Friday, May 8, 2015

#1A: The Gauntlet - Opening Gambit

Season: 1

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver is in a Middle Eastern town to retrieve a map that shows the locations of some "heavy handed troublemakers."  After he obtains the map, he is spotted and his pursuers give chase.  He uses the map in numerous creative ways before escaping in a hot air balloon over the barren desert.  

Memorable Quote:
It just goes to show you, a good map will always get you where you wanna go.  ~MacGyver

Running on the sand to God's music.

That it had to end.

Best MacGyverism:
It's very clever the way that he lays the map under the locked door, jiggles the keyhole so that the key on the other side falls onto the map, and then pulls the map back underneath the door.  I also like how he didn't think of this originally and opted instead to climb out the window, but after being spotted he went back to the locked door and found a way through the second time around. "Great thing about a map: it can get you in and out of places a lot of different ways."

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:  
  • It's been a long, long road, but we've finally made it.  Only 609 days ago, we set off on this journey beginning at the sad and pathetic Mountain of Youth.  Along the way we've laughed, we've cried, and we've grown.  Now the peak of a different mountain is in sight, the pinnacle of the series.  Let's keep climbing!
  • We start with some shots of townspeople, camels, and chickens milling around the village. It's a really impressive and elaborate set they made.   
  • As MacGyver is making his way along the rooftops to the map room, he tells us a story about Mrs. Fryfogel, his Minnesota cub scout den mother, and how she taught him not to drop crumbs on the trail (just as he kicks up some rocks that fall onto a villager and his camel below).  Always fun when early series MacGyver gets into storytelling mode. 
  • Aha, the first sight of the map and the first tease of my favorite all-time theme from the series. More on this in a little bit.

