To help promote the return of “MacGyver” in the movie “Lost Treasure of Atlantis,” subscribers to the Prodigy online service were invited to submit questions which Richard Dean Anderson answered in one of his earliest live online chat experiences.
Subject: “Rick & Hockey” submitted by Cynthia Dehart
Richard Dean Anderson: Do I still get a chance to play hockey? Every Thursday night. I play at a local skating rink with a group of guys. It’s an eclectic group who all play for the love of the game. We’ve got truck drivers, cops, an airline pilot, art dealer and one actor — me.
Subject: “Rick & Story” submitted by Chris Smith
Richard Dean Anderson: Chris, if there was any kind of misbehaving activity at the set of “MacGyver,” I was usually at the center of it. Being a misbehaving kid, that’s just part of my nature. One day, I brought two full size goalie nets to the set, and we played street hockey constantly. Before we broke for lunch, I was in the middle of completing a complicated scene. At lunch, I went back to hockey, where I took the butt end of the hockey stick to my eye. I got a huge gash under the lid, and it started to swell. It looked like I had a little egg in there. The makeup lady had to scramble to hide the cut, and we couldn’t tell the director, because we knew he’d be furious. Luckily, we got away with it. He never figured it out.
Subject: “Rick on Acting” submitted by Maria Lehan
Richard Dean Anderson: Maria, when I was 6 years old, my father, a high school teacher, took me to rehearsals for plays at the school, and the seed was sown there. I was fascinated by the whole environment of acting, and after my dreams of being a professional hockey player were dashed, I turned to the theater department, because acting provided intelligence, humor and creativity.
Subject: “Rick on Adjective” submitted by Angela Francisco
Richard Dean Anderson: Yes, I’ve heard that kids were using the word “MacGyver” as an adjective to describe the impossible, and that’s great. That’s what the whole “Mac Pack” seems to be about, people tying in with the character. The show obviously affected and touched a lot of people, which is something that I’m really proud about.
Subject: “Rick on Date” submitted by Donnie Lynch
Richard Dean Anderson: Donnie, the correct date for “MacGyver: The Lost Treasure of Atlantis” is Saturday 5/14. Time: 8 p.m. ET/PT. Spread the word.
Subject: “Rick on Guns” submitted by Gretchen Ludwig
Richard Dean Anderson: Gretchen, it wasn’t easy to do an action/adventure series with a hero who was against guns. We had special interest groups like the NRA asking their members to boycott our sponsors. All we were doing was portraying a character who solved problems by thinking, by looking for alternative means to shooting a gun, and that was unique to TV. And yes, I share MacGyver’s relative anti-gun stand.
Subject: “Rick on Hockey” submitted by Brenda Stone
Richard Dean Anderson: Brenda, I loved your question about who I’m rooting for in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Right now, I’m kind of torn. When the Northstars moved from Minnesota to Dallas, I lost my allegiance. I felt as though I’d been slapped in the face. So now I’m pulling for the Rangers.
Subject: “Rick on Mac” submitted by Tammy Green
Richard Dean Anderson: Am I like MacGyver? I think I have a semblance of compassion and a desire to understand humanity, and with that comes a caring for what happens emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. There’s a bit of parallel there.
Subject: “Rick on Mac Films” submitted by Megan Herring
Richard Dean Anderson: Megan, making the two “MacGyver” films in England was a glorious experience. Since I was co-producer, it was really hard work… it wasn’t like I was there on vacation, I had to be responsible to the production as well. I will say that spending time in a foreign land, as opposed to just a visit was quite dynamic. I highly recommend it. My only other visit to London prior to this trip was a 4 day stop, and I wasn’t that bowled over by the country. But this time, actually living there, my opinion of England escalated considerably. Living and working there allowed me the opportunity to really get to know the country. Now I love England.
Subject: “Rick on Movie” submitted by Sharon Herman
Richard Dean Anderson: Sharon, the question from your grandmother was this: Will I have a series out in the fall, and do I have any other plans for movies and TV in the future. No, yes. How’s that for insightful? I won’t have a series on this fall, maybe for mid-season. Right now I’m concentrating on movies for television. We did the two new “MacGyver” TV movies back to back, and I’m leaving on 5/17 for Vancouver to shoot a movie for CBS with Susan Dey. The movie is called “Beyond Betrayal,” and I play a cop with a history of being an abusive husband. My wife has left me, and I get into a stalking mode. As far as series go, I’m trying to develop something with my partners, something that’s unique, something a little different.
