Kid Reporters

Meet the Mythbusters

TFK Kid Reporter Graham Ross catches up with the stars of the hit TV show

February 07, 2014
COURTESY ROSS FAMILY

TFK Kid Reporter Graham Ross hangs out with the Mythbusters: Jamie Hyneman (left) and Adam Savage (right)

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, co-hosts of the popular television show Mythbusters, explore urban myths and legends to find out if there is any truth in those popular rumors.  Whether it's finding out if a ninja could walk on water or if filling a football with helium could make it travel farther, they have it covered.  With the help of a three-person build team, the Mythbusters just marked the beginning of 15 great seasons together.  Recently, TFK Kid Reporter Graham Ross got to catch up with them in Birmingham, Alabama, when they were nearing the end of their multi-city tour of the live stage show Mythbusters Behind the Myths.  The performance featured creative science based demonstrations which involved audience participation.  During the interview we discussed their curiosity, their creativity, their love for what they do, what they think makes science fun and various related topics.

TFK:

Can you tell me about your backgrounds and what jobs you've done before you started Mythbusters?

ADAM:

My first adult job was as actually a projectionist at a movie theatre. Then, I worked as an assistant animator for a commercial company in New York.  I worked in graphic design for a few years, and then moved into the theatre. I worked for a toy company for about a year, and then I couldn't stand it, so I went back to special effects and started working for Lucasfilm.  And then that led almost directly to this.

TFK:

What did you guys want to be when you grew up?  What was your dream?

ADAM:

The first job that I decided I wanted – I was about 8 years old – was to design for Legos.  I had so many Legos and so many plans, and did so many things with them that I thought this has to be a job that I would be great at.  And then after Star Wars came out, it was designing for Legos but also working on Star Wars

JAMIE:

My only real interest was in sculpture – which I did quite a bit, and that was it.  The rest of it as you can see kind of went all over the place.

TFK:

How did you get the idea of starting Mythbusters?

ADAM:

We at the beginning were hired by the production to be hosts of the show. Jamie got a call from an Australian TV producer who came up with the idea for Mythbusters.  The way that his idea came about was – urban legends have been becoming more and more popular in the culture up through the 90s and there were a bunch of books by Jan Michael Brunsfeld [probably meant Jan Harold Brunvand] and a lot of attention on it.  But nobody had made a successful TV show on it.  Most of them were trying to do sort of re-enactments of famous urban legends, and it wasn't really sticking.  So this producer's idea was that in addition to presenting the urban legends, they would test them scientifically. 

TFK:

What do you think sets Mythbusters apart from other science shows?

Kid Reporter
Graham Ross

ADAM:

I will say that most science programming up until the time when we came about – Mr. Wizard and Bill Nye are great examples, even Beekman's World, of what I'd call demonstration programming.  They want to make a concept clear to you.  They will find an interesting way to demonstrate the concept either of a coefficient of drag or aerodynamics or water flowing.  We don't have a science background. Of course, we have done our research, and we have some expectations.  But the fact is we are just as surprised by the results as anybody might be when we conduct them.

TFK:

Has there ever been a time when you couldn't try a myth for one reason or another?

ADAM:

We will somehow figure out how to test everything we want to try.

JAMIE:

And it may not be satisfying even.  For example, if we were trying to investigate whether man has actually been on the moon, which some people question, ideally we would go there on a rocket ship that we built. But, we are turning around each episode in about 2 weeks time, so building a rocket and traveling to the moon and getting back here within 2 weeks is not possible, even for us.

TFK:

What do you think is your favorite myth that you've tested?

ADAM:

There are a lot of categories out of 875-some-odd myths.  There are a lot of different things.  We have been a part of published papers.  We've worked with some great scientists.  We've actually gathered some genuine data, and we've gotten to do some amazing things.  But for us, both of us have the same sort of favorite marker, which is the lead balloon.  We made a 14 foot diameter helium balloon out of 28 pounds of rolled lead.

TFK:

In your opinion, what do you think is the most important subject for kids to learn?

ADAM:

I would say Curiosity.


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