Gilligan's Island: Season 1, Episode 28

They're Off and Running (10 Apr. 1965)

TV Episode  |  TV-G  |   |  Comedy, Family
6.2
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Gilligan is forced to become the Howells' man-servant when the Skipper loses a bet to Mr. Howell in a turtle race.

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Title: They're Off and Running (10 Apr 1965)

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Gilligan is forced to become the Howells' man-servant when the Skipper loses a bet to Mr. Howell in a turtle race.

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Comedy | Family

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10 April 1965 (USA)  »

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The Skipper says his birthday is May 5th, while getting his horoscope read by Ginger. She informs him that makes him a Taurus. See more »

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Faster than a Turtle, but Still Just as Dangerous
30 July 2013 | by (Sooner Nation) – See all my reviews

There's nothing like passing the time on the island like gambling and turtle races are the order of the day. However, we begin this episode with the Skipper losing for the 39th time to Mr. Howell.

Having nothing left to lose, the Skipper decides (after initially rejecting) the offer Mr. Howell makes to use Gilligan's services as a houseboy because he believes his turtle can win. Naturally, it doesn't and Gilligan is now the "property" of Mr. Howell.

Of course, Gilligan is a disaster as the Howell's houseboy and the Skipper makes one more bet to win Gilligan back. Does the Skipper win? Well, no...but yes.

You know, there is a certain logic to this episode that just makes perfect sense, which is part of its appeal. Mr. Howell (Jim Backus) is again in top form and any episode that centers around his greed is going to be good.

Highlights include the Skipper telling Mr. Howell that "no one is going to underpay Gilligan, but me!", Mr. Howell' conversation with Ginger about getting info from Gilligan, the Skipper and Gilligan trying out seaweed, grass and moss to entice the turtle, Gilligan's first morning on the job destroying Mr. Howell's paper and Mrs. Howell's yarn, Ginger and the Skipper sharing a rare scene together, Mr. Howell switching the turtles and seeming to talk to us while he's doing it, and the epilogue scene where everything is rather neatly resolved.

Overall, a really good, but not quite great episode if only because it drags a little in the middle. Plus, there seems to be a missing scene (mentioned below) that would help explain something rather important. Still, this is one of the better episodes of the season.

  • The button on Mr. Howell's lapel at the beginning of the episode


reads "Turf Club".

  • Still showing that they are "minor" characters, the Professor and


Mary Ann, having cheered on the turtles in the opening shot are nowhere to be seen as Mr. Howell picks up his winning turtle.

  • When Ginger is scratching Gilligan's back, he actually reaches up to


embrace her at one point.

  • It can just barely be seen, but the telescope from "The Return of


Wrongway Feldman" can just be seen in the hut when the Professor visits the now lonely Skipper.

  • We find out that the Skipper was born on Cinco de Mayo.




  • Ginger reading the Skipper's horoscope to convince him to race seems


like a set up, especially the way Ginger acts just as the Skipper leaves. But who asked her to set up the race? Not Mr. Howell or apparently anyone else. It seems that there is a scene missing here that explains Ginger's actions.

  • When Mrs. Howell switches the turtles, she stops for no discernible


reason, then keeps going. Perhaps she caught her outfit or stepped in something. Whatever it is, she keeps on going which is the sign of a real pro.

  • You know, turtle racing on the island seems to be a one-episode fad,


never to be heard from again.

  • The epilogue scene is a little unusual because it actually resolves


the issue about Gilligan. Normally, the epilogue is usually a commenting scene on what had happened before.


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