All right, Cecil, this will stump you. I've asked many people this, and none knows. If you can provide a verifiable answer, I will send $20 to a charity of your choice. The question: What was Mrs. Howell's (of Gilligan's Island fame) given name? Her maiden name was Wentworth. Sorry, "Lovey" doesn't count.
Illustration by Slug Signorino
I’ll decide what counts around here. “Lovey” in fact was Mrs. Howell’s given name — or at least it was the name by which she was known in the show. We learn this from Steve Cox, who cowrote Here on Gilligan’s Isle (1993) with Russell Johnson, the guy who played the Professor. (The Professor’s name, incidentally, was Dr. Roy Hinkley.) In the book Natalie Schafer’s character is listed as “Lovey Wentworth Howell.” Ms. Schafer also had a little dog named Lovey.
No doubt you have a different answer in mind, though. In a Gilligan’s Island episode entitled “Mr. and Mrs. ??” Mrs. Howell’s first name is given as Eunice. Snopes (www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/gilligan.htm) writes:
It was the episode where the Howells learn from a radio broadcast that the minister who married them was not properly ordained, and thus their marriage is not valid. The broadcast mentions Mrs. Howell’s maiden name, which is given as “Eunice Wentworth.” (Of course, the whole thing is revealed as a mistake by the end of the episode.)
It’s listed in most episode guides as something like:
#67 — Mr. and Mrs. ??
A radio bulletin states that the Howells aren’t married at all.
Eunice clearly was an invention for this particular episode — Mrs. Howell was known as Lovey at all other times. Still, if you’re trying to win $20 bets, Eunice is probably the answer you want.
Send questions to Cecil via firstname.lastname@example.org.