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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

New Patrick McGoohan Biography

    I received an email yesterday in regard to a new biography for the late Patrick McGoohan by Robert Booth which is released on March 30th 2011, and for which Amazon Books are taking advanced orders now. The price is £9.99.

It will be interesting to read this biography, and I don't usually read biographies, nor am I a fan of Patrick McGoohan himself. Because the last so termed "biography" about Patrick McGoohan by one Roger Langley, was actually read as an extended filmography. And as a matter of interest, back in the early 1990's I became aware that a gentleman had written a biography about the life of Patrick McGoohan. Indeed the gentleman in question sent McGoohan a copy of the biography. McGoohan then had the said manuscript supressed, even though he had co-operated in the writing of it! It's a pity that that manuscript has not been published since McGoohans death. I'm sure it would make for interesting reading. Becuase it makes me wonder what was in that biography that McGoohan didn't want made known!
Be seeing you

26 comments:

  1. Looks like the kissing stuff is a load of hooey anyhow.

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  2. The reason as to why Patrick McGoohan refused to kiss women on screen, is his own. But certainly all this puritanical stuff is a load old hooey as you said. My wife and I have been researching part of McGoohan's life here in Loughborough where the boy McGoohan was evacuated to during WWII. And have interviewed ordinary people who knew McGoohan into his teens, and what we have learned is contrary to his adult, and professional persona.
    In 'The Schizoid Man' originally Jane Merrow was supposed to kiss both No.6's in order to tell them apart. McGoohan refused to do this, and was heard shouting at the top of his voice "I will not kiss Jane Merrow." Why? Well his reasons were his own...................

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  3. That sounds like excellent work in Loughborough DS.

    In one my Blogs I mention that he commented re. the prisoner and women, that as Number Six could trust nobody in the village, how exactly could he be expected to become romantically involved?

    McGoohan perhaps linked sex and love very closely, but then men of his generation often did. Some people still do...... but only the puritannical ones..... :-D

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  4. During the research carried out by myself and my wife, we discoverd the school the boy McGoohan went to before going to Ratcliffe College. Most fans of either Patrick McGoohan or 'the Prisoner' think that when Patrick McGoohan was evacuated to Lougborough in the war, that he went straight to Ratcliffe, he didn't.
    We know where he lived during his time here, and with whom he was billeted.
    More than that, we've discovered things about the young McGoohan that would make fans heads spin. Some fans who have put Patrick McGoohan on a pedestal, might think that we would be making it up. However, what we have learned have made my wife and I see McGoohan in a totally different light, putting flesh on the bones so to speak.
    I would dearly love to tell of our discoveries about the young McGoohan, but a 'D' notice has been slapped on the details, by my wife, until I can get a manuscript I have written about 'the Prisoner' published. It is this manuscript which will contain a short piece of biography on the early ,life of Patrick McGoohan
    BCNU

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  5. Oh, come on! Pray tell me! I'll give you my private email address but please tell me!

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  6. Hello Yaremus,

    Now why should I tell you? Not even in a personal email. After all I don't know you, you could be anyone. Beside which I'm not putting any of my 'new' discoveries about 'the Prisoner' or of McGoohan's early life into the public domain until my manuscript is published.
    Really, you don't expect me to give information away do you? And if I did, you might not like what you read!

    David
    BCNU

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  7. I noticed that Booth hadn't even bothered to find out where McGoohan spent his childhood, quoting McGoohan's family home as being in Co. Sligo.

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    1. Hello Anonymous,

      In recent months I was sent a copy of the above book, I have not yet read it. But what I understand from those who have read the book, it is a pretty poor effort. I think much of the books material has been gleened from other sources, and hardly any research was carried out by Mister Booth. He may not have bothered to find out where McGoohan spent his childhood, and much of his teenage years, but I have, in fact I'm living there myself, having researched the young McGoohan's life. What's more I've written about it in a manuscript about 'the Prisoner,' which hopefully will be published.

      Regards
      David
      BCNU

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  8. A Prisoner of War perhaps....... ;-)

    I will certanly subscribe to a copy of that. Be seeing it one day, I hope. I recall that Roger Langley did a little research in Sheffield when he made his biograph., but Ratcliffe has remained very much a closed book, but must have affected the young McGoohan quite a lot, as he would have been there between the ages of ten/eleven and sixteen, between 1939 and 1944. My own mother spent the war years a long way from home in a similar way, and went to a different school because of it.

