Gilligan's Island Wiki
"The Sweepstakes"
Season 2, Episode 5
Gilligan discovers he has a winning Sweepstakes ticket making him as rich as Mr. and Mrs. Howell
Basic Info
Air Date: October 14, 1965
Written By: Walter Black
Directed By: Jack Arnold
Guest Cast: None
Episode guide
Previous Next
Smile, You're on Mars Camera Quick Before It Sinks

The Sweepstakes is the 41st episode in the series and the fifth episode of the second season. It first aired on October 14, 1965.


Gilligan is serving drinks to the Howells in their faux country club on the Island when he hears over the radio the news about the Argentinian Sweepstakes. Realizing he has the winning ticket, he runs through the island announcing he's a millionaire. The Howells decide to give him membership in the club, and in turn, Gilligan pays the admission costs to the club for everyone else on the island. Realizing the club is no longer exclusive, Mr. Howell demands to see Gilligan's winning ticket, but after he can't find it, he throws everyone out of the club. That night, Mr. Howell has a dream sequence in which he is a prospector who after forty years strikes it rich and goes into town to file a claim. The Professor is a assayer, Gilligan is the Marshall, Ginger is a saloon owner, Mary Ann is a western damsel in distress, and the Skipper as a saloon gambler. Howell gives out promissory notes to pay for their services and debts which he can't pay after losing his ticket. alarming the townsfolk coming after him for the worthless notes. Waking up, he rushes to Gilligan to apologize and finds the lost ticket tacked over the First Mate's hammock but discovers its two years old. He invites everyone back into the club after all, reverting to character the next day after Gilligan realizes that the ticket is two years old and worthless.


  • "True friendships are rarer and more valuable than gold."


  • The Castaways star in another dream on the "Gunsmoke" set.
  • Ginger slaps Gilligan.


Main Cast

Guest Cast


  • Blooper: The exterior shot of the Howell's hut before Mr. Howell's dream is actually a shot of the boy's hut, not the Howell's hut.
  • In the episode, the Mr. Howell tells Mary Ann the service entrance to the Howell Hills Country Club, but yet, Gilligan is often seen taking the front to bring the Howells their drinks.
  • The winning ticket number announced is G131131.
  • Ginger slaps Gilligan when he offers her the money to join the Howell Private Country Club. She also slaps Dr. Boris Balinkoff in [Ring Around Gilligan]] for pinching her cheek.
  • This is the second time Ginger shows her interest in health care. She feels Gilligan's forehead when he tries telling her about the lottery. She also checked the Professor for a fever in Goodbye Island and appears as a nurse to the Professor in several episodes. She also tends to the Professor's injury in Gilligan Goes Gung-Ho and checked Gilligan's forehead in Erika Tiffany Smith to the Rescue.
  • Ginger breaks the Fourth Wall after she tries to kiss Gilligan. She previously did the same thing in President Gilligan and Angel on the Island.
  • In the dream sequence, Mr. Howell can be seen putting the claim in his lower vest pocket. It can be seen plainly up until his poker game with the Skipper as a gambler. It's probably still there in the final shot, but there isn't a clear image of it.
  • During the dream sequence, the cameraman's finger appears in the shot.
  • In the dream sequence, Mary Ann plays a Damsel of the Golden West who mentions she is the last of her family, her father "helped" by the Apache, her mother pushed out by the Cherokee, her brother, Tom, slain by the Sioux and her sister, Emily, by the Navajo except her grandmother who was shot by Marshall Gilligan. (The Cherokee are not a Western indigenous tribe, but a tribe native to the Southeastern states of Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama; they would not be present in the West although a majority did settle in Oklahoma.)
  • Ironically, Mr. Howell's dream and Gilligan's dream in The Sound of Quacking were both filmed on the "Gunsmoke" Old West TV sets, whose series resulted in "Gilligan's Island" being canceled after the Fourth season had been scheduled by the network.
  • Gilligan also stars as a Marshall in his dream in The Sound of Quacking.
  • After Howell gives him an IOU for $50,000, Marshall Gilligan shows up later to arrest him for passing bad IOUs, but Bob Denver must have flubbed his line because he claims Howell owes him $40,000!
  • Mrs. Howell doesn't appear in the dream sequence.
  • On the radio, the actual winner of the Argentinian Sweepstakes is identified as Hugo Abernathy of Peeling, Vermont.
  • Gilligan's putting skills seem to be shaky at the end of this episode compared to his skills in Three Million Dollars More or Less.
  • Six years later, Jim Backus reprised his role as the eccentric prospector role in an episode of "The Brady Bunch." Sherwood Schwartz possibly had this role in mind when he called on Backus to play the prospector.


  • Mr. Howell - "You had an eight. I believe that I had a four."
    Gilligan - "A four? You millionaires can make yourselves believe anything."

  • Mr. Howell - "Would you believe I once made less than a hole in one? I missed the ball and sank the divot. It's a golfing joke!"

  • Ginger - "We did find all the things you've lost on the island since we landed here, Bubblegum wrappers, baseball cards..."
    The Skipper - " And your library card, your bank book..."
    Mary Ann - "And the pages you've been tearing off the calendar..."
    Professor - "And that great American novel you keep starting."
    Gilligan - "Well, at least we did clean up the island."

  • Mr. Howell - "You know, I haven't had a bath in forty years."
    County Assayer/Professor - "I know." (repeated by Gilligan, Ginger, Mary Ann and the Skipper)
  • Mr. Howell - "Four cards for three card Monte?"
    The Gambler/Skipper - "Everything's gone up!"