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Frequently Asked Questions

 


What kind of knife did MacGyver use?

His most commonly used knife was a "Tinker" model from Victorinox. But throughout the show he used several different models of both Victorinox and Wenger brands to match particular tools used in the episodes. 

In one episode he uses an Orange Peeler blade; probably from a Victorinox "Executive." He may have used an older model "Explorer" from Victorinox later in the series. He also used the Sportsman in "Lost Love pt. 1 and 2", the Recruit in "GX-1", and the Climber in "Three for the Road." In "Tough Boys" he uses a Tinker (with the key ring removed) to unlock a large padlock.

He also had a couple of non-production models that were obviously modified for the series.
In "Serenity," he has a knife with wood panels to stay in setting with the period of the episode.
In "Strictly Business" he used a knife with the Victorinox shield on the back handle of the knife instead of the front.

The knife seen in the opening of each episode is a Wenger, as noted by its long keychain

 

How did the producers come up with MacGyver’s first name?
Actually, they didn’t. Richard Dean Anderson came up with it. In an interview on the tonight Show he explained that he saw the name in large letters on a banner at a Vancouver charity event. He suggested it to the producers, and they went along with it.


But I thought his first name was supposed to be "Stace," not "Angus."
The name Stace was used in the pilot episode as a character name and we presume it was due to this that the name circulated in this press release before the show premiered. We are still looking to confirm whether the name was ever spoken in any part of the original script.

Richard Dean Anderson has publicly stated that “they” (presumably meaning he and members of the production team he associates with) have no idea where the name of "Stace" came from, which indicates that either the script was changed before he got to read it or he just doesn't remember, or never took any notice of, the full character name as it was used in the script.


Why does MacGyver hate guns?
When he was a kid, he and his friends where playing with his fathers handgun, when one of his friends took aim at a bird, MacGyver knocked the gun away to save the bird, but as the gun hit the ground it discharged and shot Jesse in the chest. He died from the wounds several minutes later to spite MacGyver trying to save him.

The full story is explained in detail in the episode “Blood Brothers”

The idea for this story actually takes from a real life childhood experience where Richard Dean Anderson and friends where playing with a gun and his friend shot and killed a bird. The idea that a gun can allow a person to so casually take another life (animal or human) immediately impacted him and soured him towards guns, and so he has worked his dislike of guns into the MacGyver character.


But didn’t I see MacGyver fire a rifle in the series premiere?
Yes, you certainly did. But the producers hadn’t fully worked out all the details of the character yet, and so in the scene where Mac and the rescued pilot are being chased by soldiers, we see Mac shooting at them. Interestingly, in the second-season episode "Friends," that same scene is shown - with the footage of MacGyver firing the rifle removed.

 

What kind of jackets did MacGyver wear?
The famous brown bomber jacket is specifically a Charles Chevignon (of Paris) G2 Raider Flight Jacket. This jacket was replaced later in the series with a newer version of the G2 styled jacket. There were also "stunt" versions of the original jacket which was used for scenes involving physical stress to the jacket.

The black jacket with the orange interior is an MA-1 Flight jacket. Throughout the series there were distinctively two versions of this jacket used. One being a navy blue color and a longer cut and the other being black with a shorter puffier fit. In the later seasons MacGyver added a US flag patch to the left sleeve of his jacket.

He also wore a plain black leather jacket which was custom made for the show by LA company Leathers & Treasures and a black leather "Biker" style jacket at various times in the show.

 

What kind of watch did MacGyver wear?
Throughout the show MacGyver has warn a number of different watches.

In the first 3 seasons he mostly wore a
Timix Military field watch. There are scenes where the exact model and brand changes, like this Trooper brand field watch from the episode "For Love or Money", but the watch always remained a military styled watch and we assume that within the show it was meant to be the same watch.

For the episode "Countdown" we saw his watch switched to a Casio DW-1000 digital watch with a countdown timer function and in the episode "Nightmares" he wore another digital watch which also had a countdown function. In both cases the changing of the watch was part of the episodes story line.

