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Wednesday, 30 December 2020

New Years Greetings

 


Wishing all my readers

Health wellbeing and

A very

Happy

New Year

More Tales From The Village

     No.2 sat in a black globe chair behind his desk dealing with some paperwork, he did not like paperwork. Suddenly the grey ‘L’ shaped intercom began to bleep, he picked it up.
    “Yes what is it…….is he, send him in.”
    The pair of steel doors slid open and the fire chief stepped lively down the ramp the doors closing behind him.
    “What can I do for you Chief?
    A tall man in a steel helmet and dark overalls approached the desk “I want to hold a fire drill.”
    No.2 looked up from his paperwork, a look of surprise on his face “A fire drill?”    “According to the fire brigade’s records there’s never been a fire drill.”
    “Fire brigade, I didn’t realize the village had a fire station let alone a fire brigade.”
    “You see!” the fire chief said exasperated “even you didn’t know there’s a fire station here in the village.”
    “Where is this fire station?”
    “It’s in the Town Hall.”
    “In the Town Hall?”
    “Well you know where the steps of the Town Hall are, well if you walk passed those you’ll see a pair of turquoise doors with the words Fire Station in red painted on them.”
    “And you’re the fire chief?”
    “That’s right.”
    “And how many in your brigade?”
    The fire chief rubbed his chin “Two, Numbers 151b and 151c.”
    “That’s not a very big brigade” No.2 remarked.
    “Well how big a brigade do you want; this is only a small village after all.”
    “Has there ever been a fire in the village?”
    The fire chief rubbed his chin again “Well no, but that’s not the point, our job is chiefly fire prevention.”
    “Well what’s your problem, if the village has never had a fire that’s all to your credit.”
    “Look, can I organize a fire drill or not?”
    “A fire drill for the Town Hall, I should think so.”
    The fire chief pressed his point “No, I mean for the whole village, the citizens should be made aware of what to do in case of a fire.”
    “I don’t know about that. Look I’ll carry out an inspection of your fire Station and your equipment tomorrow” No.2 said.
    “Tomorrow!” the fire chief ejaculated.
    “What’s wrong with that?”
    “Nothing….nothing at all.”

    “Now what did you want to go and do a thing like that for?” the young 151b said.
    “That’s right” the white haired 151c said “now you’ve gone and drawn attention to us.”
    “Yes, and now you’ll have Number 2 coming poking his nose in!”
    “Well what’s the point in having a fire brigade if there’s never been any fires. All I wanted was to hold a fire drill” the fire chief pleaded.
    “Fire drill, what do you want to go a hold a fire drill for?”
    “Well it was 177’s idea.”
    “What’s it got to do with him?”
    “He said if I could get to hold a fire drill, he could escape in the confusion.”
    “Yeah that would be right” 151b said “is there going to be a fire drill?”
    “I’m not sure, Number 2 wants to come and see the fire station and inspect the equipment. He didn’t even know the village had a fire brigade” 151 explained.
    “No, I bet he didn’t.”
    “He does now though!” 151c said.
    “Yes and now we’ve got to get this fire station spruced up this afternoon, and give the fire engine a once over” the fire chief said.
    “Why what’s the hurry?”
    “Number 2 will be here tomorrow to carry out his inspection!”
    “Tomorrow well I like that!”
    “Well I don’t” 151c said “I’ll be expected to do all the work!”

    The village fire brigade worked all morning and long into the afternoon, sweeping, polishing in order to put both the fire station and the antiquated fire engine to right. Dust and cobwebs were everywhere, and by the time No.151 had cooked their tea the fire station was thoroughly spick and span. A passer-by saw the open doors to the fire station, and attracted by the open doors couldn’t resist a look inside.
    “What are you doing?”
    “What’s it got to do with you?”
    “Do you know that fire engine belongs in a museum.”
    “Tell him to clear off out of it.”
    “Coming here asking questions, as if we’ve got time to stand about answering questions.”
    “Well really I didn’t come here to be insulted” and the citizen went on his way.
   It was a small fire station as fire stations go, not exactly in the Town Hall more underneath it, in the cellar but at ground level, with just enough room for living quarters.
   “You know what this fire station needs is pole” suggested the fire chief.
    “A pole, what do we need a pole for?” 151b asked.
    “Every fire station has a pole for the firemen to slide down.”
    “Yes but this isn’t like most fire stations!” 151c said.
    “And seeing as everything is on ground level a pole would be superfluous!” 151b said.
    “Well everything looks ship shape and Bristol fashion anyway the fire chief said.
    “Yes all ready for Number 2 to come poking his nose in tomorrow.”
    “Yes, just wait till he sees that fire engine!” 151b said chuckling to himself.
    “Hey, hey you can laugh, you’re ten years older that fire engine.”
    “Well are we going to have this fire drill or not?”
    “It will all depend on tomorrow’s inspection by Number 2” the fire chief said.
    “You know what we want don’t you” 151c said.
    “No but I expect you’re going to tell us” the fire chief replied.
    “We need a fire to put out, then they’ll see how efficient we are!”
    “Listen to the old fool. There hasn’t ever been a fire in the village” the fire chief said.
    “Well that makes us superfluous, and before you know it we’ll be out of a job!” 151 said “now what about our tea, I’ve got a nice rabbit pie cooking.”

