How did you learn about the show?
I was on the internet looking for some information on The Amazing Race...still trying to get on with my daughter...when I saw the information for the Real Gilliganís Island. It looked like a no-brainer....tropical setting, beautiful women, and the thrill of the competition. And I thought I fit the bill for the Skipper.
Do you think that you would like to do any more reality tv?
Iíd love to do another reality show, but it would depend on the show. The only other reality shows I even make an attempt to watch are Survivor and The Amazing Race. My older daughter and I were finalists for The Amazing Race 2. We were actually in L.A. with the other finalists on 9/11, and that changed everything. The season was postponed and eventually almost entirely recast. I donít know if we would have made it if it hadnít been for 9/11, but I liked our chances. Iíve also interviewed for Survivor. Iíd love to do either of those shows or The Real Gilliganís Island again. But I canít think of any others off the top of my head that Iíd want to do.
Was there anyone that you bonded with quickly?
I felt a bond with everyone on my team, but I would probably have to say I bonded with Randi the most. Maybe it just a father-figure type thing, trying to watch out for the young, vulnerable country girl, but I worried about her, even after I left. I was also very comfortable around Donna; it was like we had known each other a long time. She really stood out to me because she said some things that made me think she knew me well, or could read my mind. That made me a little uncomfortable because most people have a hard time figuring out what makes me tick, if they ever do, and I had the feeling she could see right through me. Maybe sheís just a very intuitive or insightful person.
How long were you on the island?
The entire production period, start to finish, was approximately 3 weeks. We spent about 3 or 4 days at a resort before going to the island, although we were pretty much confined to our rooms the entire time and not allowed to see each other. Since Iíve already been eliminated, I suppose itís safe to say I was only on the island for 3 days...much too short of a period.
How long did you have to get ready before you left for the island?
We knew several weeks ahead of time. The teams for the first two seasons were chosen at the same time, and the seasons were filmed back-to-back, so we had to wait for Season 1 to finish filming before we went down. If I remember correctly, we had about a month and a half to get ready. The cast for the first season obviously had less time.
Where exactly is the island?
I canít tell you exactly...Iím sworn to secrecy...but itís somewhere in the area of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
What was your favorite thing about doing the show?
There are two moments that come to mind. The first was when the finalists went to L.A. for testing and final culling. I had the chance to meet Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of Gilliganís Island and the Brady Bunch. We got to chat for a few minutes and he told me a couple of stories about Alan Hale Jr, the original skipper. He was also the first person to tell me I looked like him, though Iíve heard it many times since (but donít really see it myself). Heís a very nice man, and to have the opportunity to talk to him and hear him tell stories about the original show and stars was a moment Iíll never forget. The second moment that comes to mind is when we went to the island, walked up the beach, and saw the camp for the first time...the thatched huts, hammock, shower, swing set, etc. It was a surreal moment and thatís when it really hit me that I was actually there.
What was your least favorite thing about doing the show?
Losing the competition and leaving. That really sucked! And then to see how it was edited and portrayed on television, which was something short of accurate, left a bad taste in my mouth as well.
Had you done any acting or been on any other shows before?
I was on The Papa John Show with my Cub Scout troop in the fourth grade. Does that count? But no...no acting for me. I have no desire to get into the field.
What did the people you work with think about you going on the show?
They were all pretty excited. My boss was great about it, giving me the time off work. The people I work with are mostly retired Navy and Marines, so naturally I took a lot of good-natured ribbing after losing a boat competition.
What did your family think about you going on the show? Tell us about your wife and daughters.
They were all for it. Iíve been married almost 27 years and my wife is used to me doing things on a whim. She knows Iím easily bored and always looking for something new and different to do. And of course my girls, who are 24 and 20 now, were pretty excited at the chance to see me on television. My older daughter, Trish, is married now. Sheís like her Mom: mature, level-headed, responsible, etc. My younger daughter, Amanda, is, unfortunately, more like I was at that age. She doesnít know what she wants to do with her life yet, so sheís living for the moment.
Tell us more about you joining the Navy. What was your favorite and least favorite about that?
Joining the Navy was a spur of the moment decision. I dropped out of college after about half a year and had been working, and living at home, for about a year and a half after that. I wanted to get away from Louisiana, see the world, and have a few adventures. I never intended to stay in the Navy as long as I did. It just sort of worked out that way. The best part about it was all of the traveling I got to do. Iíve been to dozens of countries and have had the opportunity to see and do things that most people can only dream of. But all of that traveling ultimately leads to the worst part about being in the Navy...all the time away from home...Christmas or Thanksgiving away from family, missed birthdays, anniversaries, high school graduations, etc. I believe I missed my older daughterís birthday six years in a row and then missed her high school graduation. Of course, she would tell me it was ok and she understood, but it must have bothered her. I know it bothered me, and still does.
What were the Gingers like? Were they down to earth?
I found both Angie and Erika to be very approachable and down to earth. Angie seemed a little guarded at first...I think thatís the word Iím looking for. Initially, she seemed a little reluctant to open up until she got to know you and figured out where you were coming from. I suspect that with her height and that hair, itís difficult for her to go out in public without being swarmed, and thatís made her somewhat suspicious of othersí motives and intentions... just my guess. Erica is a real sweetheart, really friendly and down to earth. But I donít think she has the same problem when she goes out in public...she tends to blend in. As an example, we were all down in Miami a couple of weeks ago for a publicity promo. I was at the hotel standing in line to check in, and had been for about several minutes, when I finally noticed a blond that had been standing off to the side, wearing jeans and a blouse...nothing special. Now obviously I know Erika, but even then, I wasnít sure it was her. I sort of stared for a few seconds before going up and asking ďErica, is that you?Ē And she just turned around and gave me a hug. But Angie and Erica are both super people. Theyíre both also strong-willed people who arenít afraid to speak their minds for what they believe in.
Who did you have the most in common with?
My wife thinks Jim and I are alike, and we are in many ways. But believe it or not, I think have the most in common with Charlie. Most people donít realize Iím from Louisiana. Iíve long ago lost the accent and the mannerisms, although they return quickly enough when I go back home to visit. But when I look at Charlie, I can see my friends and I can see the person I might have become if I had never left the state. I understand him completely and have frequently referred to both of us as just a couple of coonasses from the swamps of Louisiana. In the show, as I was on my way out, I made a tongue-in-cheek remark about losing to a ďcoonassĒ, which was really taken out of context and made me look bad. It was never intended that way and I know Charlie knows how it was intended. But it still looked bad and is an example of the power the editors have, to make anyone look any way they want.
Do you talk to any of the other cast a ways?
Iíve been talking to two or three on a regular basis...Zac, Erika, and Randi. And in a round-about way, Iím keeping in touch with several of the others on the TBS forums, where most of us are posting regularly. Right now, I think weíre all busy concentrating on the show and other matters. When itís all over, there will probably be more correspondence flowing. I know how to get in touch with all of them except Angie...unfortunately L.
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