Subject: “Rick on New Mac” submitted by Michael Ansell
Richard Dean Anderson: Mike, you asked about my new TV project, “MacGyver: The Lost Treasure of Atlantis,” which airs on ABC 5/14th at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The deal to make two “MacGyver” films for ABC came after the series was cancelled. It became apparent, due to the reaction from fans of the show, that they were upset the show had gone off the air. ABC responded by asking me if I would consider doing some “MacGyver” movies. They asked me to do 6 originally, and in an effort to remain diverse, I choose 2. The first one is “Lost Treasure,” where we take the stand that Atlantis did exist. The second one is more of a dark thriller where MacGyver uncovers a plot to stockpile a massive amount of nuclear arms, and ends up saving the world.
Subject: “Rick on New Series” submitted by Dwight Billings
Richard Dean Anderson: Dwight, the “MacGyver” series is unlikely to be regenerated. I’m trying to develop another show that would be interesting enough to initiate another adventure for us all. There’s always a chance, however, that Mac might be back, and that depends on the response to this weekend’s first ABC “MacGyver” film. Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Don’t forget to tune in!
Subject: “Rick on Part” submitted by Jennifer Messineo
Richard Dean Anderson: Jennifer, in 1985 the script for “MacGyver” was sent to me, and I read for the part. I have very bad eyesight, and asked if the producers would mind if I wore my glasses for the audition. They all looked at each other, as I fished for my glasses, and I’m told, cast me on the spot. They loved how I threw vanity out the window, humbled myself and admitted that I had a flaw. That’s what they wanted in the character, someone who’s very human.
Subject: “Rick on Quote” submitted by Donnie Lynch
Richard Dean Anderson: Yes Donnie, the quote from Thomas Wolfe sort of capsulizes my attitude about what I’ve been through in my life. (“Sometimes you have to go a long way out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.”) Sometimes you do have to go a long ways out of the way, which I did very early, and I think I’ve come back very correctly.
Subject: “Rick on Roseville” submitted by Greg Hagfors
Richard Dean Anderson: Greg, my hometown of Roseville, MN seemed a lot bigger when I was growing up. Every so often, if I’m in Minnesota, I’ll rent a car at the airport, put it on cruise, and go up and down the old streets of Roseville. There’s still a charm about the town that I love. It’s one of the loveliest places you can imagine.
Subject: “Rick on Simpsons” submitted by KC Lupp
Richard Dean Anderson: No KC, I never lent my voice to the “Simpsons,” even though I would love to. There have been a couple of times when my career has reached its apex. The first was when my middle name was used in a TV Guide crossword puzzle, another was when Mad magazine parodied the show as MacGimmick, and the third was being mentioned on the “Simpsons.” That was the pinnacle. I’m a massive fan of the show as well, and would love to one day be a part of it in some way.
Subject: “Rick on Swiss Army” submitted by Angela Francisco
Richard Dean Anderson: I wish I’d kept an accurate account of how many Swiss Army knives we went through on “MacGyver.” I always had one with me. We must have gone through at least 200.
Subject: “Rick’s Fave” submitted by Angela Francisco
Richard Dean Anderson: It’s kind of tough to pinpoint one episode out of 139 as my favorite, but one that’s closest to my heart is the one where I raced cars. I love to race, and in this episode, we orchestrated an actual race, and I got to do my own racing on camera. I also had fun doing the two flashback western episodes. MacGyver got to wear a huge moustache and complete cowboy gear. The minute we started those episodes, I knew I missed my era completely.
Richard Dean Anderson: I wanted to thank all of you for your questions and comments. I’m fascinated by this process. I’m not a computer whiz, but I love that there’s this underground group of people who continue to communicate and keep “MacGyver” alive. I’m tickled by it. Thanks again.
Online chat held via the Prodigy Interactive Service. May 10, 1994.