What I groove on

Archive for the tag “Gilligan’s Island”

Answers to questions you don’t need to know

Congrats again to Nelson Holder and Tom “Dusty Starr” Collins for answering all 11 questions correctly. Your booze awaits.  Martin Valade and Rob Perez deserve a nod of approval, but came up a little short.

Here are the answers:

The Hoff

1) Yes, the Hoff crab is named after the hairy chested David “The Hoff” Hasslehoff, the great actor from Baywatch and Knight Rider (my friend Bob Buena used to tell chicks that he was the voice of Kitt, the Trans Am that told ” The Hoff ” what to do…. I am sure it worked for him, though perhaps currently not as well.)  It proves that there are scientists that have a semblance of a sense of humor.

2) General Lew Wallace did write Ben-Hur which became the best selling book of the 19th century. It has never been out of print and has been adapted for film 4 times.  

3) Gilligan’s first name is Willie (there are a variety of spellings).  In one of the Brady Bunch movies it was hinted that Mrs. Brady’s first husband was a professor who was lost at sea. Both Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch were created by Sherwood Schwartz.

4) Warren Zevon’s Dad, Willie Stumpy Zevon was a boxer and a bookmaker for notorious gangster Mickey Cohen. He was best man for Mickey first marriage.

5) The answer is 6,000,000 to 7,000,000.   The deaths of the American Civil War exceed the deaths of all U.S. wars combined.  An example of this is the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery’s charge at Petersburg, Virginia  where 635 of it’s 900 men were lost in 7 minutes.  The Christian family of Virginia lost 18 family members during the war.

6) The answer is Big Bill Taft. Bill was morbidly obese and suffered from loud belches and chronic flatulence. After his presidency he became Chief Justice of the United States. Sounds like a cool guy to groove with at an outdoor picnic, but not a fellow to get stuck in an elevator with.

7) Chuck Lindbergh had 7 kids outside of his marriage to Anne Morrow with 3 different German gals (two of them sisters). I suppose there is a reason Chuck is buried in Maui and Anne is buried back east.

8) Freddie Mercury was born a Parsi, with the name  Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar. He lived there and in India until his mid teens. He is known as Britain’s first Asian rockstar.

9) Gaylord Wilshire was a wild guy, but had very little to do with the magnificent street we know as Wilshire Blvd., owning just 4 blks which he donated to the city of Los Angeles under the agreement they name the street after him. Go to HMS Bounty bar which is connected to the Gaylord Apartments (named after Gaylord W.) and have a drink for every block he owned . You will groove.   

10) In his youth Daryl Gates was one time arrested for punching a police officer after getting a parking ticket. “Big D” as he was sometimes called, was Chief  “I’m so hammered that I find stairs a hazard” Parker’s driver and later became chief himself. Known as an arrogant leader and foolish with words (“casual drug users should be taken out and shot”) he resigned shortly after the Rodney King riots.

11) The answer here is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Though one does not hear much from the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Club or the Rabbiteers and I think one has to look very hard to find him at the Magic Kingdom, this does not diminish his groove to


the Disney folks because he is one of the original characters.

So that’s it. Again, congratulations to Nelson and Tom for they are champions for the rest of their days. I would like to thank all that tested their useless knowledge in the hope of drinking alcohol with me .  Perhaps next time you might be the one wrestling with 3 Samoan Fog-cutters .  Groove.

Fog Cutter

A Torpedo for Your Thoughts…or a Three Hour Tour

Was it Gilligan’s fault that the S.S. Minnow ran aground on that uncharted desert isle?  Maybe, but the Minnow

The Minnow

(not named for the small bait fish, but named for Newton Minow, who Gilligan’s Island executive producer Sherwood Schwartz believed “ruined television.”  Minow was chairman of the F.C.C. and was noted for his speech in which he called American television “a vast wasteland”) survived the show and now resides on the east side of Vancouver Island as a charter boat for sightseeing tours. This cannot be said of the escort destroyer USS William D.Porter.

It was 1943 and the “Willie Dee’s” first duties were to be  assigned to one of the most secret and critical missions of ww2. They were to escort the mighty USS Iowa (currently docked at the Port of Los Angeles) whose mission was to deliver Franklin Delano Roosevelt,  Secretary of State Cordell Hall, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many others (totaling more than 80 in the President’s party) to French North Africa to meet with Joe Stalin and Winston Churchill. This was the first of the high level summits between the Allied leaders. With maximum speed, the trip would still take up to 8 days in U-Boat infested waters, so the sailors were on high alert and radio silence was imperative.