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    1. Hello Moor,

      I enjoyed reading your comment. The fact that Mister Langley only refers to Ratcliffe College only goes to demonstrate his limited knowledge and total lack of research in the matter. I have been to Ratcliffe College, and have learned quite a bit about the College. What's more Mister Langley, and other writers on McGoohan, give the impression that when the young McGoohan was evacutated from Sheffield in 1939, straight to Ratcliffe. That is not the case at all! And after leaving school, in all probability McGoohan's very first job was in Loughborough, not Sheffield as many people believe. I'd better shut up, otherwise I'll be in very grave danger of saying too much here, I'm sure you and others who read this will understand.

      Kind Regards
      David
      Be seeing you

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  9. I took another look at Langley's couple of pages about Ratcliffe. He has a couple of Old Ratcliffians quoting about their (vague) memories. He also quotes some bits about McG's boxing record (derived from copies of the Ratcliffian magazine evidently). They seem somewhat ambiguous. He does explicate the passes McGoohan obtained at age 16, which I guess he must have gleaned from the school records. He also talks about Jack Whittington, whom McG refers to in his own 1965 biography. This best friend apparently got run over and killed in 1946. Langley does also accurately state that McG took no part in Drama acting whilst at the school, although he is said to have been involved in the backstage stuff, like the Carpentry by one of the old Ratcliffians. He does also mention that McG joined the ATC in 1943.

    I have seen one or two "articles" in the past which claim McG played King Lear in a Ratcliffe school play. Lord knows where fans get this rubbish from... :-D ... I guess somebody just makes it up and then everyone else repeats it.

    I noticed that in this Booth "biography" (I use the term loosely) the guy has such a tenuous grasp of his subject that the text refers to McGoohan growing up in County Sligo, which is such a grotesque error to make it almost leaves me speechless....... but not quite.... ;-D

    Moor

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    1. Hello Moor,

      An interesting comment. I happen to have a copy of the young McGoohans School leaving Cirtificate, containing his exam results, passes, and credits etc. I bet Mister Langly or Mister Booth haven't got a copy! Come to think of it, I'm sure Mister Langley has never been to Ratcliffe.

      McGoohan certainly helped with school play productions, working behind the scenes. There used to be a small theatre near Loughborough, at which McGoohan performed in two or three plays. A number of people whom I have spoken to, remember seeing McGoohan perform at this theatre, which is now an old people's home. McGoohan was also a stage manager at one time, for one of the several Theatre companies he was involved with here in the Midlands, when in Rep.
      There is much more to Ratcliffe than either Mister Langley, ot Mister Booth realises, background details of Ratcliffe which appears in my manuscript, and which you will be able to read about when it is published.

      Kind Regards
      David
      Be seeing you

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  10. Thre are some great school stories out there. This one on imdb is a classic of the genre. I wouldn't be surprised if many people even believe it..... ;-D

    "The costumes worn throughout the series are in fact the sports uniforms of Mill Hill School in North London. Patrick McGoohan moved into a house opposite the school, while developing the series. It had an eccentric selection of blazers and ties in the schools chocolate and white colours. One day he walked into the school shop and ordered the full range from the outfitter. While in the area he befriended the actor Ian Carmichael and the pair of them used to walk their dogs in the school grounds, The Prisoner and Bertie Wooster, with matching Labradors. "
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061287/trivia

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    1. Hello Moor,

      It makes you wonder where these stories come from, and who writes them in the first place!
      What the hell would Patrick McGoohan be doing ordering a full range of piped blazers from the outfitters for, unless it was just a couple for himself to wear in 'the Prisoner.' McGoohan does wear the best piped blazers. If you look closely at other piped blazers worn by other actors in the series, you can see that they are very poorly produced.

      Kind regards
      David
      Be seeing you

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  11. David Stimpson,
    Did you ever get your manuscript printed? I too am a huge fam of Patrick McGoohan and his shows Danger Man and The Prisoner. I've always wondered what the true story of his childhood was like, as one is influenced greatly by those things. I've read that he WAS religious, and that he WASN'T...many conflicting postings. I will forever be sorry that I didn't add a fan letter to him thanking him for his contributions to the entertainment field...as he was an intense actor and evidently a perfectionist and idealistic person. I do hope to BE SEEING HIM..someday.
    Best wishes,
    Karen Marshall

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    1. Hello Karen,

      Good to hear from you.

      To my regret I haven't yet had my manuscript published. But I will certainly make it known far and wide when I do. You may depend upon that.
      Regarding his childhood, I have first hand knowledge of the sort of boy he was. Having spoken to people who knew him at that time. This of course is in the manuscript.
      As far as I am aware, he was a practicing Roman Catholic. But how religious he was, I have no idea.
      Yes he certainly could be an intense actor. And where the Prisoner was concerned and some of his early work, he was a perfectionist {I'm not so sure of some of the things in his later years} But like the rest of us he was a flawed individual.
      I can understand your regret for not having sent him a fan letter. But many did, and were completely ignored. He didn't seem to have much time for fans. However the time to have written such a letter was towards the end of his life. I have a friend who did write such a letter at that time, and received a very gracious reply. I got the impression from the letter, that it was tinged with regret that he had not been more approachable to his fans.

