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Wednesday 30 November 2011

Is This The Face Of Number One?

  Is this the face of No.1? If we are to take Fall Out at face value, then it must be. Why No.1? Well he doesn't want to spend all his time couped up in that rocket all the time. Perhaps he wanted to get out and about for a while, certainly The Schizoid Man episode would give him the opportunity to do just that, and what better way to do it, than to impersonate No.6. Obviously he would have had to give himself a name, Curtis. Yes I know, there is a whopping great hole in this, and that is Curtis and No.2 have worked together before, or at least that's their story, who are we to know really? We don't even know how No.2 received his instructions for The Schizoid Man. If via No.1, then No.2 could have been told anything. No.1 might even have been impersonating Curtis, but that might be stretching a point just too far.
   No, for me I like to think this is the face of No.1. Out and about in the Village, enjoying a little freedom which The Schizoid Man affords him. Perhaps he wanted to get his hands dirty for a change, to gain some hands on experience with No.6...........Well he's getting that alright!
   He doesn't look so happy, so cheerful here does he? He persists with the idea that he is No.6. He certainly looks like No.6. But No.6 doesn't go about wearing a cream blazer, and he hasn't worn his badge, not since he took it off outside the hospital the day after his arrival in the Village.
   I suppose you are going to say that there is another flaw in my idea that this is No.1, that Curtis died at the end, suffocated to death by the Village Guardian. Well we only have No.6's word for that. Perhaps 'Rover' had only suffocated Curtis into a state of unconsciousness, and his pulse was only faint. Or of course there could be another reason, that Curtis wasn't dead at all, that No.6 was looking after No.1. Who headed back to the relative safety of the Rocket as soon as he was able!
   Well one has these thoughts, and with such thoughts they are better written down so that they may be seen in their true proportion. But either way, this is the face of Number One. And if it is Curtis who died at the end of the Schizoid Man, who is No.1, if it isn't Curtis or No.6? I mean how many look-a-likes, or dopplegangers can No.6 have?   I'll be seeing you.

Hold It!

   He seems to be getting close to No.8, and  what a lovely couple they do make No.6 and No.8. Ooops! Look out, Roselie Crutchly is showing some leg, I'm not sure Patrick would have approved of that you know. But seeing as its down on the beach, bikini's and bathing suits and all that, then its fair game. I mean we're not living in Victorian times!
   I always felt sorry for this particular No.8, becuase she is nothing more than a guinea pig. Hypnotised into thinking that she is in love with No.6, and he with her. Yet they do make a pretty couple, looking at this picture they could be on holiday together almost anywhere. For some reason this picture makes me think of the Jacques Tatti film Monsieur Hulot's Holiday don't ask me why, because I don't know. Its just gives me the feeling of somewhere in France. I suppose its because of the continental feel of the Village.
    I know why No.6 was brought to the Village, but the reason behind No.8 having been brought to the Village is quite beyond me. It just goes to show just how little we know about those citizens living in The Village. I think it was quite nice of them to pose for the camera.   Be seeing you.

What It Means To Be An Unmutual

    So what does it mean to be disharmonious, to be an unmutual? Not to want to join in, to be a part, a reactionary, to be a rebel in fact. Not to conform to how others think you should, not to "fit in", to be different to everyone else and have a neglect of social principles.
    As a long time fan of the Prisoner I have more often than not been something of a "Lone Wolf". True I was a member of a Prisoner appreciation society, but at the beginning that was simply so that I could get my hands on Prisoner merchandise which at the time was unobtainable anywhere else.
    It wasn't until nearly 15 years on when things went pear-shaped for me, that's when I involved myself with politics of that society, as did others. But as things were trying to come to a head, I could see that nothing was going to change and that I had been wasting my time. Because all that had been created at the end was a lot of hot air! So I walked out, I didn't resign, I walked out and never looked back. And to be perfectly honest I felt all the better for doing so.
   I didn't see myself as a trouble maker, as I didn't want anything for myself, but I did see myself as something of a reactionary. Rebelling against an appreciation society which had been turned into the village, and with the regime that went with it. Everything in fact that the Prisoner stood against, which when you think about it is quite ironic. A society which stands for its appreciation of the Prisoner, but which had taken on the guise of the village!
    There are other unmutuals about, created after they too left the Prisoner appreciation society after a time. The unmutuals, not a fan club, there are no members because there is no unmutaul society to be a member of. Yet a number of them come together in the name of the Prisoner, and that's fine because events held by the unmutuals do raise money for a children's hospice in Wales, and they are to be commended for that. Such is a one day event is this August at Portmeirion, PM2007.
   Do I attend such events as Prisoner conventions, well no, you have to be a member to be able to do that. And no, I don't attend events as posted on the unmutual website. One of No.2's sayings springs to mind "Been there and done that!" Because, as a fan of the Prisoner I'm long since done with attending such events, as a fan I don't tend to mix anymore where the Prisoner is concerned. I've reverted to being something of a 'Lone Wolf" again, an unmutual perhaps, and maybe the ultimate 'unmutual,' for I am no longer  involved with any group to do with the Prisoner. Because an unmutaul cannot be involved or be seen to be involved. Because once you do become involved you accept, you join-in and you stop being an unmutual!

Be seeing you

The Therapy Zone

What’s In A Number?