  • Just as in my review of the episode portion of The Gauntlet, I won't mention every single time that there is an iconic shot that appears in the opening credits given that there are so many of them.  This gambit as a whole is as classic as it gets.  
  • It feels to me like the timing is off when MacGyver is spotted climbing the rope since the next shot of him is standing on the ledge.
  • Next we get to the moment mentioned in the MacGyverism where he uses the map (practical use #1) to retrieve the key.  And my God, the music and excitement levels are already off the charts. 
  • Map use #2 - as a pea shooter to hit the woman hanging clothes with a pea.  This provides a distraction and allows MacGyver to steal a pullover and blend in a little better. 
  • Map use #3 - hiding a metal pole in the map and using it to hit the soldier in the chest. Before that, we're treated to this memorable and outstanding conversation: 
    • "Halt!  That is far enough."  ~Soldier
    • MacGyver hops down off the top of the wall. 
    • "The map."  ~Soldier
    • "You know I'd like to, but I really need it myself."  ~MacGyver
    • "You amuse me."  ~Soldier
    • MacGyver hits the soldier and then loudly drops the pole to the ground. 
    • "Sorry, but I really do need it."  ~MacGyver
  • And now we've reached the peak: MacGyver running through the desert with map in hand as soldiers give chase to the sound of heavenly music.  It's easily the greatest moment in series history.  And television history.  I'd throw human history in there too but I don't want to exaggerate.
  • If you ask me what comes to mind when I think of MacGyver, this is my first thought. There's something about the visual of him running across the barren, homogeneous desert landscape that perfectly symbolizes and epitomizes the character and the series.  Off on an adventure in a foreign land, running for his life, but always one step ahead thanks to his mental ingenuity. Even in this empty arena and armed with nothing but a map, he finds a way to be creative and use the map once more as a sliding pad (map use #4).  Amazing.
  • And now that brings us to the music.  There's actually a mistake in the credits when it says the music was written by Randy Edelman.  In reality it was created by God himself.  It may be the most wonderful sound these ears have ever heard - it's certainly right up there as one of the greatest ever pieces of music from any era. 
  • In fact, this scene is not even close to the #1 moment in human history without the music.  In the episode Friends, they flash back to this scene only without the music. Here's what I wrote at the time as the lowlight of the episode, and it even included a small clue as to where this episode ranked:
    • Speaking of The Gauntlet, they replay the desert/hot air balloon scene without the original music. That's a crime, and whoever made that decision should have at least been fired, maybe even arrested.  There's a lot I could say about this scene, but this isn't the appropriate time.  We'll get to it later. Much later.  
  • In my Top 23 Check-In, I alluded to episode #1 as "Proof that God exists (because there's no way man created this)" and I was specifically referring to this moment here. It's comforting to know that we're not alone on this giant sphere careening through space.
  • Now far be it from me to question the greatest moment in the planet's history that was created by God, but there are a few things that I wonder about:
    • The map is obviously very important, but from my vantage point it just looks like a bunch of big red dots in cities across the U.S.  I'm not sure how this lack of specificity would be helpful to anyone.  I can imagine MacGyver's superiors looking at the map when he returns home -- "Great work, MacGyver!  Now we know the bad guys are in Seattle and Pittsburgh!"  And a close look at the map reveals dots in northern Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana among other places.  This shadowy organization has infiltrated the remotest areas of the heartland!  Even the northernmost point on Alaska is not immune from their reach!  
    • If I was in the Middle East on a secret mission, a hot air balloon would not be my first choice for an escape vehicle.  If this country or any of its nearby allies had any kind of air force or even one solitary plane, it wouldn't end well for MacGyver or the balloon.
    • It seems odd that the soldier could hit the balloon once and only once with a bullet.  I'd think either they would be able to hit the balloon not at all or else they'd hit it with a thousand bullets.
    • I'm not sure how MacGyver would be able to hang on to the balloon, hold the map in place, and tape it unless he grew a third hand (this is use #5 of the map, by the way).
    • OK, I'm done.  At this point I might as well jaunt over to Vatican City and see how I can critique the Sistine Chapel.
  • Actually I'm not done!  I just noticed one more goof for the first time ever (that's what happens when you watch something 10 times in a row because you love it).  Check out the camera that appears in the shot of MacGyver running.  Now I'm done.  
  • Love the faces of the soldiers when they turn their heads to see MacGyver's balloon.  
  • Finally we get to the end where MacGyver has duct taped the map on to the balloon and over the bullet hole.  He hops back into the basket and looks down at his pursuers with a wry smile and delivers the fantastic line mentioned in the memorable quote section.  We then see a distance shot of the balloon with the map on it, and God's incredible theme comes to a brilliant and glorious end with a breathtaking drum finale that leads right into the opening credits. Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum!!!  (There are thirteen Bums -- I counted).  A tour de force, the extent of which has never before been seen on television nor will ever be seen since.

  • I reached out to Executive Producer and friend of the blog Stephen Downing to see if he had any memories about the greatest moment in intergalactic history, and he said:
    • The gambits were shot in the first year as I recall, and this one was shot in two locations. The village was on the backlot at Paramount and the desert sequence was shot at the Dunes on location at Morro Bay. We shot the desert scenes for this sequence at the same time we shot the sequence where MacGyver escaped by hooking the horse to the helicopter. So the interesting part of the two sequences is they were both shot at the same location. When Mac flew off across the desert in the balloon, had the camera been turned around you would have seen the Pacific Ocean. My best memory of this sequence was in the writers room. It all started by posing the challenge, "how many ways can one use a map."
    • When Mr. Downing talked to us previously, he said that the Thief of Budapest horse scene was shot at Pismo Beach.  Both Pismo and Morro Bay are in the same general area north of L.A. (and about a half hour apart from each other) and they both have dunes, so I can see how they could be mixed up.  Based on pictures from the internet I'd say that Pismo looks like the more likely spot (the Oceano Dunes in particular), but it doesn't really matter.  It was interesting to hear that the two opening gambits were filmed at the same time and place, and fun to hear about the task of finding different ways to use the map.  They certainly met that challenge! 
    • And it does look a little to me like the ocean in the background when we first see the wide shot (the leftmost side has what looks a bit like waves) but I'm not 100% sure.
  • And here's a link to my conversation with the writer of this gambit, Judy Burns.

