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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #239: Professor Roy Hinkley

That's got to be a still, right?

Gilligan's Island was one of the more ludicrous sitcoms in an era of ludicrous sitcoms, rife with unanswerable questions. Why did they pack so much for a three-hour tour? Ginger or Mary-Ann? Who would ever entrust their lives to bumbling seamen like Gilligan and The Skipper?

And then there's The Professor, real name Roy Hinkley. This man of science, a trained botanist and also a holder of advanced degrees in Psychology as well as seemingly limitless other fields from several universities, was so respected by his fellow castaways that he became the de facto leader of the group. He devised countless modern contrivances using coconuts and bamboo, though never managed to repair the boat or build a working raft.

You get the feeling he could have had his pick of the sultry Ginger or well-scrubbed Mary-Ann, except his character was so thoroughly sexless, a Ph.D. with a constantly 7.0 ph. My theory? He came along on the tour knowing the storm would maroon his fellow passengers (the mix of whom he had intentionally scripted), and the entire island experience was a sociological experiment, with himself as the dispassionate observer.

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