I love recreating props from movies and TV shows as you can see here.

My newest project should be quick and easy.

I came across a Packard Bell AR-851 radio from the 1960’s, and while you may not recognize the model number, I’m sure you would recognize the radio itself.

radioIt’s the one from Gilligan’s Island.

The radio on the TV show was capable of picking up shortwave broadcasts, and thanks to the Professor, the 1960’s version of Macgyver, outfitted with rechargeable batteries.

In reality, the radio was a simple AM transistor radio, so it didn’t need an antenna. In fact, the handle and antenna were added by the prop department at CBS because they wanted to make the radio look a bit more substantial.

When you actually examine the TV radio up close, you realize the radio’s antenna is actually a car antenna (click on the picture and you can see the “ball” on the top of the antenna).

I had no problem finding a matching handle and attaching it, but finding the exact antenna has been difficult. I think I’ve gone through just about every car make and model from 1960-1966. Hopefully I’ll come across one and complete this project.


Written by stevemargolis


Blue Bear

I just saw one of the first episodes of Gilligan’s Island. The Professor is described as a ” a research scientist AND well-known scoutmaster”…what’s that all about?

Mark S

If you ever finished your radio project, if you go to Dawn Wells Facebook page, she is looking for a prop radio to use in a project she is working on.

Thomas Santoro

I just purchased one.
Could you tell me where and what style the handle is.

Also if you have any update on the correct antenna?

Thanks ….


I don’t remember the the style of handle.
What I do remember is, looking all over the place for the handle and then finally finding it at Home Depot. Apparently it’s a pretty common style.
As for the antenna, I never did find the correct one.
But, after watching an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, where he shows how he uses 3D printers to reproduce pieces for his cars (mirrors, door handles), I’m starting to wonder if I could just have someone “fashion” me an antenna for the radio. When I have some spare cash, I’m going to check it out.


Thanks Steve,
After posting my question I did a search for, “1950s style drawer pull,” the handle popped up Immediately and I bought it for under $3….

The antenna, im leaning towards a pre-1964 Corvette antenna. I called one website that deals in car antennas and even sent them screen shots of the original radio. The rep stated that she believed that the foot of a car radio antenna would be too big.
I politely disagreed with her and plan on looking further.
I’m pretty sure that I’m on the right track.
Hopefully someone in the know will respond.
Start with this site.
They even sell just the antenna nut for about $9.00.
Admittedly it’s close but not exact.


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