A Public Speaking Class at NYU Inspired Sherwood Schwartz to Develop ‘Gilligan’s Island’

<p>Sometimes inspiration comes from the unlikeliest places. That was the case for <a href=”https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/gilligans-island-creator-sherwood-schwartz-picked-shows-name-phone-book.html/”>Sherwood Schwartz</a>, the creator of<em> Gilligan’s Island</em>. The famed writer and producer pitched the idea for <em>Gilligan’s Island </em>years after he finished his bachelor’s degree at New York University. A prompt given to the renowned producer during his undergraduate journey led to the creation of <a href=”https://www.cheatsheet.com/tv/”><em>Gilligan’s Island</em>.</a> Schwartz wasn’t even planning on entering the entertainment business then. </p>

<figure class=”wp-block-image size-full”><img decoding=”async” width=”1200″ height=”827″ src=”https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Sherwood-Schwartz-Gilligans-Island-2.jpg?strip=all&quality=89″ alt=”The cast of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ sit on a raft in the lagoon for promotional photos for the famed show. Sherwood Schwartz developed ‘Gilligan’s Island'” class=”wp-image-3504218″ srcset=”https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Sherwood-Schwartz-Gilligans-Island-2.jpg 1200w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Sherwood-Schwartz-Gilligans-Island-2.jpg?w=640&h=441 640w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Sherwood-Schwartz-Gilligans-Island-2.jpg?w=768&h=529 768w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Sherwood-Schwartz-Gilligans-Island-2.jpg?w=1024&h=706 1024w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Sherwood-Schwartz-Gilligans-Island-2.jpg?w=87&h=60 87w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Sherwood-Schwartz-Gilligans-Island-2.jpg?w=150&h=103 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px”><figcaption class=”wp-element-caption”>The cast of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ | CBS via Getty Images</figcaption></figure>

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<h2>A public speaking prompt inspired Sherwood Schwartz to develop ‘Gilligan’s Island’  </h2>

<p>Schwartz pitched the idea for <em>Gilligan’s Island</em> to CBS executives in the 1960s. They were instantly interested in it. The idea was certainly a unique one. In the show, seven people live together on a deserted island after their boat capsizes. The series was presented as a comedy but offered a detailed look at the complexity of different social statuses and how people can work together when needed. </p>

<p>Schwartz came up with the idea after remembering a prompt given to him by a professor at NYU. In his book,<a target=”_blank” href=”https://books.google.com/books/about/Inside_Gilligan_s_Island.html?id=N0tNra6n2qgC&source=kp_book_description” rel=”noreferrer noopener”> <em>Inside Gilligan’s Island: From Creation to Syndication</em></a><em>, </em>Schwartz revealed that while he was an undergraduate student, a professor asked him to give a speech about one item he would bring with him to a deserted island. The exercise was to get students thinking, but that professor wouldn’t have guessed the prompt would lead to a cultural phenomenon like <em>Gilligan’s Island</em>. Schwartz didn’t think so either at the time. </p>

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<h2 id=”h-sherwood-schwartz-didn-t-plan-to-go-into-the-entertainment-industry”>Sherwood Schwartz didn’t plan to go into the entertainment industry </h2>

<p>While a public speaking prompt helped Schwartz develop <em>Gilligan’s Island</em>, he didn’t initially plan to enter the entertainment industry when he entered New York University. He was set on becoming a doctor. A cast member had <a href=”https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/gilligans-island-cast-member-almost-became-doctor.html/”>their sights set on medicine</a>, too. </p>

<p>During an interview with <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sG_bX9JhXA” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>the Writers Guild Foundation</a>, Schwartz revealed that he had initially planned on becoming a doctor when he was accepted at NYU. He even entered the elite university as a premed student. There were hints along the way that medicine wasn’t his calling. Schwartz recalled that during a prerequisite English course, his professor suggested he leave his premed course of study. The teacher recommended becoming a writer instead. <em>Gilligan’s Island </em>was not yet on Sherwood Schwartz’s radar. </p>

<p>Schwartz wasn’t compelled to change paths, at least not initially. He even moved to California to pursue a master’s degree in medical science, hoping to garner a coveted spot in medical school. It didn’t happen, but he got his start as a comedy writer instead. From there, his career developed. While Schwartz never became a doctor, his son did. One of his four children became an ophthalmologist. </p>

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