Erin Richter
May 16, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

ISLAND WHIRL It may be nearly 30 years since its last first-run telecast, but Gilligan’s Island is still a hot ticket — in the Illinois lottery. The Prairie state offers cash prizes for Gilligan’s Island instant tickets, a scratch-and-win game based on the hit ’60s series. Why Gilligan? Illinois lottery spokesman Jeffrey Schweig says the tie-in is a natural. ”When you think of Thurston and Lovey Howell, you think of money, money, money,” he says. But don’t expect to join the millionaire and his wife in the lap of luxury: The grand prize on the $1 tickets is only $10,000. (No, a three-hour tour is not among the awards.) And while not all of the famous castaways are featured on the tickets — Tina Louise, better known as Ginger the movie star, has bowed out of all Gilligan-related promotions — at least one says she’s happy to use her face to promote gambling. ”I was born and raised in Nevada,” says Dawn Wells, a.k.a. doe-eyed Mary Ann. ”So that kind of chance taking is in my blood.”

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