Final Analysis:
Not too much else to say that hasn't just been said.  The greatest moment from the greatest episode from the greatest television show ever. So where do we go from here?  First I will do a re-rank of the episodes now that I've seen them all again.  Then, I will watch and review the two movies to see where they fit -- I'm looking forward to this since I don't remember them at all.

And with that, 136 episodes (or 139 depending on how you count) are in the books.  We made it! All it took was a good map!


  1. I must have glossed over your commentary on this opening gambit from "Friends" but completely agree with you that dubbing the more generic Dennis McCarthy scores over the multiple scenes with Edelman music was a crime against humanity. It was one more reason that "Friends" should be in the lowest reaches of the lowest tier of episodes as far as I'm concerned! But I did catch your rankings of the other six opening gambits and your coy comment that we'll have to "wait and see" your thoughts on the remaining gambit. I can definitely see why you'd connect so greatly to this opening gambit as it encapsulates so much about what you like best in this series....fantastic music, great production values in an international high adventure setting, and the utilization of a simple item to orchestrate so many MacGyverisms. It was a creative tour de force without question and one I go back to view regularly for many of the same reasons you do. I personally have more passion for the horse opening gambit but this one is a solid second place for me.

    The attention to detail in the production was evident in that introduction scene. They simulate scenes like that in modern TV with CGI but in the summer of 1985 they actually hired a ton of extras to make the Paramount back lot look like the streets of the Middle East....and did so VERY convincingly. It just blows my mind the depths this show went to authenticate a 7 1/2-minute action sequence. Even when I was eight years old and the airwaves were full of big-budget action-adventure shows, I knew I was seeing something special in those MacGyver opening gambits.

    Anyway, the nitpickers have a field day with this one, and certainly from a logistical standpoint there were some head-scratchers. Why would the room with the important map have a key stuck in the lock on the outside of the door? Where did he get the random metal bar he hit the soldier with? Didn't anybody see the hot air balloon he landed just outside of town a few minutes before coming to town? Wouldn't the bullet that penetrated one side of the hot air balloon have had to come out on the other side and creating a second hole he needed to patch? Why was the vent cord on the balloon pressed right up against the balloon when he climbed it but hanging several feet away from the bucket (as it's supposed to) in the closing long shot? And would the map have really served as a functional patch given the way he taped it? Like so much on "MacGyver", it's silly to overthink this stuff. The fun is just accepting the clever tactics and just running with it. I'm willing to give them a break on the map-taping bit as I suspect the air pressure from the balloon would create a suction effect on the map through the bullet hole and still work as a patch despite his diagonal duck-taping. Still, it's too bad they couldn't have just had MacGyver outline the perimeter of the map with the tape and silence 30 years worth of critics constantly decrying that the tape job wouldn't hold.

    The music in the scene you mention is one I always rewind and listen to again when I watch these. It's up there with the music from the "Trumbo's World" opening gambit when MacGyver and Dr. Gates were unspooling the barbed wire across the river as music that just nails it for me, and I often watch the gambits solely to hear those glorious Edelman scores. Not a surprise that the desert/hot air balloon scene was filmed in tandem with the horse-lifting scene. I had no idea there were sand dunes that looked like that anywhere near L.A. I'll have to pay attention the next time I watch it and see if I see any desert.

    1. Glad you enjoy this one too. Some interesting other nitpicks that you mention others have raised. I hadn't ever thought of the bullet going through the other side of the balloon but that's a solid point - maybe it was an industrial strength thick balloon that swallowed up the bullet! As you said, best not to overthink too much. I learned from writing my book that it's pretty difficult to combine high adventure and complete, total realism, and sometimes it's fun to just run with at as you say.

      They could have paired this one with just about any other episode short of Honest Abe and Mountain of Youth and it would have been at the top for me. It just so happens that the rest of the episode is awesome too which is why this has always been my clear and easy #1. In your conversations with fans have you heard of anyone else who has this as their top episode? Paul, one of my twitter followers, told me it's his favorite too.