    The day of inspection.
    “So this is the fire station” No.2 said.
    “What’s that?” No.14 asked.
    “Our fire engine” the fire chief said proudly.
    “How does it work?”
    “Well” the fire chief said rubbing his chin “You see these buckets here.”
    “Yes” No.2 said.
    “Well you use these buckets to collect water and you fill the reservoir here. Then 6 men man the two horizontal poles either side of the pump and work the pump sending the water shooting out of the hose pipe.”
    “Its rather dated isn’t it?” No.2 asked.
    “It belongs in a museum!” No.14 said.
    “Yes I’m inclined to agree” No.2 said “it’s high time the fire brigade was up to date.”
    “Up to date in what way?” asked the fire chief.
    “Well a new fire engine to begin with. Have you never been called out to extinguish a fire?”
    “No” 151b said.
    “Well the sooner this brigade is brought up to date the better” No.2 said.

     A few days later a new fire engine arrived at the fire station, and quite a crowd had gathered to watch. A special 6 wheel Mini-Moke in red livery with a Penny Farthing on the bonnet. Fitted out with a bare steel frame supported two ladders, at the rear a small pump capable of pumping 100 gallons an hour, and in tow a water bowser.
   “I think you and your men should spend time getting used to this new piece of equipment” No.2 told the fire chief.
   “Yes Number 2.”
    “And I think we can arrange a few fire training days for you and your men.”
    “Certainly Number 2.”
    At that moment No.92 came running up to the fire station and began operating the hand fire bell and the alarm rang out.
    “Just a minute, what’s the idea ringing our fire bell?” asked the fire chief.
    “There’s a fire!” 92 said catching his breath.
    “A fire, where’s the fire?”
    “256 Private” said the gardener “a bonfire has got out of hand!”
    “Right everyone out of the way” the fire chief ordered as he and his men manned the fire engine and set off in the direction of the fire with 151c ringing the brass  bell as the fire engine raced through the village.
    Two men sat quietly on a bench.
    “Did you see that Number 48?”
    “I did 73.”
    “I wonder what would happen if one day the fire brigade was called out to a large fire?”
    “I would imagine it would create a great deal of activity.”
    “More than that, it would create a smokescreen and divert the attention of the Observers, and then one might be able to slip away unnoticed.”
    “And be far away before they were missed!”
    “It’s a plan” No.73 said.
    “We don’t need to start an actual fire” 48 said “We simply need a smokescreen to create panic and confusion!”

    A few days later the alarm of fire was raised by concerned citizens as billowing smoke rose up from the rear of the Green Dome. Nearby cottages were evacuated and the fire brigade was sent for. Within minutes the fire engine was on the scene and the fire chief took command of the situation. But it was soon discovered that it was a false alarm, as there was no fire only old oil drums which were used to contain a mixture which when set light produced a dense, almost toxic smoke. A roll call was made and two citizens were discovered to be missing, No.s 47 and 73 had apparently made good their escape through that part of the woods under the cover of a dense smokescreen. The two escapees didn’t get far before they come within the telescopic sights of Post 5’s high powered rifle. He took careful aim and fired a warning shot, this made 73 and 48 scatter in different directions, both looking for cover. There wasn’t any, it was open ground. Then Post 5 fired two further shots in fairly quick succession and two bodies lay stiff and stark in the scrub.

    The next day there was a funeral, the white Mini-Moke with a black and white striped canopy acting as a hearse. The brass band played, and a top hat official from administration attended the funeral, as did a few citizens carrying open black umbrellas. And now there are two fresh graves in the village cemetery displaying the only escape there can ever be from the village.

Be seeing you

Sunday, 27 December 2020

The Conclusion

     After 10 years of about ‘the Prisoner’ series on my blog, and previous to that 5 years in one form or another, I have decided that its time to bring it to an end. I say I decided, because I actually wrote my final piece about the series a few weeks ago, and it felt then that I had written more than enough on the subject. I know that this news will come as a blow to a large number of readers of my Prisoner based blog because from time to time they have urged me to go on writing about ‘the Prisoner’ series hoping in all hope that I would never stop. However I long realized that this day would eventually arrive, because there is a time for everything and eventually everything comes to a natural end whether we want it to or not.
   I have enjoyed myself immensely having covered ‘the Prisoner’ series in so many different and varied ways, and knowing that fellow Prisoner enthusiasts have been most appreciative of my Prisoner blog over the past 10 years has always helped me give of my best. But fear ye not my Prisoner based blog isn’t stopping, because I intend to keep it active, there is one ‘More Tales From The Village” to come this year. In the New Year’ my blog will be completely dedicated to Prisoner “fiction,” My Prisoner based blog has become, and I trust will continue to be, a source of reference for Prisoner enthusiasts the world over.
    As for myself I still remain a prisoner of ‘the Prisoner’ today as I have always been ever since I first watched ‘Arrival’ all those years ago as a boy of 12 years of age. And I shall always be grateful to the Prisoner because over the years he has allowed me to carry out a variety of related projects, my blog just being one of them.
    So I look forward to be seeing you all in the New Year with a variety of ‘More Tales From The Village,' a third volume of tales in 'Further Tales From The Village, 'Village Life,' 'Who’s That On The Telephono,' 'Out of The Village' along with a number Prisoner based short stories with the occasional front page Tally Ho story, and there could be much more later in 2021. I have three Prisoner based manuscripts {novels} which have been written, and currently I am writing a fourth. I am hoping to hear about the possible publication of these novels later next year. However if that should fall through then some large pieces of “fan fiction” could….. well let me just say that for now, I am keeping my options open.

So I'll be seeing you in 2021…….won’t I?

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Television Series' With The Worst Endings!

    In recent years there has been the idea of drawing up lists of the worst endings to television series. Below is one such list of top six worst endings, I hasten to add that I have never seen any of the series listed here, apart from a few episodes of ‘Quantum Leap.’ However there is one further series which could easily be added to it, that of ‘Twin Peaks.’

1. ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (CBS) The finale of the long-running

young-friends-in-New York sitcom was legendary, for all the wrong reasons. ...

2. ‘Seinfeld’ (NBC) That's it? ...

