A Tale of a Fateful Trip: Man’s Complaint Referring to Gilligan’s Island Results in Aborted Flight and Criminal Charges

A flight to Hawaii from Portland, Oregon was turned around after a flight attendant was given what they said was a potentially threatening note. Joseph Hedlund Johnson was arrested for the note, which seems to make not a reference to an act of terrorism but ‘Gilligan’s Island.”

Johnson, 56, was on Hawaiian Airlines on a flight to Maui and was ticked that he was not allowed to store his bag under his seat because it was an exit row. That is when he gave the flight attendant a comment card in a sealed note which the attendant then read to the pilot. According to CNN, this is what it said:

“I thought I was going to die, we were so high up. I thought to myself: I hope we don’t crash and burn or worse yet landing in the ocean, living through it, only to be eaten by sharks, or worse yet, end up on some place like Gilligan’s Island, stranded, or worse yet, be eaten by a tribe of headhunters, speaking of headhunters, why do they just eat outsiders, and not the family members? Strange … and what if the plane ripped apart in mid-flight and we plumited (sic) to earth, landed on Gilligan’s Island and then lived through it, and the only woman there was Mrs. Thurston Howell III? No Mary Anne (my favorite) no Ginger, just Lovey! If it were just her, I think I’d opt for the sharks, maybe the headhunters.”

Ok, where is the threat and interference with a crew member? Of course, it is no joking matter to throw around references to old television shows in syndication but did the pilot really think this was the start of an attack? Al Qaeda notes rarely reference Ginger.

By the way, his sanity was revealed by the mere fact that he favored Mary Ann. Half of mankind wanted to be marooned on an island with Mary Ann. I have never met a guy who liked Ginger better (despite her portrayal as drop-dead gorgeous). Mary Ann (and of course Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie) were universally the first crush of boys of my generation). Most terrorists write about 72 virgins as opposed to being marooned with Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island.

In this case, military jets were scrambled to escort the flight and its Gilligan Island fan back to Oregon.

Johnson faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for interference with the performance and duties of a crew member.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The minnow would be lost, the minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan
The Skipper too,
The millionaire and his wife,
The movie star
The professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligans Isle.

So this is the tale of the castways,
They’re here for a long, long time,
They’ll have to make the best of things,
It’s an uphill climb.

The first mate and the Skipper too,
Will do their very best,
To make the others comfortable,
In the tropic island nest.

No phone, no lights no motor cars,
Not a single luxury,
Like Robinson Crusoe,
As primitive as can be.

So join us here each week my freinds,
You’re sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castways,
Here on “Gilligan’s Isle.”

For the full story, click here.

14 thoughts on “A Tale of a Fateful Trip: Man’s Complaint Referring to Gilligan’s Island Results in Aborted Flight and Criminal Charges”

  1. Dumbass…I hope he gets a hefty fine. Who cares if he was joking or not. You do stupid shit like that and you pay the price. He should be locked up just for having a mullet!

  2. Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep, and in this case it seems as if all involved were suffering from it.

  3. “I’m still trying to figure out what he was trying to say”

    I have to agree. I hope that we are missing part of the story. The note doesn’t seem to fit the scenario presented.

  4. I agree with Mike that it was foolish given today’s climate to talk about the plane being ripped apart and crashing and burning.

    That being said he was foolish, nothing more and the note shouldn’t have merited anything more than a brief inquiry as to its meaning (I’m still trying to figure out what he was trying to say) and that’s it. 20 years in prison or any time in prison for such a note just shows why our country has more people in its prisons than any civilized nation on the planet. We are rapidly approaching a police state since 911. In fact, we’re almost there.

    I think this guy ought to be able to have sue over these charges.

    We’ve all lost our minds.

  5. The man was a fool given the climate today. The flight crew was little better and the whole airline thing has passed into the ridiculous. Meanwhile real security threats, like container cargo, are ignored. Another sad effect of 9/11 has been how stupid we’ve all become about the fact that life is a crap shoot and we can be out of the game for the most banal of reasons. Yet we humans try to wrap ourselves in cocoons of security in the vain hope that immortality is somewhere around the corner.

  6. “They can live as long as you shine light on them 12 hours a day.”

    What happens if you feed them after dark?

  7. More interesting OT sea life news.

    Green sea slugs can produce their own chlorophyl once they have consumed enough chloroplasts from eating algae, however, they incorporate the algae DNA into their own and pass them lineally. The only trick they haven’t mastered yet is the chloroplast production proper. They can live as long as you shine light on them 12 hours a day.

    It reminds me of the Green Man from Gene Wolfe’s Shadow & Claw series.


  8. Robert,

    No. I am still following the WTC thread with much enjoyment. It is quite the slugfest. I’ve merely said my piece vis a vis ordered symmetrical outcomes of asymmetrical disorderly events.

  9. Buddha, Have you abandoned the WTC discussion?

    Here’s a parody from the Gilligan’s Island theme.


  10. What is the alleged violation. Maybe Joe Cocker can answer it by getting High with a little help from my friends.

  11. JT:

    I think you misquoted the comment card. It likely said “I thought I was going to die, we were so high.” Sorry, no sympathy for me here for this kook.

  12. Professor,

    Excellent post and I concur 100%.

    There is nothing I can add to this without sounding like a lecherous old man, so I will drink my coffee and pass along a totally off topic but interesting story about animal intelligence. You know. That think the pilot displayed a total lack of.

    BBC reports that stingrays are tool using problem solvers.


    This is pertinent somewhat if a readers finds themselves castaways on Gilligan’s Isle. It may inform your dietary choice.

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