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"Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy" features the very young Kurt Russell, son of actor Bing Russell, as the titular Jungle Boy discovered living on the island by Gilligan. Swinging through trees with the young boy serves to bring out the little boy in the already child like Gilligan, more of a juvenile adventure than usual for the show. When the Jungle Boy reveals a hidden pocket of helium that makes things float, there's even greater opportunity for fun with a man made balloon of old sewn together raincoats. Alas, only the Jungle Boy goes up up and away, no help for rescue as the only English he speaks is 'boy, girl, and no.' Kurt Russell did so many shows at the time that today's audiences forget just how prolific he was as a child actor, appearing on such top series as GUNSMOKE and LOST IN SPACE.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While trying to enjoy his freshly picked banana, Gilligan runs into a
Jungle Boy (Kurt Russell). Gilligan tries to tell the other castaways
to no avail until they see the boy for themselves. In addition to
discovering the boy, they also discover a natural deposit of helium and
construct a balloon out of raincoats to float to civilization.
Will our castaways get rescued this time? Well...since it's only the first season of the show...
This is one of the most recognizable episodes of the series, in large part due to Kurt Russell who went on to enjoy a career far more prominent than the seven castaways he left behind. Kurt's performance is natural and takes advantage of his athleticism, even though the tougher stunts were clearly done by an adult.
Highlights include Gilligan and the Jungle Boy swinging on the vines, Mr. Howell "turning on the charm" to entice the Jungle Boy to come over, the ladies of Gilligan's Island trying to teach the boy to speak and manners, and Gilligan floating inside and outside the balloon.
Overall, this is still a very entertaining episode that features a young actor on his way up. In a way, it's actually kinda neat that there is absolutely no explanation given about how the boy got there, which makes the episode even more interesting. Featuring some funny scenes, this is one of the better episodes of the season.
- The stock footage of the island used at the beginning of the episode as the writer/director credits are running is somewhat different than what we've seen before and appears to be from Hawaii. I would think if Gilligan's Island had that kind of mountainous land, a ship or plane would have spotted it easy... :)
- Funny that the Professor should sound so confident about there being no one else on the island considering how long it took them to discover Wrongway Feldman.
- The tree that Gilligan found the Jungle Boy in sure looks like the same tree that the Japanese sailor used in "So Sorry, My Island Now".
- A rather obvious question is where did the boy get his loincloth...but I suppose for network TV he had to wear something. Of course, it's interesting that they found clothes that fit him well, also.
- They certainly get a lot out of the bicycle power system which runs a fan, washing machine and sewing machine.
- Admittedly, this may sound a little crude, but if Mary Ann's shorts were any shorter, you could prep her for surgery. :)
- When Gilligan hops back to the huts, the Skipper says, "Alright Frank Buck, stand up straight." Frank Buck was a famous hunter, writer, producer and even starred in many of his hunting-oriented films.
- In the scenes where the Skipper, Mr. Howell and the Professor are shown the helium by Gilligan and when the balloon is first revealed, it's pretty clear that they used the earlier footage of the Jungle Boy and cut that into the scene. That's probably because Kurt was 13 or so, meaning he could only work a limited time.
- So, the seams of the balloon are made airtight thanks to a glue made from tree sap...gee, how did that work out for them before in "Goodbye Island" when they used it on the Minnow?
- It seems rather weird that the castaways would even be discussing sending the Jungle Boy up in the balloon in the first place. Putting aside his age for the moment, he can't speak any English other than, "Boy Boy, Girl Girl, No No".
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