3. ‘Lost’ (ABC) ...

4. ‘Game of Thrones’ (HBO) ...

5. "Dexter" (Showtime)

6. ‘Quantum Leap’

   From a personal point of view one episode is never listed, which I suppose is hardly surprising seeing as the programmes in question are all modern day television series, with the exception of ‘Quantum Leap.’ And no list mentioned ‘Twin Peaks!’ And yet there is a television series which goes back even further than the 1990’s, as far as the late 1960’s which can be added to that list, the finale to ‘the Prisoner ‘Fall Out.’ The understanding was it was to have explained ‘the Prisoner’ and answer questions arising from the previous 16 episodes, which of course it didn’t, and only muddied the water even more. The trouble with ‘Fall Out’ is it doesn’t dovetail with the previous 16 episodes, and the people today who draw up such lists probably haven’t even heard of ‘the Prisoner’ and ‘Fall Out!’
   And yet at the same time, as I have said before, perhaps ‘Fall Out’ is the most logical conclusion, if indeed we can call ‘Fall Out’ the conclusion to the series. Isn’t there an argument for ‘Fall Out’ being where ‘the Prisoner’ begins? The Prisoner who was with them, resigned and then went and gone, rather like No.48!  

 Be seeing you

The Ten Most Idiotic Things Said & Written About The Prisoner

 1}  “The Village is on the English coast, a short drive from London. All the Number 2s and the rest of the personnel were “patriotic Britons’’ trying to break the Prisoner for the good of the British secret state.”

2}  “The Prisoner was a rocket engineer. After he quit his job, in a slight against him Village scientists created Number 1, the ‘pilot’ of the Number 1 rocket, by cloning the Prisoner’s features onto an intelligent ape. The ‘1’ on the creature’s robe and the side of the rocket signifies “British Lunar Mission 1,” as ‘Number 1’ is a truncated title for the UK’s first moon shot. It’s the name of the whole expedition, not the Village mastermind.”

                           {Not A Number: Decoding The Prisoner}

3}   “I wrote the last script first. All the other stories were meant to lead into it.”
                      {Patrick McGoohan - Daily Mirror 3rd February 1968
}


4}
   “In the opening sequence the Prisoner enters a building by the way out!”

                         {Number Six Magazine}

5}   “The following four locations were mentioned by Karel in ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’ Rearrange the four locations into their correct sequence, 1. Danzig 2. Gdansk 3. London .4 Copenhagen.”

                      {The Prisoner Interrogations}

       {It is a misconception by some fans of ‘the Prisoner’ that Danzig  Gdansk are two different cities, when in fact they are two different names for the same city!}

6}   “After considerable thought and debate it appears to us that Number 6’s abduction and subsequent arrival in The Village were almost certainly at the instigation of Janet Portland to further her plan.”
                           {Deadlier Than The Male – In The Village magazine}

7}  “The Village is near Dover, because the lorry in ‘Fall Out’ emerges out of a tunnel and onto the A20.”

                                  {Number 6 magazine}

 8}  “The Village is near Deal In Kent.”

 9}  “The woman customer had seized upon that shot of a rocket lifting off from behind the Portmeirion skyline as evidence that Number One had been an alien from space all along.”

                                  {un-attributed taken from Alan Moore’s Remembers Patrick McGoohan’s “The Prisoner,” Part2}

10}  “In Fall Out the village is destroyed by the rocket.”
                                                          {A Prisoner fan}

