Saturday, August 1, 2020

MacGyver Script Analysis: Squeeze Play

It's time for part 10 of my 139 part series where I compare an original MacGyver script with the final episode. My script for Squeeze Play is a revised final draft dated 11/2/90, and the episode aired on 12/17. I couldn't find much online about the writer, Art Washington. 

Below are some highlights from the script, where text in bold and italics is a direct quote. 
  • Probably the most interesting difference between the script and the final episode is that in the script, Willie Mays is the baseball player instead of Reggie Jackson. The Mays collection that Marsh is after includes his uniform, glove, and ball from the 1954 World Series where he made his famous catch. 
  • The script refers to Novis Reilly rather than Novis Riley, which is what appears in IMDB. 
  • Wendy is described as a pert and spunky 25 year-old woman and baseball-chic, and the manager of the card shop is described as strike-a-pose hip, John-Lennon-be-spectacled, long-haired young manager
  • We learn that Mama Colton's first name is Estelle. 
  • In my original Squeeze Play write-up, I expressed some confusion about the "Mets Stadium" that MacGyer mentions, and a commenter noted that he was probably talking about Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota. Indeed, in the script, MacGyver says, "I was a part-time usher at Metropolitan Stadium in college."  Then, Novis says, "Were you there for 'the moment'? My big home run, huh?"
  • In the same scene, Novis says about Wendy, "What do ya do with a woman like that?"  To which MacGyver amusingly responds, "I really don't want to answer that."  
  • Marsh says that business is booming and that he's expanding into Chicago and New York
  • Conversation between Wendy and MacGyver in the car as they get ready to track Willard (Marsh's goon):
    • You think baseball lovers will forgive my father for his gambling?  ~Wendy
    • If they have the chance. I don't think anything in the world can keep your dad out of the Hall of Fame...except lies.  ~MacGyver 
    • I can tell by the twinkle in his eye, that he's real proud of what I'm doing. In spite of the all the consequences, he's pulling for me to win this one.  ~Wendy.  It's not clear what she's referring to here. 
  • Then when they arrive at Marsh's, MacGyver tells Wendy to stay put because he's a little better at getting in and out than you. Turns out he was right. 
  • When MacGyver starts to call the police at the ballpark only for Novis to drive off, the script called for a carikaze: Almost runs MacGyver over as MacGyver must dive out of the way. Big mistake cutting that from the script. 
  • When MacGyver and Novis exchange glances at Marsh's printing factory,  MacGyver rubs his nose, which means steal the entrance door to Reilly, points to the entrance door. Ducks away. Not sure what "steal the entrance door" means here.  
  • Wendy grabs a bat and swings for Marsh but instead accidentally hits Novis, who Marsh pulled into the bat's path.  
  • That's what I call winning teamwork. ~Novis after his big scoreboard hit. 
  • From the denouement at Mama's house:
    • You alright, Novis? ~MacGyver 
    • I've never testified before a grand jury. I guess I'm a little nervous. ~Novis
    • Just think of it like being at bat. Three-two pitch. Bottom of the ninth. Down one run, two men on. World Series on the line. All the eyes, all the pressure in the world is right there on you. ~MacGyver.  Not sure this is the best way to get Novis to relax. 
    • I love that feeling. I love it. I'm the guy who has to do it. I love it.  ~Novis.  I stand corrected. 
    • That's his point. ~Wendy


  1. Thanks for sharing your findings here. Art Washington was a story editor for the entire sixth season. From what I can gather, he's a black man. Wikipedia listed this about him...."Art Washington is an American television writer-producer-director based in Los Angeles, California. Films and television he has written for include Percy & Thunder, Air America, and MacGyver. Washington is a proponent and founder of the "Native Black American" distinction/movement. It is his belief that "Native Black American" or simply "Black American" should be used instead of "African American" when referring to Black Americans whose family/direct ancestors have been in America for centuries; dating back to their criminal human abduction and captivity/"slavery"."

    My theory about this episode was that Reggie Jackson was gonna be in Vancouver for an event, they asked him if he'd be interested in doing a cameo on "MacGyver", he said yes, and they wrote an episode around that cameo. That seemed especially viable given that this episode aired in mid-December a week before Christmas...not exactly baseball season. But if the original script referenced Willie Mays rather than Reggie Jackson, that would seem to nix my theory. Certainly the cast of characters would have been considerably older if we were talking about contemporaries of Willie Mays whose career heyday came more than 20 years before Reggie Jackson.

    Apparently they just wanted to do an episode about baseball without any special production considerations as I suspected, and with the references to the Met Stadium and the Hall of Fame inductions, it sounds like they knew their stuff. Agreed on the missed opportunity the with carikaze though.

    Only 129 more script reviews to go! What percent of the script's content was retained in the episode? Was all of the Dexter stuff in there?

    1. Most of the script's content was in the episode, which makes sense since it's a final draft -- I highlighted what I thought to be the most interesting differences. Some of the dialogue is verbatim, but there's some that appears only in the script or only in the episode, and the dialogue changes are almost all for the better -- less stilted and more amusing (like the dialogue between MacGyver and Mama). The Dexter stuff was all in there.

      Looking back at my old post, I saw in the comments that you had met Willie Mays and described him as a surly personality. I didn't know that about him, but I know he's the godfather of Barry Bonds who is as surly as they come. I reached out to Downing to ask about why Mays didn't work out but haven't heard back.