11 of the Professor's Best Inventions on Gilligan's Island
Russell Johnson, the actor who portrayed Professor Roy Hinkley on Gilligan's Island, passed away Thursday at the age of 89. In honor of the man who will forever live on as the person we'd most like to get trapped on a desert island with, here are some of the Professor's most fantastic inventions.
1. A lie detector
In season three's "Lovey's Secret Admirer," Mrs. Howell receives anonymous love notes. Mr. Howell won't stand for it, of course, and has the Professor grill all of the men on the island to determine who's trying to put the moves on his wife.
Using bamboo, the good Professor rigs up a device using the ship's horn and the radio's batteries to show when a lie is being told.
2. and 3. A roulette wheel and a pool table
In the season one episode "Three Million Dollars More or Less," Mr. Howell loses millions to Gilligan in a mini golf game. He tries to win it back by "games of chance," the Professor-crafted roulette wheel and pool table. The roulette wheel was made from the Minnow's steering wheel—I mean, it's not like they needed it—and the pool table appears to be mostly bamboo and netting.
4. A hot air balloon
In "Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy," featuring a young Kurt Russell as lil' Tarzan, the gang fashions a hot air balloon out of raincoats sealed together with tree sap. Spoiler alert: Jungle Boy makes it off of the island. No one else does.
5. A washing machine
Just because they're trapped on an island doesn't mean they're heathens. The castaways wash their clothes using a machine the Professor rigged up to be bicycle-powered. The washing machine appears in a few episodes—this one is "Gilligan's Living Doll" from season two.
6. A potion to cure Gilligan's double vision
When Gilligan develops vision problems, the Professor makes a potion out of Captibora berries. It takes a little trial and error, but he eventually gets there.
7. Shark repellent
In "Two on a Raft," the very first episode, the Professor concocts a potion for the Skipper and Gilligan to use when they try to go for help. Hopefully the mysterious island materials the repellent was made from were edible.
8. A Geiger counter
When a meteor crashes on the island in "Meet the Meteor," the Professor makes a "simple form of Geiger counter" to test its radioactivity. Easy-peasy.
9. A battery charger.
In "X Marks the Spot" from the first season, the Prof fashions a battery charger out of coconut shells and seawater. In fact, he details the whole process, just in case you want to give it a go. Let us know how it works out for you.
"We need coconut shells, seawater, metal strips, pennies.The pennies are held in the seawater by the hairpins. The wire coming from the pennies leads to the positive pole of the battery. Metal strips on the other side of the coconut, lead to the negative pole of the battery. Now, everybody get ready to stir their coconuts, when I get the battery hooked up."
And that is how the castaways get the radio running just in time to learn that there's a nuclear warhead coming their way.
When a volcano threatens to erupt and destroy the island in "Operation: Steam Heat," the Professor theorizes that blowing it up will solve all of their problems. What, you mean you can't make nitroglycerine with random items found around your house? Well, I'm just embarrassed for you. All it takes is sulfuric acid from the crystallized copper found in caves, glycerol from papaya seeds, and potassium nitrate from the rocks at the lagoon. Get on it.
11. Jet pack fuel.
A jet pack washes up on the island. With a little gas, the gang can use it to fly out and get rescued! Good thing the Professor figures out how to make jet pack fuel.