Gilligan's Island Wiki
Season 3, Episode 22
An astronaut capsule crashing down on the Island gives the Castaways hope for rescue.
Basic Info
Air Date: February 20, 1967
Written By: John Fenton Murray
Directed By: Jerry Hopper
Guest Cast: Scott Graham, James Spencer and George A. Neise
Episode guide
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Splashdown is the 90th episode of Gilligan's Island and the 22nd episode of the Third Season. It first aired on February 20, 1967.


The Castaway's "SOS" as seen from space.


The Professor tries contacting Scorpio 6, a space capsule with two astronauts, in orbit over the Island to get them rescued. Their initial plan to contact the capsule with a makeshift transmitter fails because their signal isn't strong enough, but their second plan to contact the astronauts with an SOS formed out of tree trunks almost works until Gilligan sets himself on fire and accidentally skews the SOS into "SOL." Astronaut Sol Tobias merely thinks it's a message to him. On the last trajectory, however, the unmanned Scorpio E-X-1 space capsule that was supposed to rendezvous with the astronauts in orbit instead lands on the Island. The Castaways decide to use it to float to safety, but they don't know is that the capsule is set to self destruct by NASA to conceal its records. The Howells and the girls both try to stowaway in it with Gilligan and the Skipper going off to get help, but they get discovered, delaying the rescue attempt. As the Professor chides them for their selfishness and dangerous stunt, the capsules floats off into the Lagoon where it finally explodes, showering the island and the castaways with wreckage. Mr. Howell, however, fails to take the failed rescues with grace. After losing money and brandy in the botched rescue attempts, he has a temper tantrum and starts tearing apart his hut, stopping just short of destroying his teddy bear.


  • "Every now and then, disobeying an instruction can be the best instruction of all."


  • Gilligan, Skipper Mary-Ann and Ginger peddling to get a radio signal.
  • Mr. Howell hitting Gilligan with Skipper's hat after saying "Move to Mexico City."
  • Gilligan's "SOL" goof
  • Mr. Howell's temper tantrum after losing money in the lagoon and his cherished brandy


Main Cast

Guest Cast


  • Mrs. Howell - "What does one say when one meets an astronaut?"
    Mr. Howell - "One doesn't says anything... One just throws confetti!"

  • Mr. Howell - "Lovey, I thought you'd never hear these terrible words from my lips, but we'll have to go to work."
    Mr. Howell - "Work?"

  • The Professor - "They can see the lights of Mexico City.... That means we still have a chance to contact them."
    Gilligan -"Yeah, let's move to Mexico."
    (Mr. Howell takes the Skipper's hat and uses it to hit Gilligan.)
    Skipper - "Thank you, Mr. Howell."

  • The Professor - "Wait a minute, wait a minute... Those tree trunks might be too green to burn. They should be soaked with something inflammable."
    Gilligan - "Yeah, and something that can catch fire easily."

  • Mr. Howell - "Oh, my poor brandy... For crepe suzettes, maybe, but for S.O.S. - Never!"

  • Mrs. Howell - "Oh, Thurston, This is so much fun. It reminds me when we eloped."
    Mr. Howell - "Yes, that screeching bird does sound like your mother."

  • Ginger - "Would you believe we came down to say good-bye? Would you believe a going away party? Would you believe I'm lying?"

  • Skipper - "Gilligan, why don't you stop that. You don't know anything about space."
    Gilligan - "I know one thing. You take up more of it than I do."

  • Gilligan - "Mr Howell lost his money and his brandy too."
    Skipper- "Oh, that doesn't hurt Mr Howell. I'm sure he's taking it like a man."
    (Scene of Mr. Howell wrecking his hut and then hugging his teddy bear crying)


