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Monday 21 January 2013

The Therapy Zone

    Frank Maher always the gentleman, who always had time for those who wanted to know of his work as a stuntman. The two pictures here are taken from the ‘Danger Man’ episode Fair Exchange. But it was not simply in episodes of ‘Danger Man’ where Frank Maher plied his trade. Other television series includes episodes of  The Avengers, Blakes 7, The Saint, Randall and Hopkirk Deceased, Department 'S' and of course ‘the Prisoner’ a production on which he was not only stuntman and look-a-like for Patrick McGoohan, but also stunt co-ordinator.
   It has been said that there is only one other who appeared as regular in the Prisoner other than Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Musscat as the butler. Only I think there is another, becasue Frank Maher appeared in ‘the Prisoner’ as regular as Patrick McGoohan, beng his stunt double.
  You see there are times in ‘the Prisoner’ when you think that you are seeing Pat McGoohan, but when it's really Frank Maher. In the opening sequence when running on the beach. At other times such as during ‘Dance of the Dead, ‘when No.6 had taken the lifebelt and length of rope from the stone boat. He then goes off along the cliff tops, and down into the cove along the beach. Well Pat may have taken the lifebelt and rope, but after that it was Frank Maher. And another example would be during the episode of ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ soon after setting his trap to catch a pigeon, No.6-Patrick McGoohan picks up the cuckoo clock and heads off towards the green dome. But its actually Frank Maher as No.6 who is, carrying the cuckoo clock across the square, across the street and up the steps. Obviously a stunt far too dangerous for Pat McGoohan to attempt!
   Yes, so on this kind of basis I should think Frank Maher appeared as much in the Prisoner as Patrick McGoohan, especially as The Schizoid Man!

Always the gentleman who was violently careful.

    ‘The Prisoner’ is full of such weird sequences, and any attempt to classify them in the past, has resulted in the words "fantasy" and "surrealism." The episode of ‘AB & C’ is a prime candidate, with it's dream induced state of mind, hallucinogenic, and at times a little abstract as No.6 enters a dreamy party at Engadine's home. With everything spinning round, and the straightening of the mirror sequence, if in fact the mirror needed straightening in the first place! Later after a drive in Engadines car, Engadine and No.6 open a door together, and when No.6 should have entered a room, he walked through to a street in a different location! And towards the end as No.6 enters the laboratory seen on the wall screen, handing No.2 an envelope, with No.2 shouting at himself upon the screen "Open it you fool, open it!"
   In ‘Dance of the Dead’, No.6, I won't use the term "Mister Tuxedo" because No.6 wasn't actually wearing a tuxedo, but his own suit, tells No.2-Peter Pan, that he likes his dream. And a teleprinter begins to work, even thought its "guts" and paper have been ripped out of it!
    In ‘Living In Harmony’ disembodied voices appear as cardboard cut-outs in an American frontier town that doesn't exist, but is actually part of the village!
    The sub-divided No.2's of the Town Council, are simply dummies. They neither move nor speak in a Council Chamber with an abstract-style painted wall, and a very steep staircase. And after being spun round on the central dais, No.6 is descended into a lower, orange-lit corridor with leather hand-straps hanging from the ceiling, each pair, he grabs to support himself in his dizzy state, making his way along the said corridor. As though making his way along an underground train!
    Long stretches of road or corridor crop up from time to time, for example in ‘Free For All.’ This when No.6 is being interviewed by No.113 for the Tally Ho, the taxi drives past a series of buildings on the left - twice while the interview is going on! The underground passage, lined on one side by four Jukeboxes set in alcoves, along which No.6, the Supervisor, and the Butler walk. Seems much longer than it is, and there appears to be many more than four Jukeboxes, such is the clever camera work which makes that walk longer than it actually is, the passageway longer than it appears to be.
    And the opening sequence, where there is a long and deserted runway, which turns into a road over Westminster bridge. The Village Guardian helps give an almost fairyland atmosphere to the village whenever it puts in an appearance. And Kosho, there could never be a more surreal sport than this, composing of two trampolines, a tank of water, a wall, and two opponents dressed in some form of Cossak garb, crash helmets and boxing-mits!
   These are but a few examples of the fantasy or surreal side of the Prisoner. No doubt you can find those of your own choice.

Be seeing you

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