Search This Blog

Friday, April 19, 2013


Okay, here's a game that I want to play with all of you to kick off another Friday entry. You can play along if you wish. It's all hypothetical anyway.

All right. I'm going to give you a list of items, as well as a dangerous situation that you might experience (although in all likelihood, the odds are rather slim). Your job is to try and survive the experience just by using the items that you are equipped with. Let's begin.

SITUATION #1: You're sleeping in your bedroom when all of a sudden, you smell smoke. There's a fire right outside your door and it is preventing you from getting out. You have a window that you can climb out of, but it is two and a half stories high, and you know that if you jump out, you risk serious injury. All you can get a hold of are your bedsheets, a package of rubber bands, some scotch tape, and a skipping rope. What will you use? As far as what I would do, I'd tie two sheets together with the skipping rope, and use the sheets to climb out of the window. I suppose that I could also use the rubber bands and tape, but they wouldn't hold my body weight. I still may end up injured, but it would only be minor.

SITUATION #2: You have been kidnapped by someone and are trapped inside a room that is locked from the outside. You are tied to a chair with a rope around your ankles, and the only possessions you have are a belt buckle, a watch, a couple of credit cards, some pocket change, a couple of business cards, and a ceramic coffee mug nearby. What do you do? Well, first, I'd find a way to get out of my tied up state, so I'd try to break apart the ceramic mug (my legs may be tied, but my arms are not). I'd rub the mug pieces against the rope to cut it. Once I was freed, I'd need something to break the lock, and three items can help me do it. If I use the nub on the belt buckle, a credit card, or a business card and slide it in the door jamb, I could manage to unlock the door if I twist it the right way.

SITUATION #3: You're walking down the street with a bag of groceries, and you happen to find yourself caught from behind by a mugger who wants everything you have. He is also armed with a gun. You have to think fast, but the only things you have in your grocery bags are frozen salmon, Diet Coke, a package of Mentos, a carton of grapefruit juice, and mango poppyseed salad dressing. How are you going to get out of this one alive? Well, I suppose you could use the Diet Coke and Mentos to spray a steady stream of fizz in the man's face, but that could take some time. I would just grab the grapefruit juice and splash it in the mugger's eyes. He would be so busy screaming in agony over the acidic juice stinging his eyes, that you could get away quite easily.

Of course, these are just fictional scenarios. They are however linked to today's show, as the star happens to be one of those men who finds ordinary weapons like guns and knives to be boring. He'd rather use his mind and his skills in chemistry, physics, and mathematics to create spur of the moment inventions to help him fight crime, protect the innocent, and save himself from complete annihilation in the process.

Two weeks ago, I featured an action-drama beginning with M that aired on CBS. Last week, I featured an action-drama beginning with M that aired on NBC. This week, it's ABC's turn.

We're taking a look at the long-running series MacGyver!

MacGyver ran for seven seasons on ABC and was one of the network's most successful prime-time series. It ran from September 29, 1985 until May 21, 1992. The show was a joint production between Henry Winkler and John Rich, and was created by Lee David Zlotoff. The show also made Richard Dean Anderson a star and sex symbol, as he portrayed the main character of Angus MacGyver.

TRIVIA: One of the running gags in “The Simpsons” involves MacGyver. Marge's sisters Patty and Selma have been fans of MacGyver forever, and the first three seasons had a lot of MacGyver jokes inserted into each episode. Richard Dean Anderson even made a guest appearance on the series, in which Patty and Selma actually kidnap him!

MacGyver is a secret agent whose weaponry doesn't include guns or assault weapons. His tool of choice is a Swiss Army knife, which has helped him escape more sticky situations than you could even count. Although he will use a revolver or an AK-47 if there is absolutely no other option, but the reason why he has abhorred guns is because of a childhood accident in which one of his friends accidentally died from a gunshot wound.

Therefore, it's not uncommon for MacGyver to use his Swiss Army knife, along with a combination of other household items to find a way out of the most precarious positions. It was this ingenuity and creativity that kept audiences hooked for seven seasons, and at one time was responsible for an increase in enrollment at engineering programs at college and university campuses all over the world.

In short, MacGyver did for engineering what CSI did for forensic sciences.

Also appearing on the series was Pete Thornton (played by Dana Elcar). Thornton is MacGyver's boss and closest confidant. At first, he is an operative of the Department of External Services, but by later seasons, becomes director of operations at the Phoenix Foundation (which MacGyver also becomes a part of).

MacGyver is also joined by his best friend, the comical Jack Dalton (played by Bruce McGill). He is well-meaning, but often acts on impulse and stupidity when he forces MacGyver to clean up the mess he makes when another one of his get-rich schemes blows up in his face.

Here's some more trivia about the show.

01 – Richard Dean Anderson performed most of his own stunts during the first few seasons of MacGyver, but had to quit doing stuntwork in the 1990s following injuries to his back and feet.

02 – The show was the lead-in to ABC's Monday Night Football for six years, likely aiding in its popularity.

03 – Dana Elcar was diagnosed with glaucoma near the end of the series. It was written into the show.

04 – When Henry Winkler and John Rich were looking for actors to cast in the role of MacGyver, Anderson was given the part because of the human touch he gave the character (unlike the other actors who according to Winkler “hulked their way through the audition”).

05 – The series finale aired on April 25, 1992...but an unaired episode aired nearly a month later on May 21, 1992.

06 – The reason why MacGyver was pulled from the ABC schedule despite it still scoring decent numbers was due to Anderson being too physically exhausted to continue with the series.

07 – There were two MacGyver made for television movies that aired after the original series wrapped up. Both aired in 1994.

08 – The show is still spoofed today, with the most recent one being on Saturday Night Live, where Will Forte played the role of “MacGruber”.

09 – Some of the ideas for MacGyver's inventions and innovations came from fans themselves. The show even encouraged people to send in their ideas by offering them cash prizes for the best ideas. Henry Winkler particularly singled out the idea that one viewer sent in...that if you cracked an egg over a vehicle's cracked radiator, the egg would seal up the crack!

10 – Richard Dean Anderson reprised his role of MacGyver in 2012 for a series of advertisements for Mercedes-Benz.

11 – A comic book series starring MacGyver began being published in October 2012.

12 – The role of MacGyver's arch-enemy, Murdoc, was played by Michael Des Barres. In the episode entitled “Cleo Rocks”, he actually composed the song of the same name that was performed in the show!

13 – There was an incident in which a pair of teenage boys attempted to make a bomb themselves which accidentally detonated, killing one of the two. The other one claimed they got the idea from an episode of MacGyver, but no such episode existed, clearing the show of any wrongdoing.

14 – In a related note, whenever a “MacGyver-ism” was shown, not all the steps were shown in the episode, for the very reason that the producers didn't want kids risking their safety to recreate it.

15 – Look closely at the directing credits for the first few episodes of the series, including the pilot episode. They were all directed by Allen Smithee. The Smithee name is used by directors who refuse to allow their real names to be linked to a project out of embarrassment or out of fear that the work they put out wasn't their best.

16 – The first few episodes of the show were filmed in Los Angeles, California, but when the cost of producing the show became too high, resulting in ABC threatening to cancel the series, production was moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

I could go on, but I just realized that my computer battery is beginning to die out, and all I have are thumbtacks, a magnet, duct tape, a lemon, and some Trident chewing gum to try and get the battery powered back up.

Gotta go.  

No comments:

Post a Comment