Gilligan's Island Wiki
"Big Man on a Little Stick"
Season 1, Episode 21
Epi BMoaLS.jpg
A surfer hangs ten on a tsunami - all the way from Hawaii to the castaways' isle. Can he ride the reverse tsunami back and arrange a rescue?
Basic Info
Air Date: 2/20/65
Written By: Charles Tannen and Lou Huston
Directed By: Tony Leader
Guest Cast: Denny Scott Miller as The Surfer
Episode guide
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St. Gilligan and the Dragon Diamonds Are an Ape's Best Friend

Big Man on a Little Stick is the 21st episode of the First season. It first aired February 20, 1965.


While fishing at the Lagoon, Gilligan and Skipper witness a surfer ride up and collapse on the beach. With the help of the Professor, they revive him and discover his name is Duke Williams from Topeka, Kansas who was lost surfing near Waimea Beach, Hawaii. The Professor deduces he rode a tsunami wave for five days to get to the island. Thinking he's stuck on a deserted island with only men, Duke vows to build himself up and surf back home. Gilligan encourages this, but after he and Duke leave, the Professor explains to Skipper this Duke's plan is highly unlikely.
Back at the boy's hut, the Skipper unsuccessfully tries to convince Duke he's stuck on the island. However, it's not until the girls voyeuristically swoon over the surf stud flexing his muscles that Duke decides he wants to stay.
Meanwhile, Gilligan carries the news to the Howells who mistakenly think a regal Duke has arrived and dispatch the flustered first mate to invite him for cocktails. Down at the beach, Duke fascinates the swimsuit clad girls with his stories and physique, and when Gilligan runs up, he smashes into Duke and collapses on the ground. Duke lifts him up and smugly flexes his bicep inches from Gilligan, who decides to build his own barbells and develop his body.
When the Skipper spots Gilligan lifting coconut shell dumbbells, he urges him to try a heavier bamboo-and-boulder weight. Down at the beach, Duke performs a feat of strength lifting the girls from his shoulders when he hears the helpless cries of Gilligan who has trapped himself beneath the bar. Duke frees Gilligan then demonstrates the lift himself as the girls watch enraptured. After Gilligan fails again, Duke and the girls head back to the beach leaving Gilligan alone.
That night, Duke meets the Howells for cocktails. They tab him as a royal impostor, and he considers them loony and leaves quickly. He reconvenes with the girls and is doing push-ups on the communal table when the Professor arrives with news that reverse tsunami is heading toward Hawaii in thirty-six hours. Gilligan is thrilled, but Duke dismisses the idea and leads the girls off for a moonlight stroll.
The next day, Duke makes a move on Ginger while she is in the jungle picking flowers. When he won't take no for an answer, she runs off and warns Mary Ann, who disdains the advice thinking Duke is harmless. She goes off looking for him and returns moments later also frightened. Ginger suggests they seek the counsel of Mrs. Howell in how to dissuade Duke's advances. After some contemplation, Mr. and Mrs. Howell concoct a plan to make Duke jealous by pairing the Ginger with the Professor and Mary Ann with Gilligan. That night as Skipper waxes the surfboard, Duke appears looking for the girls, and the Skipper lets him know that the girls have returned to their "old beaus." When Duke spots the pairs on dates in the jungle, he agrees to leave the island the next day.
The following morning, Professor gives Duke provisions and he shoves off for Hawaii. Watching from a tree Gilligan sees Duke catch the wave and head out to sea. Everyone is expecting to be rescued. Five days later, though, the men are disappointed as they hear that Duke has landed in Hawaii but has hit his head on a rock and suffered amnesia!


  • "Jealousy gets results, but the results are often unpredictable."


  • Gilligan naming a fish "Irving".
  • Gilligan trying to show off his muscle.
  • Gilligan having trouble back-pressing.
  • Gilligan learning to surf.
  • Mary-Ann running back to the hut from Duke after learning the truth about him from Ginger.
  • Duke seeing the Professor and Ginger together and Gilligan and Mary-Ann together.


Main Cast

Guest Cast


  • Denny Scott Miller later appeared as Tongo the Ape Man in the episode, Our Vines Have Tender Apes.
  • When Denny Miller surfed across the lagoon, he was actually standing on a board attached to a cable and pulled in by a winch. He had never surfed before or after in his life.
  • Duke refers to Mary Ann as "gidget," which is a slang term for a young fit girl that was used commonly in the late 1950s and the 1960s, and was based on the title of Frederick Kohner's book series about a girl named Gidget, a portmanteau of "girl" and "midget". Sally Field would later that year make her television debut as Gidget in the TV adaptation of the books.
  • Duke washes up on the island through the lagoon instead of the beach.
  • Although Duke shows up in just a pair of shorts, he's also seen wearing a t-shirt, possibly loaned by the Skipper.
  • When the Skipper enters the water to rescue Gilligan trapped under an overturned surfboard in the lagoon, his pants are already wet halfway up his thighs, indicating there was a previous version shot of this scene.
  • Denny Miller later returns as Tongo the Ape Man in Our Vines Have Tender Apes. Other guest stars with multiple appearances are Vito Scotti and George A. Neise.


  • Duke - (flexing) " 5 days on that board and I'm nothing but skin and bones..."
    Ginger - "...But what skin!"
    Mary Ann - "...And what bones!"
    Duke - (to Skipper on seeing the girls) "Man, you guys ain't lost... you're hiding!"

  • Skipper - "Gilligan was out fishing, and this is what we landed. "
    Ginger - "Wow, what did you use for bait?"

  • Mr. Howell - "No one can pull the wool over my eyes. Cashmere maybe, but wool, never."

  • Gilligan - "We'll fatten you up and get you on the next salami to Hawaii."

  • Skipper - "Professor. A reverse tsunami, is that possible?"
    Professor - "Not a chance, Skipper."
    Skipper - "That figures. Why else would Gilligan have thought of it."

  • Duke - "Little man, you couldn't knock a hole in the wind with a fistful of hammers!"

  • Duke - "A redhead is a fickle piece of chick, and that's for sure."
    Skipper - "You know something, I've always found it's only the brunettes you can trust."