    There have been numerous New No.2's who have taken up office, at least four No.8's in the village of which Nadia was one. Her predecessor having vacated the premises, through either escape or more likely death! And last week No.14 was an old lady in a wheel chair, the doctor-No.14 is new here! So what price No.6's predecessor, which would have made the Prisoner the new No.6 on the day of his arrival in the village. Of course there can never be any same two numbers, as the reporter and his photographic colleague are of living proof  , being as they are No.113 and 113b, and that in turn might make No.113b's twin, the operator of the Tally Ho device, No.113c and the members of the Town council, 2a 2b 2c 2d 2e 2f 2g 2h 2i 2j 2k 2l all subdivided from the same number. But that does not take into account the fact that seen on the button panel of the electronic FREE INFORMATION board in both Arrival and Free For All, there are actually 3 No.6 buttons together with the subdivided number 6h. This might be peculiar in itself, but what is even more of a puzzlement is the fact that on that button panel of the Information board, there is no No.7. In fact there is no number at all containing the digit 7. 6 replaces the No.7, while 2c stands in for 17 as 6h replaces No.67 and 6 again for the No.65. In fact 70 through to 79 have been completely removed and replaced with 5c 3f 2d 2b 4d 6 3e 5 9d 8r.
    The reason for there being no No.7 in the village is because it is a lucky number, as 13 is an unlucky number, and No.6 being a primary number of course.
    Certainly whoever came up with the design of the electronic FREE INFORMATION board went to a great deal of trouble and effort for so much detail which first seen is but a brief appearance on the TV screen so you wouldn't notice. Then there's the question of whether or not being able to view so closely the Prisoner on DVD actually spoils the enjoyment of watching? Well for myself, having spent much of the past three and a half years researching the Prisoner, DVD's of the series have proved to be invaluable in such a task. Although solving the reason why in this case, cannot be brought to a satisfactory conclusion by DVD alone. So the mystery of why must continue, because in all previous interviews on the production of the Prisoner, I have never read or heard anyone speak of the village FREE INFORMATION board, although its use in the village does speak for itself.
Chambers Late of The Foreign Office

  It was a very important day for the Prisoner, he was getting ready to meet Chambers, who was about to become late of the Foreign Office. So presumably Chambers was about to resign, possibly even to defect, and the Prisoner was going to meet with Chambers hoping to change his mind before the "big boys" found out. The Prisoner waited and waited, but Chambers never turned up.
   A nice guy Chambers, and so talkative! So presumably Chambers was abducted to The Village before the Prisoner got a chance to talk to him! It's a wonder No.6 never met up with Chambers in The Village, after all he met up with so many of his old colleagues - Cobb, the Colonel, Fotheringay, and of course Roland Walter Dutton.

Be Seeing You

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Thought For The Day

   Perhaps, in the form of No.6, the Village did really catch a spy or agent, whether John Drake or not. In A B and C we observe that the Prisoner-No.6 had associated with spies in his fomer life. Having escaped back to London in Many Happy Returns the Prisoner-No.6 gives his name to Mrs Butterworth as Peter Smith.   Hammer Into Anvil No.6 uses two code names, D6 for himself, and XO4 to whom is supposed to be his superior. In Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling we discover that the Prisoner-No.6 has even more personas used in different countries around the world Schmidt, Duval, and what's more he has a code name ZM73.
   The Prisoner-No.6 is also used to working with codes and cyphers, as he does in Hammer Into Anvil, and in Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling it is only the Prisoner-No.6 who can crack the Seltzman code - the key relating to a series of slides which corresponds to the lettes of Seltzman's name.
   If the Prisoner-No.6 was a spy, either abducted to the Village on purpose, possibly as a plant, then in Many Happy Returns he might be playing a double game, returning to London to check out that end of the operation. But that cannot be the case surely, because if it is, he certainly puts himself through a great ordeal to acheive this. Mind you, if No.6 was actually working for the Village, but had to maintain his cover in the Village as a prisoner, then his esape would have to look the real thing, and that would account for the boat M.S Polotska keeping pace with the Prisoner on his raft as a support boat!
   "Number Six - a plant?!"

Music Begins Where Words Leave Off

    A curious phrase seen on a poster in the General Store in the episode Hammer Into Anvil, but what does it mean? Well it means what it says, save for the fact the phrase is the wrong way round! There was once the thought that it might have been a message left behind by another spy, as a contact phrase from one spy or agent to another. But that seems a bit daft to me, and it was only mentioned once as far as I know, and no-one took it seriously at the time as I recall.
    However spies and agents seem to like meeting in music shops. Take the Girl Who Was Death for example. That episode enjoys a scene which surely has it's inspiration in Mission Impossible, when originally Daniel Briggs, predecessor of Jim Phelps, would go to a record shop and receive his instructions via a record! The only two questions are, in The Girl Who Was Death who is the voice on the record? And who is the listener?   Be seeing you.

Arts And Crafts

   This from my 'Painting Through An Archway' period.


Deafeat Snatched Out Of The Fire Of Failure!

Depending on how you look at it, as far as I can say, there was really only one successful escape made during the 17 episodes of the Prisoner, and that was made by Professor Jacob Seltzman in Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling. This of course would be seen as a defeat for The Vilages administration, and for No.2 in particular. But not such as a defeat as the death of The Professor, and the destruction of the General of the episode of the same name. Okay, Professor Seltzman has escaped The Village, perhaps in a body not to his liking, the Colonel's. But at least The Village's administration still has the Seltzman machine, which they had before Seltzman was brought to The Village, and they did gain Seltzman's reversal process and the ability to change the minds of three people at the same time! Not only that, but at least they know exactly what Professor Seltzman looks like, when the search for Professor Seltzman recommences!  Be seeing you.

Therapy Zone

What The Prisoner means To Me Today

    I watch the whole the Prisoner series once a year, and the odd single episode once in a while. But these days I mostly write about the series, well there's hardly a day goes by when I don't write something about the series, regular readers of my blog here can vouch for that. A good few years back now an old, old acquaintance once said that, "Everything that can be written about the Prisoner has been written." Well a decade or so on, and I'm still finding new things to write about the Prisoner series, so I've been happy to prove him wrong.
   I don't collect Prisoner merchandise so much, well there's not so much merchandise produced these days, and even when it is, I'm rather choosey. I mean I was foolish enough to purchase that book Fall Out by Alan Stevens & Fiona Moore, I got about half-way through it, and gave it up as a bad job, and haven't opened the book since. I've written a superb manuscript called The Butler Speaks, it's the result of a 4 year long in-depth study which cuts deep into Prisoner appreciation, having found answers to questions fans have never asked, and real answers to those which they have, and the origins and reasons why things are in the series. It's my "magnum opus". But I cannot find a publisher willing to take it on, well not yet I can't, which means I'm not giving up.
    I no longer go to Prisoner conventions. I'm no longer a member of any Prisoner related group or society, I no longer feel the need to be. Yet the Prisoner is as much part of my life as it has always been, perhaps more so, since the day I heard that first crack of thunder over 43 years ago.
   Through a 4 year in-depth study of the Prisoner series I have arrived at an understanding which suits me, it probably wouldn't suit you. Oh I can give explanations, interpretations, answer questions. But in the end we must all, each and everyone of us, arrive at our own unique understanding of an outstanding television series. But having said that, no-one has to understand anything about the Prisoner and his Village. Just sit back and enjoy, and sometimes I just do that. But the Prisoner never lets go, he's always there taunting me with this or that when something I see in the series pops into my head, I just have to write about it. That's why I'm a prisoner!