Be seeing you

Monday, 21 December 2020

More Tales From The Village

    The day was much like any other day in the village, people going about their daily lives, well most of them. It wasn’t going so well for No.47 who had thus far failed to give any information away. He even refused to give away the date of his birth! But it would only be a question of time, because given enough persuasion and pressure under both physical and mental torture; everyone talks on the third day, after that they couldn’t stop No.47 from talking. It was the lesser information he gave away first in the hope that this would prevent him giving away the “vital stuff” of which he was reluctant to go beyond headings when dealing with the files he had seen, and the projects he knew about. But the doctor was skilled in numerous interrogation techniques, and was determined to extract all the information in 47’s head. Being confined in a hospital room 47 was not availed of any of the so called “niceties” the village provided for others of his kind. Perhaps those were not so important, or had given up all the information and were now living out the remainder of their lives in the peaceful atmosphere of the village. Either that or they had come to the village of their own free will! But not so No.47, he was confined to a room in the hospital, and so was on tap for the doctor.
   At first it was abuse and name calling in an attempt to dishearten the subject, to make him think that it was his former employers who were responsible for his current situation that he had been left high and dry by his masters, who no longer cared whether he lived or died. Perhaps preferring that he died so that their secrets would remain secret, so what did it matter now if he talked?
    Then it was more physical, as the interrogations lengthened the subject was not allowed to sit, but made to stand for hours, and hours on end. Eventually they said No.47 could kneel, but the subject knew that if he knelt upon the floor he was that one step closer to talking, and so he refused. He was bombarded with question after question, they played with his mind, questioning his loyalty, asking him where that loyalty had got him, and were telling him that this is where his loyalty had got him.
   Then they let him rest, sleep, and perhaps tomorrow things would look clearer in his mind. Sleep, if only. No.47 could switch the damned light off, how was he to sleep with the light on? It was after that things became more psychological with the use of a mixture of mind bending drugs that altered perception, the visions of strange and terrible creatures, they induced paranoia he was afraid of his own shadow, and he became more and more mentally unstable. But 47 had a friend he could talk to.
    “How is it today with you Mike? They want to know all about you Mike, but I’ll not give you away, you can trust me Mike. But you must first help me, tell Number 1 what they are doing to me, you didn’t know I have friends in high places, did you Mike? Get me out of here Mike and we’ll go places together. This doctor is a fool if he thinks he can get me to talk, what do you say Mike? Oh I don’t think the doc would like that at all, he’d think it was a physical impossibility. But we know better don’t we Mike. Tell me Mike, is the sun shining today, the sky clear and blue. Perhaps we’ll go to the brass band concert today.”
    “Doctor, who is he talking to?” No.2 asked.
    “He has created a friend, Mike who he talks to.”
    “Why should he do that?”
    “To deflect what we are doing to him” the doctor replied, and added “it’s interesting, none of my subjects have been taken as deep into himself as No.47, and come out of it. This is the first time I have witnessed such behaviour.”
    “Hey Mike they’re talking about us!
    “Shut up! If it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t be in this spot. Why don’t you just tell them what they want to know, then it will all be over.”
    “You know I can’t do that Mike.”
    “Well let me tell you, that if you don’t, I will!”
    “You wouldn’t, you couldn’t?”
    “I could and I would if you don’t.”
    “Would you say it’s a duel personality doctor?”
    “No, Number 47 is putting it all onto Mike’s shoulders, if Mike decides to tell all he knows, then 47 will in his mind, be blameless.”
    “Hey doc, I’m ready to talk.”
    “Good, I’m glad one of you has seen sense.”
    “Yeah doc, but do me a favour, let me sit up.”
    The restraints were released, and Mike was allowed to sit in a chair.
    “Thanks doc, now we can talk.”
    No.2 issued the doc with a warning but he was too late. Mike made a lunge for the doctor, knocking him off balance, then grabbing a scalpel from a nearby trolley he cut his own throat, and No.47 lay dead in a pool of blood.
    “Yes sir…I realize that, but there were unforeseen circumstances, and the doctor…yes sir, I will sir, I understand………but sir if I could just explain……..yes sir, as you say sir.”
    No.2 put the ‘L’ shaped intercom down on his desk “I won’t be leaving after all 22.”
    “I see sir” said the tall fair-haired assistant.
    “I shall be living here as a prisoner.”
    “I see sir.
    “As a favour to me 22.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Don’t let that doctor get his hands on me, if you see what I mean.”
    “As a favour to you sir.”
    “Now perhaps you will escort me to my cottage?”
    “Cottage sir, the hospital surely.”
    “The hospital, why the hospital?”
    “Because that’s where you belong! Tell the doc Mike will be there in a few minutes!”
    “Are you alright sir?”
    “Of course he ain’t right, call for an ambulance, this man should be in the hospital, he’s had a very nasty shock, haven’t you me old Number 2. But Mike’s here, I’ll see you right…..right into the psychiatric ward!”

 Be seeing you

Friday, 18 December 2020

The Prisoner

        “Plan division Q all set, its working beautifully…….dead on schedule you could say………No sir, just the way you ordered it….…. The people are already gathering it will be very spectacular………… No nothing can go wrong now I’ll stake my future on it……….. Well thank you sir, I know you will.”
   Why is it I want to tell this interim Number 2 to get up off his knees? And why is he speaking to Number 1 using a yellow telephone, when in previous episodes it was more usual to use a red one. It might have been an idea to get him to use that red oversized curved telephone, the one actor’s Colin Gordon and Patrick Cargill were forced to endure. This interim Number 2 assured Number 1 that nothing could go wrong, well whenever did a plan involving Number 6 work? He also staked his future on the plan succeeding, well as it worked out this new Number 2 didn’t have much of a future. We can only speculate as to what happened to him. Was he instantly removed from the position of Number 2? Or was he allowed to replace his predecessor to become the permanent No.2, forced to work for the good of both the village and its community, behind the scenes as his predecessor had done, during the forthcoming year. And so made to sweat from that day forward, over what his own fate may be 365 days from then, on Appreciation Day!
   But returning to that curious over-sized red curved telephone, I have arrived at the conclusion that the introduction of that prop was simply to make certain actors look ridiculous! I mean just look at the reaction of Colin Gordon and Patrick Cargill when they have to use it. Yes that curious looking prop does appear in a couple of other episodes ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ and ‘Fall Out,’ but in all the seventeen episodes of ‘the Prisoner,’ only these two actors used this prop, when other actors and actresses playing the role of No.2 used a telephone to speak to No.1, they used the usual 'L' shaped telephone.


       February 10th is the only date used in the village, and on this morning 54 years ago, according to the day/date calendar on the bedside table, Number 6 woke up to find a local election was about to take place. What’s more he is invited to become a candidate and stand for election for the position of Number 2! That is not all, because tonight Number 6 will drink his nightcap of hot chocolate before going to bed. But despite the sedative in the nightcap, Number 6’s sleep is still light, so it is quite on the cards that any disturbance will wake him. So his sleep is deepened for him by use of a pulsator device hidden in the overhead light. While that is taking place, two medics come for Number 6, both of whom are wearing dark tinted goggles which presumably protect their eyes from the effect of the pulsating light. One of the medics administers an injection into 6’s left forearm before they take him from his bed and place him on a stretcher. His wristwatch and day/date calendar are removed from the bedside table. The wristwatch is then given to Curtis because during the rest of the episode Number 6 wears a watch with a stainless steel band. As for the day/date calendar it never appears in Number 6’s cottage again, neither does the one removed from the kitchen. But Feb 10th appears even before the onslaught of both ‘Free For All,’ and ‘The Schizoid Man’ the date appears in ‘A B and C’ on The Tally Ho broadsheet along with the headline ‘Is No.2 Fit For Further Term’ And yet as we know this is the same edition of The Tally Ho used in ‘The Schizoid Man.’ the end of the same headline ‘Is No.2 Fit For Further Term’ can be seen. And yet Number 6 cannot hang around long, because by Feb 22nd he has to set sail on that day if he’s to arrive in London on March 18th!
     My wife and I have come to the end of watching ‘the Prisoner’ as in real time, if that wasn’t curious enough, back in July they watched ‘A B and C’ in three acts over three nights. Thinking about those three days of ‘A B and C’ it made me wonder what No.6 did during those three days. I know he met up with No.14 on the lawn of the Old People’s Home and paid No.2 a call on the first day, and on the second day he followed No.14 through the village, and the woods to the laboratory. No.2 caught No.6 on camera walking, “Irritating man!” But surely No.6 cannot spend all his time walking around the village. Nor do I see him sitting about wondering what they have been doing to him. Well he would wonder, but No.6 isn’t the type of man to dwell upon it.
    In ‘Fall Out’ the Prisoner is given his own suit if clothes, the supervisor told him that it was because they felt he would feel happier as himself. Is that why No.48 is also wearing his own clothes? And what about the Professor and Madam Professor, did “they” think they would feel better as themselves? And of course they are not given numbered badges to wear, is that because they are not allowed to go out into the village? The Professor and his wife are under house arrest! The Professor and

