Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MacGyver Location Adventure: Los Angeles

I just got back from a trip to Los Angeles where, among other things, I visited some filming locations from MacGyver seasons 1, 2, and 7.  I took the majority of the pictures on Sunday in the company of Patrick O'Riley and Richard Wells from the Phoenix Foundation Podcast.  We recorded our thoughts along the way, so be sure to listen to that while you look at the pictures below.

I don't want to come off like your friend on facebook or instagram who posts a picture of their trip to Bora Bora with the caption "Having the best time ever!" all while you're slogging away in a dank office while the rain beats against your window pane (if you're lucky enough to have a window).  So when you see the sun and blue skies in my pictures, just know that there must have been something wrong with my camera that made it look this beautiful.  And it wasn't really 80 degrees the whole time.  You wouldn't have enjoyed this trip at all.


PILOT; GRIFFITH PARK OBSERVATORY
The observatory is up on a mountain that provides a great view of LA and the Hollywood sign.  A lot of shows and movies have been filmed here, including the climatic scene in one of my favorite movies, The Rocketeer.



EVERY TIME SHE SMILES; GRIFFITH PARK MERRY GO ROUND
The Griffith Park Merry Go Round is where Walt Disney dreamed up Disneyland while sitting on a park bench watching his children ride the carousel.  I'd still say that Every Time She Smiles has a greater cultural legacy (e.g. the debut of Penny Parker, the memorable "a trac--tor" quote), but Disneyland is a close second.


THE PROMETHEUS SYNDROME; FIRE STATION
We stayed in the car here because there was a funeral going on.



SEASON 2 LOFT
Sometimes Hollywood starlets wear the same dress to the Academy Awards, and sometimes secret agents wear the same Phoenix Foundation t-shirt to MacGyver's Season 2 loft.



THE PRODIGAL MANSION
Smile for the camera!  You need to listen to the Phoenix Foundation podcast to understand that reference.






DEATHLOCK; GREYSTONE MANSION
The Greystone Mansion and its gardens were a great place to walk around and also afforded a great view of the city.  Not pictured: a nice moment where Patrick, likely inspired by MacGyver and Danny's rescue of the golden eagle in Eagles, saved a newborn bird from being trampled on the sidewalk by scooping him up with a credit card and putting him down off the beaten path.



SEASON 1 FEDERAL BUILDING




SEASON 7 HOME
This street was very busy, much busier than it looks on tv.  On the podcast I say that being there felt like Port-au-Prince which is funny because at the time I wasn't even thinking about the neighborhood being called Little Haiti in the show.


SEASON 1 APARTMENT; VENICE BEACH
Seeing the Season 1 apartment and the Venice Beach boardwalk felt a bit like seeing the Roman Colosseum: both are currently in decline, but take a deep breath and close your eyes and you're instantly transported back to a golden age.  In the Colosseum's case, it was 2000 years ago.  In MacGyver's case, it was 1985.

Venice Beach is now an overcrowded spot with a fair share of crazies and no parking in sight, save for a $20 "valet" service where they make you park your own car.  As for MacGyver's building, it doesn't have a restaurant anymore, and it sorely needs a few coats of paint. But pop in the beginning of The Prodigal and look at that beautiful beach as MacGyver in his mustard Minnesota sweatshirt tosses out junk mail from the giant secret factory that keeps printing it, all while listening to the glorious Randy Edelman score, and go back to the golden age.



THE HEIST; HILTON UNIVERSAL CITY



At this point, Patrick and Richard were called off for another mission, and this Phoenix Agent was left to survive on his own, much like the little bird whom Patrick scooped up off the sidewalk.

THIEF OF BUDAPEST; EXPOSITION PARK
I can't begin to tell you how many times on this trip I was approached by people who mistook me for MacGyver.  All of the attention got to be kind of a burden, actually.





PHOENIX FOUNDATION SEASON 2; LONG BEACH



TO BE A MAN; VASQUEZ ROCKS
This rock park has appeared in countless movies and tv shows as a barren landscape or a far-off planet.  It's very near the airfield in Last Stand which sadly was closed when I drove up to it.  I even had my HELP coffee cup all ready to go.  Oh well, maybe next time.



EXECUTIVE PRODUCER STEPHEN DOWNING!  SOMEWHERE IN LOS ANGELES...


So thanks to Patrick, Richard, and Stephen for being great hosts, and thanks to everyone who contributed to the Shooting Locations pages at rdanderson.com and MacGyver Online which made our job much easier.  Next stop.....Vancouver!

16 comments:

  1. Love this post--Vancouver 2018!

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  2. Some great shots. My favorite has to be the ice cream cone shot. And here I thought that opening shot from "Thief of Budapest" was stock footage from Budapest.

    Am I seeing things or is the Griffith Park Merry Go Round no longer a real merry-go-round?

    How far outside LA were the Vasquez Rocks?

    The season 2 apartment would have been hard for me to identify based on your pic. Who's standing next to you in the photo?

    Looks like both Robo AND Lobo lost the garage where they did all their artwork under MacGyver's season 7 apartment.

    How long did you spend getting screenshots of the exact frames that matched your visit?

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    1. There is some stock footage at the beginning of Thief of Budapest but that building in the picture is the Natural History Museum. And the merry go round still runs, it just hadn't opened yet for the day when we got there.

      The Vasquez Rocks are about 45 miles north of downtown LA. Richard was standing next to me in the photo -- we should have gotten at least one picture with all 3 of us but I didn't think of it. I didn't spend much time at all trying to get the perfect shot -- just snapped away.

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  3. And are you really planning to go to Vancouver next year? That will be even more exciting....but probably not nearly as nice of weather.

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    1. I'd love to go to Vancouver but no plans at the moment.

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    2. Darn...I was hoping you were serious. How long was this LA trip in the works before you made it happen?

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    3. A few months, I guess, I don't remember. I'm sure I'll make it to Vancouver at some point when the time is right.

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    4. Gatecon 2018... there will be plenty of MacGyver & SG-1 nerds to pal around with going to shooting locations in the days surrounding the convention itself.

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  4. Nice post with great pictures! Sounds like you all had fun!

    Yes, the ice cream cone shot is the best one, of course ;-)

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    1. I asked the 14 year-old kid who was selling ice cream to take the picture, and he must have thought I was very strange to be looking away from the camera while biting into the ice cream in front of a tree.

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    2. I take it you didn't explain the "MacGyver" connection to the 14-year-old? Too bad...you might have initiated another fan!

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    3. I actually did explain it to him after he took a few pictures, but not sure if it made any sense. He was a nice kid.

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    4. Also it was quite fortuitous (and perhaps a sign from above?) that there were ice cream vendors (and no other vendors of any kind) on that street.

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  5. Crazy that even 30 years later, the Exposition Park area is still a hotbed for ice cream cones. Looks like it took a while before you found someone willing to take a pic of you.....the cone was almost gone!

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    1. It was actually right at the beginning of a ice cream cookie sandwich.

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  6. Must have been a small sandwich! They don't make 'em like the used to! ;)

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