The Colonel’s Not Fooling Anyone!

   In my opinion it would have been better if McGoohan's stunt double Frank Maher had played the role of the Colonel. In that way we would have seen someone who could carry-off playing the role of the Prisoner, giving as good a performance worthy of McGoohan himself. Nigel Stock, good an actor as he was, didn't come close to the role. Because don't forget although Nigel Stock is the figure we see as the Prisoner in Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, his mind is supposed to be that of the Prisoner's, and so being his reactions too. And that being the case, Frank Maher would have been much better suited to the role. But then the Prisoner's mind may very well have felt more at home in Franks body, as the Colonel, and may very well have done a runner instead of going looking the Professor Seltzman, and that would have been the end of the episode, and possibly the series as well!

Be seeing you.

Monday 28 November 2011

It's Inexplicable!

   "Five yard range. Nerve gas. One squirt you're paralysed, two squirts, you're dead!"
   Well that's all fine and dandy, and what's more you know how the Prisoner was originally 'nerve gassed' in the study of his London home, the nerve gas squirted in through the keyhole. In that instance the Undertaker had the door as protection, because the nerve gas is emitted out of that gas gun in a cloud, so what's to protect Curtis here? If he pulls that trigger, he himself will be well within that five yard range! I hope he's got a gas mask, otherwise he'll end up paralysing himself along with No.6!   Be seeing you.

Postcard From The Village

   No dogs are permitted in Portmeirion, well not unless you happen to be staying in a self-catering cottage where having a dog is permitted {well it used to be, I'm not so sure about these days} because in the early 1990's my wife and I used to take Duke with us, this is Duke who is sadly no longer with us, having passed away at the age of 14 in December 2005. This is Duke.
  Anyway, we took Duke to Portmeirion on holiday, and one day we were walking Duke around the Village, and we heard a day visitor say "You see, we could have brought our dog into the Village." Ah, but they couldn't, because Duke was at Portmeirion as a guest, and we had to pay for Duke to be there.
   I remember one day when we were down on the beach, just after this picture was taken I believe, when I was playing 'Ducks and Drakes', Duke was most intersted in this. I used to throw sticks for him, but he would just sit there watching me throw sticks and was otherwise completely uninterested. I suppose he thought that if I was stupid enough to throw sticks about the place, he might as well sit and watch me! But anyway, there I was skimming stones across the water, and as I say this Duke found most interesting, so much so that suddenly he was off like a shot into the water..........Now Duke had never liked to encounter water, unless he was being forced to have a bath, which he never did mind because someone was washing him. And of course Duke could not have known how deep the water was at that point along the beach. It was shallow enough to begin with, but then the beach suddenly dropped away beneath Dukes feet and he was gone.........I was in the water, and there was Duke swimming about under water! then he turned about and came out of the water, shook himself and wouldn't go into the water again no matter how much I tried to tempt him in! It was at that point we found out that Duke could actually swim. And by the by, Duke was the only dog I ever met who could actually smile.    Be seeing you

Caught On Camera

   Look at the expression on No.6's face. He looks as though he just realised something doesn't he? It might be a sudden shock, of who No.1 is. Or on the other hand, it could be the realisation that Patrick McGoohan hasn't got an ending for the series! Either way, both the man and the character are one and the same, so what does it really matter?
   Perhaps No.6 has just seen a familiar face in the crowd, after all the Village is very cosmopolitan, you never know who you'll meet!
    However the look on No.6's face might very well be one of surprise, because it was only a few minutes ago that he decided to run for public office, to be an electoral candidate standing against No.2. Yet after his opening speech, there it was, a Vote For No.6 placard! This is the manipulation that No.2 was talking about. Yet the manipulation of No.6 was not all that difficult, after all they knew No.6 would not pass up the opportunity to stand as a candidate, because if he was actually elected, he would waste no time in organising a mass breakout of the Village! It does look like magic, when this Vote For No.6 placard is first produced. But of course it was simply prefabricated, and placed behind the Vote for No.2 placard, and revealed at a propitious moment. No mystery, and no magic was involved.  I don't think I'll be voting for No.6, I'm not at all sure of his policies. Mind you I could do with more spare time, we could all do with more spare time. The only question is, what would we do in our spare time?............write more blog!     I'll be seeing you.

The Therapy Zone

 A University Degree In Three Minutes?

"It's improbable" say's No.6     " But not impossible" according to No.12

    Well that's as may be, but did you know, and some of you might,  that a number of years ago that the Prisoner has enjoyed a campus, as well as a cult following. No surprise then that once it was used as a model for University degree studies as the subject for countless thesis by students, both here in Great Britain and abroad.
    The first course to embark upon an examination of the series, otherwise than as simple television entertainment, was initiated by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority. Designed, in 1978, for study at secondary, colleges and university levels, the course provided an opportunity for those who wished to explore in greater depth the many themes introduced by the Prisoner.
    OECA claimed that the series posed "some of the crucial questions in the survival game humanity is playing; and it poses them in almost flawless film art." Like all great art the Prisoner operates on many levels, the viewer gets as much or as little out of it as he or she chooses. The series was presented by OECA as an allegory, in a setting where a man in unexplained captivity, deprived of his liberty, privacy and name, struggles against all odds to regain his freedom, but he is fighting for freedom in a world that strongly resembles our own world; only he sees it as a prison, while we do not.
   In a separate attempt to peer beyond the series' surface level of action, the Arizona State University provided its own course. An experiment was offered, to examine the series and its 'social - psychological concepts.' Two main factors in appreciating the Prisoner were regarded as significant. Firstly, although ambiguity as a whole required viewers to work hard to make sense of what was occurring, the pace of the programme maintained interest. Secondly, the viewers fascination with the main character Number Six, was not doubted. Indeed, students were often found to be intensely involved with the charismatic individual, imprisoned in the village and the adverse conditions which he faced. Constantly confronting overwhelming odds, the Prisoner maintained, overcame coercion, fought, resisted, and held fast throughout the series, the Prisoner as some might see as being a hero.
    Although such analytical framework has been provided by such courses as a way of interpreting the content of the 17 episode series, clearly there are many ways in which the series can be examined on a personal basis by each viewer. Thus the Prisoner and its lead character have provided a means of interaction with viewers unlike any other television programme during the past 44 years.