Madam Professor are played off against each other by No.2, each are essential to the other. The Professor does as he is told to protect his wife, and Madam Professor makes sure he does for his own good. Mind you they did live in a very elaborate, well decorated house which might have been the Manor House as noted on this village poster. Obviously Madam Professor would have had to give up the house after the death of her husband, possibly her art seminars as well, and go and live in a much smaller cottage and get a proper job, as a waitress at the cafĂ©, or a maid. And seeing as they put The Professor and Madam Professor in the Manor House, equally they could have put No.6 in Government House according to his previous position. Ah but then again he had resigned, and no longer worked for the Government, so perhaps that’s why they put him in the Roundhouse! I looked up the definition of “Roundhouse.” Originally the uppermost room or cabin of any note upon the stern of a ship. And it is the proper place for the Master; and the deck or cover over it is named the Poop. Roundhouse is defined in Blanckey's dictionary (1740s) as spaces under the poop. So perhaps No.6 has a Naval connection, after all James Bond was recruited from British Naval Intelligence, as was Philip Calvert {When Eight Bells Toll}, so why not ZM73?
    And I enjoy the triviality of ‘the Prisoner’ as with the time when No.6 changed his socks in that air vent in the laboratory in ‘A B and C, also the way No.2 had the back of his head to the camera when No.6 unmasked him. It’s a wonder No.2 didn’t recognize the back of his head, mind you it’s very rarely one gets to see the back of ones own head! The slippers No.6 is given at the time of his medical in ‘Arrival,’ are quite obviously McGoohan’s own, otherwise he’s been given someone else’s well worn slippers! And those spectacles No.6 wears as part of a disguise in ‘Dance of The Dead,’ again obviously McGoohan’s own spectacles, otherwise the prescription lenses could have impaired his vision, well not unless they were plain glass lenses as he once wore in ‘Danger Man!’
    When No.6 sits on an outlook on top of the cliffs tuning in the pocket transistor radio, he picks up a transmission “Nowhere is there more beauty than here. Tonight when the moon rises, the whole world will turn to silver. Do you understand, it is important you understand. I have a message for you, you must listen, the appointment cannot be fulfilled. Other things must be done tonight. If our torment is to end, if liberty is to be restored we must grasp the nettle even though it makes our hands bleed. Only through pain can tomorrow be assured.” That bit “Nowhere is there more beauty than here,” that voice sounds like it could be describing the village. And that could mean the radio transmission might be coming from somewhere in the village itself. And what about that voice, to my ear it sounds very much like No.2 of ‘Free For All,’ actor Eric Portman! And that radio message, was that meant for No.34 whose body was found at the shore line by No.6, because if it was that part “the appointment cannot be fulfilled. Other things must be done tonight” sounds like help isn’t coming, and that he’s been hung out to dry!
   And that blue post box in ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ is that the new “Blue zone” in the post as mentioned as one of No.2’s achievements in ‘It’s Your Funeral!’
   In ‘The Schizoid Man’ when No.6 sets that taxi in motion, and Rover chases after it, that’s probably an analogy like throwing a stick for a dog!
    And in ‘Checkmate’ when No.14 asks No.6 if he plays chess he does so with good reason, because everyone on that chessboard has to know how to play chess, so as to be able to make the right move when it’s called out by one of the players. The Prisoner can be so simple!                                                                                         

 See you soon

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

The Therapy Zone

 


