To borrow one of No.2’s sayings, if music be the food of love, play on. Well technically it’s not one of No.2’s sayings, but it’s something he might have said, given the right mood or circumstance. And that is where we are going this time, music, for music makes for a quiet mind. Although in this case words begin where music leaves off!
The theme music to ‘the Prisoner’ composed by Ron Grainer is powerful, it’s memorable, it remains in the mind. At least it remained in my mind long after the series was first screened in Great Britain in 1967-68, such was the impression it made on the mind of a twelve year old boy http://youtu.be/tra3Zi5ZWa0 And much can be said of the closing credits, to make no mention of the “Bumper” music. “Bumper” music, what’s that? For those who remember the commercial break bumpers, they will not be in need of reminding. And for those who do not know please click on the following links did you enjoy it, http://youtu.be/Mqy3ag18Oh8 I certainly did, pity I could find only the one. The commercial break bumpers are not screened when ‘the Prisoner’ is screened on commercial television these days, all you get is a caption saying “Back Soon!” Which I find a complete shame, because they are a remarkable piece of animation of their day. I don’t know of any other 1960’s television series which enjoys such commercial break bumpers as ‘the Prisoner‘ did.
The incidental music used in ‘the Prisoner’ series is by no means any less memorable than the theme music itself. Yet it is ironic that two of the less well produced episodes ‘Do Not Forsake Me oh My Darling’ and ‘Living In Harmony,’ contain some of the best music of the entire series. And of course that includes ‘Fall Out’.
Incidental music helps set the scene or mood in any film or television series, from fight scenes to a moment of romance as during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,' or an escape attempt in 'Free For All' http://youtu.be/vw59tDSbbhw And yet where music is concerned not everything appears to be what it is. Take the Village Brass Band for example, as it marches out of the pink pavilion in ‘Arrival playing the Radetsky March as the Prisoner passes by. It’s not the Brass Band playing at all. The only sound being made by the Brass band is the man beating the big bass drum!
Music in the Village, apart from the regular Brass Band concerts is piped through the Village, much in the same way music is piped through a Supermarket, and you cannot turn it off! And music can be deceptive even in the relaxing atmosphere of the ‘Cat & Mouse’ nightclub. Because although a drum kit is playing automatically, even the music here is “piped in!”
Records are sold in the General store, special imports like the Cuckoo clocks. And citizens can listen to the records they buy in the relative comfort of their homes. For music makes for a quiet mind, that‘s why ‘they’ like to lull citizens away to a good nights sleep with a lullaby. It sooths and calms the savage breast, well it did until Number 14 came in seeking revenge on Number 6 because he put the poison in!
I listen to ‘the Prisoner’ soundtrack music, not as music as I used to, I freely admit that. I listen for two reasons, one being for pure enjoyment, because when I hear a certain piece of incidental music it transports me to the Village in my mind. To a certain scene, or scenes within the series, which I can play out the action in my mind. And secondly for inspiration, when I’m writing something about ’the Prisoner’ and it’s not going well. Matching a certain track of music from ‘the Prisoner’ to what I am writing at the time, as I am doing as I write these words, helps the thought processes a great deal.
So what is your actual favourite piece of music from ‘the Prisoner?’ If I were to name mine it would have to be the actual theme music. Because in 1968, after ‘the Prisoner’ series had come and gone, and however much I tried to remember the series, memories of what I had seen faded. And yet, the theme music remained with me in my mind. And now and them I would find myself whistling the ‘the Prisoner.’ yet had they stayed with Robert Farnons original theme music. This is an approximation of how the shows opening episode "Arrival" may have sounded if they had stuck with Robert Farnons original theme music http://youtu.be/SwHHD8EJ9T0 I somehow don't that that would have been possible, role closing theme music http://youtu.be/L1i0n6kKbKo
I’ll be seeing you