MacGyver 4.1 – The Secret of Parker House

Back to 1988 and another ten episode best-of from the world of MacGyver. That year, just about every show’s fall debut was pushed back by five or six weeks by the Writer’s Guild of America strike. When everybody came to an agreement, it looked like the earliest that they could get the first new episode of MacGyver on the air was Monday, October 31st. I wonder whether that gave them the idea to do a haunted house story?

I had some fun at our son’s expense before we got started. I picked this one because it’s another to feature the wonderful Teri Hatcher as Penny Parker, and I knew, because Marie actually pulled it off the shelf to watch about a year ago, that it was set around an allegedly haunted house. So I asked our son whether he enjoys MacGyver so much because our hero is never in really serious danger, and because the show is never scary. He agreed on both counts, and then squirmed and hid behind his security blanket at all the goings-on. There are perfectly rational explanations for everything, up until the inevitable “maaaaaaaaybe there really is a ghost?” tag scene, anyway, but I think the producers had fun coming up with as many frights and cobwebs and things that go bump in the night as they could squeeze into the show’s first half.

A fun little casting note: I picked seven of the ten episodes we’re watching just by breezing through IMDB and picking out familiar names. Teri Hatcher was good enough for me. I’d watch her in anything, honestly. So since I wasn’t paying attention beyond her, I was pleasantly surprised to see Ray Young – Bigfoot himself! – in the opening credits. “Is there a real big guy in this episode?” I asked Marie. “Like, seven feet tall big?” And while I firmly believe that actors should receive proper credit, it’s a bit of a giveaway when you’re waiting for Ray Young to show up and the TV show is trying to keep you guessing as to who might be in the haunted house with our heroes. (The worst example ever is when you watch a Law & Order: Criminal Intent from about the middle of the run and the credits read that Olivia D’Abo is guest starring, spoiling that whatever’s going on this week, Nicole Wallace is behind it. That drives me mad.)

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