You of All People!

    Roland Walter Dutton was certainly surprised to see that his old colleague, now No.6, is a resident of the village. "You of all people. I'd have never have believed it." Dutton says to his old colleague, upon their meeting at the cave during Dance of the Dead.
    Why is Dutton so surprised to see his old colleague in such a position, but prisoner or warder? Perhaps he thought better of his old colleague that he is the last person he would meet in the village. But at the same time he's suspicious, because when No.6 asks Dutton how long he has been in the village, Dutton responds with "You don't know?" Would No.6 ask?
    No.6 asks Dutton how London is, but places don't change, only people - "Some people" indicating that No.6 is still the same man now  as he always was. But Roland Walter Dutton is not the same man, for he is not as lucky as No.6, Roland Walter Dutton in expendable!
     I wonder if Dutton had thought his old colleague had killed the man he was casting adrift that time on the beach?

You Are Free To Go

   The President tells Sir during the trials of Fall Out. Why, what has change all of a sudden? Sir may have survived the ultimate test, he may have vindicated the right of the individual to be individual. Over come coercion, held fast, maintained, fought, destroyed and resisted, but what has changed? They still have no idea of why the Prisoner resigned in the first place, a secret which they were so desperate to learn. The Prisoner still has secret information inside his head, and what's more the Prisoner, or Sir as he became known, now knows all about the village! It seems most improbable that 'they' would allow Sir to leave the village, not with the knowledge of the village inside his head. Surely they must recall his intention once he had escaped "I'm going to escape and come back. Come back, wipe this place off the face of the earth, obliterate it and No.2 with it." No, Fall Out is the ultimate manipulation of the Prisoner, and you can see this in the way the Prisoner, even after having been given the title of Sir, that he's edgy, untrusting of the proceedings. No, they could never allow No.6 to go free, and the proof is in that vacant and un-numbered 'Orbit Tube' in the rocket.

Be seeing you

Sunday 27 November 2011

Once Upon A Time...........

    I think with Once Upon A Time we receive the strongest statement issued by No.6, or the scriptwriter, in the entire series of the Prisoner, which in itself is something of a bold statement. The episode is often biographical of McGoohan's life, and it's apparent purpose is to tease and annoy the viewer. And yet, it entertains us. Why? For what reason do we enjoy the demise of No.2 {or is it No.6} or perhaps we are like No.6, angry at the apparent death of No.2? How do we manage to identify with this anti-hero No.6? Where are the balancing factors of this story which entertains us so much?Judicial and defence systems are treated with contempt. Playtime, education, and upbringing are scorned. Job fulfilment is negated and our home is seen as a furnished cage. The lead character will have none of this - perhaps that is why we like his style.

Thought For The Day

  In Once Upon A Time two objects move of their own accord, the Rocking Horse, and the swing. Why this should be I don't know, unless of course the Embryo Room is haunted! Yet they are not the only objects to move in such a way, so to do the numerous coathangers in the cloakroom seen in Fall Out at the time when the Prisoner was to collect his own suit of clothes. Who so many coathangers without so much as a piped blazer hanging from them? Well might they not be symbolic, symbolic of other Prisoner's who have passed by this way? I'll be seeing you, when I passby this way again.

Caught On Camera

    Yes, that's me as No.6 sat at the wheel of KAR 120C. Not the original KAR 120C, that was written off in a car accident in Australia back in 1967. The car is actually a Caterham Super Seven, no different to a Lotus 7. The two pictures were taken at a Prisoner convention in the mid 1990's at Portmeirion.
   The colour photograph is of myself and my wife as No.2 and No.6 in a re-enactment from the Prisoner episode Dance of the Dead, just after No.6 had been listening to a radio. Poor old No.6, if he persists with his dream he may be taken for mad. But No.6 likes his dream, and I was taken for mad, when I stood up where we are sitting, because it's a steep drop on the other side with only a few trees and bushes to break ones fall. I was the first person to do that during that particular re-enactment, since Patrick McGoohan stood there in the actual scene. Well I always believed that if you are going to do something, you do it right!   
Be seeing you.

The Therapy Zone

Here’s A Question
    Once having arrived in the village in the episode of Do Not Forsake Me Oh My darling, and his duties there having been explained to him, exactly how much persuasion, or coercion was used against the Colonel to make him undergo the mind exchange process?
   Did he undergo the process willingly, calm and collective in both manner and thought. Carrying out orders without question as he must surely have done as a Colonel in the Guards Regiment at one time, he's wearing a Guards tie. Or was it the case that the Colonel had to be taken kicking and screaming to the "Amnesia Room," makes for a pretty picture if you care to imagine what it must have been like for him. Or possibly the Colonel had to be tranquillised for the operation to be carried out, such might have been his state of mind the Colonel had got himself worked up in. Agitated, questioning, afraid of what might happen to him. The possibility of the possibility that he might not be a whole man again must surely have weighed on his mind.

