Information about Russell Johnson
What made Professor Roy Hinkley tick?
Russell Johnson was born on November 10, 1924. He is the last remaining male alive from the cast of Gilligan's Island. He grew up in Ashley Pennsylvania and was one of seven children. He was eight years old when his father died. Because of financial hardships and an inability cover family expenses, Russell attended Girard College, a school for "poor white male orphans". Russell was an average student.
After graduating Girard, Russell joined the Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He flew a total of 44 combat missions as a bombardier in B-25 bombers. While flying with a navigator in a B-25 with the 100th Bombardment Squadron, 42nd Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force, his plane and two other B-25s were shot down in the Philippines in March 1945 in a run against Japanese targets. The planes had to be abandoned in the waters off the port of Zamboanga. During this abandonment, Russell Johnson broke both of his ankles and the radioman next to him was killed. Russell Johnson earned a Purple Heart for this mission. When he was honorable discharged on November 22, 1945, he walked away with the Air Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one service star and the World War II Victory Medal. He joined the Army Reserve and used the GI Bill to attend the Actor's Lab in Hollywood.
He started his Hollywood career in 1952 in the film For Men Only where he played a villain. For the most part, his early roles were either in B western movies or science fiction movies like It Came from Outer Space (1953), This Island Earth (1955), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1956) and The Space Children (1958). He had a recurring role as Marshal Gib Scott on the ABC western series, Black Saddle and he appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone in which he took great pride.
Russell Johnson was best known for playing Professor Roy Hinkley on Gilligan's Island. When he auditioned, he was asked to remove his shirt. He refused and was still offered the part. Before he signed his contract, he got a guarantee from the producer that when a scientific statement was made, it would be accurate.
Roy Hinkley with his Bachelor of Science, Masters of Arts and Ph.D was fondly referred to as The Professor by his fellow castaways. There is not much known about his background. He was a high school science teacher who was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He was on the Minnow to collect research on the book he was writing, Fun With Ferns. His first book was called, Rust, the Real Red Menace. Not only was he a science expert, but he was familiar with law, literature, social sciences and the arts. He was described as a "well-known scoutmaster" in the pilot and in answer to what sports he participated in, he claimed "chess club". He also once mentioned being a scuba diver after an extended kiss with Ginger.
The main reason he was there was to make life more comfortable for the castaways with his many inventions. It was really impressive what he was able to do with some coconuts and some bamboo. He managed to recharge the batteries to the AM radio with some coconuts. He filled some of Gilligan's teeth with explosives. He designed thermometers with bamboo.
The Professor was always researching one thing or another with the large volume of books he brought with him on this "three-hour tour". These books ranged from chemistry, anthropology to the South Sea which always had the necessary facts to solve problems that arose while living on the island.
A running joke among the cast was that the Professor could fix anything, create anything except fix the hole in the boat. Anytime it was tried, it failed in a glorious manner.
As the most patient and level-headed character on the island, he was often brought in to solve disputes and often served as a leader for this motley crew. He was the one who showed the most patience with Gilligan's flubs, though sometimes his frustration showed.
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