Gilligan's Island (1964–1992)
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It's a Bird, It's a Plane 

A missing military jet pack washes up on the island, and The Professor tries to figure out a way to use it for their rescue.


Gary Nelson


Sherwood Schwartz (created by), Sam Locke | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview:
Bob Denver ... Gilligan
Alan Hale Jr. ... Jonas 'The Skipper' Grumby
Jim Backus ... Thurston Howell III
Natalie Schafer ... Mrs. Lovey Howell
Tina Louise ... Ginger Grant
Russell Johnson ... Professor Roy Hinkley
Dawn Wells ... Mary Ann Summers
Frank Maxwell ... General
Edward Faulkner ... Colonel
Walt Hazzard Walt Hazzard ... Lieutenant


A missing military jet pack washes up on the island, and The Professor tries to figure out a way to use it for their rescue.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Family







Release Date:

27 March 1967 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The title is from the opening to the Superman radio and television shows: "Look up it the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane. No, it's Superman!" See more »


When Gilligan rides the jet pack around the lagoon, at least two buildings are visible behind the foliage. See more »


Referenced in This Ain't Gilligan's Island XXX (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

This is the episode where Gilligan is a jet setter.
19 October 2018 | by RalphkramSee all my reviews

It's a Bird, It's a Plane is a typical late third season entry with a straightforward plot, uneven humor, and bouts of lazy, predictable writing. Most of the gags fail to land or feel half-hearted. At least the broader slapstick is kept to a minimum and there is the occasional chuckle. Outside of the cold open, there are no dull spots and everything jets along at a nice pace.

We return to the trope of the military losing another valuable piece of equipment that finds its way to our favorite island. This time, the Air Force has lost an experimental jet pack. We learn this in probably the dullest cold open in the series, where some very stiff and bored actors deliver dry exposition on what happened. Their lost pack winds up in the lagoon; the Professor believes it can be used in a rescue attempt.

How he arrives at this instant analysis is hilariously lazy: he just pours liquid from one beaker to another. It's more hilarious than the three intentionally funny interruptions by the curious castaways. After this extensive testing phase, he concludes that there is enough rocket fuel to get a castaway back to Hawaii.

In an awkward transition, we cut to the Howells wanting Gilligan to make that jump. (They feel he is the most qualified candidate they can trick into flying). Their attempt at trickery is one of those scenes that fails to land; it fizzles out when Mrs. Howell falls for her husband's shtick and shoos Gilligan away. It's certainly inferior to what is arguably the stand out scene of the episode, where glamorous Ginger's steamy seduction attempt nearly causes Gilligan to fly without the pack.

None of their chicanery is necessary, however, as the Professor will use a test dummy to make the flight. The girls dress the dummy in a scene that hearkens back to New Neighbor Sam and is nothing special. Neither is the broad, slapstick-heavy scene where Gilligan uses up most of the jet fuel and ruins the Professor's plan.

Another trope is used when a fleet of Navy ships is dispatched to search for the pack. The castaways go to plan B, which isn't much different from plan A. They will launch the pack straight up for fifteen minutes to signal the ships.

No one, though, is any more willing to make the flight than he was before. On the fly, the prolific Professor builds a weird spinning barrel contraption to test the men's ability to withstand the thin altitude. Our dizzy lead passes with flying colors. There are some mildly amusing flight training scenes, then he reluctantly makes the jump.

The jump itself is underwhelming and undermined by stock special effects. Gilligan makes a super dumb decision and steers himself out of another certain rescue.

Slightly better is the Laurel and Hardy bit he and the Skip engage in back in the hut. Also, the epilogue is semi-clever, as Gilligan tries to redeem himself and forgets to buckle up.


The lieutenant in the introductory scene is played by Walt Hazzard, an NBA star who played from 1964 to 1967 with the LA Lakers.

Only episode where the supply hut has a lock.

Find it interesting that Ginger's sizzling 'good-bye' smooch goes on long after the pack has been switched. Should Mary Ann be jealous?

The Skipper observing them. "I wonder what's going on over there?" It really has been a long time, hasn't it, Skip?

In this episode, veteran announcer Chick Hearn gives the island's coordinates as two hundred fifty miles southeast of Hawaii.

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