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Sunday, 14 May 2017

A B and C And Free For All

   This afternoon on ‘True Entertainment,’ ‘A B and C’ and ‘Free For All,’ I have a friend and fellow enthusiast for ‘the Prisoner,’ so it will be a pleasure to watch at least one episode with him.
 It is a surreal moment in ‘A B and C’ when Number 6 is seen entering the laboratory, in his dream, when Number 2 and his assistant Number 14 are awake, yet caught up within an imaginary scene. Number Six says to Number 2 “I forgot to give you this” holding out a white envelope. Number 2 is then reduced to yelling at himself on the screen “Open it you fool, open it” in his desperation to know what the envelope contains. He thinks it’s something the Prisoner had to sell, and then again it might have the Prisoner’s letter of resignation. And yet in reality, if it’s possible for reality to dwell within a dream, all the envelope contained were a number of holiday leaflets. So what he told Engadine was true, he really was going on holiday!

   As it happens for me it’s the leaflet for Italy that somehow stands out. I suppose it makes me think of the Italianate village of Portmeirion. A place that’s different, quiet, a place where you can think!
   Free For All
   Although shown as the fourth episode in the Prisoner series, this episode was in fact the second to be filmed back to back with Arrival. Free For All was one of two episodes to be hit by the 1960's censorship with the well staged but sadistic fight sequence in the Rover cave being deleted for the transmission in the premier
UK screening. Stuntman Alf Joint choreographed the sequence and along with Peter Brace, another well known fall guy, played the motor mechanics who beat Number Six senseless. This story gives the only view of the 'Cat & Mouse' night club. And although not credited, the Supervisor in this episode is Peter Sawnwick and is seen via stock footage from Arrival. The opening credits give director as Paddy Fitz, which is a pseudonym of Patrick McGoohan, coming from his mother's maiden name of Fitzpatrick.
    In one later scene in the episode, Number Six is driven by Number fifty-Eight along the Sea front a short distance away from The Village, passed a cottage called White Horses which is seen briefly. White Horses is the cottage where McGoohan and his family stayed whilst filming was taking place at Portmeirion in September of 1966. This led to the cottage becoming a favourite cottage for fans of the series to stay in Portmeirion. But there is a drawback, White Horses cottage is not available in the winter months, as certain seasonal high tides, and the cottage being part of the sea wall at Portmeirion, causes the cottage to flood!


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