Monday, January 27, 2014

Russell Johnson & Dave Madden

Last week we lost two television characters who made us laugh for almost fifty years. Actor Russell Johnson acted in dozens of television shows but his career seemed stranded on its own island because of his popular sitcom role on “Gilligan’s Island”.  Johnson played Roy Hinkley (The Professor), whose scientific schemes to get the castaways rescued were always foiled by Gilligan’s bumbling. The show lasted from 1964 to 1967, but Johnson was not in the original opening of the show as he and Mary Ann were referred to as “the rest”.  We have the complete series on DVD as well as his 1993 memoir “Here on Gilligan’s Isle”. In his book “Inside Gilligan’s Island”, show creator Sherwood Schwartz said this of Russell Johnson: "The Professor was the glue that held the more colorful characters in place in the Gilligan mosaic. And Russell Johnson played him perfectly: intellectual, serious, sincere. He supplied the logic on the island and he supplied it so well that he convinced the other castaways and the viewers as well that whatever he said was scientifically sound."

Also on the same day, Dave Madden died. He starred in the ABC hit sitcom “The Partridge Family” as band manager Reuben Kincaid. Madden was also a semi-regular on the popular CBS sitcom “Alice”. Both shows are available on DVD here at the library.

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