This week on Off The Page, we are featuring a special episode from Today in BC – our sister Black Press podcast.
Host Peter McCully chats with Ken Schley, the former CAO of Quality Foods, who is the co-owner of the SS Minnow – the iconic boat from the 1960s TV show Gilligan’s Island.
The SS Minnow is now based on Vancouver Island.
Schley talks about renovating the boat, those who came aboard for a “three-hour tour” and his memories of meeting Dawn Wells, who played Mary Anne.
“When we actually purchased the boat – it took about two years to renovate it and in those two years… and I was asked if she would come down and do anything with us… and we got her to do our 30th anniversary (of QF) which was in 2013. We advertised the fact that we were going to have Mary Anne there. The lineup went out the store out the door, down (the road) and it stayed there for eight hours,” he noted.
“There were grown men my age crying and giving her presents… it was extremely heartwarming.”
Schley offered the boat for many fundraisers as his way of giving back to the community. Primarily, he would auction tours with funds going to various charities and offered food and wine onboard.
“They came on happy, and had to be helped off, happier.”
The boat itself was appealing to guests, noted Schley, and said many times they would get dressed up in character.
“The gals got dressed up as Mary Ann and Ginger… and they all had some role that they wanted to play on the boat. So we got engaged with it.”
He explained when he first got the boat, the best part was watching people’s reactions when he took it to various marinas, including Comox.
“People would be crying, they would want us to sit, stand on the boat. People (my) vintage would bring their kids and want us to tell them all about it. They’d bring their grandkids and take pictures. It was so emotional – so many people were tied to that show, you just couldn’t believe it.”
To listen to the full episode, download Off The Page on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and everywhere podcasts are heard, or visit omny.fm/shows/off-the-page.
New episodes of Off The Page drop every Wednesday.