The MacGyver F.A.Q.
The MacGyver F.A.Q. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
The MacGyver F.A.Q.
(last updated 08 February 1995)
MacGyverisms compiled by DXS (DXSMac[AT]aol.com) and Allan Liska (hstaub[AT]bss1.umd.edu).
***WARNING: The MacGyverisms List contains many spoilers which would reveal important plot points for new viewers. So if you don't want to spoil the ending for yourself or anyone else, don't read this.
MacGyver was conceived as a nonviolent action-adventure hero. Faced with danger, his first reaction was always to stop for a moment and think. With a little imagination and whatever materials happened to be lying around, he applied common sense and/or basic principles of science to outwit his adversaries and keep his fans entertained for seven seasons.
This list of MacGyverisms has been compiled as a testament to the inventiveness of the program-makers in their commitment to showing the potential of the mind to triumph over brute force.
For safety reasons, we strongly advise against experimenting with any of the combinations listed below. In general, the makers of "MacGyver" took care to omit key ingredients from MacGyverisms, especially where explosives, smoke devices, and the like were concerned. Attempts at reproducing these MacGyverisms are irresponsible and potentially injurious, and are not recommended. The writers, compilers, and distributors of this document are not responsible for any injuries or damage resulting from the attempted reproduction of any of the ideas or concepts contained herein. The purpose of this document is to inform and entertain.
001 PILOT (untitled) Disarmed missile with a paper clip Matches, rope, & rifle made diversion Smashed flare-launcher barrel used as rocket thruster Found hidden laser, got it to "sting" itself Milk chocolate candy stopped sulfuric acid leak Raised fallen I-beam with knotted fire hose Sodium metal & cold capsule explosive Signaled status by blinking light system in Morse code 002 CRUSHER/GOLDEN TRIANGLE Alcohol & fire ash in bamboo pipes made tear gas 003 PEGASUS/THIEF OF BUDAPEST Light bulb faked tire blow-out Weed killer bomb Magnifying glass using hairpin & white wine Messed up traffic signal with slices of credit card 004 MAP/THE GAUNTLET Used map to retrieve key, as peashooter, as a weapon Used map & duct tape to patch hole in hot air balloon Used camera timer to set off plastique explosive Made car drive itself with a belt 005 THE HEIST Disabled camera to trick staff into opening door Wired fuse box lights to alarm clock hands Rerouted laser beam with tube, limbo'd under it Faked musical notes with wine-filled crystal goblets to open lock Piece of glass lamp funneled diamonds down drainpipe Parachuted out a plane in a car 006 WHITEWATER/TRUMBO'S WORLD Used knife on a string to hook a towel Used twisted rope to lift canoe off of native woman Jumper cable, generator, two half-dollars made arc welder Turned hose, metal pipe, gasoline into flame thrower Nitrate, cellulose, acid = nitro manite explosive Melted garden hose spread on net = ant-repellent suit 007 LAST STAND Bike bars, rust, flare used as torch to melt lock Cotton, engine starter fluid, fertilizer = bomb Light bulb and ice cubes to break door lock Created a diversion with model airplane 008 HELLFIRE Made fuse with foil gum wrapper Rigged device to safely transport unstable dynamite Fixed truck with pen spring Devised mechanisms for delivering nitro into well 009 THE PRODIGAL Hot-wired car with paper clip Soda, fizzies, dry ice simulated smoke Distracted bad guys with buzzsaw, vacuum, sawdust, and other stuff Made a harpoon to get out of locked room 010 KITCHEN MAGIC/TARGET MACGYVER Used kitchen equipment to trap bad guys Reeds under wood to "fake" breathing Made blowdart, using reeds & anesthetic-type plant Pine cones & pine pitch as "land mines" Used "loco weed" as anesthetic Grain dust down a funnel, light it Harry used pine nuts as "blasting caps" 011 NIGHTMARES Piped water down belt into electrical outlet to short it out Cot springs & cot used to ram the door open Hit iron bar on fire hydrant to make magnet 012 FUNERAL IN BERLIN/DEATHLOCK Casket became a jetski Metal bowl & electric juicer, kitchen appliances jam TV signals Vinegar & Baking Soda smoke screen Rigged a cart to draw automatic sentries' gunfire 013 FLAME'S END Overdrove time lock's timing