From season 4 onwards his watch changed to what appears to be an earlier styled black faced Seiko S23204J watch.

We also see MacGyver wearing a calculator watch in The Negotiator and The Odd Triple episodes.

In Strictly Business we see MacGyver wearing a Swiss Army Watch "original" which has the distinctive red band around the face of the watch.


Did Dana Elcar (who plays Pete Thornton) go blind in real life?

Unfortunately, yes. Dana was diagnosed with glaucoma more than 25 years before "Blind Faith," the episode where he reveals that he’s going blind. He didn’t realize how badly his vision had deteriorated until a night location shoot for "MacGyver," when he became disoriented in the darkness. Mr. Elcar was legally blind and had to have his scripts read to him.


How was Richard Dean Anderson cast for the role of MacGyver?

The now-famous tale of how he got the part goes something like this: Before he was to begin reading for the part, Richard had to stop to fish his glasses out of a bag. Henry Winkler, one of the show’s producers, recalls being so impressed by this simple, human act that they cast him on the spot.


Haven’t I seen that actor before - as a different character?
You probably have. Several supporting actors popped up again and again as different characters in different episodes. Elyssa Davalos, for example, played Mac’s lost love in "Lost Love," then returned a few episodes later as Nikki Carpenter, Phoenix operative. Robin Mossley did a similar trick in the fifth season when he appeared as imprisoned journalist Alexander Shannon in "Legend of the Holy Rose" and came back in several episodes to play MacGyver’s neighbor, Wilt Bozer. Click here to see a full list of all the actors who have played multiple characters in the show.


Why hasn't MacGyver got a girlfriend?

You can thank the female viewers for that one. It seems that there are a lot of ladies out there who want MacGyver to remain an eligible bachelor. Case in point: Maria Romburg, introduced in "The Wall." The studio received such scathing fan responses that she only appeared in one more episode, "MacGyver’s Women."


Who comes up with those incredible MacGyverisms?
According to an interview with Rick Drew (one of the shows writers) it was usually the writers themselves who came up with the ideas.
The show did use a technical adviser, John Koivula in LA, and Jim Green in Vancouver, who helped with the science behind the MacGyverisms.
You can read an emailed interview with Rick Drew here.

In his book Warm Up the Snake, John Rich writes that the show also offered a monetary prize for good MacGyverism ideas they could use in the show.
   
The story goes that a young fan of the series suggested that MacGyver could patch up a vehicle's radiator by cracking egg whites into the radiator. This trick was used in the Bushmaster episode and the young fan was rewarded.
   
Although they had staff appointed to read all the letters sent in for this competition, few usable ideas where ever obtained through this method.


What kind of degree does MacGyver have?
There’s no definitive answer to this question. In the “Flames end” episode Amy mentions a science degree, but then immediately after that MacGyver talks about taking physics. So we still don’t really have an answer other than to say it was either a general science degree or a physics degree.



Did MacGyver even win any awards?
Curiously, "MacGyver" never won an Emmy. But the show has earned honors for other aspects of its production.

Two first-season episodes, the pilot episode and "Thief of Budapest," won awards at the Second Annual Stuntman Awards for Best High Work and Best Specialty Stunt, respectively.

In 1989, Richard Dean Anderson and the executive producers of "MacGyver"- Henry Winkler, John Rich, and Stephen Downing – accepted awards from the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence. The reception was used to unveil the episode 'The Gun,' which was produced in reaction to the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer by a crazed fan."

In 1991, the show was honored at the first annual Environmental Media Awards for "Ongoing Commitment" to environmental concerns.
A dubious honor: Also in 1991, the conservative Media Research Center named "MacGyver" one of the ten most "liberally biased" TV shows of the 1990-1991 season because of its focus on the environment, gun control, and foreign affairs.

