Russell Johnson: ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Professor’s best inventions


Russell Johnson, the actor best known for playing the Professor on the sitcom hit “Gilligan’s Island,” died Thursday at age 89.

The main joke about the Professor, one of the seven castaways stuck on the tropical island somewhere in the Pacific, was that he had the genius to create anything from two coconuts and bamboo, but he couldn’t fix a hole in a boat. But setting aside the inability for some to just accept the show’s basic premise, let’s look at what magnificent inventions the Professor was able to create during the show’s three seasons.

With the aid of the Russell Johnson fan site, here’s are some of the Professor’s most creative island inventions.


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He used bamboo, the ship’s horn and radio batteries to create a lie detector; he made a battery recharger from a coconut shell and a helium balloon made from raincoats sealed with tree sap.

Many things he invented required pedal power to go, including a bamboo sewing machine, a washing machine, a water pump and a telegraph.

While the Professor may have gotten ripped for not getting the crew off the island during the series, he did do his best in the post-series TV movie “The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island,” in which he managed to combine two airplanes to create a new airplane to get them home. It’s not his fault that Gilligan fell out of the plane midflight and the Professor had to turn around to rescue him.


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Russell Johnson dies at 89; played the Professor on ‘Gilligan’s Island’