Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#125: The Secret of Parker House


Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
MacGyver accompanies Penny Parker to an old mansion that she is inheriting from her Aunt Betty, who disappeared mysteriously 30 years ago.  As they explore the spooky and seemingly haunted house, they find an old skull in the front yard.  With the help of the skull and a diary, they piece things together and solve the mystery of Betty’s murder.

Memorable Quote:
"Penny, whatever’s going on around here has got nothing to do with ghosts or goblins or the supernatural.  There’s a purely logical explanation for everything."  ~MacGyver
"Really?  Well that would sound a lot more reassuring if you weren’t holding a human skull."  ~Penny

MacGyver reconstructs the discovered skull and makes it look like a real person (who resembles Penny) by gluing on erasers and other materials from a hardware store.  In MacGyver’s words, “These erasers will help judge the thickness of the skin and I build up from there.  It’s kind of like 3 dimensional connect the dots.”  This scene is completely ridiculous but also awesome at the same time. 

Every part where Penny is in the house by herself and there is creepy background music (pretty much half the episode). 

Best MacGyverism:
See highlight.  

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Did you know this episode aired on Halloween and was the Season 4 premiere?  Now you know.
  • The first 15 seconds of the theme song is different – I think it may be unique to this episode.  Kind of a metallic, ethereal sound – I like it! 
  • Our first Penny Parker episode!  I’m a Penny fan, and Teri Hatcher always does a great job with the character. Penny is dense, genuine and likable all at the same time, and yet she’s well-acted and never has a slapstick feel (which is hard to do as seen by some of the characters I’ve discussed in previous episodes).
  • I told myself that I wouldn’t fast forward through any of these episodes, but between the spooky music box, constant thunder and lightning, slamming doors, frightening background music, people constantly popping out of nowhere, power going out, skulls, and mysterious figures in window, I have been sorely tempted to skip ahead.  OK, I actually did skip ahead, but only a little.  I’m sorry, but it’s creepy! 
  • Conversation in the haunted mansion:
    • MacGyver:  "I’ll need to pick some stuff up in town.  You wanna come along?"
    • Penny:  "No that’s ok, you go ahead." 
    • Needless to say, not one of Penny’s better decisions.
  • You never see or hear about the house from Penny in later episodes.  Hopefully she bulldozed the godforsaken place. 

Final Analysis:
This episode is actually really good.  It’s a well-written, clever plot with good twists.  I feel kind of bad ranking it so low, but it’s low because it does too good of a job at being REALLY spooky from start to finish.  Some people would like that, but this is my list, and this episode is unfortunately not one I enjoy rewatching since it’s so creepy. 


  1. I admit I would have ranked this one higher myself... but understand your reasons for rating it as you did. Maybe I'll start my own blog list! ;)

  2. Yes, I like the Penny Parker character too. This would be a good episode to watch at Halloween. I think you're right she should have the house torn down. Good use of the fast forward. Life's too short! Onward and upward, up the list.

    1. love the tune the music box plays have been trying to find out the name of it for a while. someone told me Thriller_wrong answer

  3. It was fitting that this was the first episode of season four because the series took a much darker direction that season. This was a cleverly crafted episode, even if it's effectively a "Scooby Doo adventure" more than a MacGyver adventure. It was by far the best Halloween episode ever done for an 80s adventure show...at least that I watched. It was pretty much in the middle for me ranking-wise....#80.

  4. This is the only good Penny Parker episode. And it's a really strong one. Great story, solid acting, solid set, and effects. There's nothing to not like and boy is it scary. I always try to watch it in the dark. This might be in my top 25

  5. I would compare this to Ghost Ship in the way it tries to build a spooky atmosphere. However Ghost Ship is far superior in its building of tension with that long silent scene of MacGyver exploring the ship.

  6. At one time I found the original story on this online and while the only sign of the house was the Overton County on the side of the Sheriffs car. This story was set in Overton County Tennessee, as the original story stated the house was in the shadow of Harris Mountain one of the tallest mountains in Overton County and named for my ggg grandfather..

    1. Thanks for sharing, never knew that this was supposed to be Tennessee.

    2. At first I thought that the skull reconstruction was more like a joke, too but then I read that it is actually possible. Some Swiss doctor called William His invented the "technology" in 1895.

    3. Wilhelm, I meant