The episode "Black Rhino" won a Genesis Award for animal awareness.

 

What type of planes did Jack Dalton fly?
Jack flew several different planes as he moved through various ventures throughout the show.

In “Jack of Lies” and “Rock the Cradle” he flew a Douglas/DC-3, C-47, Dakota. It was registered with the FAA as N3FY. According to the Aviation Safety Network  this particular plane was destroyed in a crash near Quetzaltenango Airport in Guatemala on Nov 1, 1998.

In “On a Wing and a Prayer” he flies a de Havilland Beaver (Canadian - DHC2 Beaver). This particular aircraft (N9748C) is no longer in the FAA's Registry list - meaning it was either de-commissioned, or destroyed.

 

What was that red bracelet MacGyver wore in the 6th season?
The bracelet worn by MacGyver is a Gulf War memorial bracelet.. It had the name of either a Missing in Action, or a Killed in Action, soldier.



Why did he move out of the houseboat in season 7?
In episode 127 – The Hood, we hear that MacGyver’s houseboat burnt down in a fire, and this is the reason he moved into the loft apartment.

In reality, the shows production had moved from Canada back to LA. Also the marina which housed the houseboat was beginning to be dismantled as part of the redevelopment project for that part of Vancouver city, so external filming of the houseboat was no longer an option.

 

Why was the show cancelled in season 7?
The show wasn't canceled in the season. It was only picked up for 13 episodes for the final 7th season, so everyone knew from the beginning that season 7 was the final season.

We don’t know the exact reasons for the show being finished, but one of the reasons given in interviews and news items refers to the growing cost of production. MacGyver was already one of the most expensive shows on TV at the time. These costs combined with dropping ratings where probably major contributing factors. (Interestingly, ABC has never been able to duplicate the ratings MacGyver got in that Monday night time slot paired with Monday Night Football.)

Another contributing factor could well be that the producers had indicated that they believed they had taken the character as far as they reasonably could. Many fans believe season 7 bears this out with declining quality of story lines and say the show had reached its natural conclusion.

 

Where did the "Lost epiosode" come from?
Season 7 was contracted to be 13 episodes, which they completed filming in December.

The “Coltons” episode was actually shot as part of season 6, but aired as part of season 7. This meant they had 14 episodes instead of the agreed 13, so they aired 12 episodes (including the Coltons) and saved the finale for April when they did a special night of several series finales.

That was supposed to be the end. But the ratings were so high that night that they brought out the Mountain of Youth as a "Lost Episode" and then continued with reruns throughout the summer.

 

