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Friday, 13 May 2016

A Favourite Scene In The Prisoner

   It takes place in ‘The General’ when Top Hat Educational Board members are making their way through a security checkpoint.
    “Education Board about to enter session” says a disembodied voice through a red bakelite speaker “Hurry please.”
   “Lecture approval session, education new member.”
   “Proceed to pass.”
   The Board of Education official places his security pass disc into the slot of the little black box. The lid slowly lifts and a tiny hand emerges, takes the disc, then it disappears back into the box with the lid snapping shut.
   Number 6, disguised as a Top Hat Educational Board member has been listening, and then attempts to pass without using a security pass disc, and encounters an electrical force field. The disembodied voice from the speaker warns Number 56 not to attempt to pass without using the key {security pass disc} second occasion is fatal.
   “Session time in eight minutes. Your business please?”
   “Lecture approval session, education, new member” says Number 56.
   “Proceed to pass” instructs the vice from the speaker.
   Number 56 then places the second of the two security pass discs into the slot of the small box. But at first it doesn’t work, there’s no whirring sound, the lid of the box does not open, and no tiny hand emerges out of the box. So Number 56 taps the disc and then the little box whirrs into life. Strange, but I have to do the same thing with my own little black box!
    It’s the technology in this scene that’s so interesting. On the one hand there’s the futuristic electronic force field, and on the other hand the use of a simple magic money box to collect the security pass discs. It appears that anything can be found a use for in The Village, a case of waste not want not as one Number 2 once put it. And when it comes to the question of the electrical force field, perhaps fictionally speaking, it was the Rook-Number 53 who developed it for use in The Village. After all he is an electronic engineer who developed an electronic defence system, so an electrical force field would be a relatively simple thing to develop.

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