Patrick McGoohan - A Prisoner Of His Own Secrets.
I can understand what McGoohan was trying to do with the Prisoner, to make people ask questions, to make them angry, instead of being Zombieonic sitting there watching Coronation Street. Of course at the time of the original British Screening of the Prisoner you either took to it, or thought it the biggest load of old rubbish out. You see the general public didn't understand it, at the time, and what the general public do not understand, they immediately take against, as in the case of my father who hated the series. But for those people who stuck with the Prisoner, thought that all would be explained in the final episode Fall Out - but no, that particular episode only made matters worse. The telephone lines into ATV were blocked with irate callers complaining about the Prisoner. Patrick McGoohan said that he and his family had been attacked in the streets, well I don't believe that for a moment. Because of the public's response to him and the Prisoner, he and his family had to run away to North Wales, no, not to Portmeirion. Then to Switzerland, and finally to America. No, not because of irate television viewers, but because his company Everyman Films which had produced the Prisoner had gone bankrupt, and McGoohan ran away so to avoid the British Taxman!
Patrick McGoohan once said"Questions, questions, you don't expect answers do you?" You see back in the 1960's people were not like the people today. If they didn't understand something, they wanted someone to explain it to them, but what if Patrick McGoohan had explained the Prisoner, do you expect people would have been any happier? And besides, what would have been the point of the Prisoner had McGoohan answered all the questions? The point of the Prisoner, was, and still is today, that people have to find their own answers. McGoohan was not a man who liked being interviewed, yet he did the occasional interview, and when asked particular questions about the Prisoner, he wouldn't put a straightforward answer to a straightforward question, and once when he was explaining something about the Prisoner, afterwards he said "Now you know what it's all about." The only thing was, McGoohan hadn't really explained anything, except perhaps to his own personal satisfaction.
Then in the early 1980's, the infamous L.A. Tape came along. Have you watched the L.A.Tape? Well don't. I have, and it's the most boring thing ever made by man! My god, when I was shown this video tape, the owner had to keep fast-forwarding it so to try and find something interesting being said by McGoohan. Then we came to the end of the video, and there McGoohan was, on a Californian beach, and there, in the sand was a wire coathanger. McGoohan stooped to pick the wire coathanger up, held it in his hand and said "There's your answer." I'm sorry, but I didn't get it. Whatever deep hidden menaing was in that coathanger relating to the Prisoner went way over my head. All I could think was, McGoohan's off his head!
There was the 1984 Channel 4 documentary on the Prisoner, which was screened after the screening of Fall Out, it was called Six Into One - The Prisoner File. It was supposed to be an in-depth look at the Prisoner to delve into the series, and discover what it was really all about, and finally answer all those questions so many people had. Well it didn't! Six Into One - The Prisoner File turned out to be a load of old rubbish, a complete waste of time, and never came close to dicovering what the Prisoner is all about,and there were no answers. It was all clever stuff, but Six Into One -The Prisoner File was too clever for it's own good!
So by not answering questions put to him by both the general public and the press and media, did Patrick McGoohan become a prisoner of his own secrets? Today we know and understand much more about the Prisoner, or at least we think we do, than we did all those years ago. We know why the Prisoner resigned. The location of the village. Who Number One is, and which side was behind the village. We have had to figure it all out for ourselves, but we got there, and feel all the better for it. So thank you Mister McGoohan, you made Prisoners of us all!
I wonder if McGoohan had not tried to be too clever for his own good, and had opened up more about the Prisoner, would he have finally become a free man. Mind you, had McGoohan done that, perhaps we would not feel so good about ourselves for figuring it all out for ourselves.
Be seeing you