I dreamed I saw the Skipper,
Still bumbling &
Losing his shit with Gilligan.
Forearms and cheeks
Shiny with sweat,
Wincing like Muddy Waters.
Same Skipper, only black,
On a TV high atop an
Unfinished chest of drawers
Back on 2nd Street, pre-divorce.
Any time I mention
The Black Skipper
I get: “Were you high?”
(Possible, probable, not definite.)
Either that or:
“Oh, you’re thinking of the time
The Harlem Globetrotters
Got marooned on the island.”
No, I’m not, and I wasn’t asleep.
It was the Skipper,
He was just black,
Same character, but black.
You never saw him?
* * *
This is a true story. For reasons I can neither explain nor fathom, I seem to recollect seeing a Black Skipper on "Gilligan's Island." In my memory he was portrayed by someone reminiscent of Demond Wilson (Lamont from "Sanford and Son").
Over the past couple of years, many people have tried to help me solve the riddle of The Black Skipper. Most have come to know about my conundrum via the above poem, which I wrote back in 2003, and is included in The Incredulity Tour
There was the Harlem Globetrotter connection and subsequent explanation. Or the wife of a friend's faint memory of the time something blew up in the Skipper's face, causing a vintage Al Jolsen-esque situation to result. However, no definitive corroboration of a Black Skipper ever occurred.
Recently, though, a stunning new development unfolded, which seems to have finally put this matter to rest. MsAPhillips
, God bless her, was somehow able to get a message to the President of the "Gilligan's Island" Fan Club, one Willy at Gilligansisle.com
See their exchange below for what appears to be the definitive and final word on the matter:
A friend of mine says he has a very clear memory of an episode of Gilligan's Island in which the Skipper was black. No one remembers this, so we think it's unlikely to be a real episode. But we figured you'd know better -- help?
The Skipper was NEVER black. Your friend is incorrect.