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Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Therapy Zone

 The World Film Premier Of The Prisoner

    In 1967 The Prisoner enjoyed a premier in Canada before receiving its premier screening here in Great Britain, although it can be said of the Prisoner that is received its World Premier in Wales. To be more accurate in the Town of Portmadog in Gwynedd, North Wales, screened at the Coliseum Cinema therein.
    The 'Rushes', deveolped and untitled film of  the Prisoner shot on the previous day at Portmeirion were then screened at the Coliseum Cinema in the nearby Town of Portmadog. This allowed the production team to judge their early footage, the silent footage of which was screened by the Coliseum projectionist Bob Piercy every night, including weekends, throughout the four week period. And Bob Piercy would again be employed to screen the 'Rushes' when the film crew paid their second visit to Portmeirion.
   The film crew would sit in the front stalls, joined sometimes by local extras who had appeared in the filming. Each day's filming was usually in the region of 5 to 8 minutes long. When it was finished it was sometime run again, and members of the film crew would watch it seven or eight times, which took anywhere between 15 minutes to 2 hours. Screening of the 'Rushes' began about , which sometimes meant that the cinema would not be vacated until around . Patrick McGoohan would sometimes nip out to the public house and would take little Angelo Muscat-the butler, up to the projection room and ask if he could be left there. And Angelo would sit in a high chair looking out through the projection hole at the film.
   The highlight for projectionist Bob Piercy, was when Sir Clough Williams-Ellis the architect and owner of Portmeirion, organised a preview of Arrival. Although the Coliseum only had a six day licence, and was not officially allowed to show films on a Sunday, they went ahead and did so anyway. This was without too much concern, as the Chief Constable of Caernarfon was one of the invited guests! It was a great success for Bob Piercy, and it was confirmed that this was the first showing of the Prisoner anywhere. Indeed there was a note on the film canister saying something of like "Don't scratch this print as it is the only copy." Projectionist Bob Piercy had to clean the projector first and put Vaseline on all the moving parts.
   As a footnote, many locals were employed as film extras for the Prisoner, one of whom was employed to retrieve the white balloons of the village guardian when they went astray. Projectionist Bob Piercy's son was employed as a double for Patrick McGoohan.

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