Friday, March 7, 2014

#120: Harry's Will

Season: 6

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver is back in his hometown of Mission City, Minnesota, to read a codicil (will amendment) of his grandfather Harry’s will.  At the same time, Harry’s old friend, Cody, gets out of prison and searches for a large diamond that Harry hid and left clues to find.  Some crooks are also after the diamond, but MacGyver and Cody foil the crooks and use the proceeds from the diamond to fund a soup kitchen.

Memorable Quote:
"You intentionally tripped that boy." ~Grandpa Harry
"We did it Granpda, we won!" ~young MacGyver
"You’re no winner, bud." ~Grandpa Harry

The "Lesson at Center" scene.  MacGyver visits the ice rink where he played as a kid and has a flashback (in black and white, no less) to a time when he tripped a boy on the other team and then scored the winning goal.  Everyone is celebrating except for Grandpa Harry (see Memorable Quote).  MacGyver then goes to the referees and asks them to disallow the goal he just scored. I’m all for sportsmanship, but even I think that might be going a little far--nevertheless, it’s a good scene.  Also gotta love the poignant music in these flashbacks.   

If you’ve read this blog before, you know I’m not a fan of the overly slapstick moments.  Therefore, it stands to reason that I wouldn’t be a big fan of the Rich Little scene at the end of the episode.  Basically, Rich Little plays a bizarre crook who appears at the end wielding a gun and having a mental breakdown as he alternates between multiple personalities/celebrity impressions.  When I was a kid, our family had a cassette tape of Rich Little answering machine messages, and I remember we sometimes switched between using his John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart messages.  He’s a talented guy, but the scene is too goofy for me.  The lead-up to this moment where everyone is running around on the ice, however, is fun.  

Best MacGyverism:
While trapped under a car in an auto repair shop pit, MacGyver uses the tools at hand to inflate an innertube-looking thing to raise the car up.    

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Henry Winkler (executive producer of the show) makes his one and only acting appearance of the series in the opening scene as Wilton Newberry, Harry’s lawyer.  I’ve always been a big Henry Winkler fan going back to his days as the Fonz, and his brief performance here is memorable and entertaining. 
  • This episode wins the award for most celebrity guest stars, including Winkler, Abe Vigoda, Dick Butkus, Marion Ross, Henry Gibson, and Rich Little.
  • Our first Earl Dent episode!  Dent, played by Dick Butkus, is a great example of what I’m looking for in a wingman (see my wingman page, which I will bump Dent to the top of immediately, even though he battles MacGyver in this episode).  Imagine if MacGyver had Dent by his side throughout the series.  MacGyver would provide the brains, and Dent would provide the brawn/muscle – a great team!
  • Abe Vigoda looked familiar to me, like he was from the Godfather, and sure enough he was (Tessio).  In our episode analysis, he’s the latest in a string of old guys that do their own thing, don’t listen to MacGyver, and get MacGyver in trouble (we’ve already seen Honest Abe and Pinky).  Speaking of Pinky, it just so happens that Henry Gibson, who played Pinky, appears briefly in this episode as a drive-thru customer.
  • Big fan of the Blue ‘57 Nomad.  Great color.
  • Fun piece of trivia here. Big Mama is played by Wendy O. Williams, who I had never heard of before, but according to IMDB, she was the inspiration/namesake behind the Super Mario 3 (one of the best video games of all time) villain, Wendy O, Koopa.
  • Our first carikaze! For a reminder of what a carikaze is, see the key terms page. It’s not a true carikaze in that he doesn’t first run in front of the car before jumping out of the way, but it’s close enough that we’ll add it to the list.
  • About partway through, MacGyver reacts like a little girl at the sound of a gunshot, waving his hands and yelling.  Not that I'd react any better, but what a long way from the Season 1 swagger.

Final Analysis:
A little goofy at times, but the guest stars are enjoyable and the flashback scenes are fun.  Next up, going back to early Season 1—perhaps an opening gambit is involved?! 


  1. We mostly agree on this episode. The Rich Little scene was absolutely awful and nearly sabotaged the whole hour. But I did enjoy the rest of it, which I found to be a successful foray into slapstick couple with an emotional final sendoff to Grandpa Harry. I also thought the treasure hunt was clever and found Cody to be a great "sorta sidekick" for MacGyver. Despite the clownish Rich Little moment, I still ranked this one #53.

  2. Should add that James Doohan (Scotty of Star Trek fame) was also in the episode as Speedy the garage owner.

  3. good episode watched b4 cant remember how it finished,watching it now

  4. I thought this was a great episode and Rich Little cracked me up. And the looks on everyone's faces when Rich Little was talking hahaha.

    "Imagine if MacGyver had Dent by his side throughout the series. MacGyver would provide the brains, and Dent would provide the brawn/muscle – a great team!"

    Oh I so agree!!!! :)

  5. My family owned that Rich Little "Phonies" answering machine voice fact I now have it in my cassette collection. Don't recal us ever using it though.

  6. Lyle Alzado also appears at the beginning when Cody is released from prison.