to set up a shot. She looked at me and said “but you are too short” and I just threw my arms up in the air and sighed. Hey, I was only trying to help out. I was afraid I would be admonished for throwing a fit of my own – but by that stage in the production no one seemed to care about ruffling her feathers anymore. If I recall correctly, the director and she were barely speaking, if it all.
My favorite story I remember most vividly though is worth repeating, which I often do in any work context. It has become a classic quote for me, and it reminds us how spoiled every actor can be. We were milling around the craft services table, and Ms. Louise exclaims to whomever isn’t still tired of listening to her, “This is the hardest I’ve ever worked for so little money.” And I was thinking mmm hmmm – go back to doing underarm deodorant commercials then.
But it really wasn’t all bad working with her. She could be very nice. I think she was just doing her starlet thing and reminding everyone on the set who was the biggest prima donna!