Why Did the Howells Pack So Many Clothes for a Three-Hour Tour?
If there is a question that endures across generations of television watchers, it is, “why the f*ck did the Howells pack so many f*ckin’ clothes for a run-of-the-mill three-hour tour of the Hawaiian islands?”
Other questions come to mind as well. Why even bother to go on a touristy tour with a bunch of commoners? Surely they could afford to charter a private yacht, right?
After years of shallow and half-assed research combined with inner pondering, I believe that I have solved this mystery.
The Howells Were on the Lam
It was the 1960s. Income tax rates reached 90 percent for the upper brackets. While the one percent of their day had their accountants use elaborate loopholes to mitigate their tax exposure, sometimes things could backfire.
It is quite possible that Thurston had spent the 1950s using elaborate tax avoidance schemes until uncle Sam finally caught up with him in the 1960s. What better way to truncate an IRS investigation than disappearing off the face of the earth.
The “Disappearance” Was Nothing but an Elaborate Ruse
Thurston’s original plan was to “disappear” in the Pacific Ocean. This so that his team of litigators back home could eventually have him declared officially dead thereby ending the investigation and the risk of spending years in jail for tax fraud.
This explains why the Howells took as much luggage and cash with them as they did.
It also explains the presence of Ginger. Have you ever asked yourself why she too took nearly as much luggage and makeup on the three-hour tour as did the Howells?
Among Thurston’s many financial interests was his involvement in bankrolling many Hollywood productions over the decades.
In that time, he had many an affair with young starlets. Ginger happened to be his latest fling and he was rather attached to her. Hence her presence on the S.S. Minnow on that fateful trip.
Thurston wanted it all—to stay out of prison, to keep all his money, his wife, his favorite mistress, and his teddy bear.
What Went Wrong?
The original plan called for a team of maritime mercenaries to intercept the S.S. Minnow in the high seas during a well documented tropical storm and extract Thurston, Lovey, Ginger, and Teddy from the vessel.
They were then to sail off to a non-extradition country while his cover story was played out by his legal team back home.
The rest of the passengers and the crew were supposed to be drowned by the mercenaries and their bodies left to float alongside the wreckage of the Minnow.
What Thurston did not plan on, however, was that the First Mate of the vessel — better known to us as Gilligan — had placed a horseshoe magnet next to the navigational equipment thinking that it was a plain horseshoe.
Gilligan’s attempt to “hang a good luck charm” actually caused the navigational equipment to deviate massively. This is why the Minnow wound up so far off course and ended up in the middle of the storm.
The maritime mercenaries were able to detect this situation too late. They pursued the Minnow but in so doing encountered the brunt of the storm. This sunk their vessel and killed everyone on board.
As for the S.S. Minnow? Well, you know their fate.