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Sunday 22 January 2012

Patrick McGoohan's Legacy

Patrick McGoohan will be forever remembered for his enigmatic, allegorical television series the Prisoner  and the blame for that can only be his alone. I suppose the Prisoner is something he simply had to do, something to get it out of his system.
    As a boy I had been a fan of Danger Man and John Drake was my boyhood hero. And then along came the Prisoner, and I was instantly hooked. And over the years there has become a mystique about the series. But it’s not simply the fact that the Prisoner has been difficult to fathom, it's also to do with the striking visual impact of Portmeirion-the village, and the colourful village attire worn by it's citizens, cloaks, piped blazers, jerseys and the like. This combined with other vivid imagery, such as Rover-the village guardian, the hooded-robed figures of the assembly in Fall Out, of which the Supervisor is one, and No.93 is another. No.93 you will recall confesses that he was inadequate, that they're right, quite right, during A Change of Mind.
   Sometimes it doesn't matter why the Prisoner resigned, it doesn't matter which side runs the village, or who No.1 is. Because one can forget and simply enjoy the Prisoner of the village for it's own sake.
    At the end of it all, Patrick McGoohan went and ran away, first to Wales, then Switzerland and finally to America, and in that I think was McGoohan's fatal mistake. Because for appearing in less than a handful of good films since his arrival in America, McGoohan has in his time, appeared in some god awful films.
   But fans of the Prisoner the world over will always be thankful for McGoohan's legacy. Because through which friendships, and relationships have been forged. Societies created for the appreciation of a series which in allegorical terms is second to none. Many, many websites exist on the Internet simply for its appreciation of the Prisoner, and here in Blogspot, otherwise I would not be writing this today, and you would not be reading it. Magazines have been produced over the years, newspaper and magazine articles written. Many local groups were set up over the past decades and producing Prisoner based newsletters, many of which have sadly gone the way of the Dodo, and do not exist today.
   The Prisoner enjoys a stunning opening sequence, this together with an unforgettable theme music, that grips you from the very beginning and holds you captive until the final word......PRISONER.
   Thought provoking, debatable and all thing to everyman, as well as managing to remain timeless. Once ahead of its time, the world has finally caught up with the Prisoner and his village. McGoohan's once timely reminder of how things could be, but if anyone heeded his words at the time they failed to react to them.
  The have been rumours of a Hollywood remake from way back in 1984. But to date no-one has been able to bring it off. Oh there's been talk and so far that is all it has been. Other television series, some of the same time as the Prisoner have seen remakes such as The Saint, The Avengers, The Dukes of Hazzard, and The Adams Family to name but a few. And they have not all been a success, which is probably why the Prisoner has resisted for so long, we shall see.
   The Prisoenr has been shown, along with repeated screenings, all over the world. Been dubbed in French, German, and Japanese to name but three languages. The 35mm film having been re-mastered and put onto DVD after many years on video, so that we can scrutinise the series to an extent never before achieved. We can see the Prisoner  in all its colourful glory, after originally being seen in black and white. As well as viewing the blemishes made during production, the use of huge village painted backdrops for example, and the private cars parked around the village that we see so many times in aerial shots of the village.
   But whatever you think of the Prisoner, love it or loath it, Patrick McGoohan has left as his legacy to us all the Prisoner and for which many people, actors, actresses, scriptwriters, cameramen, stuntmen and all manner of production staff, as well as the many thousands of fans will always be entirely grateful to a man, a man of steel, a man who has vindicated the right of the individual to be individual.....Patrick McGoohan.

   Footnote: This article was originally written before the advent of THEPRIS6NER09.

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