Flashback: 'Batman' Battles 'Gilligan's Island' on 'Family Feud' - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: ‘Batman’ Battles ‘Gilligan’s Island’ on ‘Family Feud’

It’s the Caped Crusader and crew against the Skipper and the castaways in this trippy 1983 episode of the game show

Gilligan’s Island and Batman each lasted just three seasons in the mid-1960s, but the reruns ran constantly in the following decades and the actors found it impossible to dissociate themselves from their iconic characters. This was endlessly frustrating to Tina “Ginger Grant” Louise and she refused to participate in all reunion specials, but most everyone else learned to embrace their fate and even have some fun with it. Alan Hale Jr. even wore his Skipper hat around town and never minded when strangers on the street called him by his character’s name and asked for an autograph, even writing “Skipper” alongside his actual name. 

So when the producers of Family Feud phoned up the gangs from Batman and Gilligan’s Island for a celebrity edition of the show in 1983, they didn’t have much trouble finding five people from each show willing to come on. Host Richard Dawson wore a tuxedo for the occasion. (Notice how he calls Alan Hale Jr. “Skipper” without any objection.) Hale was the captain of the SS Minnow, so it only makes sense that he’d command the Family Feud podium and introduce the entire cast. Jim “Mr. Howell” Backus wasn’t in great health by this point and had to sit down, but was still in great spirits. “This is my first game show,” said Natalie “Lovey Howell” Schafer, who brought her own opera glasses. “And I’m loving it.” After calling Russell “The Professor” Johnson solely by his character’s name he quickly moved onto Dawn “Mary Anne” Wells and kissed her on the lips three disgusting times.

Needless to say, Adam West stands at the head of the Batman podium. Next to him is Lee “Catwoman” Meriwether and Yvonne “Batgirl” Craig. Burt “Robin” Ward was somehow relegated to the fourth spot, and Vincent “Egghead” Price himself stood on the end, right around the time his voiceover in “Thriller” introduced him to a whole new generation. Lee Meriwether slathered three kisses onto Dawson, while Batgirl visibly recoils for a split second before giving in to the inevitable smack on the lips.

After eight minutes of introductions, it was finally time to play the Feud. Team Gilligan won the first round by correctly guessing the final object that people buy before going on a plane, but Batman hit back in round two when they figured out things people do to relax. Lovey Howell brought home a victory in round three, leaving it all up to The Professor vs. Robin. The Professor obviously got the top answer in that round and his team cleaned the board even though the Skipper was unable to think of a single celebrity that doubles as a political activist.

The Professor and Mary Anne (also known as “The Rest”) were selected to play for $5,000, which went to charity. The Professor completely destroyed the survey, racking up 145 points and easily winning it for Team Gilligan. Richard Dawson closed out the night with the thought on everyone’s mind: “Bob Denver, were are you?” (As many commenters pointed out, however, had Gilligan been there he surely would have messed everything up like he always did.)


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