  • George A. Neise playing the NASA official also appears in Will the Real Mr. Howell Please Stand Up? as a reporter interviewing the Mr. Howell Impostor.
  • This is the second episode featuring NASA space probes; the other was Smile, You're on Mars Camera.
  • The Professor deduces Scorpio 6 would pass over the island on its 9th, 16th and 23rd orbits and would be only 155 miles away.
  • When Scorpio E-X-1 lands in the lagoon, the wires holding it can plainly be seen. Furthermore. The rockets landing it are only for directional purposes and wouldn't be used for landing. It would actually descend by means of a parachute attached to the under-frame.
  • Mary Ann and Ginger wearing sweaters while pedaling the radar on a tropical island is completely unrealistic.
  • After the makeshift radar fails and the Professor is deciding what to do next, Mr. Howell hits Gilligan with the Skipper's hat.
  • The castaways try to get help three times: First, by sending a radio signal which is too weak for Scorpio 6 to receive; second, by lighting logs signaling "S.O.S" until as usual Gilligan ruins everything; and third, they try to float off the island on Scorpio E-X-1.
  • During the close-up of the capsule, it's shown floating in the atmosphere.
  • As punishment for wrecking the SOS, Gilligan is punished by writing SOS over a hundred times.
  • The part where Gilligan fouls up the rescue by turning "S.O.S" into "S.O.L" is similar to the pilot when the castaways try to spell out "S.O.S" to a passing plane and Gilligan again messes up the last letter written with fish.
  • The fact that Gilligan fouled up the second rescue attempt by changing the letters "S.O.S." to "S.O.L." may have been a sly off-color joke slipped in for those viewers who could understand it. Since World War I, "S.O.L." has been a slang abbreviation for "S*** Out of Luck."
  • The astronauts' aerial view of the island conflicts with other similar views of the island by the Professor and Lord Beasley Waterford. However, this might be explained as their technology perceiving underwater parts of the island.
  • It's never mentioned if the press tries tracking down the island to interview whoever was trying to contact Sol. It seems logical that such an endeavor would have still led to a rescue.
  • The Skipper recalls Gordon Cooper aboard Gemini V reporting he could see the lights of Houston, Texas, However, since the light emitted from the Luxor Hotel (called the Luxor Sky Beam) is stated at 42.3 billion lumens and can be seen from space, and the average campfire is between 2500-5000 lumens, the chances of the Castaway's rescue signal being seen from space is nil.
  • The unmanned Scorpio E-X-1 capsule is reported lost east of Hawaii, but other episodes claim the island was lost southwest of Hawaii.
  • Mr. Howell shows up in a scuba outfit the castaways didn't have in Castaways Pictures Presents when they were diving in the lagoon.
  • Mr. Howell mentions that a Howell was first aboard the Mayflower and the first to set foot on Plymouth Rock. In fact there were no Howells aboard the Mayflower. There was a John Howland, however, who was mainly notable for having fallen overboard (and been rescued) during the journey.
  • When Mr. Howell tells Mrs. Howell that they will have to perform work, Mrs. Howell responds with a horrified "Work?" This was a recurring catchphrase of Maynard G. Krebs, a lazy beatnik character played by Bob Denver in the TV sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" starring Dwayne Hickman. In a earlier episode, Mrs. Howell does willingly dig for gold The Big Gold Strike
  • The interior of the unmanned capsule is larger than its exterior.
  • Mary Ann brings the men lemonade in bamboo cups as they struggle to get the capsule afloat, but when it finally slides loose, the Skipper drops his cup which shatters.
  • It's never explained as to why there are sheets inside the unmanned capsule.
  • The Howells and the Girls show unbelievable stupidity thinking they can actually hide in a tiny one-room capsule from the Skipper and Gilligan.
  • Mr. Howell actually has his teddy bear before Mrs. Howell gives it to him. This was obviously an extra shot.
  • When Ginger is found out trying to stow away on the capsule, she starts her sentences "Would you believe..." This phrase echoes of Agent 86 Maxwell Smart of "Get Smart" who also started several sentences this way.
  • The idea of NASA planting explosives aboard a landing craft is a bit far-fetched, but a needed contrivance to keep the Castaways on the island.
  • If the Howells and the girls had not been found in time, the unmanned capsule's explosion would have killed everyone, leaving the Professor alone on the island.
  • In the syndicated TVLand version, the scene with the Howells and the girls sneaking on to the capsule was deleted.
  • The joke about a misspelled word was years later repeated in the comic strip The Far Side, where a marooned man is waving his hands frantically at a helicopter after spelling out a distress sign in tree branches, only to have the pilot remark "Cancel that, I guess it reads 'HELF.'"