  Which would you consider to be the worst outcome for any of the No.2’s who have held office in the village? I sat back in my chair considering the fate of each of the interim No.2’s, interim because none of them were permanent, their term in office ending naturally or due to ineptitude and failure. I came to the conclusion that ‘The General’ is the first contender, No.2’s confidence in the General to be able to answer any question, given the basic facts, was eventually to lead to his own downfall. What could possibly be worse than the destruction of a powerful computer, along with the death of both the Professor and No.12 of administration? There had been a number of failures on the part of No.2, but in ‘Arrival’ No.2 wasn’t trying, he had hardly got into his stride when he was replaced! ‘Chimes’ well once could hardly blame No.2 for that failure, had it not been for the fact that Post 5’s wristwatch was set at the wrong time, who knows, perhaps the plan might well have succeeded. The look on the Colonel’s face told me that he is more likely to pay for this failure than No.2, after all he had done all he could to see No.6 and Nadia managed, to escape the village.
    ‘A B and C’ a definite failure for No.2, although14’s drug did work, but really is the doctor-No.14 not guilty of aiding No.6? She failed to tell No.2 that No.6 had opened his eyes and had seen her. Is she guilty of deliberately leading No.6 to that laboratory in the woods?  Then there’s that curious phrase of hers, “We all have to make mistakes, sometimes we have to” did No.14 deliberately introduce that phrase into the conversation with ‘B’ so to give the game away to No.6 in his dream? But if this failure wasn’t bad enough for No.2, things were bound to get worse for him!    ‘The Schizoid Man,’ the best that can be said in No.2’s favour in this case is, he did manage to stop No.6 from escaping! ‘Many Happy Returns,’ ‘Dance of the Dead,’ ‘Checkmate’ are well calculated episodes on the part of No.2, and then we come to ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ the next failure for No.2 a weak link in the chain of command waiting to be broken. A man with a paranoid mania because he thought enemies within the village were all conspiring against him, so much so that he couldn’t trust anyone, he didn’t even trust No.14 in the important details! In the end No.2 only had himself to blame, and who can say, perhaps No.1 enjoyed No.6 bringing retribution to No.2. Also it’s possible that when No.2 advised the citizens to be constantly on guard against enemies in their midst in that Tally Ho article, he had previously been suffering from a bad bout of “jamming” before the advent of ‘Hammer into Anvil.’ And when the Tally Ho article says “We do not necessarily know where our enemies are, or who they might be” that could mean that the village administration didn’t have a list of known jammers at that time. And that brings us nicely to ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ this turned out to be a complete disaster for this interim No.2, and yet an important lesson was learned, that any plan involving No.6 is bound to fail just ask No.2 of ‘A Change of Mind’ who was hounded back to the Green Dome by an angry mob of villagers!  
    Now we arrive at the next two episodes of ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ and ‘Living In Harmony’ which are possibly the final candidates for the worst outcome for No.2. By the time of ‘Darling’, “Did you call?” the editor asked poking his head around the door, no I said and resumed typing, the village administration have brought about the use of the ‘Seltzman machine. Thereby exchanging the minds of two people, the village administration have been able to send foreign agents, brought to the village, then back into the outside World but with the mind of the administrations choosing. This in order for the agent working for the village to infiltrate and break the security of any nation, then to live that foreign agent’s life, gain   information, then be returned to the village in order to have that information extracted!  
   But once again the plan behind ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My darling’ involved No.6 who for the first time was dependent upon the village’s administration being able to bring him back to the village! But No.2, who although watched everything Professor Seltzman did to reverse the minds of the Colonel and No.6, was out manoeuvred. So another disaster for No.2, in that Professor Seltzman managed to escape in the guise of the Colonel, the Colonel who died on the operating table. But at least the Seltzman machine remained intact, unlike the General! So out of these two episodes ‘Darling’ and ‘General’ I would put ‘The General’ as having the worst outcome for No.2. But what of ‘Living In Harmony,’ that’s a bit of a joke isn’t it? I mean would YOU like to live in Harmony? In fact when I think about the title of ‘Living In Harmony’ it would suit the episode ‘A Change of Mind’ considering the citizens in the village are encouraged to live in harmony. Whilst the title of ‘A Change of Mind’ would suit ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ and that being the song of the 1952 film Western film ‘High Noon,’ would dovetail as the title of ‘Living In Harmony’ very nicely. But as it is, in the Sliver Dollar Saloon No.22 lies dead on the floor, strangled to death by No.8, who has gone totally doolally because he can no longer separate fantasy from reality and throws himself off the balcony. Oh not in remorse from strangling No.22, but because he didn’t want the Judge to hit him no more! Another complete and utter failure for No.2, and two more dead personnel, but still this does not put ‘Living In Harmony’ above ‘The General’ in the “worst outcome” stakes.    ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ was No.2 really trying during this episode, at the end it seems his heart hadn’t really been in it when he sighs. Whose idea was it to put No.6 in the nursery in the hope he would drop his guard with children. He told them a blessed fairytale! “But it was worth a try Hein” the editor said poking his head around the door! ‘Once Upon A Time’ didn’t end well for No.2, having been brought back for a second term in office. He did succeed to some degree as he did manage to get more out of No.6 than any of his predecessors, and yet at the end he dies, having given his life for the cause, although there are better causes to die for! And he was resuscitated, and eventually arriving back in London to resume his position in the House of Lords. Another No.2 to be brought back, but this time to over see three trials during ‘Fall Out’ didn’t fair all that well either. No.1 sealed in the nose cone of the rocket, four prisoners managing to escape, having to give the order to evacuate the village, as the rocket was launched prematurely. Its another utter disaster which would have put ‘Fall Out’ at the top of the list of worst outcomes for No.2, if it were not for the fact of the combination of ‘The General’ and ‘A B and C,’ the fact that the same No.2 over saw both experiments, the use of No.14’s new “wonder drug” and the educational experiment of Speed Learn which if proven to be a success would have been wheeled out as the Governments new educational process. So with that in mind, and putting ‘The General’ and A B and C’ together, I consider this No.2 to have the worst outcome of any No.2. But why have I placed ‘The General’ before ‘A B and C’ against the more usual television screening order? Because in ‘The General’ No.2 is confident, and self-assured, while at the beginning of ‘A B and C’ he is apprehensive, anxious, because he knows he has already failed once, and sooner or


later that over-sized red, curved telephone is going to start bleeping. And at the end of ‘A B and C’ No.2 is a beaten man, and by the time that telephone does start to bleep he’s panic stricken and with good reason! I shall leave you with this question…..as No.6 throws No.14 out of his cottage through the French door in ‘Hammer,’ did No.14 break his neck, or was he merely injured?  

