Sunday, October 08, 2006


I dreamed I saw the Skipper,
Still bumbling &
Losing his shit with Gilligan.

But black:
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 (2005).

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

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.



Blogger MsHellion said...

Never black, but perhaps blackened?

10:42 AM  
Blogger steakbellie said...

I'm really gonna fuck with things here.

Your memory could easily have been based on a dream sequence in a show where they imagione themselves in different sitcoms.

JJ Walker
Mr Jefferson

It could also have been a skit on something like Carole Burnet with Richard Pryor as the Skipper.

Sorry if you were ok with the end of path...

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Pearl said...

drawn to an open?
show the footage.

7:54 PM  
Blogger saverio said...

You're not crazy and whether you were high or not, you saw what you saw...because I saw it too. In fact I've taken to calling a friend of mine "Black Skipper" although he is neither black nor is he a skipper.

The scene that you saw was a dream sequence from an episode of (and here's where my memory gets a bit foggy) I want to say Baywatch, in which one of the characters falls unconscious and has this wacky dream of an encounter with a withered Gilligan and an inexplicably black "Skipper". If memory serves, Mary Ann and the Professor also put in an appearance.

I'm about 80% on the Baywatch thing. If not Baywatch, in that same vein.

7:28 AM  
Blogger theizzzeee said...

There was a black Skipper. There was a brief remake of Gilligan's island I believe it was out in the 90's. The cast members were of course up in age. It had the original Gilligan, Mary-Anne, The Professor and maybe Mrs. Howell. It wasn't on long.

4:40 AM  
Anonymous Colin Mackenzie said...

There indeed was a Black Skipper due to Alan Hale, the original Skipper's failing health. He had the right personality, it was a TV movie, possibly the last. He was good but it was probably not received well in the US. I saw it on TV in Australia in the 1970s.

1:40 AM  

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