"Our Vines Have Tender Apes"
Season 3, Episode 20
The Castaways are visited by an Ape Man who is not what he seems.
Basic Info
Air Date: January 30, 1967
Written By: Sid Mandel and Roy Kammerman
Directed By: David McDearmon
Guest Cast: Denny Scott Miller as The Ape Man
Episode guide
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Our Vines Have Tender Apes is the 88th episode of Gilligan's Island and the 20th episode of the third season. It first aired on January 30, 1967.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Entering his hut, Gilligan discovers a broken chair, his fruit has been eaten, and a figure under a blanket lies in his hammock. Pulling the blanket off, he's confronted by a muscular, loincloth-clad, Tarzan-type ape man jumping to his feet and pounding his chest to scare him away. Gilligan runs to tell the Skipper and Professor, but they don't believe him until he goes into shock at something behind them. As they're turning around, the ape man plows through them on a vine, knocking them off their feet and then escaping into the jungle. He soon runs across the Howells, jumping over their chairs and leaving them confused over what they saw. The ape man also collides with Ginger and Mary Ann, terrifying them too and taking their food supplies. The men soon re-group to capture the ape man, but he drives them off by pelting them with coconuts. Back at camp, Mr. Howell is describing his experience to Mrs. Howell when the ape man invades the hut, but Mrs. Howell stymies him so much with her decorum that he flees. The girls are meanwhile trying to make themselves as unattractive as possible to scare the ape man off, but he slips through a window and carries Ginger off to his cave. When she wakes up after fainting, the ape man brings her a coconut from which to drink, and while trying to communicate, she learns his name is Tongo. When he gets distracted by the voices of the men searching for her, she knocks him out with the coconut and escapes. However, when the men return later to try again to capture Tongo, he's missing, and they choose to use Mary Ann as bait to trap Tongo in a cage disguised as a hut. Once trapped, he goes berserk trying to escape, but once he's alone, Tongo calms and pulls out a tape recorder. It turns out he's really an actor practicing for a role and that he actually recognized Ginger. However, by morning, Gilligan still thinking Tongo is the real deal arrives and makes friends with him. The Professor lets Tongo out to study him and try and get answers from him, but a large orangutan comes out of the jungle and surprises them before knocking Tongo out and abducting him. In the confusion, Tongo suddenly speaks perfect English, and the Castaways find his lost tape recorder. After discovering how they have been duped, they decide to rescue him from the ape as their best chance of being rescued. Gilligan lures away the orangutan with a gorilla suit from Mrs. Howell's furs, and the girls find Tongo, letting him know that they're on to his secret. after the orangutan returns to abduct Gilligan, Tongo embarrassingly wanders into the jungle. He is soon seen flying away from the island in a helicopter, apologizing in a note that he can't let the press know how he acted in front of the orangutan. A few days later, Gilligan returns to his hut, finds his broken chair and missing fruit and thinks Tongo has returned, but it's actually the orangutan waiting for him in his hut.

Message[edit | edit source]

  • "Appearances are often deceiving."

Highlights[edit | edit source]

Credits[edit | edit source]

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Denny Scott Miller also appeared in Season One as surfer Duke Williams. He had experience in this type of role, having starred as Tarzan in the 1959 film Tarzan, the Ape Man.
  • Tongo's so-called fear technique appears limited to just jumping out and just pounding on his chest. He doesn't seem truly frightening until he pelts the Castaways with coconuts and kidnaps Ginger.
  • The Castaways should have been suspicious of a shaved ape man in a loin-cloth as a real one would be unkempt and devoid of clothes.
  • It also seems odd that Ginger waits for Mary Ann to "ugly herself up" before turning down any attempt to "ugly herself up."
  • Tongo mentions that Ginger is still considered missing, indicating that Eva Grubb did not succeed in her attempt to take over Ginger's career in All About Eva.
  • Although the Castaways call the ape which kidnaps Tongo a gorilla, it actually looks far more like an orangutan; this can possibly be attributed to their unfamiliarity with apes.
  • The Professor never gets suspicious about where Tongo was the whole time they've been on the island, but then, the Castaways also neglect to search for Tongo's boat or craft that brought him to the island after realizing he's a fake.
  • It seems odd that the ape would wrap itself in Gilligan's blanket unless it was just imitating him.
  • Syndicated versions omit the ending where Gilligan finds the orangutan in his hut.
  • The episode title is a reference to The Song of Solomon 2:15. "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes." (KJV) Our Vines Have Tender Grapes is also the title of a 1945 movie starring Edward G. Robinson, Agnes Moorehead and Margaret O'Brien, based on a novel by George Victor Martin.

Quotes[edit | edit source]

  • Mr. Howell - "I still don't understand why we're out looking for him."
    Skipper - "Well, Mr. Howell, would you like to be back at camp with the women?"
    Mr. Howell - "Well, now that you ask, yes!"

  • Mr. Howell - "If that cut-rate Tarzan comes near me, I'll separate his Tar from his Zan!"

  • Mr. Howell - "A Howell doesn't know how to spell the word, "fear"." (Tongo breaks into the hut.) "Fear, F-E-A-R, fear!!"

  • Ginger - "I admit in Hollywood I dated a few swingers, but they didn't swing from trees!"

  • Tongo - "It's not my mother! I never saw it before in my life!"

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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