“The Professor” and Reuben Kinkaid are no longer with us.

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While I was never a huge fan of “The Partridge Family” I must have seen every episode of “Gilligan’s Island” at least twice. I suppose that’s mostly because “Gilligan’s Island” reruns were timed more or less perfectly to match the time I got home from school, and it became sort of a habit to relax by watching the castaways before heading out for our nightly shenanigans. I don’t recall when “The Partridge Family” came on, but I think it may have been still an active show coming on once a week in prime time, and for pretty much all of my youth, I almost never watched TV in prime time, there was too much else to do.

Still, I watched enough PF to fall madly in love with Laurie, but so did every other humanoid equipped with a Y chromosome within five years of me either way I think.

I have always thought Gilligan’s Island deserved more credit than it got, and “The Professor” was one reason why. Those who watched the show from it’s start know that the first year or two the theme song covered Gilligan, the Skipper too, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star and the rest” Where “the rest” was, of course, Mary Ann and The Professor. Bob Denver (“Gilligan”) went to the show’s producer and essentially demanded that Dawn Wells and Russell Johnson get equal billing with the rest of the cast in the show’s intro, and the song was changed to “the professor and Mary Ann” from that point on. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Bob Denver since learning that.

Russell Johnson won a purple heart as a bomber pilot after being shot down in the Pacific and having to survive as a refugee with two broken ankles. He starred in a lot of B movies, particularly of the cheesy science fiction variety in the late 50s and 60s. I know I’ve also seen him on some
“Twilight Zone” episodes. I seem to recall him being in a “Gunsmoke” episode as well.

I don’t have nearly the same level of recollection about Dave Madden the famously frustrated and confused manager of the “Partridge Family” traveling family band. I do have a vague recollection of seeing one episode where he and Shirley Jones had their characters fall in love and perhaps even get married. I have vague recollections of seeing his face in some other shows, but if so, those were few and far between. I don’t know anything about his personal life.

What I do know is that only Dawn Wells and Tina Louise of the original cast are still with us, and they likely won’t be around much longer. These things always remind me of my own mortality and make me feel like the world is barreling forward like a freight train and leaving whole cars to fall off and fade away as the train roars on.