pulse to speed it up, open door Used a pistol as a wrench 014 COUNTDOWN Made a robot to open refrigerator and grab eggs Turned cargo net into a rappel line Defused a vacuum-trapped bomb 015 THE ENEMY WITHIN Fixed brake line while car was in motion Made nylon with adipic acid, hexamethylene diamene, & iron filings Mirror, wires, spiral-painted ash tray for hypnosis Made defibrillator (heart-starter) from candlesticks and electrical cord 016 EVERY TIME SHE SMILES Chair tied to conveyor belt broke through wall Made explosive with kitchen cleaners 017 TO BE A MAN Used satellite parts & plastic shield to make hang glider Used butane tank as torpedo Fire extinguisher, water, & spike broke off boulder 018 UGLY DUCKLING Speaker & oscillator hurt bad guys' ears "Kateism"-made transistor radio into SAR-SAT "Kateism"-jumper cables & battery burned off burglar bars Cooled hot bars with hydrocarbons from a spray can Electrolytes in cactus juice powered a transistor radio Used triangulation to locate source of radio signal Headlight, mirror, binocular lens focused sunlight to heat rifle cartridge 019 SLOW DEATH Made a lie detector from sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff) & alarm clock Rigged train's starter to shock Devised hypersonic whistle to spook horses 020 THE ESCAPE Made hot air signal balloon from papier-mache and a ball Spatula attached to ceiling fan simulated helicopter noise PCP & "volatile liquid" on clothes for explosive Wire, washtub, ice, PCP for timed explosive Emptied grenade powder on cement for explosive 021 A PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE Blanket, gas, rope, life jacket jammed boat gears Hanging bucket with mop slid through simulated "mopping" Caulk & "hardening agent" = superglue trap 022 THE ASSASSIN Put board across exit "wheel gougers" to drive over safely 023 THE HUMAN FACTOR Got past a "high tech" security system Used jeans to escape acid waste disposal system Magnets, matches, & paper confounded heat seeking robots 024 THE ERASER Used wire to short a keypad combination lock Rewired car phone to lock car doors on incoming call Metal tube, rag, & gas = torpedo Faked Jimmy's death with mirrors, Mylar, red paint Used foil & a comb to simulate police siren 025 TWICE STUNG Flashlight battery & matches connected to floodlight Reversed wiring to short out lock 026 THE WISH CHILD Radio-controlled toy used to distract guard Watch crystal, firecracker to burst crate Rope & umbrella used as grappling hook Used powder in 9mm cartridge to bust a lock open Filled room with CO2 from fire extinguisher for "smokescreen" 027 FINAL APPROACH Made parachute into a tent Log bark used as water trough Tube and earpiece from headset used as stethoscope Made a theodolite (sighting tool) from branches & earrings Hollowed log as front ski on airplane 028 EAGLES Used mirror to distract helicopter pilot Made dog leash and clip into extra carrabiners Ball bearing, propane stove & grinder blew up shed Used bicycle tire's inner tube as sling shot Cooking oil & furniture stuffing to incubate eagle eggs 029 JACK OF LIES Slung an oxygen cylinder at the bad guys' Jeep Plugged fuel leak with stick Rigged propeller rotor to net as a trap 030 THE ROAD NOT TAKEN Animal fat & kerosene in can as flare Used rosary beads to focus sunlight and trigger a slingshot Fertilizer and rag in can inside bamboo for rocket 031 SILENT WORLD Plastic trash bag, branch made delayed starter 032 THREE FOR THE ROAD Used ball-point pen case to fix fuel line Muffler, seat stuffing, gasoline, steering wheel knob used as cannon Horn, handle, horseshoe, battery, wire made alarm 033 PHOENIX UNDER SIEGE Made electromagnet to remove "New York lock" from door Used hockey ticket to prevent bomb from detonating 034 FAMILY MATTER Wire & rope made remote starter for engine Made explosive with gas can & oil soaked rag Bamboo bazookas filled with methane mud 035 SOFT TOUCH Wheelchair magnesium, rags, pipe heated freezer door lock Microphone became bolo/tripwire 036 BIRTH DAY Made driving ramp with boards & barrels Lifted Jeep with boat crane Made signal balloon with a bag, signal flags, helium 037 PIRATES Shot polystyrene balls with vacuum cleaner 038 OUT IN THE COLD Made signal parachute with zipper pull, ski pole, and handkerchief Used water as magnifying lens on broken microscope 039 DALTON, JACK OF SPIES Used