"Gilligan" Creator Marooned in Court

by Josh Grossberg

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful
sitcom deal... 

In a money battle that's spanned three decades, two men
who say they cocreated Gilligan's Island are one step
closer to collecting millions in unpaid royalties from the
undying sitcom.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the
lawsuit filed by 77-year-old Elroy Schwartz and his writing
partner, Austin Kalish, should be allowed to go to trial.

Elroy, the younger brother (and not quite "little buddy") of Gilligan's 
Island creator Sherwood Schwartz, and Kalish accuse the elder Schwartz of 
marooning them out of millions in royalties since the show went into 
syndication in the 1970s.

In their lawsuit, the partners allege fraud and breach of contract, and are
demanding a revised accounting of all proceeds made off the TV Land staple
over the last 30 years. (Gilligan's Island aired from 1964 to 1967 on CBS 
before finding eternal life in reruns.)

"We're looking forward to righting a wrong," Schwartz-Kalish attorney Marc
Toberoff told the Associated Press.

Judge David L. Minning apparently agreed. He rejected a motion by Sherwood
Schwartz's attorneys to dismiss the case because the statute of limitations 
had run out. (They argued the case was settled way back in the '70s.)

Elroy Schwartz and Kalish claim to have written most of the pilot episode 
for the classic castaway series, only adding Sherwood Schwartz's name to the 
script as a courtesy because he was the show's executive producer.

But the pair said since then, Schwartz has managed to control all rights to 
the show and blocked them from getting their fair share of dough from 
rebroadcast rights.

Now a jury is likely to decide if the duo is due residuals. And if the pair 
win, they could be looking at sum that would make Mr. Howell blush.