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"It's a Bird, It's a Plane"
Season 3, Episode 27
An experimental Air Force jet pack washes ashore on Gilligan's Island. Can the castaways use it to get rescued... or not?
Basic Info
Air Date: March 27, 1967
Written By: Sam Locke and Joel Rapp
Directed By: Gary Nelson
Guest Cast: Frank Maxwell, Edward Faulkner and Walt Hazzard as Military Officials
Episode guide
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It's a Bird, It's a Plane is the 95th episode of Gilligan's Island and the 27th episode of the third season. It first aired on March 27, 1967.


The United States Air Force loses an experimental jet pack at sea that washes up on the Island, and after Gilligan reels it in while fishing, the Professor sees it as hope of getting rescued from the island. Unfortunately, the others can't keep their hands off it. Mr. Howell plots to get Gilligan to wear it, but his wife ruins his scheme. Ginger and Mary Ann likewise try to trick Gilligan into flying it to get them rescued, but they're discovered by the Skipper and Professor. The Professor sees no reason to have anyone fly it; he'll just set the pack off with a dummy in it on an azimuth with Hawaii, but while rigging the dummy for the jet pack, Gilligan accidentally activates the pack and expends much of its fuel through the jungle and lagoon. Only enough fuel is left for a 15-minute flight to signal the Navy searching for the lost pack. This means testing to see who among them would be best to fly it for help. That person ironically turns out to be Gilligan. The Professor's plan is to have him shoot straight up over the island to alert the Navy looking for the pack off shore, but when Gilligan is overhead and listening to the Radio, he hears the Navy report of a U.F.O. in the area, not realizing that he is the UFO, gets scared and enters a cloud where the jet pack exhaust causes rain, dismissing the Navy search. Some time after the rain storm, the Professor somehow manages to synthesize a substitute fuel for the pack, but before he can explain his plan to the Skipper, Gilligan takes the pack to try once more going for help to make up for his blunder, but this time, he forgets to strap himself in and it blasts off without him into the sky.


  • "Man's most ingenious new inventions are at the mercy of man himself."


  • Mr. Howell, Mary-Ann and Ginger trying to trick Gilligan into wearing the jet pack.
  • Gilligan riding off on the dummy into the lagoon.
  • Gilligan hitting himself with Skipper's hat.
  • "I'm Super Gilligan" quote from Gilligan.


Main Cast

Guest Cast


  • The title of the episode comes from the phrase, "It's a bird... it's a plane... it's Superman!" This was part of the traditional introduction for the DC Comics character Superman, first used in the animated cartoons produced by Fleischer Studios in the early 1940's, and later re-used in the 1950's TV series The Adventures of Superman.
  • The exterior of the Boy's Hut is erroneously used as the exterior of the Supply Hut twice in this episode.
  • The military dialogue in this episode is extremely strained beyond belief. The General consults with the Colonel if the jet pack is ready for USAF use; it would have made better sense if they had each other's lines. Furthermore, when the pack is lost, the General alerts the Navy to look for it. Since when does the US Navy take orders from the USAF?
  • XJP stands for Experimental Jet Pack
  • The U.S. military really was experimenting with jetpack technology during this time period. However, to this day no jetpack has ever been produced that can provide anything more than very brief flights.
  • When Gilligan flies over the Island, he is seen observed flying over pine trees that would not be seen on an tropical South Pacific island. These scenes were reportedly shot over Griffith State Park near Los Angeles, California.
  • When Gilligan and the jet pack is seen by the US Navy over the island, the location is reported as about 250 miles south of Hawaii.
  • In the exterior location shot with the Castaways watching Gilligan flying in the jet pack, Mary Ann goes without her signature pig tails.
  • Ironically, with all the wire work Bob Denver has done in the series, his close-up "flying" shots are taped with him standing alone in a misty set.
  • While flying, Gilligan calls himself, "Super Gilligan." Coincidentally, two episodes of the later animated shows have this name, namely Super Gilligan in The New Adventures of Gilligan and Super-Gilligan in Gilligan's Planet.
  • After it starts raining, Gilligan latches the door on the Supply Hut to lock the Skipper out in the rain, but for much of the episode, there is no latch on the door and it disappears after this scene.
  • The Professor and Mary Ann can be seen smiling and giggling at the Skipper and Gilligan's antics locking each other out of the supply hut.
  • Technically, the pack should have crashed back down to the island or washed back up on shore after a while.
  • In syndicated versions of the episode, the scenes with Mr. Howell trying to trick Gilligan into wearing the jet pack are deleted. The tag scene with Gilligan allowing the jet pack to fly off without him is also missing from the episode.


  • Mrs. Howell - "Oh dear, Professor, did we cause you to spill that?"
    Professor - "Oh, not at all, Mrs. Howell, I've had so much practice, I could have spilled it myself."

  • Ginger - "Is there a brave decent person on this island who would want to?"
    Gilligan - "No, but there's a rotten cowardly person who doesn't want to."

  • Skipper - "Wow, what a brilliant idea!"
    Professor - "Well, frankly, Skipper, I think it's my most brilliant ideas. There's only one thing I'm not certain of."
    Skipper - "What's that?"
    Professor - "If it will work."

  • Skipper - "Did you hear that, Gilligan?"
    Gilligan - "My right ear heard it, but my left ear is still waiting for the translation."

  • Skipper - "You know what you are - You're bumbling, stupid, incompetent and useless and those are your good points!"
    Gilligan - "You're right, Skipper."
    (Gilligan takes the Skipper's hat and hits himself with it.)
    Gilligan - "I deserved it."

  • Mrs. Howell - "Oh, Professor, it's absolutely wonderful having you with us. You're absolutely marvelous."
    Mr. Howell - "If you were Republican, you'd be perfect!"

  • Mr. Howell - "I haven't felt like this since I was elected president of the wine-tasting society."

  • Mary Ann - "Gilligan isn't light-headed or dizzy!"
    Skipper - "That's because he's light-headed and dizzy all the time. He's used to it!"

  • Mary Ann - "Won't it be wonderful when those sailors pick us up, Ginger?"
    Ginger - "Won't be the first time it's happened to me, Mary Ann."

  • Skipper - "Will the REAL 'dummy' please stand up?!" (Skipper takes off his hat and uses it to hit Gilligan over the head furiously.)