The Colonel

    There are four separate encounters with the Colonel seen in the Prisoner, during The chimes of Big Ben for example. This Colonel is a desk man, desk -bound if you like, save for when he's been seconded to the village. But even then when he is, he's still in his office, albeit a replica!
    The Colonel in Many Happy Returns, does get out and about, and is prepared to take action, even to help an ex-colleague like No.6. A more hands-on approach is adopted by the Colonel during Do Not Forsake Me Oh My darling, as he, like one of his predecessors, is seconded to the village by the highest authority. And once having arrived at the village the Colonel had no choice but to take part in the experiment, to change the minds of two people, that of the Colonel's and No.6. They, whoever 'they' are, were taking a hell of a risk with not only No.6, but also the Colonel. If things had gone wrong, which in the case of the Colonel, they did, No.2 would surely have to pay the price!
    Then last but not least, Colonel Hawke-Englishe who was on the trail of a mad Professor Schnipps who had built a rocket with which to destroy London. But who came to a nasty end whist playing in a cricket match. Blown to bits as he was, whilst at the wicket one run short of his century.
   It is usual for agents like Mr.X to go out into the field, even using a standard disguise. But not so superiors such as the Colonel, even disguised or not. They are the men who sit behind large oak desks in elaborately decorated offices, who have nothing more to worry about than not having "proper biscuits," the ones with the cream in the inside! Administrators who send the likes of John Drake out into the field to face what dangers there may be to face. Perhaps never to return if captured or killed in the process.

Before The War-Since The War-Which War?

    Well that's a good question, because the village has been around for a very long time, you just ask the ex-Admiral-No.66 and the General, because they've been here a very long time.
   So just how long has the village been in existence? Well before the war certainly, since the war almost assuredly because any time is between wars. So really the heart of the matter is which war?
   The Boar war might be going back too far, and the Napoleonic wars is going back even further, but not as far as the War of the Crusades I think. the truth is, we simply do not know. Every country has its own form of Secret Service, their own agents and counter-agents. Agents who get clumsy and captured by the enemy, the information inside their heads of great value to one side or the other. And once that knowledge has been obtained by fair means or foul and then any such enemy agent being of no further value is dispensed with..... ie is put up against a wall and shot! Well what else do you do with enemy secret agents? Well if they are defective agents, recalcitrant agents, or people who simply know too much or too little? Why you build such an installation as the village and put them in it for the duration, or for as long as they live, anyway whichever is the longer!
   For whatever it may be worth, I should say that the village was established some time after WWI. I offer no evidence or reason for this, my own assumption, because there is no reason or logic behind it nor do I have any form of evidence. Any such evidence or information there might be, I am not privy to at this time.
   Perhaps you have an opinion on this matter, if so then you might wish to disclose it, and then we can discuss it.

I'll be seeing you.

Saturday 26 November 2011

The Prisoner In A Series Of 90 Minute Films

    If you have read my piece of blog entitled The Seven Episodes of The Prisoner, and if you haven't may I draw your attention to it. In a comment regarding that blog, a correspondent of mine Mister Anonymous put his mind to drawing up a list of seven 90 minute films, and I hope Mister Anonymous forgives me for reproducing that list here which I do not claim to be my own, however I do find it exeedingly interesting.

Arrival/Dance of the Dead: The only way to enter or leave the Village {Triumph for The Machine}
The Chimes of Big Ben/Checkmate: There is no escape
A B and C/The General: Manipulation of technology and science
Free For All/It's Your Funeral: Politics of The Village
The Schizoid Man/A Change of Mind: manipulation of medicine and psychology
Many Happy Returns/Hammer Into Anvil: Where No.2 comes from our society
Once Upon A Time/Fall Out: Who is No.1?

   Here are the 'padding' episodes in this version of '7' films
Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling - Living In Harmony - The Girl Who Was Death

  It was the above list which Mister Anonymous drew up so cleverly when you consider the brief notation which accompanies each pairing, which got me thinking. In 1982 ITC released eight episodes of the Prisoner on Precision Video, two episodes per tape, and each produced in a 90 minute film format.


    Because although there are two episodes per video, both come under the one title, as in the following list:

The Arrival/The Schizoid Man
Many Happy Returns/A B and C
Checkmate/Free For All
The General/The Chimes of Big Ben

   The way the films have been produced is such that the ending of the first episodsde runs into the following episode, there is no end credits for the first episode, and no opening sequence to the second. Nor is there the regular closing credits, but a blue background rolling credits for the two episodes. Those who have watched these videos will understand.
   There is no apparent logic behind the pairing of these episodes, not as in the pairings by Mister Anonymous, but they do work together. I have wondered in the past why ITC would produce thee episodes in such a way, and it was through Mister Anonymous's comment which caused me to think about this. If McGoohan had in mind originally to produce Arrival as a 90 minute film, as well as The Girl Who Was Death as either a 90 minute film, or even a two part episode, then I can see the reasoning behind the way ITC released the above episodes. There is no doubt in my mind that had Precision Videos not gone bankrupt, that the remaining episodes would also have been presented as 90 minute films. The only question is, how the remaining episodes would they have been paired, which of course would have left a single episode to itself. It would have been interesting to see how ITC would have dealt with that. But of course I shall never know now, but that does not stop me being intrigued by the thought.   Be seeing you.

Arts And Crafts

    But does it get your Vote?


This Week I Am Mostly Reading

Express by Alfred Noyes

    The story begins with the words "It was a battered old book, bound in red Bucram. He found it, when he was twelve years old, on an upper shelf in his father's library, and, against all the rules, he took it to his bedroom to read by candle light, when the rest of the rambling Elizabethan house was flooded in darkness. That was how young Mortimer always thought of it."
    "The battered old book had the strangest fascination for young Mortimer though he never quite grasped the thread of the story. It was called The Midnight Express, and there was one illustration, on the fiftieth page, at which he could never bear to look. It frightened him. Young Mortimer never understood the affect of that picture made on him."
   "There was nothing in the picture - apparently - to account for this haunting dread. darkness, indeed, was almost its chief characteristic. It showed an empty railway platform - at night - lit by a single dreary lamp: an empty platform suggested a deserted and lonely junction in some remote part of the country. There was only one figure on the platform: the dark figure of a man, standing almost directly under the lamp with his face turned away towards the black mouth of the tunnel which - for some strange reason - plunged the imagination of the child into a pit of horror. The man seemed to be listening. his attitude was tense, expectant, as though he was awaiting some fearful tragedy. There was nothing in the text, so far the child read, and could understand, to account for this waking nightmare. He could neither resist the fascination of the book, nor face that picture in the stillness and loneliness of the night. He pinned the page facing it with two long pins, so that he should not come upon it by accident."
   This is that picture.

