She appeared on Gilligan’s Island as a native woman, mother to the obese native girl who loved Gilligan

She appeared on Gilligan’s Island as a native woman, mother to the obese native girl who loved Gilligan

The movie’s not as bad as Maltin’s Movie Guide claims, giving it only a star-and-half out of four. But the production does squander a ily living in a modular house underwater is inventive. Trouble is the constant underwater fish frolics along with a number of tacked-on subplots distract from what there is of human hijinks. It’s like the producers were fascinated with the trained dolphins, seals, etc. They’re cute, but enough is enough.

From the visit of she who would be Gladys, the de-pressurizing of the leg, the sensational shark attack, the harmless songs (and yes, we too sang the Goldfish song for years and still do)

As a result, genuine comedic talents like Backus and Randall are largely wasted, while the 60’s rock band is catchy but their lingo is so ‘like yesterday’. In fact, the many disparate parts are not well blended making for awkward passages, like the subplot with Bruce Gordon and the naval war ships that more or less just dangle.

Too bad, because the special effects are well done, along with an attractive cast. Plus, the results are attractively photographed in eye-catching Technicolor. Then too, actress Ray, in a supporting role, almost steals the show with her comical shenanigans. At the same time, I hope the many marine critters and their trainers got bonuses for their overtime work.

All and all, the 90-minutes remains a well-meaning concoction

Nonetheless, it looks to me like the producers were pretty much stuck about where to go with their novel premise– so they struck out in too many poorly combined directions. No wonder the promising premise has slipped into genuine obscurity.

I well remember the malaise the words ‘An Ivan Tors Production’ used to instil in me as a kid; and he, I’m sure – rather than director Jack Arnold – was the defining creative force behind this excruciating misfire.

It has two enormously attractive leads, of whom Janet Leigh was never more charming. (Had she ever worn a wetsuit in this tripe it might have earned it an extra star, but she didn’t so it doesn’t.) And that music!! It even boasts a song called ‘Hey Little Goldfish’, which they sing again and again.

We watched Hello Down There one evening (surely it was a Friday, so there was no school the next day), all huddled on the bunk beds in the back bedroom, a water cooler set on the dresser beside the TV.

Among them, Lou Wagner as Richard Dreyfuss’ brother. Wagner would go on to be the little scientist on CHiPs in the white overcoat.

The Green Onion was designed like it would be ideal for a TV series. Had this movie came out in the early sixties instead of ’69, you can bet there would have been episodes and seasons available on DVD as well.

Rare moment to see Ken Berry as a villain as well! For some reason, the movie bogged in the sneaking out to get the song to Roddy McDowell. It just loses its feel of underwater existence. Perhaps had it gone in reverse and McDowell and Backus and Charlotte been trying to get to the Green Onion and Randall, Leigh and Dreyfuss had to rescue them instead, thereby keeping the Onion at centerstage where it belonged and had been for all of the previous movie, this thing would have been even more of a classic.

In this movie from the late 1960’s you will see several young people who went on to be stars. I never saw this till today, don’t know how I missed it. There are some likable songs, some funny moments and even some a bit scary. Overall it had some good laughs and was entertaining.

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