And don't pretend to not know what question I'm talking about. In the sum of things, it's the question, the only question that matters. Most of the men I know - and, I would venture, a fair number of the women, gay and straight, that I know as well - would choose wisely and pick Mary Ann, the wholesomely sexy young lass, over Ginger, the redheaded bombshell with the curvy figure and breathless voice whom, despite the surface treatments, always had an air of aloofness about her, perhaps befitting her cinematic diva background. Mary Ann, on the other hand, looked sweet and acted sweet - and not only did those traits comes across as genuine, but she also gave off that tiny whiff of a feeling that, under the right condition, she could rock your world with enough carnal delights to turn Gandhi into a borderline pervert.
Yeah, yeah, I know I'm talking about characters from a sitcom. But in the decades since Gilligan's Island (i.e. the alpha version of Lost) went to syndication heaven, the correct choice of Mary Ann has been validated by the actions of the women who played the lovely lasses on that chuck of classic TV real estate. Dawn Wells, aka Mary Ann, is a charming soul who has remained beautiful and, yeah, pretty sexy well into her so-called "advanced years," to the point where Playboy asked her to pose topless when she was in her late 50s. (She declined, unfortunately, but was flattered.) More than her great looks, Wells has devoted herself to helping young actors who are entering the business of show - and, maybe most impressive of all, she has embraced the kitschy legacy that put her on the pop-culture map, never trying to run away from the Gilligan stamp that she knows will be the first line of her obituary. (Full disclosure: I met Wells during a press event a few years ago, so I can attest to how nice - and how hot - she was.) Meanwhile, Tina Louise, who embodied the essence of Ginger, has done everything possible to abandon her most famous role. While she has had a steady career post-Gilligan, not to mention a fair amount of charity work, she has rarely taken part in any of the myriad of Gilligan reunion events that regularly pop up on the calendar. She's even dropped the show from her resume. As hokey as that show may have been, it made Louise an international star, and she seems terminally ashamed of that fact.
But I digress. The reason I bring all of this up is because of a news item that popped up on the wires amid all of the hubbub over Eliot Spitzer, Geraldine Ferraro, Steve King and Billy Crystal joining the Yankees for a day. Because our choice, Dawn Wells, cemented her spot on the pantheon of Retro Babes We Fancy, thanks to her recent bust for marijuana possession and driving under the influence. That's right, kids - Mary Ann is a toker.
She was arrested last Oct. 18 in Idaho while driving home from her birthday party. That would be her 69th birthday party, boys and girls. A police office noticed her car swerving on the road and pulled her over. Upon approaching Wells' vehicle, the officer notice the telltale aroma of one of those funny cigarette, and then noticed burned-out joints in the ashtray and small containers elsewhere in the car. Wells said they belonged to hitchhikers she had just given a ride to, but her failed sobriety test - and the grin she sported in her booking photo - said otherwise.
Eventually Wells pleaded guilty to one count of reckless driving, and the drug-related charges were dropped. She was sentenced to five days in jail, six months of probation and a fine of $410.50 for the whole deal, and while she has yet to admit to being the owner or user of the found pot, I'm sure that when the inevitable interviews take place regarding this point in Wells' colorful life, she'll face it with a smile that will have less to do with imbibing and more with the positive outlook that has made her so attractive all this time.
But one tip, Dawn - keep your recreation at home. You have a checkered history when it comes to transportation.
POSTSCRIPT: This isn't Wells' first dalliance with the wacky weed. In 1998 Gilligan himself, the now-departed Bob Denver, was arrested for marijuana possession. Initially he named Dawn Wells as his supplier, but later refused to name names in court. He pled no contest and also received six months probation. Suddenly, I'm wondering if the happy-go-lucky Wells can whip up one hell of a batch of brownies.