He dreamed up “Gilligan’s Island” in 1964. It was a Robinson Crusoe story about seven disparate travelers who are marooned on a deserted Pacific island after their small boat wrecks in a storm.
TV critics hooted at “Gilligan’s Island” as gag-ridden corn. Audiences adored its far-out comedy. Schwartz insisted that the show had social meaning along with the laughs: “I knew that by assembling seven different people and forcing them to live together, the show would have great philosophical implications.”
Food wasn’t scarce, though it took some ingenuity and the occasional suspension of the laws of science. There were coconuts, of course, but there was also the episode where Gilligan tried to make pancake syrup from tree sap and ended up discovering a powerful glue that they hoped would allow them to repair the S. S. Minnow. Another time, a crate of vegetable seeds washed ashore. They were discovered to be radioactive, and the resulting vegetable garden provided eaters with special powers.