OK, The Wait is Over…

….Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale. A tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship.

Well, I’m sure you can finish the rest of the song. Or, maybe you can’t. Because a couple of times that I’ve mentioned my day with Bob Denver, a few people were like, “I thought you meant John Denver.”

Is it possible that I’m older than enough of you, my faithful readers, that you really don’t know who Bob Denver is? That really can’t be possible. Can it?

Well, for those that don’t know, Bob Denver was Gilligan. As in Gilligan’s Island. As in the theme song in the first sentence of this post. As in one of the most entertaining TV shows. Ever.

That Bob Denver.

He was an icon. A legend.

And, as I found out, an incredible chain smoker.

Here’s the story.

I was in Vermont at the time. Working for marketing/PR agency. We landed a new television station as a client and were assigned with the task of planning the launch party for the station. Basically, get people to care about the then fledgling WB Network. No easy task, even for this PR guy. Because, keep in mind, this was like 1995.

So, in order to drum up some buzz, the station folks hired Bob Denver to come to Vermont and act as the celebrity pitch man for this station launch.

Now, again, for anyone over probably 32, Bob Denver is legendary. Under that, I’m really not so sure. You may have seen a little Gilligan’s Island, but not like we did. And, heck, Gilligan’s Island was big for him, but for the even older generation, he was known as Doby Gillis.

But, I digress.

Now, why did they pick Bob Denver to launch a station that was full of WB programming? Beats the hell out of me. Denver had a show called Treasure Hunters or something that was also on the station, but needless to say, he didn’t fit the overall demographic.

But, when you’re a PR guy, you work with what you have. So, that’s what I did. We arranged for some newpaper interviews and for a slew of radio station interviews. (Note: that might be the first time I’ve ever used slew in a sentence.)

So, since he’s, well, Bob Denver, we arranged for a limo to take him and his manager/friend/lackey around to these stations. And, of course, I was to accompany him as the rep for the station.

What was my job? Basically to make sure he got the station call letters right. Let’s face it, the radio stations wanted to talk to him about Gilligan, not about the TV thing. So they would give us one quick plug and then it was more focused on who was hotter, Ginger or Mary Ann.

So there I was, a young lad with a guy I had watched on TV a bazillion times. I wouldn’t say I was star struck, but it was very cool to spend some time with the guy. Or so I thought it would be.

I’m not here to bash on someone who is no longer with us (he died a few years ago), but he wasn’t the most friendly guy I’ve ever met.

I mean, he couldn’t have been making too much for this appearance (I think he got five grand). And, I’m sure he’s been asked the Ginger and Mary Ann question more than he ever wanted, but here he was nonetheless.

Did I mention he was a chain smoker? Yeah. I did. And, yeah, he was. I’m not sure I ever saw him for more than five minutes without a cigarette.

My favorite moments were when we’d walk into the studio and he’d be smoking away. The DJ would say, politely (I mean, again, this was Bob Denver) that the studio was a no smoking place.

“No problem,” he’d say, but not put the cigarette out. He didn’t care. He was Bob Denver, he’d do what he want.

Everyone wanted pictures and he did that. Again, I think he knew he had to. And he would put on that trademark goofy grin whenever the camera was snapped, but after that, “where’s my cigarette.”

In the studio, he was great. I mean, this guy could turn it on with the best of them. A song would be playing and he’d be talking to his manager, not stopping to talk as the DJ was going on air. The DJ would be introducing him, asking a question and he’s still talking to his manager, until he instantly knew when to answer the question and devote a few seconds to it. Then the segment would end and he’d go right back to the conversation with his manager/lackey and, of course, his cigarette.

The other funny thing was that he brought one of the original Gilligan hats with him. And he’d wear it. Um, on the radio.

So, we rode around to five different radio stations and did the interviews. It was fine. He did his job, promoting the reason why he was there first and then answering all the questions about Gilligan after that.

Oh, and for the record, Gilligan was a Mary Ann man. At least he was that day.

Me? Well, it was cool to meet him and see how he operated, but, all in all, I could have done without the smoke. It was brutal, especially in the limo.

Oh well. It was Gilligan. The Little Buddy. But, on this day, I unfortunately saw more of Bob Denver than I did of Gilligan. And, I gotta tell you, I like Gilligan better.

Some day, kids, I’ll even tell you about my Rachel Ray experience. But, as a preview, it wasn’t a whole lot better than my Bob Denver experience.

What else? I got nothin’.


12 Comments on “OK, The Wait is Over…”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I really want to hear the story about Rachel Ray. A lot. Love your blog.

  2. jc says:

    I’m putting together a spoof of rachel ray

    be afraid

    be very afraid

  3. bp says:

    How could Rachel Ray be bad? She is the queen of nice… YUM-O!

    Also.. what kind of guy are you? Ginger…or MaryAnn?

  4. Melissa says:

    That’s probably more than I needed to know about Skipper’s lil’ buddy. I like to think of him as eternally goofy, and certainly not a chain-smoker. And I always liked Mary Ann. Ginger was too high-maintenance.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Pop quiz… What state was Mary Ann from? Think she was from my neck of the woods and I bet she drove S-L-O-W, too!

    My feelings are still hurt from the S-L-O-W car ride comments and country / farm girl innuendos.

    So are you a Mary Ann or Ginger guy?

    😉

    Chelle

  6. amy says:

    that was kind of a sad story. it must be very hard to be famous for a goofball role like that. everyone forever refers to you as “little buddy” or “gilligan” or whatnot. and then from that time on you have to perform the goofy act in the goofy hat for people, like a circus chimp in a tutu or something. it took a toll on him apparently. it’d probably take a toll on me too. and i used to smoke, so i totally get that part of it.

    mike, thanks for sharing your story.

    bob, you’re free now… rest in peace.

  7. beta mom says:

    OMG – that was totally worth the wait!

    What about the time you spent three wild days in Nova Scotia with Billy Campbell of “The 4400” fame?

    hee hee

  8. Mike says:

    Beta ~

    That’s right. You know, in my celeb-filled life I actually forgot about Billy Campbell. And I don’t think of him as 4400, but rather, THE OC. Perhaps I’ll talk about that one. But Rachel might have to be next.

  9. […] Denver “smoker” Go here if you want to relive my adventure with the “little […]

  10. me says:

    Your an asshole! Bob Denver was awesome .u said u didn’t want to bash on him or whatever but that’s all your really doing .maybe he wasent nice to u cause u suck

  11. My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I may
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  12. Bob Denver played the part of Maynard G. Krebs, not Dobie Gillis. I I half way agree agree with “me” above. What’s important here is that he came & did his job. What he does the rest of the time is none of your business, whether it was smoking or talking to his manager; and how dare you insult his manager by calling him a lackey.


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