Be seeing you  

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Prismatic Reflection

     When it comes to interviews with McGoohan post ‘the Prisoner,’ I have learned to take what he had to say about the series with a large pinch of salt. For example, when it comes to the 7 episode serial or mini-series he suggested for ‘the Prisoner,’ when asked about it in different interviews he never gives the same suggested 7 episodes!
   What has to be remembered is, there is a great deal of difference between what McGoohan said at the time during the production of ‘the Prisoner’ and what he said post ‘Prisoner.’ To give you an indication of what I mean in a newspaper cutting I read McGoohan stated that he had written the last episode ‘Fall out’ first, and worked backwards from that. However it is on record that as the production was working to the end of the series, McGoohan actually went to Lew Grade and told him that he couldn’t find an ending to the series. So the question is why did McGoohan choose to lie about it in a newspaper article when there was absolutely no need to? for myself I think the truth of the matter is far more interesting than the lie!
   Lew Grade said he wanted 26, possibly episodes to ‘the Prisoner’ so to make it easier to sell it to the American television syndicates. McGoohan said he would prefer a 7 episode mini-series, but they settled on 17 episodes. Remember this was long before McGoohan wrote the script for ‘Fall Out.’ So the 7 episodes would be ‘Arrival’ {2 3 4 5} ‘Once Upon A time’ and ‘The Conclusion’ as McGoohan called it. So what would the remaining 2 3 4 5 episodes have been? To my mind three of them would have been the three other episodes filmed at Portmeirion, so we have;

Arrival

Dance of The Dead

Free For All           

Checkmate

?  ?  ?

Once Upon A Time

The Conclusion
  So what would be number 5? The answer can be found in the production order. The first four were filmed at Portmeirion in September 1966, and then completed with the studio scenes filmed at MGM Studios. ‘Once Upon A Time’ went into production in December 1966. So what of number 5? It has to be ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ which went into production at the end of September into October 1966.

Arrival

Dance of The Dead

Free For All

Checkmate

The Chimes of Big Ben

Once Upon A Time

The Conclusion

    It makes sense to have ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ as the 5th episode as it runs consecutively with ‘Once Upon A Time’.
   So there you have it, the 7 episode mini-series, of course the last few seconds of ‘Once Upon A Time,’ after the Supervisor enters the Embryo Room, were edited in because of ‘Fall Out.’ Originally the episode would have ended with the body of No.2 lying on the floor in the cage.
   I realize this subject has been talked about and debated by fans of ‘the Prisoner’ for years and decades in fact. And all of them have come up with their own idea of what episodes McGoohan would have used for the mini-series. And of course Patrick McGoohan himself, post ‘Prisoner’ production, mused about it in a few interviews when asked. But what fans forget, or choose to forget, and what McGoohan forgot in later years, is that at the time when he first suggested the idea of a 7 episode mini-series none of the remaining episodes had been made! So it makes little sense to bring episodes such ‘The Schizoid Man,’ ‘The General,’ or ‘Many Happy Returns’ into the equation, because if McGoohan had had his way over a 7 episode mini-series, none of the remaining episodes after ‘Once Upon A Time’ would have been produced anyway apart from ‘Fall Out.’.
    As for McGoohan telling Howard Foy about ‘Once Upon A Time’ and ‘Fall Out’ originally being conceived as a single (possibly 2 part) entity, well I take that with a large pinch of salt. Certainly there is no-way he could have envisaged ‘Once Upon A Time’ and ‘Fall Out’ as a single entity, because when ‘Once Upon A time’ went into production he had no conception of ‘Fall Out,’ or of any ending to the series if it comes to that. But what he did have was another 9 episodes to produce after ‘Once Upon A Time’ before he came to ‘Fall Out.’
    And there lies the nub of the matter, when McGoohan was interviewed years, even decades after the production of ‘the Prisoner,’ he could say anything because no-one would have known any different. And when he’s talked about the idea of a 7 episode mini-series introducing episodes like ‘The Schizoid Man,’ ‘The General,’ or ‘Many Happy Returns’ he was talking with hindsight.
   When it comes to ‘the Prisoner’ some sources can be rather misleading. It’s true that originally ‘Arrival’ was intended to be 90 minutes in length. The opening sequence would have been much longer than it is, which would have made it rather monotonous to say the least. Also ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ was also originally to have been a 90 minute feature, but would also have been rather monotonous. For example there were originally more scenes in which Mr. X continued his pursuit of the Girl, but these were cut from the script and never filmed. But those were the only two episodes which were intended as 90 minute features.
  So either ‘the Prisoner’ envisaged by McGoohan as a 7 episode serial, well the THE HERALD-MAIL COMPANY, HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND dated SATURDAY, JUNE 22. 1968 Reported the following: “Patrick McGoohan has admitted that his series, The Prisoner, didn't turn out exactly as he planned. (The format is his and he is also listed as executive producer.) He only wanted to do 13 episodes and resolve the prisoner's dilemma in the last one. But ITV, which put up the money, insisted on more episodes. So they compromised on 17. McGoohan now thinks he would have been better off making a movie of the idea.”

   So a 13 episode serial would have looked like this;

Arrival

Dance of The Dead

Free For All

Checkmate

The Chimes of Big Ben       

Once Upon A Time

The Schizoid Man

It’s Your Funeral

A change of Mind

A B and C

 The General

Hammer Into Anvil

The Conclusion        

This of course is judging by the production order of the series. Had McGoohan all 17 scripts in front of him at the very outset of production, he might have chosen one or two of the other scripts against one or two of the production order. But its quite impossible to say which of the episodes McGoohan would have chucked away, but I can think of three strong favourites for the wastepaper basket!   Although we must not forget Lew Grades idea of a 26 episodes series, which is rumoured could have been two 13 part series, in which case ‘Once Upon A Time’ was to have been held back to become the final cliff-hanger episode of the first 13 part series of ‘the Prisoner.’ That way No.2 would have remained dead in the cage in the Embryo Room.    

