the original ‘battle of the bands’…. mosquitoes vs. honey bees

From 1965… and an episode of the classic TV show, “Gilligan’s Island.” Yes, that same “Gilligan’s Island” (there’s only one) that invokes the inevitable questions: what were the Howells doing with trunks full of cash on a 3-hour tour (money laundering?), how many times can you eat coconut cream pie before getting sick of it, and if it was an uncharted desert isle, how did so many visitors/guest stars keep showing up there?

As Dave Letterman has said many a time: “Accept the premise and you’ll enjoy the bit.”

This is from Season 2, episode 12 – “Don’t Bug the Mosquitoes.” I loved this episode when I was a kid; it came on cable a couple of times this weekend and I hadn’t seen it in so long I had to watch. It didn’t disappoint and provided the best laugh in weeks.

"Ladies and gentlemen, The Mosquitoes!" Performing their latest hits, "Don't Bug Me" and "He's a Loser" for the 7 stranded castaways. Well, they are kind of a captive audience...
“Ladies and gentlemen, The Mosquitoes!” Bingo, Bango, Bongo, and Irving performing their smash hits, “Don’t Bug Me” and “He’s a Loser” for the 7 stranded castaways. Well, they are kind of a captive audience…
The helicopter that dropped off The Mosquitoes...
The helicopter that dropped off The Mosquitoes…

So how did The Mosquitoes get to the island in the first place? By helicopter of course!

As you can clearly see, the helicopter holds only room for one more person (unless it’s a M.A.S.H. helicopter and then, well… that wouldn’t be good), and there are 4 of them… plus equipment!

None of this seems outrageous or absurd when you’re a kid… you don’t notice these minor details, so you go along with it. It all seemed plausible somehow; it was the mid-1960’s when anything seemed possible, but let’s take a closer look…

Well first off, overlooking the obvious fact that there are no microphones, you will note that there are no guitar cables either, running from the guitars to anywhere. Where are the Marshall stacks? Not even a lone Fender Twin Reverb or Ampeg bass amp… or even a ‘snake’ – where’s the electricity coming from? No power cords? No power chords! But through the miracle of modern science (or perhaps the Professor) we have… amplification! And ‘granny glasses!’ (that’s Irving).

The Mosquitoes, a.k.a. The Wellingtons, close up...
The Mosquitoes, a.k.a. The Wellingtons, close up…

During the episode, a plan is hatched for getting The Mosquitoes to help the castaways get off the island.

“We’re not dealing with regular people, we’re dealing with musicians!” the Skipper exclaims to Gilligan. Words of wisdom form the Skipper. OMG… already, in 1965, the stereotype is well in place. Musicians…. not “regular people.” Priceless.

The men decide to put together their own band using homemade, island-made instruments, give a concert, and the results are predictably…. awful. Then it’s the ladies’ turn, and thus are born… The Honey Bees.

"The Honey Bees"... Dawn Wells, Tina Louise, and Natalie Schafer...
“The Honey Bees”… Dawn Wells, Tina Louise, and Natalie Schafer singing “You Need Us”…
Mary Ann looking a little nonplussed here...
Mary Ann looking a little nonplussed here… “Like a bee needs its buzz/ Like a peach needs its fuzz…”
The music may be pre-recorded, but at least they're not lip-synching... again, the electricity thing.
The music may be pre-recorded, but at least they’re not lip-synching, as far as we know…

Of course, they’re an instant hit. So much so that the Mosquitoes leave the island the next day (via the aforementioned helicopter). In their farewell note, they say, specifically to the Honey Bees: “… You’re good, gals. Perhaps too good, and we have enough competition as it is…” and they leave everyone stranded on the freakin’ island!

But to show there’s no hard feelings, The Mosquitoes leave the castaways a parting gift: their latest album! – “The Mosquitoes at Carnegie Hall.” Gilligan complains that it’s not even autographed. Exactly… “non-regular people” will let you down every time.

Well, that’s showbiz… but at least they have a turntable. Hilarious and very perceptive episode… that whole competition thing. And you can find the videos here:

Until next time…

santa-fe_5Another Day in Paradox,” the third album from Nights on Venus is available on CD and as digital download (MP3) as are the eponymously-titled first album (digital download only) and “In 4 the Evening” on CDBaby, iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, eMusic, and other fine online retailers including the NoV website.

"Another Day in Paradox" - 2013
“Another Day in Paradox” – 2013

Follow Craig and NoV on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.


Author: nightsonvenus

Musician and producer with the band Nights on Venus.

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