    2. Or maybe the heat from the burning gas melted the bullet before it was able to cross to the other side of the balloon! FYI a year earlier they did a stunt on "The Fall Guy" where hero Colt Seavers leapt out of a helicopter, landed on the top of a hot air balloon, shimmied down the side and then duked it out with the bad guys in the basket escaping. They did something similar years later on "Walker, Texas Ranger", a show I ordinarily didn't care for. I've always liked action scenes involving hot air balloons. I learned the same thing when I used to write my "Alex Burrows" scripts. Don't overthink it. Recognize there will always be plot conveniences that can't be easily explained away. Just have fun with it and either ignore the wiseguys nitpicking it or play along with them.

      I remember a little chatter from those who loved "The Gauntlet" and this opening gambit particularly, but I don't recall anyone else singling it out as an all-time favorite.

    3. Yeah I agree on not overthinking it. Even though it can be fun to nitpick a bit, I've generally tried not to do it too much on the blog. High adventure stuff like the hot air balloon scenes you mentioned are inherently not realistic, but if everything was super realistic then it wouldn't be any fun.

    4. You guys both rock man. This is great fun for me to read and go down memory lane. Greatest show of all time, without question.

  2. It's been a great countdown and I've enjoyed MOST of the moments from it except when you've rated my favorites poorly. Perhaps your re-ranking can hell make up for the misguided moments :) Overall your arguments are solid and you've discovered some things I've missed. And best of all your efforts to reach out to the crew members have been exceptional. Looking forward to your reviews of the movies.

    How does it feel to be (mostly) done? Liberating? Sad? Confusing? A little of all?

    1. Thanks! I had always been excited to see where your rankings would lie too and that made it a lot of fun. I'm sorry to say that the re-rankings probably won't right most of the wrongs in your eyes, though you can expect higher positions for Brainwashed and Trumbo's World at minimum. Let me know if there's any you want me to rerank for you.

      That's a good way to describe it: a little liberating, sad, and confusing. I'll definitely miss doing it, but the mental break will also be nice, as will the chance to watch a few other shows that I've been holding off on due to lack of time. I'm telling myself that I will take a nice long break from the blog but I wonder if I will want to start writing about something sooner rather than later.

      The crew interviews were a lot of fun and more than I ever would have expected before I started. It also represented a time commitment that I won't miss but yet was also kind of fun (searching for contact info was often time consuming but also felt like a treasure hunt and was fun when I found what I was looking for and when I would get a response back).

    2. You've already switched around "Mask of the Wolf" and "Deadly Silents", but beyond that I think I'd like to bump "Tough Boys" up from #84 to #82, bump "Three for the Road" up from #90 to #84, and bump "The Wasteland" down from #82 to #90. Beyond that, I'd like to bump "Runners" up from #102 to #99, bump "Rock the Cradle" up from #105 to #102, and drop "Trail of Tears" from #99 to #105. I've done far more substantial revisions even within the past decade but other than that feel the episodes are where they should be, at least until I rewatch them again which I suspect will be in a couple of years.

      There are some episodes like "The Negotiator" that I feel I ranked too low but can't immediately find any that I'd be willing to replace them with higher on the list. It seems like everybody hates "Hellfire" but I think despite the goofy acting that one is incredibly exciting and don't feel I can drop that any. Again, I'll have to rewatch before I feel comfortable making further revisions.

    3. Sounds good, I'll update your rankings later tonight.

  3. What do other people have as favorite individual moments? My top 10 goes like this:

    1. Running across the sand to the sound of God's music. The Gauntlet (#1)
    2. Escape from the attic. The Prodigal (#2)
    3. Revelation of MacGyver's first name. Good Knight MacGyver (#6)
    4. Being saved by Pete in the avalanche. Out in the Cold (#7)
    5. Defusing the bomb with the hockey ticket. Phoenix Under Siege (#10)
    6. Giving the doll to the little girl on the train. Slow Death (#51)
    7. Cruising through the desert, firing a rocket from a Cadillac. Three for the Road (#16)
    8. Meeting his parents on the boat to Heaven. Passages (#58)
    9. Remembering his mother and "ice cream" at Christmas time. The Madonna (#69)
    10. Saving the kids from the well on the Amish farm. The Outsiders (#23)

    Randy Edelman is all over this list (6 of the top 7) as is music in general.