Be seeing you

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Watching The Prisoner - Fall Out

 

    And here we are, No.2 is dead, a fact which No.6 doesn’t appear to have been happy about. He wants to see No.1 and the supervisor takes him and the butler, who holds the key to the door. On the way No.6 is given his own suit of clothes, because it was felt he would be happier as himself!
    ‘Fall Out,’ the conclusion to the Prisoner’s ordeal, should be watched on the 9th of December after the conclusion of the week’s events which took place in the Embryo Room. Once No.6 and his three confederates crashed out through the gates at the end of the tunnel it took about three or four days to reach London. Taking into account the speed of the Highwayman lorry, and the route they had taken. Also whether they drove all through the nights as well as the days, and there could be delays at borders and customs. However despite the guesswork, one thing is certain, No.6 and his three remaining companions must arrive back in London on or around December 12th 1967. And the evidence for this, well haven’t you read my book ‘The Prisoner Dusted Down?’ Certainly the evidence is to be seen for itself in the episode.       To my mind it appears ‘Fall Out’ is the final throw of the dice, the last desperate manipulation of No.6. Heap praise on the man, congratulate him on his private war, and for vindicating the right of the individual to be individual. Offer him ultimate power, and then face him with himself! Show him that he himself has been responsible for the village and his current predicament all the time. And yet there is an argument that No.1 is in fact Curtis who had been kept on ice, perhaps in the hospital, in readiness for such a situation as this. Yes No.6 said Curtis was dead, but did he check the body, or did he naturally assume Rover had killed Curtis? And even if Curtis had died, we have seen how they are able to resuscitate a person, as they did with a “late” No.2! There is another argument that the High Court Judge was overseeing a coup, in attempting to replace No.1 with his identical look-a-like.
    Back in 1968 when ‘Fall Out’ was first screened it was said to answer all the questions, it didn’t, it only managed to muddy the waters even more! Especially because there it was gone, and with no chance of watching ‘Fall Out’ again, which can be so easily done these days. 
   Who was running the village when No.2 was acting the role of a High Court Judge? Not the Supervisor, he was sat amongst the other delegates of the Assembly! Did they bring in an Interim No.2? No there couldn’t have been enough time. So someone would have had to have been promoted from Administration. Perhaps they brought back the interim No.2 who we saw in ‘It’s Your Funeral’ and as an Observer in ‘Once Upon A time.’
   The Irony, All you is love in the middle of a fire fight!
    Questions are a burden to others, but nevertheless, did the village actually exist in any materialistic form, or was it symbolic of the village {or prison} we all carry within our minds? 
    The Fact that the Prisoner had been in the village all the time, indicated by the automatic opening of the front door to his house!
    Numbers, representing man’s lack of freedom, the stifling of the individual’s liberty by authority. 
    The former No.6, who survived the ultimate test and thereby won the right not to be known as No.6 or any number at all. Does that mean he no longer exists officially?
    It was promised, that ‘Fall out’ would reveal all, and answer all those questions television viewers had. Whether it did or not depends on one’s perspective I suppose. However over the years I have grown to feel that ‘Fall Out’ is the logical ending to the Prisoner.


   A question, what did No.48 do in order to be able to wear his own clothes for his trial?
    Another question, with No.48 being the odd one out, in his representing uncoordinated youth as the Judge put it, was it No.48 who was put on trial, or youth in general?
   “Evacuate…evacuate…evacuate!” such was the order given to the citizens of the village at the command of Number 2-the Judge. But did the citizens know what to do, or where to go in such an emergency? Where were the assembly points for the helicopters? The command came through the public address system for them to evacuate, but not where to go, or where to assemble for evacuation by helicopter. It could be that the citizens had been drilled for such an emergency, that fire drills had been carried out from time to time. Well it stands to reason that the village would have had a fire station, standing by in case of an outbreak of fire. Perhaps a Mini-Moke could have been converted into a small fire engine!
   Then again, we do not actually see the citizens being well drilled for such emergencies as for fire, or an evacuation. People calmly lining up ready to board the helicopters. They seem to be more in a panic. Running this way and that, eventually a large group running away from the village along the beach! But at least the village administration had the sense to have all those helicopters available for just such an emergency!
    What were the chances? A haulage lorry carrying the same surname as mine, Stimpson, being driven along the M1 at the same time they were filming for ‘the Prisoner?’ My surname in ‘the Prisoner’ I was really chuffed to bits when I first saw that!


   When Morag and I began this experiment of watching ‘the Prisoner’ as in real time this way, the day of the finale or conclusion to the series if you prefer, seemed to be ages away, and yet here we are. But during that time, between the 17 episodes we see, have been the days and weeks which take place between each episode which we are not privy to. I find it difficult to imagine that No.6 was troubled by every interim No.2 who came along during those unseen days and weeks. There must have been times when No.6 wasn’t bothered at all, but left to his own devices. Meanwhile the day to day life in the village went on, perhaps the construction of the new concert hall for example. There would be new arrivals, agents coming and going, the faces the same but with changes of mind as the Seltzman machine continued to be put into operation. And no doubt experiments continued to be carried out on the citizens. And think about those interim No.2’s coming and going during all that time, and so many of them! All that seems to remain is to cue the clouds, cue the thunder, cue the Lotus 7, and the music……… unless I choose to end the Prisoner with him driving passed the Houses of Parliament, No.48 trying to thumb a lift on the dual carriage way, and the late No.2 on his way into the House of Lords, ignoring the last 10 seconds of ‘Fall Out’ and imagine the former No.6 parking his Lotus in that underground car park, then in an office somewhere in Whitehall, having it out about his abduction, and the village, with the Colonel for the last time!

Be seeing you