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Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Prisoner Under The Spotlight

Electrifying ‘The Prisoner ‘Have you ever though how electrifying ‘the Prisoner’ can be? Well it was Nadia-No.8 who was first to find out during her interrogation during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ how electrifying the experience could be. You will recall that the floor of the interrogation room had been electrified, this she discovered by sprinkling water onto the floor. But for No.6 electrification came through another conductor, the arms of a leather upholstered chair during the truth test of ‘Free For All.’ So electrifying did No.6 find the experience, that he couldn't rise from his seat!
    In the episode of ‘The Schizoid Man’ No.6 was again electrified by the experience of electro-therapy. In this to adjust his right-handedness to being left handed, and it was by the use of electricity which enabled No.6 to reverse his left-handedness. This via a short circuiting electric table lamp which was enough to give No.6 a short sharp electric shock and reverse his left-handedness back to being right handed.
   But electrification can be a deadly thing, as both the Professor and No.12 - of administration - quickly discovered in the episode of ‘The General.’ The Professor who was actually electrocuted to death by the General, his own creation! And in turn No.12, who gallantly tried to save the Professor's life, but who was also electrocuted to death in the attempt. And finally during the episode of ‘It’s Your Funeral’ we learn that amongst the retiring No.2's achievements is the electrification of the clocks!
    Rovers Controlling Influence. It's not just No.2 who has a controlling influence over the citizens of the village, there's that white membranic mass of the village guardian which gives its own peculiar controlling influence first demonstrated in Arrival when No.2 orders the citizens to "Be still" from the balcony of the Gloriette and seconds later the Village Guardian puts in an appearance. And again at the start of  ‘Checkmate’ the white mass of the Village Guardian come rolling and bounding along the street, giving out its blood curdling roar as it goes. Pedestrians step to the side of the road almost as one, with an almost military drilled precision as cyclists dismount thie bicycles and do likewise. taxis come to a halt, even the fountain in the central piazza has its jet of water it stopped, as Rover passes by.
   During ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ when Nadia-No.8 is attempting to swim away from the village, who was brought back to the shore, not by one Village Guardian, but three. And likewise in ‘Free for All’ Rover brings back the escaping No.6 who is foundering in the water. One village guardian of the regular size, and two smaller versions of the same membranic being which work together in order to return No.6 foundering, half drowned to the shore.
   Not only that, but Rover is the perfect guard dog, or perhaps that should be sheep dog. As it easily heard No.6 away from the helicopter after his attempted escape in Arrival. This is because no resistance is offered by No.6, who has probably learned his lesson from an earlier encounter with the village guardian down on the beach. Because the village guardian offers no resistance either, as the Prisoner-No.6 tries to punch his way out of trouble. Well there's balloons for you! And of course during the evening of ‘The Schizoid Man’ Rover had the job of distinguishing between No.6 and No.12, and then immediately went into the attack as soon as it had made up its mind. Although it might have been more advantageous for Curtis to have stood his ground, and not to have run away as he did like a scared rabbit!
   You might look upon the white membranic mass of the Village Guardian - Rover - as a prowler, a guard dog. Perhaps as some alien thing, or possibly the result of genetic engineering. But put quite simply, Rover is a balloon with attitude!
  Dealing With the ‘Fall Out!’  Well Patrick McGoohan didn't deal with the aftermath of ‘Fall Out’ very well at all. He did a runner, claiming attacks upon himself and family in London from upset viewers. I shouldn't think that the frustrated viewers of the Prisoner episode  Fall Out actually knew where McGoohan lived in London at the time. Eventually McGoohan and his family settled in California first after Wales and Switzerland.
   The viewers were left to pick up the pieces after ‘Fall Out,’ but had to wait nearly ten years before Fall Out, together with the whole Prisoner series, could be re-examined. And even then things became no clearer, well that's not quite true. Because if you put the allegory in a box and forget all about it, then the ‘Fall Out’ begins to clear away.
   For McGoohan, I think ‘the Prisoner’ was his ruination, certainly it was not his making. But yet the Prisoner is what people and fans alike remember him for. If cornered, people, the fans, and members of the media only wanted to ask him about the Prisoner. Even escaping or running away to settle in California the millstone of the Prisoner still hung about his neck, and the evidence is to be seen in the Colombo episode Identity Crisis, as he uses the phrase "Be seeing you" on more than one occasion. It never goes away you see, it remains for all time, and now I'm just as much a prisoner as McGoohan became of the series. Perhaps even more so, because unlike McGoohan, because I embraced the Prisoner while McGoohan tried to push it away and the fans with it.
   For myself, I joined the fans, became a long term member of Six of One - the fan club/society set up for the series many years ago. But now I plough a lone furrow in Prisoner appreciation circles, along with my wife of course. But like McGoohan, for me ‘the Prisoner’ is still there, as you will probably have judged for yourselves by the amount of Prisoner blog-articles written here. Because ‘the Prisoner’ is all consuming, I am consumed!
   Bela Lugosi was buried in his Dracula cape, perhaps it's a piped blazer for me along with my Prisoner archive to be placed in my coffin with me. On second thoughts, better make that a mausoleum!

Be seeing you

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