hooked bar to pull the wrong switch on the trash compactor 040 PARTNERS Shoestring, wrench, door handle attached to gas pedal made car drive itself Oil can, pantyhose, battery, exhaust pipe blew off trailer door 041 BUSHMASTER Used rock & string to make rifle shoot by itself Used freon to shatter cell lock Put egg whites in radiator to plug holes 042 FRIENDS (just clips of old MacGyverisms) 043 DOA MACGYVER Muriatic acid & ammonia made fog screen 044 FOR LOVE OR MONEY Made fake bloodstains from red wine and ketchup Carbon, oxygen, & glove smoke bomb in potato dish Crushed nitroglycerin tablets & alcohol made explosive Used toy plastic tube as weapon against knife 045 LOST LOVE (two-part episode) 046 Found hidden laser with powdered cleaning agent Hydraulic suctions, plastic tube, remotely controlled winch lift glass Used clamps for pressure to "fake out" weight lock Wrote on fogged glass to tell Jack the lock combination 047 BACK FROM THE DEAD Used fire hose to slide across high wire at stadium Threw spear to shatter dial, hit bad guys with steam 048 GHOST SHIP Made oars from branch & tent bag Extracted water from wet soil with metal tube Fishing reel & line made trip wire Fishing pole used as slingshot 049 FIRE & ICE Attached hose to rake head, used it as climbing rope Graphite from pencil to make fingerprints show up 050 GX-1 Made shoes from duct tape and plastic mat Made hot air balloon from shed, tent, gas cylinders 051 JACK IN THE BOX Made explosive acetylene gas from carbide & water 052 THE WIDOWMAKER Car antenna, jump cable, battery used as arc welder Cut phone wire, tapped morse code with bracelet 053 HELL WEEK "Rymanism"-Fixed leak with gum Acetic acid & ammonia smoke screen for motion detector Defused bomb by vaporizing mercury with current 054 BLOW OUT Tear gas from hot water bottle, soda, vinegar, spices Moved desk to displace weight for weight bomb Filled bombed truck with cement Escaped bombed office by jumping into metal cabinet 055 KILL ZONE Used transmitter from satellite as a radio Bunsen burner and freon gas used to seal silicone gasket leak 056 EARLY RETIREMENT Steam pressure hose made smoke screen 057 THIN ICE Replaced solenoid spring with flashlight spring >058 THE ODD TRIPLE Wine helped wriggle out of ropes Gas canisters tied to great big wine cask made a battering ram Daltonism: Smoke bomb in the suitcase 059 THE NEGOTIATOR Used chemical fire extinguisher to get rid of chase car Used jumper cables to zap Deborah 060 THE SPOILERS Made smoke screen Inflatable inner tube made diversion 061 MASK OF THE WOLF Copper & zinc mixture, lit by fuse, to lift tomb door 062 ROCK THE CRADLE Fixed plane's hydraulic landing gear while in mid air Built a baby crib from hockey sticks 063 THE ENDANGERED Matches & rum for diversion Forked branch, pegs, fishing line shot a dart Logs & limonite made pointing arrow visible from the air Rope, matches, and coat on vine simulated "approach" Flashlight barrel & cord used to shoot dart 064 MURDERER'S SKY Hi-fi speakers & cable simulated sonar to find secret door Knocked out lights with window cleaner spray Hid behind fake paper "rock" walls 065 THE SECRET OF PARKER HOUSE Pencil erasers & clay on skull remade Aunt Betty Lit candle detected draft to find secret door Placed pipe on boiler to torpedo the wall 066 BLOOD BROTHERS Young Mac made a cart from a bicycle Drain cleaner & phenolphthalein solution made fake blood (which could never work because PHTH solution would turn pink, not red) 067 THE OUTSIDERS Used barrels to support dirt tunnel 068 ON A WING AND A PRAYER Patched sea-plane gash with lifejacket material Rigged rockets as seaplane boosters 069 COLLISION COURSE Silver nitrate tested for chlorine in water 070 THE SURVIVORS Used climber's pick and ropes to slide between rock walls Stuffed a coat to look like a person Developed surveillance film using first-aid kit chemicals, orange juice 071 DEADLY DREAMS Used motor oil to see through frosted window Wetted matches to prevent matches from igniting propane "Zitoism"-torn book cover plastic used as cup "Zitoism"-drain cleaner & water simulate heart attack "Crossism"-taped matches to door to light propane "Crossism"-phosphorus firestarters in plastic jugs 072 MA DALTON Used lug wrench to disconnect himself from van's shackles 073 CLEO ROCKS Tested for sulfur on spoon over butane torch String & SAK