    1. Guess I'd have to think about a top-10 list of individual moments before making a list. Two I can guarantee you I'd put in there would be Piedra's safehouse jail break in "The Assassin" and the poison dart-shooting bird cage in "Murderers' Sky". The scene from "The Madonna" I'd get in there, even more than MacGyver's "ice cream" moment with his mother, was the final frame of the episode where the statue's hand was damaged and MacGyver and Pete, along with the audience, learned that the stolen statue was the human incarnation of Carol all along. I defy anyone to tell me their mind wasn't blown by that moment! There'd be at least a couple of Murdoc moments in there too, including his death scenes in "The Widowmaker" and "Cleo Rocks". Beyond that, I'd want to think it over so I didn't miss anything for the remainder of my top-10.

    2. What about the episode where we learned why MacGyver HATES! Guns...“Blood Brothers” (season four, episode two)

  4. I like this opening gambit. Though, the horse one is my fave, I like this one too. Mac sliding down the sand dune on the map and patching the balloon. I really love when he whacks the guy w/ the bar hidden in the map.

    Another theory on the bullet in the balloon - it could've just grazed the one side, rather than going straight through... thus explaining why they didn't do a better job of hitting it. That one shot just got lucky.

    I was thinking of other shows that I watch, and so many of them are much more serialized now, that trying to rank them from 'least fave' to 'most fave' is a lot harder since the episodes are more intertwined. (That doesn't mean that, someday, I won't try anyway. *g*)

    1. I like your theory on the balloon. And you're right that the shows of today are much more intertwined and I imagine harder to rank.

  5. Congratulations on finishing the daunting task of reviewing and ranking each episode. You've been very thorough with your analyses and I've appreciated some episodes more than I had before. I look forward to seeing your re rankings!

    The gauntlet is certainly worthy of #1. I've done a mini ranking of my own, and I have this down as #2 behind invisible killer. This is certainly one of the most riveting episodes and, as an early one it probably cemented MacGyver in the hearts and minds of many fans. When I first started reading your blog I predicted this would be your #1, though I admit I changed that prediction numerous times. I wasn't absolutely sure until you put mask at #3.

    Since you asked, my favorite all-time moment in this series is the barrels rolling down the hill and subsequent swim to the Mexican shore. How can one not be excited with this scene!?

    My #2 moment is Bigfoot on the boat. So much suspense wrapped up in that scene.

    My #3 is Murdoch inviting cupid to dinner at MacGyver's houseboat. No wonder he changed residences soon afterward!

    I like that you mention the fact that hundreds of bullets probably could have poked holes in the balloon. If only one shot connected, why didn't a corresponding hole appear on the other side? Also, it's a hot air balloon. It's not like with party balloons. A small hole b isn't going to need to be repaired to stay afloat in the air. Plus I guess he could have just used the duct tape, right? Oh well, I'm asking too many questions. It's exciting and charming in the same way Indiana Jones scenes are and probably best not to nitpick. :)

    1. Thanks Robert, very cool that you have this episode so high and also that it contains your number one moment!

  6. Had some free time and charted your rankings. Statistically, you have season 3 (50.21) as your highest. Interestingly, you have season 7 (76.31) higher than 5 (78.15) and 6 (80.67). How'd that happen?!?

    1. Wow, thanks for doing that Robert! That's interesting. Doesn't surprise me with Season 5 since I only had 2 in the top 47. And Good Knight MacGyver probably helps knock Season 7 down, though it looks like it's still relatively close to 5 and 6.

  7. Your review of the opening gambit of this particular episode could not be any more spot on. I never thought I`d ever see someone who liked it as much as I do, I saw it when it 1st aired and to this day it is my favorite ep. of the series, Just because of the opening sequence. It couldn`t have been anymore perfect.

    1. You know what they say... "Great minds think alike" The part with "MacGyver running through the desert with map in hand as soldiers give chase to the sound of heavenly music" Is my favorite part as well... ;) Your review is very eloquently written, And I fully agree with every word of it....