      Very best regards
      David
      Be seeing you

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  12. Hi David,
    I just now saw this reply to an earlier post that I had made, when I didn't realize that I could check the Notify Me box!
    Maybe the 50th Anniversary of The Prisoner will be the time for you to get your manuscript published!

    Regarding Mr McGoohan's approachability...
    I think that in a way he became a Prisoner of The Prisoner...because he probably got approached so many times by people asking what he meant by this or that on the show.
    Also, I doubt that he ever allowed himself to get too close to other women, unless they were part of a couple that is....because he obviously valued his wife and daughters as THE most important relationships he had....so he probably didn't make friends easily.
    I recently read an account of a man who met him, conversed over the phone and in person, and said that he really never thought he KNEW Patrick McGoohan. He gave Joan McGoohan kudos because he thought that she had influenced Pat to call him and talk the first time they talked on the phone. His last meeting with Pat was by accident...McGoohan was sitting behind a large pillar in a bar...large hat and sunglasses (!) on...this gentleman had lost a lot of weight, and as he and his girlfriend got up to leave and he addressed the barkeeper...McGoohan leaned out to see who had spoken. They each recognized the other at about the same time...and talked for a short time.

    Still doesn't mean that I regret NOT having sent that letter to Pat McGoohan!

    BCNU
    Karen

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    1. Dear Karen,
      I have hopes for my three Prisoner based manuscripts. But whether or not one will be published next year, remains to be seen.
      Regarding that letter to Patrick McGoohan, don’t regret it too much, as I wrote to Pat twice myself, and received no reply, as have others fans of ‘the Prisoner.’ But I do know one person who wrote to Patrick McGoohan and did receive a reply, but he was clever, he quite deliberately didn’t mention ‘the Prisoner, but asked him about ‘Danger Man.’ This was two months before Patrick died, and judging by his letter, he seemed to regret his previous standoffish attitude with people.

      Best regards
      David
      Be seeing you

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  13. Hi David . .
    I would be fascinated to get to see the correspondence with Patrick McGoohan . ..one might get an idea of what HE found interesting ...and I think he didn't want to discuss The Prisoner . ..he was NOT going to explain it...and he said that he considered it to have been a job that was finished .
    I have to think that he was a little irritated too...regarding how the series was FIRST regarded...and then how fans like ourselves started investigating and asking questions .
    Since he has said that he wanted discussion and debate . ..he COULDN'T talk about it in any depth without destroying the REASON for making the show .

    Besides . ..he knew even as young actor that everyone loves a good mystery !

    BCNU
    Karen

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    1. Hello Karen,
      I’m sure you will be aware of the Danger Man website, but just in case, here is a link just copy and paste it in search box http://danger-man.co.uk/viewPhoto.asp?filename=images/mcgLetter/letter.jpg to the letter from Patrick McGoohan I wrote of.
      I realize that fans of ‘the Prisoner’ wanted McGoohan to explain the series to them, but had he done so what then? All the fun of discovering the answers, interpreting situations etcetera simply wouldn’t be.
      He was certainly irritated by people asking him about ‘the Prisoner,’ it’s the only thing people wanted to ask him about. And yet ‘the Prisoner’ never left him. You maybe aware that back in 1996 Patrick McGoohan wrote and presented a script to Hollywood film producers for a feature film of his series. It was thrown into the wastepaper basket, as they thought that viewers would not understand it! Patrick McGoohan got together with film director and old friend David Tomblin and they were so sure that McGoohan’s script would be accepted, and a film would be produced, filmed at Portmeirion, that they booked rooms at Portmeirion for them to go and stay there. But they never turned up, because the script had been rejected by Hollywood producers!
      Sometimes I think McGoohan’s refusal to explain ‘the Prisoner’ to people was so he wouldn’t have to explain it, if you see what I mean. He saved himself an awful lot of trouble. And if he had, well ‘the Prisoner’ might not have endured over the past 50 years!

