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Thursday 21 November 2013

The Therapy Zone

   As Patrick McGoohan once explained "Is a development of the subliminal advertising technique which has been made illegal."
    A process by which the viewer is unconscious of the fact that ideas are being implanted in his mind. they are flashed onto the cinema or television screen during the showing of a straightforward subject but at such a rate that the eye is not aware of seeing them. This subject was actually dealt with in an episode of Colombo starring Peter Falk and Robert Culp in the episode Double Exposure.
    But to continue, it is possible in this way, for example, to give instructions which the viewer will obey without realising that, he or she, has received the message. An advertisement for ice cream flashed almost invisibly on a cinema screen during a film will have the effect of making a large percentage of the audience buy ice creams during the interval without being aware that they have seen the advert.

The Prisoner
   If ‘the Prisoner’ is anything, it is both Patrick McGoohan and Portmeirion. Yet having watched the Prisoner documentary ‘Don't Knock Yourself Out’ found on the 40th anniversary DVD, the evidence is quite clear on the matter, that Patrick McGoohan was the driving force behind the Prisoner series cannot be denied. That he took overall control over every asspect of the series production, acting, producer, director, script writer, and even having a say in the production of the theme music, cannot be denied. I'm sure that so much involvement tipped Patrick McGoohan over the edge, in the way he treated members of the production crew, at times he completely lost it, ranting and raving at directors in front of the whole cast and crew. And in his office at script writers.
   I wonder if it would have been better for Patrick McGoohan if all he did was his job, and left others to get on with theirs, and not become involved with every aspect of production, and then taking over completely. Better for him healthwise, he would not have driven himself into the ground the way he had. But then perhaps ‘the Prisoner’ would not have turned out the series it did. As sometimes when you feel so passionately about something, you need to stamp your authority upon it. In Patrick McGoohan's case, I think his passion and drive were just too much for some who worked on the production of ‘the Prisoner.’

Number 2
   Number 2 is portrayed as being very English even when played by Australian actors Guy Doleman and Leo McKern. However they did get it right with Living In Harmony with American born actor David Bauer as the Judge/No.2.
    If there is one thing which stands out in the Prisoner it's very Englishness. It is thought that the Prisoner-No.6 is English. But he isn't. Not having been played by Irish-American born Patrick McGoohan, ah but then was he tht?. The Village maybe an International community, yet in this cosmopolitan village it is it's very Englishness which make you think that the installation known as the Village is actually run by the British. But if that it the case, why should the village be thought to be behind the Iron Curtain in the episode ‘The Chimes of Big Ben?’ Well simply going by the information given by Nadia, which if true, makes both the Colonel and Fotheringay as having gone over to the other side. But of course the Village is nowhere near the Iron Curtain, let alone behind it. Those 25 days the Prisoner spent at sea, on a north-easterly course, during the episode ‘Many Happy Returns’ goes to prove that much.
    As Prisoner production manager Bernard Williams once said "Perhaps it would have been better if we'd used other, non-English actors as Number Two." Well that would certainly have added to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Village.

I'll be seeing you


  1. @Speedlearn: The method of taking influence on people's behaviour, causing them to consume more ice-cream or whatever, by sending subliminally coded images was indeed used decades ago perhaps in US cinemas. But it was also banned afterwards I think as a means of advertisment. In David Conenberg's masterpiece "Videodrome", shortly after "Scanners" starring Patrick McGooan, the plot is about a TV station transmitting snuff film stuff which also results in rather unhealthy effects on those watching them.

    @Englishness of the Village: It's the language in the first place. Of course TV viewers need to understand what the characters say, so they all spoke English. Today TV movies and high-quality series would perhaps hire actors with different language skills in order to obfuscate that the Village was supposed to be beyond the Iron Curtain. One would apply subtiltes which were rather unusual then.
    It's more relevant if the Village was run by "us" than by "them", if methods were employed one wouldn't have attributed to our side. Nobody at the time would have been surprised to find out that "they", the Commies, were keen on infiltrating and subverting our, the Western, societies. Beyond this, David you've been busy collecting some indications of Britishness in The Prisoner. Something that I intend to bring to the forth in an article on my website. However, sparetime is our right but we don't have it. - BCNU!

    1. Hello Arno,
      An interesting comment, which I enjoyed. I cannot comment on Cronenberg's film "Videodrome," as I have never seen it.
      I'm sure readers of your website will find your article about "Britishness" in 'the Prisoner' fascinating once you have written and posted it. Spare time, I quite understand. I've been working to my limit for some time now. Now since having my flu jab, I've come down with a very bad cough. Perhaps that will slow me down!

      I shall be emailing you later in the day.

      Very kind regards

  2. "Videodrome" is quite unsettling a film, a bit rough and unfinished and in some respect what we'd call prisoneresque in terms of that nothing can be taken for granted. However, it's too distant now, I don't remember well enough. For those who know only the "later" Cronenberg. - BCNU!