TECH GADGET: MASTER GADGET AND GIZMO PROBLEM SOLVER - MACGYVER
All you “senior” and mid-range folks should remember the tech gadget master MacGyver. you newbies should look him up. MacGyver is actually a television series that ran between 1985 and 1992 on my old network - ABC. The way he took every day things and turned them into a tech gadget that would immobilize the enemy was what made Macgyver one of my favorite programs.
Another trivia for you oldies - Henry Winkler of “Fonz” fame was Co-Producer of the show. For you newbies who haven’t heard of either one of them -
MacGyver was a former Special Forces agent who began working for the Phoenix Foundation, a "think tank" dedicated to righting wrongs and defeating bad guys around the world.
Using his education and knowledge of physics and chemistry, MacGyver would slip past the enemy's defenses and undermine their foul plans and deeds with a tech gadget ingenuity rather than brute force. He used tidbits of scientific knowledge and took ordinary items that happened to be laying around to make up gizmos and gadgets.
For example, a paper clip might be used to short-circuit a nuclear missile. A candy bar would be used to stop an acid leak - It may be just a Snickers bar to you and me, but MacGyver sees it as a handy hunk of disaccharide that will turn nice and gummy. Or, a cold capsule would be made to ignite a makeshift bomb. All of these actions, of course, just in the nick of time. MacGyver could work wonders with the contents of a lady's handbag!
No doubt the lovely damsels he rescued each week saw MacGyver as rather a handy hunk himself. MacGyver was touted to be Mr. Wizard with dimples - which didn’t hurt the draw of the show - eye candy for the women - and action and cool use of tech gadgets and gizmos for the guys.
Macgyver was sort of a modest James Bond crossed with a resourceful Indiana Jones. There was nothing he couldn’t get out of if you gave him some goodies and a few seconds to think about it. Cool, cool dude.
The great thing about him was that he was conscious of the environment - never carried a gun - and when the shooting starts, he was more prone to be running and building a bullet-proof vest from spider webs or some other low or high tech gadget or two. MacGyver even shakes his hand and says “Ow” if he does have to hit someone. The show has a subtle “tongue in cheek” style.
The show nearly always started with an “opening gambit” - which was a 5-10 minute mini-adventure that led then into the main story. In music it is called the “hook” - and it worked very well - MacGyver was around for seven seasons - and is still in syndication around the world.
As an example, one program began with MacGyver in an auto junkyard trying to stop the sale of missile secrets to espionage agents. He snags the villains valuable briefcase with one of those huge movable magnets. He is then captured by the agents, trussed up and tossed into the back seat of a car about to be flattened in a car crusher.
He escapes through the trunk and, using available junk yard machinery, leaves the bad guys suspended about 50 feet in the air. Then come the opening credits - and MacGyver is off to Burma to recover a canister of deadly poison that was lost when an Army cargo plane crashed near a village where the natives are slaves to an opium warlord.
He not only recovers the canister but helps the villagers regain their freedom by using whatever items are lying about to make a tech gadget or two to defeat the warlord. In the final scene, MacGyver manages to tie a wire cable from the downed plane to the warlord's helicopter and reel it in.
Nothing is ever taken too seriously. Early in the episode, when MacGyver is staked out in the hot sun by the warlord's soldiers, his voice is heard remarking, "My mom used to make great broiled chicken. I'm starting to feel real sympathetic about those chickens."
MacGyver - as a series - has charm - adventure - and super invention by using regular every day stuff to make these great gadgets - gizmos - and tech gadgets - using scientific principles to save the day - every episode of course. If you are into invention and creativity like me - this was and is a real fun show - lots of action without heavy violence - and enough tongue in cheek to keep you chuckling.
If I brought up old memories - or if you missed it when it played - the entire series is available on video - along with a tech gadget or two and other things here: