Obituaries for Newton Minow, who passed away last month, mentioned that the boat from the Gilligan’s Island TV show was named after the former FCC Chairman as a sly dig.
Television producer Sherwood Schwartz still did not like Minow’s criticism and named the ill-fated boat in his low-brow sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” the S.S. Minnow in a mock tribute that Minow said actually thrilled him.
“Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale” from various trivia sites such as Outsider:
Sherwood Schwartz, who created Gilligan’s Island, named the boat in honor of his least favorite bureaucrat. Schwartz wrote in his book Inside Gilligan’s Island that he named the boat to mock Newton Minow.
Schwartz wrote: “The shocking aftermath of that designation of responsibility by Mr. Minow and the FCC gave ABC, CBS, and NBC absolute authority over everything that comes into your living room on network television.”
And though Newton Minow himself repeated the story none of the news articles then or obituaries now get a quote from Inside Gilligan’s Island showing Schwartz writing that Minnow equals Minow.
The Washington Post obit added the adverb “reputedly” while relating the tale:
Sherwood Schwartz, creator of the lowbrow 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” reputedly named the marooned S.S. Minnow
So it looks as if the television reporter in Arlo and Janis is relating more factoid than fact.
See Ignatz’s reply in the comments below.
In other relevant Newton Minow news – he was a collector of the many editorial cartoons about him.
A photo from The Chicago Tribune obituary:
From an earlier ChiTrib article not long after Minow was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:
This room, in the back of his home, is dark. History touches every inch. The walls are covered with photographs of the people he knew and people he worked for and friends he made — Ken Burns and Bob Hope and John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy…
The only wall without photographs is the wall across from his desk: On that wall are several dozen editorial cartoons, many framed, some original drawings, each a reminder of Minow’s outsize influence, using his name as shorthand for snobbishness or discernment.
A TV crew guy hits his thumb with a hammer and shouts “Newton Minow!” as a curse.
A bookstore hangs a banner across its storefront: “Thank You Newton Minow!”
A New Yorker cartoon features a husband and wife sitting in front of a television and the husband asking: “What’ll it be? Channel 13? Or shall we wallow in the vast wasteland?”