      Best regards
      David
      Be seeing you

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  14. Hi David,
    Looks like we agree about this ! I think he was a fascinating person...he seemed to be a deep thinker. Maybe because he was the only boy among 4 sisters...perhaps the moving around because of WW2. I've often wondered about how the war affected all of the children who had to go through air raid sirens, keeping everything dark and windows covered at night...If there might have been personality changes because of all that.
    In one article I read, that SEEMED to be Patrick actually relating stories about his childhood...he talked about how he didn't really fit in at school and decided not to even try to fit in.
    It almost seems like that was how he lived his entire life...not WANTING to fit in ...no matter whether it was at his bank job...the wire factory...
    The job at the chicken farm seemed to be one that he relished, but he was ALONE while he worked.
    As an actor, he said that when he worked on stage he used the footlights as a "BARRIER" between himself and the audience. Once, when a reporter asked him about his "shyness" problem...he evidently shouted WHAT shyness problem?! When the reporter reminded him about the article where HE addressed his own shyness...he then calmed down and evidently was cordial for the rest of the interview.
    He said that he didn't believe in actors "getting into" a character, yet there were several stories about when he got so much into Number 6, that he actually punched or started choking another actor...so even he did get too "into" character at one time or another.

    Even at home, he was supposed to have awakened at 3:30am to sit alone and write scripts or poetry. I wonder sometimes if the drinking came about as a coping mechanism when he was forced to be on set for long hours amongst a lot of other actors and crew members.
    Not that he didn't like those people, but it seems like he NEEDED to be alone....maybe more than most people. Maybe that's when all those wonderful scripts and stories and ideas burst forth.

    Patrick also said that people "saw" a lot of things in the stories that he DIDN'T plan ...that they were a happy accident. All I can say is that there sure were a lot of "happy accidents" in The Prisoner!!!

    BCNU
    Karen

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  15. Hi again David,

    It's too bad that the script that Patrick sent to the studio was turned down...imagine getting to see what he had written as the "future" of the Village...or whatever he wrote!!
    We might have had many more hours of enjoyment and puzzlement if that next show had been made!!

    Maybe someday his family will allow 6 of 1 or a book publishing company to publish his script.

    All the best,
    BCNU
    Karen

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  16. The comments typed here way back in 2011 about Mr. McGoohan's childhood and what he was "really like" sound like things I don't want to read...

    I recently rediscovered him and to be honest, as a Catholic female, I was surprised and rather happy to learn about his long marriage, three children, and apparent sense of morality. I very much prefer his portrayal of John Drake to James Bond, for instance.

    Now, I haven't yet read any of the biographies (hopefully after Christmas I can) but have read many period newspaper interviews. If they were even remotely accurate, I don't understand how someone so shy and private could become this monster people refer to during The Prisoner. I can personally relate to what I have read so far... I'd hate to learn that it was all completely false and he was a womanizing egomaniac who kicked puppies and beat his kids... then went back to kicking the puppies...

    :-(

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    1. Hello Nells,

      I generally find fans of Patrick McGoohan, who didn’t actually know the man, like to put him on a pedestal, which is their prerogative, and if you choose not to read anything about him which puts McGoohan in a bad light, that too is your prerogative. The McGoohan everyone sees is his professional projection, his private life he kept to himself. Let me say this, in general people believe the period newspaper articles about McGoohan. As a boy at school he has been described as being shy, and kept himself to himself. When my wife and I interviewed local people in Loughborough who knew McGoohan as a boy for my book ‘The Prisoner Dusted Down’ being shy and private is not how they described him. Newspaper articles are one thing, listening to people who actually knew him is completely different. The more we learned about McGoohan’s young character the more my wife warmed to him, because he became human, with frailties we must all endure.
      No-one is perfect, each of us have our dark side, and have done things in our past which we would rather others did not know. Patrick McGoohan said “We are our own worst enemy,” at the end of ‘the Prisoner’ he made himself No.1, who was No.6’s alter ego, his evil side who he was trying to beat, good over evil if you like. He might have been talking about himself, or just about the character he was playing.
      If you choose to relate to what you have read thus far, then that’s okay, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. As the saying goes, “you have to take the good with the bad.”

      David

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  17. I understand you completely, sir. The words from the horse's mouth, so to speak, should be pretty valid.

    Though I don't see how every single word of every single print interview I have read so far could be a figment of some journalist's imagination. There had to be SOME truth in there! There have been a few quotes that I really don't see anyone making up due to their uniqueness alone.

    Then there are the interview series like the ones in "TV Times" (1967) and "Women" (1965), the latter of which is supposed to be his own words (key word, SUPPOSED).

    But in the end, does it all really matter? I'll be happy just to know he didn't kick those puppies after all... hit a few stunt men, FINE, but not those puppies...

    ;-)

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    1. Hello Nells,

      Wishing you a very happy New Year.

      No doubt there is some truth in those interviews, however it has to be said that back in the 1960’s when it comes to ‘TV Times’ and ‘Woman’ it was hardly cutting edge journalism.

      He did catch his stunt double Frank Maher with a punch by accident…..I think the puppies are fine though!

      Best regards
      David

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