What other countries was the show aired in?
* In Argentina, the show was shown on Canal 13.
* In Australia, the show was shown on the Seven Network.
* In Austria, the show was shown on ORF1.
* In Bangladesh, the show was shown on Bangladesh Television.
* In Belgium, the show was shown on VTM (Dutch-subtitled), Kanaal2 (Dutch-subtitled) and
     RTL TVI (French-dubbed)
* In Brazil, the show was shown on TV Globo with the title "Profiss´┐Żo: Perigo!"
     (in English, "Occupation: Danger!"). The original opening and closing themes was
      replaced by Rush's song "Tom Sawyer".
* In Colombia, the show was shown on Telecaribe.
* In Costa Rica, the show was shown on Channel 6 and now appears on channel 11
     at 7:00 p.m. The show is so popular that even today the term "MacGyver" is used to refer
     to a  technically skilled person.
* In the Czech Republic, the show was shown on TV Nova and TV Prima.
* In Denmark, the show was shown on TV Danmark.
* In Dominican Republic, the show was shown on Canal 11 (Telesistema)
* In Egypt, the show was shown several times on the program "Ekhtarna Lek"
     (What we chose for you) on Egyptian Channel 1 as the show received a huge fanbase
      in Egypt. The show also aired on Channel 2.
* In El Salvador, the show was shown in TV2. On the final season presentation (a year later than in the
     USA, due to Spanish dubbing), erroneously the operators showed the last episode almost at the start of
     the season.  This caused lack of interest from the public in the remaining episodes and seriously affected
     the ratings from a series that was, to that date, very popular. The programming director was fired.
* In Finland, the show was shown on MTV3 and SubTV and is currently being rerun on Kutonen.
* In France, the show was shown on TF1 and later on TV Breizh.
* In Germany, the show was shown on Pro7, Sat.1, Kabel1 and Premiere Series.
* In Greece, the show was shown on ERT and ANT1.
* In India, the show was shown on Star World.
* In Indonesia, the show was shown on RCTI.
* In Ireland, the show was shown on RTE Network 2.
* In Israel, the show was shown on channel 1.
* In Italy, the show was shown on Italia1 and Rete4.
* In Japan, the show was shown on JCTV.
* In Lebanon, the show was shown on Middle East TV.
* In Malaysia, the show was shown on TV3.
* In Mexico, the show was aired on Canal 5, Televisa.
* In Mozambique, the show was shown on TVM.
* In New Zealand, the show was shown on TV2, and rerun in later years on Prime.
* In Norway, the show has been shown in several reruns on Tv2 zebra, the latest being aired in 2013.
* In Pakistan, the show was shown on PTV channel.
* In the Philippines, the show was shown on RPN 9.
* In Poland, the show was shown on TVP 1, Polonia 1 and Polsat.
* In Portugal, the show was shown on RTP 1 and SIC Radical.
* In Saudi Arabia, the show was shown on Saudi TV Channel 2.
* In Singapore, the show was shown on then TCS' Channel 5.
* In Slovakia, the show was shown on STV, Markiza, JOJ. Currently it is running on JOJ.
* In Slovenia, the show was shown on Kanal A.
* In South Africa, the show was shown on SABC
* In South Korea, the show was shown on MBC.
* In Spain, the show was shown on TVE, Telecinco, Calle 13 and Antena 3.
* In Sri Lanka, the show was shown on Rupavahini.
* In Sweden, the show was shown first run on SVT and is currently syndicated on Kanal 5.
* In Switzerland, the show was shown on TSR, in French
* In Taiwan, the show was shown on TTV.
* In Thailand, the show was shown on Channel 3.
* In Trinidad & Tobago, the show was shown on TTT, Friday nights at 8:00 pm.
* In Turkey, the show was shown on Star TV.
* In United Kingdom it was shown Saturday afternoons on ITV1 the complete series was
     not aired although some episodes were also on BBC, with repeats sometimes on Bravo.
* In Uruguay, the show was shown on Canal 12 (La Tele).
* In Zambia, the show was shown on ZNBC.
* In Zimbabwe, the show was shown on ZBC TV 1.

 

How did RDA hurt his back?
According to RDA himself, he was running towards the camera during a scene and put his foot in a hole. At that instant he felt a numbing sensation in his lower back and realized something was wrong.

In spite of the injury he continued filming for the remainder of the season, and had surgery during the hiatus period.

You can watch the news item and interview about his injury here.


Was MacGyver vegetarian?
MacGyver has never claimed to be any specific kind of food consumer.

The only time vegetarian was ever mentioned was at the end of Walking Dead? When Mama Lorraine tells MacGyver that she told the gods he was Vegetarian so he wouldn't have to sacrifice a goat to them. 

Listing his eating habits from the episodes proves that he is definitely a healthy eater, who leans towards the vegetarian type foods, but doesn’t seem to have an issue eating meat on occasion.

In previous discussions on this topic it’s been suggested that over time MacGyver’s eating habits changed. This is probably the most likely scenario. We see him eating more meat in the earlier episodes, and then as we move through the seasons his eating gets healthier and we see him eating salads and vegetarian type foods.

We know the character of MacGyver changed through the 7 year show, so it would make sense that his eating habits could follow suit and change as well.

Read and join in the discussion about this topic here.

 

 

 

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