Colin Gordon - The General
I suppose Colin Gordon really has no right to be playing the ruthless, yet frightened Number 2 in a series like ‘the Prisoner’ where the character of No.2 changes with each episode.
"I've never been so flattered" was Colin Gordon's comment "Especially as this is the first time I've played a part quite like this."
Although screened after ‘A B & C,’ ‘The General’ in which Colin Gordon plays Number 2, was in fact filmed before ‘A B & C,’ so that he makes his return appearance five weeks before his debut!
The story-line of The General was altered so as to allow for this, although the provision was not needed as the episodes were screened in the reverse order to their filming. Number 2 in The General was originally to have met his death at the end of the episode, a victim of "the Generals" short circuiting, and explosive self-destruction. But Colin Gordon's performance as Number 2 was admired so much, that he was reprieved, simply to pave the way for his appearance in the later episode of ‘A B & C.’
If the Prisoner is anything, it is both Patrick McGoohan and Portmeirion. Yet having watched the Prisoner documentary ‘Don't Knock Yourself Out’ found on the 40th anniversary DVD, I'm positive, and the evidence is quite clear on the matter, that Patrick McGoohan was the driving force behind the Prisoner series. That he took overall control over every aspect of the series production, acting, producer, director, script writer, and even having a say in the production of the theme music, cannot be denied. I'm sure that so much involvement tipped Patrick McGoohan over the edge, in the way he treated members of the production crew, at times he completely lost it, ranting and raving at directors in front of the whole cast and crew. And in his office at script writers.
I wonder if it would have been better for Patrick McGoohan if all he did was his job, and left others to get on with theirs, and not become involved with every aspect of production, and then taking over completely. But then perhaps the Prisoner would not have turned out the series it did. As sometimes when you feel so passionately about something, you need to stamp your authority upon it. In Patrick McGoohan's case, I think his passion and drive were just too much for some who worked on the production of ‘the Prisoner.’
As Patrick McGoohan once explained "Is a development of the subliminal advertising technique which has been made illegal."
A process by which the viewer is unconscious of the fact that ideas are being implanted in his mind. they are flashed onto the cinema or television screen during the showing of a straightforward subject but at such a rate that the eye is not aware of seeing them. This subject was actually dealt with in an episode of Columbo starring Peter Falk and Robert Culp in the episode ‘Double Exposure.’
But to continue, it is possible in this way, for example, to give instructions which the viewer will obey without realising that, he or she, has received the message. An advertisement for ice cream flashed almost invisibly on a cinema screen during a film will have the effect of making a large percentage of the audience buy ice creams during the interval without being aware that they have seen the advert.
Be seing you