Russell Johnson, RIP
Actor Russell Johnson, best remembered as the Professor from TV’s “Gilligan’s Island,” died Jan. 16, of kidney failure at his Washington State home with his wife Constance and daughter Kim by his side. He was 89.
MSTies will remember him as doomed, headstrong Dr. Steve Carlson in the movie “This Island Earth,” which was featured in MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE MOVIE, and as drunken lout Joe Gamble in the movie in episode 906-THE SPACE CHILDREN.
MSTies will also recall that Johnson, along with his “This Island Earth” co-star Rex Reason, appeared in person (along with Kim Cattrall) at the 1996 ConventioCon in Minneapolis.
(One memorable moment: a question from the audience asked if the smoky tubes Cal and Ruth are placed in were actually bongs, as the riffers suggested. Reason didn’t know what that was, but Johnson did, and his attempt to explain it to Reason had the audience rolling.)
Other movies in which Johnson appeared included 1953’s “It Came From Outer Space,” 1957’s “Attack of the Crab Monsters,” 1952’s “For Men Only,” 1955’s “Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki,” 1957’s “Rock All Night,” 1977’s “Fatal Chase” and 1982’s “The Great Skycopter Rescue.” Johnson was also on the 1959 TV series “Black Saddle” (starring Peter Breck), and he did the voice of the Professor for the 1974 animated series, “The New Adventures of Gilligan.”
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