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"Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk"
Season 1, Episode 12
Eppy - Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk.jpg
Can Gilligan's Christmas wish to get off the island come true? It seems to have come true when the radio reports the Coast Guard seems to have spotted castaways, perhaps the castaways of the Minnow! In their joy, they think of the troubles they first encountered on the island.
Basic Info
Air Date: 12/19/64
Written By: Sherwood Schwartz, Elroy Schwartz, and Austin Kalish
Directed By: Rod Amateau
Guest Cast: None
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Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk is the twelfth episode of the First Season. It first aired December 19, 1964.


It's Christmas and the castaways celebrate the holiday decorating a palm tree. Gilligan makes a holiday wish that they could be rescued. At that moment on the Radio, they hear news that a Navy Destroyer has spotted a group of castaways believed to be them. Gilligan and the Skipper make a signal fire to make it easier for them to be found and start reminiscing back to their first day on the Island. In the meanwhile, everyone praises Gilligan for his good cheer and waits for the rescue ship. In turn, they share their memories of that first day. The girls kiss Gilligan in gratitude for his Christmas wish of being rescued. However, after waiting a while, they check for more news and learn that the Navy had rescued other castaways that had been stranded for eleven years on a different island. On Christmas Eve, everyone is disappointed and tired, but the Skipper shows up as Santa and reminds them of everything for which they should be thankful before departing. At that moment, the real Skipper returns from gathering wood in the opposite direction. Filled once more with good cheer, everyone starts wishing each other a Merry Christmas as sounds of Santa's sleigh bells ring over the island.


Main Cast

Guest Cast


  • This episode used extensive footage from the unaired pilot, Marooned with shots featuring the Professor, Bunny, and the original Ginger re-filmed with Russell Johnson, Tina Louise and Dawn Wells. The original cast members can still be seen in the background when Gilligan and the Skipper wake up on The Minnow.
  • The name of this episode, "Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Talk", refers to the incidents of the pilot seen entirely in flashback.
  • "Jingle Bells" plays as the episode opens.
  • In dialogue, the Professor credits Gilligan's wish for their would-be rescue, but in later episodes, particularly Three to Get Ready and Voodoo, he turns out to be more pragmatic and doesn't believe in superstition.
  • Once again Gilligan fouls up a rescue when he accidentally hooks the transmitter and tosses it into the sea, and after it is found again, he promptly drops a load of firewood on it!
  • The fish that "swallows" the radio is actually smaller than the radio. Even if it was large enough, the saltwater would have short-circuited the electronics. Likewise, in searching for the transmitter, the Professor should have looked for a fish large enough to hold the transmitter.
  • The concept that fish swallowed both the radio and the transmitter is a bit far-fetched. Except for sharks, fish aren't known for swallowing debris. Additionally, the odds of catching the transmitter after retrieving the radio would be infeasible.
  • This was the only holiday episode in the series, although Ginger mentions Christmas in Meet the Meteor.
  • After Santa Claus leaves the island with his sleigh, a series of voices echo "Merry Christmas." It is debatable if the echoes were of the Castaways themselves in spirit (because of their continued determination to get off the island), or of the other castaways that were rescued in the radio news bulletin.


  • Mr. Howell - "Where's the rescue party? I thought this was an afternoon affair. "
    Skipper - "Should be here any time now, Mr. Howell."
    Mr. Howell - "I certainly hope so or I'll have to change into evening clothes."

  • Gilligan - "I feel like I'm on fire."
    Skipper - "You are. Get your feet out of the fire."

  • Mrs. Howell - "Coast Guard cutter?"
    Mr. Howell - "We thought it was going to be the Navy, at least."
    Mrs. Howell - "I'm glad they didn't find our island. We're both terribly overdressed."