   I have to say that I have a strange fascination for this story myself, of which the above is but mere extracts from the commencement of the story. Like Mortimer, who found the battered old book in red buckram at the age of 12 years, I myself was twelve when I came to the Prisoner. And like Mortimer who never quite grasped the thread of the story at that age, I never fully understood the Prisoner. But like Mortimer I was fascinated by the Prisoner, and over the years I have never been able to let it go. Because in later life, when  Mortimer had grown up and became a man, came across that battered old book in red buckram again, but not until after this........
    "Leaving the direct path behind him, he found himself, a little before midnight, waiting for a train at a lonely junction; and, as the station-clock began to strike twelve he remembered, remembered like a man awakening from a long dream - There, under the single dreary lamp, on the long, glimmering platform, was the dark and solitary figure that he knew. Its face was turned away from him towards the black mouth of the tunnel. It seemed to be listening, tense, expectant, just as it had been thirty-eight years ago.
   But he was not frightened now, as he had been in childhood. He would go up to that solitary figure, confront it, and see the face that had so long been hidden, so long averted from him. He would walk up quietly, and make some excuse for speaking to it: he would ask it, for instance, if the train was going to be late. It should be easy for a grown man to do this; but his hands were clenched, when he took the first step, as if he, too, were tense and expectant. Quietly, but with the old vague instincts awaking, he went towards the dark figure under the lamp, passed it, swung round abruptly to speak to it; and saw - without speaking, without being able to speak - It was himself - staring at himself - as in some mocking mirror, his own eyes alive in his own white face, looking into his own eyes, alive."

   For me Midnight Express is a very prisonesque story, published in 1935, and Fall Outish when like No.6, Mortimer comes face to face with himself. As you read Alfred Noyes story you realise that Midnight Express is a vicious circle, in which Mortimer is forced to live though a living nightmare over, and over - time and time again - just as the Prisoner must live out his own vicious circle time and time again. As with the Prisoner which both begins and ends with a clash of thunder, Midnight Express begins and ends with the words "It was a battered old book in red buckram............"

Be seeing you.

The Therapy Zone


   The Prisoner has often been described as "Kafka-esque", meaning it is often surreal, blurring the boundaries between reality and fantasy. However the parallels between the Prisoner and the story of Joseph K. in Kafka's The Trial are much closer than just the emphasis of the programme.
   Der Prozess {The Trial} was written by Franz Kafka in 1914. The basic story is about Joseph K. who wakes up one morning to find himself arrested and pronounced guilty of a crime he has not committed, indeed the crime of which Joesph K. is charged to have committed is never mentioned. He attempts to procure justice only to come up against a bureaucratic nightmare, against which he cannot win. It is such a complex story that it is not possible to outline it in a nutshell, but to get to the point, how does the Prisoner resemble The Trial/ Well the similarities are such, and not in any particular order, as Jospeh K. wakes up to find himself under arrest without knowing what he has done, so too the Prisoner wakes up in the village to find himself abducted without knowing why.
   During the episode Dance of the Dead No.6 is put on trial as Joesph K. is put on trial without knowing his crime, both given a defence lawyer, in the case of No.6 his defender is his observer No.240. No.6 is faced with a bureaucratic nightmare, one that he cannot win. At his trial Joseph K. is found to be guilty and is sentenced to death, the sentence is carried out. No.6 is found to be guilty of the possession of a radio set, is sentenced to death, but in his case the sentence is not carried out.
  In Kafka's The trial we never find out what the K stands for in Jospeh K. as we never really know the name of the Prisoner-No.6.
   Questions; throughout The Trial the question is why? What has Jospeh K. done? What is his guilt? In the Prisoner the question is why did he resign? Which side runs the village? What is the village guardian? Where is the village? Questions in both cases, and to some degree, remain unanswered.
   When Josph K. meets the interrogator he has to wear black, When No.6 meets No.2 he is wearing charcoal grey............. In Joseph K's second interrogation everyone is wearing badges except Joseph K., No.6 never wears his badge either!
   And in Fall Out No.6 is again put on trial, although No.6 is allowed to address the court he is not permitted to be heard, shouted down as he is at every attempt to make himself heard! At least Jospeh K. was allowed to address the court!
   Two men come for Joseph K. to take him away for execution. The two men are wearing black frock coats and black top hats - a good description of the two undertakers who come to abduct the Prisoner in the first instance wouldn't you say?
   There are indeed parallels to be drawn between Kafka's The Trail and that of the Prisoner. But in  my researches, and sometimes quite by accident, I have also found a number of other literary works which share equal parallels with that of the Prisoner. The ghost story entitled The Midnight Express for one, and Bram Stokers 1894 story The Crooken Sands to name but two.

Easily Swayed By Dem Bones!

    I recall attending a particular Prisoner convention at Portmeirion, it was the year that one of two screened episodes of the Prisoner was Fall Out. Six of One used to have episodes screened at the Coliseum in the nearby town of Portmadog as part of the convention, where the "Rushes" were screened at the time of filming of the Prisoner in 1967. Well we were all comfortable watching Fall Out on the big screen, and then No.48-Alexis Kanner started running about and singing "Dem Bones" and everyone in the audience began to clap and tap their feet to the lyrics of the song. Well everyone but me. I simply sat there looking at people there joining in as they were, with what was happening on the screen, apart from No.6 who sat there on his throne. And that felt good, only myself in the cinema and McGoohan-Sir on the big screen, not joining in with the multitude who are so easily swayed by the song "dem Bones

It Certainly Wasn’t Cricket!

    So, the game's a foot Mr. Sherlock Holmes, as he is on the trail of The Girl Who Was Death! He's wearing a standard disguise and stands at the crease waiting for the ball to be bowled. Even though the game is a fascinating one, the group of spectators is almost as fascinating, because it is made up entirely of the female sex, girls, young and older women - and not one male member is to be seen amongst them! Of course it is possible that this group of spectators is simply made up with wives, girls friends and family of the two cricket teams playing. But girls are amongst the spectators, so why not the boys -perhaps they are not interested enough, but then why the girls?