  8. What an episode...! The first I’ve ever seen, the one that got me hooked and it’s still my favourite!
    The first few episodes of the show aired in the out-of-sequence order the two of you already mentioned: Gauntlet, Golden Triangle, Thief of Budapest, Trumbo, Heist, Last Stand. I missed the pilot and can clearly remember turning the channel on to this opening gambit which seemed to have been tailor-made to get my immediate and full attention. A guy 1. with my favourite “Hungarian voice” (not voice actor. Up until the late nineties when cable TV started to bring more films in than what could be dubbed to the usual high standards, voices were lent by well-known professional actors and they even made sure to stick with the same original actors whenever possible) 2. is sneaking into a room off a roof without a locked window being any a problem 3. while talking about scouting which at the time I was madly interested in (never actually put anything in practice as in the early nineties the movement just started to pick itself up from its ruins after the commies tried their best to destroy it but my dad had a book about it I read to pieces). I think this back story of his childhood suits and introduces him much better than the Pilot’s one.
    And it gets better. Less than a minute later, more to show just how special is what I come across: retrieving a key from the other side of a locked door with an elegantly simple move that left me with one thought: I WANT TO SEE MORE OF THIS.
    Probably that’s why the music during these few seconds are even more memorable for me than the desert one, and I didn’t think of asking why a key would be left outside a locked room or why bars cover the bottom half of a window!
    Imagine my disappointment when a few years later I read in one of Astrid Lindgren’s novels, written in the forties, that fourteen-year old Kalle got himself out of a locked room the exact same way!
    And the creative uses of the map just go on and on. I was a bit shocked to see that MacGyver put whatever he shot out of it into his mouth and I wish I could see the robe he took to actually help him to blend in and get past similarly dressed locals before he got spotted at the wall.
    The music during the desert scene is definitely in my top five. Interestingly, the first few times I found it frustrating because there was a point in it where I kept expecting a different note than what’s there but by now I listened to it enough times that I forgot what this note was or even where it was supposed to be.
    The balloon-patch-up was crazy! I wish there were enough holes to need more tape than what he put the map up with and, yes, that he taped around the edges instead of the corners but who cares... BEST OPENING GAMBIT EVER!

    1. Love hearing from others who love this gambit as I do! That's cool that this was the first episode you saw. And interesting that you read about the key trick in a 40's novel!

  9. Mission accomplished!!! To celebrate that I just finished to watch the episodes following your ranking, I had a special menu. Crab Mac & Cheese, Spinach Salad, Chardonnay and dark chocolate ice cream for dessert (thanks Wegmans). It's Friday, so no diet today.

    I have to say, when I watched all MacGyver episodes not so long ago, thanks to Netflix, this episode stuck with me, and I kept watching it over and over again. Not sure if I would rank it as my number one (that would be a huge project that I'm not planning to do), but it definitely has all the elements to define what MacGyver is (and I'm taking this space to talk about both, the gambit and the episode).

    The gambit is great, although I found the one with the horse more exciting.

    Regarding some of the questions asked about the gambit, I would say that the key was left in the lock outside, because somebody else was inside earlier and forgot to take the key with him/her when locked the door from the outside; common doors are locked with keys from the outside. I didn't give it too much thought when I watched the episode, it just made sense for me, besides, we would had missed one of the map uses if MacGyver had simply opened the door.

    The random metal bar is the same he moved from the window to the table when he got in the room to get the map. He put the metal bar on the table against the wall where the map is. However, we don't see him taking it again, so, it's a good question.

    Now, to the episode; I did really love that scene between Kate and MacGyver and the fire. It was kind of romantic, sublime and he was such a gentleman, besides, you can tell RDA is a great kisser �� The scene alone kept you wondering if something else really happened. Although, as an adult you could tell that something else happened based on MacGyver's behavior the following day (despite the fact that he used her as a shield to get the two soldiers), it was interesting that they didn't talk about that night during the rest of the episode. However, a season later it was confirmed that something really happened with MacGyver's scare reaction when he saw Kate pregnant. MacGyver was kissing another woman in the next episode after this one, so i guess it is safe to say it was a one night thing. I did really love the chemistry between the two of them, and it's funny how the country name they are trying to escape from is never mentioned, but there is a lot of reference to the Mexico border. And I think I mentioned this a few episodes ago, but it amazed me how all the Hispanic actors, despite the country they are in an episode have pure Mexican accent. �� Maybe they didn't expect to have so many fans from Latin America, so it was not a concern for them then, besides, I think it's hard for a non Spanish speaking person to catch the different accents in Latin America, same way I can't catch the different accents in the States (although I know when someone who is speaking English is not from the states).