released wire set to trigger Pete's deathtrap 074 FRATERNITY OF THIEVES Sodium thiosulfate (photo fixer) antidote to prussic acid poison Rewired helipad signal lights to confuse bad guys 075 THE BATTLE OF TOMMY GIORDANO Tapped phone for listening to calls in next room Alcohol-ammonia-acid used with Capsela toy for smoke screen 076 THE CHALLENGE Used rubbing alcohol to test ink on printed label 077 RUNNERS Tied pimp's car to garbage dumpster with cable 078 GOLD RUSH Used pin and map to amplify old dictaphone recording Vodka, string, oxygen to blow out snow Disarmed weight-triggered mine with backpack pole 079 THE INVISIBLE KILLER Remote sling shot to throw leaves & dirt in guy's face Shot vinegar & pepper through the telescope Rope snare trap with pulley in fire lookout 080 BRAINWASHED No MacGyverisms, just figured out the "programming" 081 EASY TARGET Replaced grenade pin with lift ticket wire Took explosive & detonator from grenade, blew out door Rigged walkie-talkie to short out, make diversion Made the EMP generator "short" itself 082 RENEGADE Light bulb aimed at motion detector to hide motion 083 UNFINISHED BUSINESS Used telescoping fishing pole to grab stuff 084 LEGEND OF THE HOLY ROSE (two-part episode) 085 Built a two seat ultralight for rescue Used his shoes to escape from pendulum Used decorative bellows to signal Zoe Distracted bad guy with camera flash 086 THE BLACK CORSAGE FROGISM-dog rerouted Mac & Colton out of fish chopper Rigged cord to shut cover when jewelry was picked up 087 CEASE FIRE Wire, battery, jumper cable as arc welder Used knapsack as climbing harness 088 SECOND CHANCE Shot a syringe through rolled up paper Exploded a gate lock 089 HALLOWEEN KNIGHTS Pool chalk, candle wax "copies" thumbprint impression Repelled snakes with kerosene 090 CHILDREN OF LIGHT Vise grip forced heavy pipe to burst down door Used antenna to slide down cable 091 BLACK RHINO Figured out what was in the sugar 092 THE TEN PERCENT SOLUTION Earring, tube, light bulb broke through metal door 093 TWO TIMES TROUBLE Camera lens made magnifying glass Picked up fingerprint with tempera paint and tape While underwater in tank, breathed on bubble pipe Kicked light bulb, cut straitjacket on broken glass 094 THE MADONNA Rolled the stage on barbells 095 SERENITY Tossed whiskey & cigar down Wilt's pants for diversion 096 LIVE & LEARN Glycerol & water recovered a burnt paper Raised concrete slab with I-beam, help of construction workers 097 LOG JAM Squirted fire hose at chainsaw-armed attacker 098 THE TREASURE OF MANCO Stood on stone to activate Inca mechanism 099 JENNY'S CHANCE Used intercom's power supply to figure out the microspeaker's purpose 100 DEEP COVER Flare, oxygen, wire popped submarine cover 101 THE LOST AMADEUS Lit kerosene lamp in trash, activated fire extinguisher 102 HEARTS OF STEEL Used electromagnet to lift car 103 RUSH TO JUDGEMENT (sic) Made soft drink dispenser spit out cans for distraction Spilled perfume to put dogs off their trail Dressed mannequins in perfumed jackets to fool dogs 104 PASSAGES HARRYISM-Gum wrapper fishing lure Fire hose threaded on boat axle forced door open PETEISM - Spread talcum powder into a tray for Mac to write on 105 TOUGH BOYS Roped a bomb w/electrical cord Used Uzi as wrench to turn on fire hose Threaded fire hose through ladder to support, direct it 106 HUMANITY Phone & speaker listened to "clicks" in combination lock 107 THE GUN Explosive from grenade detonator, copper wire, dry cell 108 TWENTY QUESTIONS Lamp, small figure, table = shadow on curtain 109 THE WALL Signal flare to detect laser beam Used "slimy goo" toy to slip ropes off hands 110 LESSON IN EVIL Jumped on bell rope, caused bell to hit Zito 111 HARRY'S WILL Used inflatable dinghy and air compressor hose to escape from under car 112 MACGYVER'S WOMEN Made wind-operated trip hammer for blacksmith Escaped from noose with sharp-edged belt buckle Roped awning supports, horse pulled awning down Alcohol poured on pine nuts in stove mimics gunshots 113 BITTER HARVEST Sunglasses, nail polish remover, lamp = polariser 114 THE VISITOR Ammonia, napalm, wires = chemical plasma Spear salted wires to power lines = chemical plasma 115 SQUEEZE PLAY Recorded speakerphone dialing to figure out phone number Pitched Reilly a home run ball to drop sign on bad guy's car 116 JERICO GAMES Mac escaped cops by hanging on under truck