The Willie Dee’s journey got off to a bad start. As Capt. Wilfred Walter backed his ship out of its berth in Norfolk, Virginia her anchor snagged the ship beside it and ripped off it’s railing, life rafts, a small boat, and various other equipment. It wreaked havoc on its neighbor, but just scratched Willie Dee’s anchor. In a hurry to meet the Iowa, Capt. Walter issued a quick apology and the destroyer was on it’s way.

The sun of ineptitude was shining on the Dee, so within of 48 hrs into her mission a loud explosion startled the convoy and this initiated anti submarine maneuvers. Not to worry signaled the Willie Dee. It was just a depth charge that had accidentally fallen off the ship because the trigger was not on “safe” as it should have been .

Soon after that the ship was hit by a freak “rogue wave” losing a man over the side never to be seen again. The wave caused the engines to temporarily lose power putting the “Porter ” far behind the convoy. The Chief of Operations, Admiral Ernest King, was on board the Iowa and was becoming increasingly embarrassed and frustrated by the actions of the Willie Dee. He made his displeasure known to Capt. Walter who assured the Admiral that things would improve. Improve they did not.

The USS William D. Porter

When the convoy was east of Bermuda, the Iowa’s captain offered to show Roosevelt how the battleship could repulse an air attack. As the Iowa fired its defensive guns at weather balloons sent aloft as targets, the president sat on the deck enjoying the show.  Over on the Willie Dee, Capt. Walter thought this would be a good shot at redemption and ordered his crew to battle stations.  They conducted a drill in which they would practice torpedo launching at another ship. The crew chose the Iowa, some 6,000 yards away.  The trick here is that all the primers, which are needed to launch the torpedoes, are to be removed.  The problem is that the crew did not remove all the primers – so when the bridge officer shouted fire #1 there was no sound which was good, when he said fire #2 there was no sound which was also good, but when he said fire #3 and a ‘ whooooooosh’ sound was heard, the astonishment was quickly overcome by pure horror. The crew of the Porter had just sent a torpedo at the Iowa carrying the President of the United States.

Remember, this is a secret mission and radio silence is very important, for breaking it might signal its location to the enemy. A signalman was to alert the Iowa of the terrible situation, but the young inexperienced sailor instead signaled that the Willie Dee was “going in reverse at full speed.”  Capt. Walter put on the scale ” Should I break radio silence or possibly kill the Leader of the Free World.”  He broke radio silence and after haggling over who was calling, the Iowa obliged to turn hard right missing the torpedo by 350 yards which blew up in its wake. Capt.Walter and crew could breathe again, only to see every gun on the Iowa train their sights on the small destroyer thinking assassination was in the air. Walter tried to soothe the Iowa by saying it was a mistake. Admiral King had had enough of the Three Stooges act and ordered the Willie Dee out of the convoy and to report to Bermuda where the crew was met by fully armed Marines and the entire crew was arrested. A  first in American Naval history.  Somebody had to take the fall, so a crew member was sentenced to 14 years of hard labor. When Roosevelt heard the sentence he ordered the crewman freed since no harm was done.

The Porter was sent to the chilly waters of the Alaska to cool down, but a drunk crew member was determined to fire one of her guns, sending a 5 inch shell into a commander’s front yard while he was having a party for fellow officers and their wives. No harm, but another notch in the yardarm of the Navy’s goofiest ship.

The “Willie Dee” sinking

It is now 1945 and the Porter eventually found itself patrolling the seas off Okinawa where it was fighting off Japanese kamikazes, blasting several out of the sky. A kamikaze approached the Willie Dee and it successfully shot it down, but the plane was moving so fast that when it went into the water, it continued to moving underwater towards the ship. It moved directly under the William D. Porter and exploded, lifting the ship out of the water.

The ship who had caused so much trouble that it seemed Gilligan might have been their Captain, sunk in less than 3 hours without losing a single crewman.  It’s niche in history was kept secret until 1958, when the Navy made the story public. The Minnow or the Willie Dee?  Don’t know how many crew members of the Willie Dee looked like Ginger or MaryAnn nor did they have anyone as smart as the professor.   Groove.

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