    1. Now, why did I like MacGyver since I found it on one of the local channels in my country? Because MacGyver is my dad, well, not exactly, but they have a lot of similarities.

      My dad always has a pocket knife with him (not necessarily a Swiss army), but as MacGyver, he would not go anywhere without his knife. As a matter of fact, if you want to give him a good Father's Day present, a pocket knife will do it.

      My dad is a bag full of ingenuity. Contrary to MacGyver, he has no education, he only got to 8th grade, coming from a poor family and being the older of four, he dropped out from school to help the family. But his ingenious started since he was a kid. My uncles have a lot of stories, and one of my favorite is how my dad used to build his own toys since he was a little kid. Santa Claus and the Three Kings were extremely poor then.

      I have a cousin who describes dad really well, he says that my dad is an architect, civil and electrical engineer, plumber, mechanic, mathematic-all of these, without actually having a formal education. He says that if my dad had had the opportunity to go to college he would be a genious (well, not exactly, but you get the point). I think that the fact that my dad built the house where I grew up and they are still living it, could give you a fair idea. But not only the house, the kitchen cabinets, electric garage doors and every single detail you can imagine.

      Contrary to MacGyver, my dad has never been in a life threatening situation, thank God, but thanks to his knowledge, capacity, and hability to think really fast, he has been able to solve problems that others under normal circumstances would have given up. And yes, my dad has been involved in accidents thanks to his ingenuity, same way RDA had accidents while performing MacGyver, hence a few stitches here, and broken bones there.

      Talking about accidents, does anybody know in which episode RDA injured his back that required surgery years later? I know it was during the first season, and he has mentioned that you can see the moment it happened, because he disappeared momentarily from the camera when he is running, although you can't tell he hurt his back.

      Anyway, that's why MacGyver appealed so much to me. I don't think my dad had ever seen an episode, but I'm visiting my family this Christmas (8 more months to go), hopefully I'll watch some episodes with him, and I'll see his reaction then. For now, I already know what his next Father's Day present is going to be.

      Two episodes I didn't watch following the ranking: the Coltons and the last one (sorry, I'm not good with the episodes name). Not planning to see any of them, the first one is not a MacGyver episode for me, and the last one, I simply don't want it to be over.

      Congratulations on this project, it really is a well done job. And I admire you, and everyone who have dedicated a lot of time to work on this kind of project. I can tell that it is extremely time consuming. I hope someday you have the opportunity to interview RDA, that would be great.

      Thanks again, and for now, until next time...

    2. Thank you Minyra for your kind words and your comments -- I've enjoyed reading them! Sounds like your father is quite a guy -- I wonder how he'll like the show. I'm not sure offhand when RDA injured his back -- it's a good question. Thanks again for reading!

  10. Thanks for the great comments on "The Gauntlet". It was a pleasure to write, and a joy to see it acted and shot, not to mention the terrific scoring. Judy

    1. Judy! Thanks for commenting and for inspiring this immaculate piece of television!

  11. Yeah,I agree with you in 100%!This gambit is great,and this music..oh my God!!Everything is awesome,macgyverisms are wonderfull too.Very memorable and clever

  12. Thanks for all the work you did on this web site. I always like behind the scenes things about any show and your interviews, etc. are awesome. The Gauntlet has always been my go to episode when I thought about watching a Macgyver episode. Everything about the episodes was great, including the music as you mentioned

  13. Labour of love this website. Thanks for all your work. Your only choice that bothers me is putting Hell Week so low. That is top 10. So much science packed into one episode!