I’ll be seeing you

Friday 25 November 2011

Caught On Camera

  Don't tell me that the Prisoner has gone into the demolition business! That he intends to tear down the Village building by building, brick by brick!

Arts And Crafts

   From my Cycledelic period.


Cartoon Capers

Peanuts by Tony Reeve cira 1980's.


The Therapy Zone

Why The Cross Piece?

    I recall that a little two decades ago there was much discussion about the religious content to be found in the Prisoner series within the realms of Prisoner appreciation. Much of the discussion came from those of a high religious disposition, and not being of such, I never became involved.
    Yet according to it's creator Patrick McGoohan, who is on record as saying there was never meant to be any religious content to be found in the Prisoner  series. Well I suppose there is the church door mention at the exhibition of 'Arts & Crafts' during The Chimes of Big Ben when it came to the committee discussing No.6's abstract piece of sculpture. But that was only a guess about the church door, and instantly agreed upon by No.6 about this aspect of his sculpture, this as he then makes some, off the cuff, symbolic declarations about the sculpture. Yes, there is also the 'cross piece,' not a cross in the religious sense, but a spar which would be attached to the mast via ropes, and in turn for the sail to be fixed to. The sail being No.38's tapestry with the face of No.2, which gave the sail an almost Viking look about it.
    Although there is no church in the village, no chapel, Mosque, or any other place where those of a religious disposition can go to worship. There was the song "Dem Bones" or "Dem Dry Bones" sung by No.48 during his trial in Fall Out, and from Ezekiel chapter 37 verse 14 where the Prophet Ezekiel visits the valley of dry bones. But of course "Dem dry Bones" was turned into a pop song, sung by The Four Lads, after re-recording a special recording for the Prisoner, along with the Mike Sammes Singers. Certainly this song, along with No.48, causes mayhem and distraction for not only the members of the assembly, but the President and security guards alike. Although I think for the songs own sake, rather than for any religious aspect the song might conjour up.

 Blown To Bits At The Wicket – That Must Have Been A Bit Nasty!

   I can think of better ways to die, and better causes to die for. But the Colonel- Colonel Hawke-Englishe was a brave man, and a man in the field - being on the trail of the mad Professor Schnipps as he was at the time of his untimely death. Well it certainly wasn't cricket!
   So here we have another side to the Prisoner - horror - and all it takes is a little imagination. Because try to imagine if you will, what those spectators would have seen as the bowler bowls the ball, and with a bounce on the wicket makes contact with the Colonel's cricket bat. Then the loud report, smoke and flame, blood and guts all over the stumps and wicket-keeper. It must have been a terrible sight to look upon, for players and spectators alike. Almost as devastating, I should think, as the bomb, concealed in the Great Seal of Office in the episode Its Your Funeral, would have been - if it had been detonated on the balcony during the "Appreciation Day" ceremony.

Be seeing you

Thursday 24 November 2011

Cartoon Corner

Peanuts - by the 'late' Tony Reeve.

And for those who choose not to stand on their heads............


Hammer Into Anvil

   It was suggested some time ago now, that it might have been possible for No.6 to have done a deal with No.2, whom No.6 had broken, so to escape the Village. Well I think this idea is extremely unlikely, as that would have revealed that No.2's suspicions of No.6 had been wrong all the time, and that he is just a Prisoner in the Village. Therefore No.2 would be in no position to agree to free him.   Be seeing you.

The Colonel

  Here are three faces of the Colonel, there might have been four, however there is no picture of the fourth Colonel in the series, as his rank is only mentioned by Dutton during the Dance of the Dead.
    The Colonel has something in common with No.2 in this instance, that the rank remains the same, it is only the face that changes. I have often wonderd if the Colonel in Many Happy Returns was aware of the Village long before his ex-colleague briefed him on the installation. If he was, then the Colonel was a cold fish to allow No.6 to simply go off looking for the Village, knowing that his  escape had been contrived by the Village administration, and controlled by the Prisoner's own predicatability. But somehow I'm not sure if this particular Colonel was aware of the Village at the time, unlike his predecessor of The Chimes of Big Ben. Now if he had been there that day with Thorpe to see his ex-colleague off, I could well believe that he would have calmly stood there watching his ex-colleague go on his way,back to the Village, without saying one word of warning!
   Colonel Hawke-Englishe? Well whether or not he knew of the Village's existance is irrellevant, as his involvement in the series takes place well outside the Village. In anycase he is murdered by the Girl who was Death with the aid of an exploding cricket ball. As a matter of interest, at a cricket match at the end of the film Carry On Follow That Camel, filmed in Wales, an exploding cricket ball is used to try and kill Bo West whilst at the wicket.
   As for the Colonel in Do Not Forsake Me Oh my Darling, his experience of the Village is not as pleasent as that of one of his predecessors, his body lies buried in the Village graveyard!
Be seeing you.

Caught On Camera

  This chap in the sunglasses and striped jersey is about to be suffocated into either unconciousness, or to death, as a demonstration to the newly arrived Prisoner, what can happen if he, or anyone else, steps out of line. Well that's all fine and dandy, except for the Village Guardian's victim obvously, but why does the victim change from the chap in the sunglasses and striped jersey, to No.100 wearing a pink blazer in It's Your Funeral? As far as I'm aware it is No.6 who put paid to No.2's assistant No.100. And even if it wasn't, the question is, why should the Village Guardian attack No.100 in the first place? No.100 who after all, is a loyal servant of the Village.   I'll be seeing you.

The Therapy Zone

A Timely Moment For No.14

     In Hammer Into Anvil when in the gymnasium two Kosho players turn up just as No.6 is about to 'dunk' his opponent No.14 in the tank of water. But instead No.6 pulls No.14 up and they bow to each other!
   I can never understand why the sudden appearance of the two other Kosho players should stop No.6 giving No.14 a dunking. Or why, when obviously so much of the bout of Kosho was filmed for the episode Hammer Into Anvil, the majority of which was actually used in the following episode It's Your Funeral!

