MACGYVER - PILOT
01.01 Episode 1 (#40191-001)
Airdate: September 29, 1985
Richard Dean Anderson stars as MacGyver, a resourceful and daring modern-day hero. MacGyver is called in as a last resort to rescue two scientists trapped in a high security underground laboratory as leaking acid threatens the New Mexico water system.
Written by: Thackary Pallor
Directed by: Alan Smithee
Guest Starring: Michael Lerner as Ed Gantner, Dana Elcar as Andy Colson, Paul Stewart as Dr. Carl Steubens, Michael C. Gwynne as Dr. Charlie Burke, Michael Fairman as General Relkwin, Shavar Ross as Reggie, Darlanne Fluegel as Barbara Spencer, Olaf Pooley as Dr. Sidney Marlowe, Charles Lanyer as Major Dennis, Lawrence Casey as Colonel Keel, Al White as Sergeant, Charles Bouvier as Technician #1, Michael Johnson as Captain Taylor, Jerry de Wilde as Jerry, JoAnna Linn as Mary, Howard Schechter as Technician #2, Larry Watson as Technician #3
OPENING GAMBIT: MacGyver rescues a downed Air Force pilot from his Mongolian captors.
Nielsen Ratings: 10.9 rating / 17 share / 3rd (54th overall)
Disarmed a missile with a paper clip
Made a time-delay fuse to fire a
suspended rifle using a stick,
string, rubber band, & matchbook
Made a rocket thruster from a flare
gun and escaped with a parachute
Used a laser to light a cigarette
Disabled laser security using
cigarette smoke and a
prism from binoculars
Used a fire hose and water pressure
to move a collapsed girder
Used scrap wood
to test a door for heat
Used a ripped shirt as a mask
against toxic gases
Hot-wired the pump controls to
evacuate toxic gases
Stopped a sulfuric acid leak using
milk chocolate candy bars
Made a bomb with a cold capsule,
sodium metal, and water
Flashed the main power controls
to send a signal in Morse code
- I thought you had to be real normal to be somebody's Big Brother. I mean, this ain't a normal place to live. This is weird. [Reggie]
People a lot taller than yourself have said the exact same thing. [MacGyver]
- Well, give me "not great" on a scale of one to ten. [MacGyver]
Minus three. [Gantner]
- You Colson? [MacGyver]
That's right. You must be the screwball. [Colson]
- You know, it's gonna take a lot more than you can carry in that knapsack to get you through all this. [Colson]
Well, the bag's not for what I take, Colson. It's for what I find along the way. [MacGyver]
- Make sure it melts in the acid and not in my hand, right? [Spencer]
- Don't tell me you know how to make a bomb out of a stick of chewing gum. [Spencer]
Why, you got some? [MacGyver]
- You know, Spencer, I think you're starting to get the hang of this. But I do wish I had known you had a cold before I kissed you. [MacGyver]
- A phenomenal shot by a short kid! The fans go crazy! [MacGyver]
- The original episode of MacGyver was a 90-minute pilot written by Lee David Zlotoff in 1984. The full episode was filmed, but was later reedited to the 60-minute version credited to Thackary Pallor. Alan Smithee is a pseudonym used when a director does not want to be credited for the work. Because the episode was edited, several of the guest starring characters, including General Relkwin, Major Dennis, Jerry, and Mary, did not appear in the version that aired.
- In the original pilot script, MacGyver's first name was given as Stace, however this was removed from the version that aired, and MacGyver continued without a first name until his name was revealed as Angus in season seven.
- Although the episode only identifies the location of the Opening Gambit as "Central Asia," the TV Guide specifies the location as Mongolia.
- MacGyver's home is in an observatory. Although the city is not identified, the location is identifiable as the Griffith Obsevatory in Los Angeles.
- Dana Elcar, who will later become Pete Thornton, appears as Andy Colson.
- The opening gambit of the pilot episode is the only time that MacGyver fires a gun as a weapon. MacGyver's aversion to guns was introduced shortly afterward.
- MacGyver also puffed on a cigarette to make a laser visible, but he did not show a taste for smoking.
- Swiss Army Knife Count: (3)
- Lent his knife to Captain Taylor to cut himself free from the cage
- Cut off the end of a fire hose
- Used the blade to collect a sample of sodium metal
- MacGyver Science:
- Milk chocolate is lactose and sucrose, or disaccharides (C12H22O11). Sulfuric acid will react with the sugars to form an elemental carbon and a thick gummy residue, enough to clog the acid rupture temporarily.
- When the cold capsule hits the water and dissolves, the sodium it contains interacts with the water and gives off hydrogen and enough of a reaction to ignite it.