Metal rod broke window out of incinerator Used same rod to push incinerator handle to OFF Rod & string to open latch on incinerator door 117 THE WASTELAND Rigged parasail from wind tunnel fan, wire, tent material 118 EYE OF OSIRIS Used sugar water to dry sand impression for plaster mold 119 HIGH CONTROL Faked bike breakdown, fixed it to get in with biker gang Sprayed ether through pump hose to knock someone out Mixed explosive, put it on bike, hit car with it 120 THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE Stapled bad guy's coat to ground to hold him 121 BLIND FAITH Used generator, jumper cables to make a "stunner" Used steam hose to shoot gravel, make a diversion 122 FAITH, HOPE & CHARITY Made a crutch from a coat rack Made wheelchair from an old baby carriage Stunned a bad guy with a mop full of pepper Reversed vacuum cleaner to shoot hot chili 123 STRICTLY BUSINESS Used a rifle to prop up booby trap wires 124 TRAIL OF TEARS T-Bar inside steam tube broke door down Used feather quill as cotter pin to stop bomb 125 HIND-SIGHT (Just clips of old MacGyverisms) 126 HONEST ABE Used flashlight morse code to access helicopter Broke door down with old brandy, bellows, cobweb fuse Fired helicopter weapons by "shaving" & flashing mirror to activate helicopter 127 THE 'HOOD Speared skeleton hand to pull lever Candle wax preserved printing on burned matchbook Used fire hose to bring down scaffolding & bad guy 128 OBSESSED Used his boots to pull cart with gas tanks toward him Used compressed nitrogen to freeze, break rope Stuffed cloth in the intake of rocket to mess it up Sprayed cleaner at light bulb to break it, distract bad guy 129 THE PROMETHEUS SYNDROME Pulled bomb pin and motion sensor with fireman's badge Used walkie talkie magnet to prevent bomb circuit from connecting 130 THE COLTONS Got the dog to bring acid to him to cut rope Used ruler as lever to catapult bottle of acid into his hands 131 WALKING DEAD Escaped from coffin Rigged oil barrels to roll out, trip bad guys 132 GOOD KNIGHT MACGYVER (two-part episode) and Made poison antidote with eggs and charcoal 133 Isolated vanadium from the poison Mixed soda & vinegar in bag for a fire extinguisher High pitched dog whistle from the Royal Favor Burning gunpowder made letters show up on rock Homemade kite attracted lightning bolt to blow off cell door 134 DEADLY SILENTS Used Swiss army knife & wallet to slide down canvas backdrop Used shoe as a grappling hook Re-created Tiny's trademark stunt to foil bad guys 135 SPLIT DECISION Constructed homemade boxing training devices Made sodium thiosulfate & water "chill bag" 136 GUNZ 'N' BOYZ Lit whiskey-covered kindling in wastebasket for flame Used flame, duct pipe, cinch belt to torpedo a beer keg 137 OFF THE WALL Used heating coil & coat hanger to melt plastic hand ties Sent bomb down a trash pipe 138 THE STRINGER Made pressure-washer "jetpacks" Sent a smoke shell down a funnel for a distraction 139 THE MOUNTAIN OF YOUTH Used a test tube & scarf to split wire Put rubber stopper in door so it wouldn't lock 140 LOST TREASURE OF ATLANTIS Replaced Medallion of Solon with same-sized lens cap to avoid trap Balanced on wooden chair to avoid electrified floor Filled lock with butane, blew it out by smashing lightbulb into it Put rockets on engine-less car Used car-mounted bazooka to destroy gate and escape Used the booby trapped stalactites to cut rope ties Set up a diversion with string, armor, & lit candle Used SAK to start the plane (this is TV, folks) Got out of the volcano by threading rope through a homemade pulley 141 TRAIL TO DOOMSDAY Used air compressor hose to blow powder into bad guy's face Made gas mask out of a wet rag, charcoal Used eyeglasses as a magnifier Ran through sewer on socks to make less noise Climbed onto motorcycle in front of driver so police wouldn't see him get on from behind Used belt to climb drainpipe Wore insulation to crawl on hot pipes Knocked out bad guy by turning on vacuum pumps Jammed door with screwdriver Used frequency generator to make high-pitched noise Improvised a trivet wrench with tennis racquet, voltmeter leads
The MacGyver FAQ previously appeared at www.uplinktech.net/macgyver/ which has closed: many thanks to Melissa for giving me permission to re-post it here. Many, many thanks also to the people who wrote the information in this FAQ and put it together.