A private Affair

    The above is something I wrote over a decade ago now and is how I was feeling at the time. How do I feel today? Well its not only places that change, people change as well, and to feel that way and still write Prisoner-blog here would be impossible, and to be perfectly honest I thoroughly enjoy writing such blog because those who read it enjoy reading such Prisoner-blog. And so not to do so would mean that I would be letting my readers down. So no, the feelings of some 13 years ago have long since been spent. And besides I did spend three and a half years researching both the Prisoner and all related material. Did that effect, together with the fact that I now write so much on the series, effect the way I think of the Prisoner, in that it somehow reduces the Prisoner? No. Because on through my researches I have discovered so much which was not known before, and have learnt things I did not know previously. So I think all in all both my researches and Prisoner-blog writing have done me an enormous amount of good.
   However in another respect I am no longer the once proud member of Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society that I was, that is one thing which has definitely changed, and for the better as it happens. I walked out on that particular society back in 2001 and never looked back. Why? Well that is a private affair, although some do know the reason why.

Fall Out – And the Offer Of Ultimate Power

    I wonder just how many people would have acted as the Prisoner would have done in Fall Out, in having turned his back on the offer of ultimate power? I can think of a good few people, in ordinary life, who would have accepted without a second thought!
   Well we all want to be No.1 don't we, and of course it all depends on what one does with such power. And don't forget power corrupts and ultimate power corrupts absolutely.
    I sometime ponder the question what if Sir-the Prisoner had accepted that offer of ultimate power, if of course the offer was real in the first place. Perhaps Sir's rejection was due to the misuse of such power by No.1, his alter ego. And in that might just lie the answer, his resignation from association with No.1 his alter ego, causing him to become a prisoner of his other self and thereby lies the struggle within himself.


Wednesday 23 November 2011

Mind The Fall Out!

    We have talked about the rocket in Fall Out before, but I wonder what motivated No.6 to launch that rocket. Was it merely to rid the world, or himself of No.1? He had vowed to escape the Village and come back, to wipe the Village off the face of the Earth, obliterate it and No.2 with it, and had started to do so with that fire-fight with the security gaurds. Perhaps No.6 thought he could do that by launching the rocket. Mind you having said that, No.6 launched the rocket, he didn't saboatge the launching of the rocket in the same way he had with Professor Schnipps rocket in The Girl Who Was Death. Had No.6 done so, then he could easily have wiped the Village off the face of the Earth and everyone with it who had not got away during the evacuation.       BCNU.

Thought For The Day

    It's Your Funeral sees a long drawn out plan to execute a retiring No.2, to make it look like he was assassinated, as No.50 says why go to all this bother, why not just do away with the man and be done with it. And so that same reasoning applies to the mass reprisals that would have been carried out against the citizens of the Village, by removing the malcontents, why just get on and do it anyway? The Village is not a democratic society. No outside force, such as NATO or the United Nations are aware the Village exists. The administration behind the Village could eliminate all the citizens and there would be no-one who would turn a hair, well perhaps there would be No.6, if he survived that is. You are not telling me that No.2 and his or her administration have to have a reason for everything they do! All that palaver with It's Your Funeral, that only goes to show, that if you have a plan and you want it to succeed, don't involve No.6!   BCNU

The Tally Ho

The Therapy Zone

Everyone Votes For A Dictator

   That's what No.6 told No.2 on the morning of Free For All, and got his wish then, didn't he? Because on polling day every citizen voted for No.6 in a landslide victory. But then on the steps of the Town Hall its as though none of the citizens cared. For as the new No.2 held his right arm aloft, aided by the out going No.2, none of the citizens cheered him in his victory in the election. Everyone remained silent, and several citizens looked upon the new No.2 with suspicion.
   As it happened the new No.2 was just as dictatorial and manipulative as all those who had gone before him, in the way the new No.2 tried to organise a mass breakout. Telling the citizens that he was in command, that he would immobilise all electronic controls and that the citizens are free, free to go, free to go. But the citizens didn't want to be free, they didn't want to go. And took no notice as the new No.2's voice boomed out over the village via the public address system "Listen to me, you are free, free, free to go, free to go. Obey me and be free." And if that isn't acting like a dictator I don't know what is, this in the attempt to manipulate the good citizens of the community. Telling them what they wanted, even though they didn't want it and demonstrating that it's not everyone who can manipulate the people so. For the new No.2 has no experience whatsoever of the manipulation of a community such as the village. Nor has he the administrative ability to implement his policies. Can you trust him? In the end this new No.2 was no better than the rest, he expected the citizens to obey him as others before him had, and those who are yet to come will.

We want Information…Information…Information

   What do they do with all this information which the administration of the village accumulates? People are brought to the village, people who have knowledge in their heads which is of value to one side or another. People who know too much or too little. Which means that no piece of information is too small to be gathered, such as the reason behind No.6's resignation.
    During Do Not Forsake Me we learn how using the Seltzman machine the village's administration is able to gather such information. One chap was extremely co-operative. He told them all they needed to know in three days - with hardly any persuasion - so then they wiped all unhappy memories of the village from the man's mind, and would put him back into circulation to gather more information. But this does not answer what they do with all this information when they get it, and for which side is this information being gathered for?
     I suppose knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have the more powerful you become.

 Lotus 7 – KAR 120C

  Back in 1966 when Patrick McGoohan first got behind the wheel of a Lotus 7, and taking it for a test drive, he saw the Lotus 7 as being a car fit for his personality. It was a car fit for the Prisoner - something out of the ordinary, that he had that certain feeling. The Lotus 7-KAR 120C would stand as a symbol of all the Prisoner was to represent, standing out from the crowd, quickness and agility, independence and a touch of the rebel.

I'll be seeing you

Tuesday 22 November 2011

To Whomsoever May Find This.............

    You've seen them, balloons with a message tied to them, or a small form to be filled in by whomsoever may find it, to record the time and where the balloon was found, you know the sort of thing. Well in this instance No.6 appears to be sending a message to the outside world with the aid of the Village Guardian!
   How far the balloon with travel in anyones guess, or in which direction the wind will carry it. But you have to congratulate No.6 on his inginuity. He is a man who will stop at nothing to get word to someone in the outside world. A man who takes advantage of any given opportunity.
   So if you happen to observe a white balloon in the sky, drifting along on the breeze. Or snagged in a tree, do give it a second glance. You never know there just might be a message attached to it!