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Friday 27 December 2013

Prismatic Reflection

    If Patrick McGoohan had a legacy to leave, it would be ‘the Prisoner,’ well it would, if he actually owned it upon the time of his death. But Patrick McGoohan sold all rights to ‘the Prisoner’ to ITC {Independent Television Corporation} back in the late 1960’s. And yet we still think of ‘the Prisoner’ as being McGoohan’s, because he created the original idea for the series, and thereby to be considered his legacy to us, the fan or aficionado of ‘the Prisoner.’
    Alright, let’s take a look at this so called legacy, what’s in it for us? A superb television series that was ahead of it’s time, a prediction of the future. Valued for it’s pure escapism and adventure. It keeps you guessing, wanting to know more, ‘the Prisoner’ is so powerful it draws you in, and makes a prisoner of you. And yet, it’s a television series that makes you think for yourself, to question. To rebel and shout out when you see an injustice. It teaches one not to settle for things as they are.
    But what kind of legacy is it that teases the viewer even after these past 47 years? That will not give up its secrets even today. What kind of legacy is it that will give you no peace of mind? The Prisoner could not rest for the want of answers, and so it is with the likes of you and I. And who do we have to thank for this state of mind? One Patrick McGoohan that’s who.
    I expect he thought he was being clever. I expect he didn’t need to give answers to the questions he was asked at that 1967 Press Conference he held. He even had the audacity, no, the arrogance, to stand there in that cage and ask the media questions instead of providing the answers he was expected to give to their questions asked. But that is the kind of man McGoohan was, arrogant, a megalomaniac, his mania being ‘the Prisoner.’ I suppose he had the right, after all he had created the original idea. He was the power behind the throne, he was the boss, the No.1 when it came to the production of ‘the Prisoner.’ But who else could No.1 have turned out to be in the series itself, but Patrick McGoohan, such was the man’s sense of self-importance.
    No.6 had to be No.1 all the time, even when putting himself in charge during that little enterprise during ’Checkmate,’ that time when No.6 and his reliable men attempted an escape. It would have worked if it had not been for the Rook!
    And that’s all part of McGoohan’s legacy, not just the conundrum of ‘the Prisoner,’ but the possibility of seeing what might have happened in the series had events turned another way. Or to be able to read what might have been happening between the episodes, that which we do not see in ‘the Prisoner’ series itself, and to be able to use one’s imagination to fill in the gaps. For example the time of the retiring No.2 and his accomplishments for the good of the Village and it’s community. What it was that took place on the day after ’Free For All’ with that brutal new No.2 who once masqueraded as No.58. And what happened to the Professor’s widow as she spent the rest of her days living in the Village. But more than that, to use one’s reasoning to figure things out like how long the Prisoner was in London after arriving back home in the body of the Colonel, until his departure to the continent, on his way to Austria. And to estimate the time he took to travel that distance from
London to Kandersfeld. As well as discerning who or what killed No.34 during ‘Dance of the Dead.’ How he came to be in possession of a transistor radio in the Village, and who was he?
   This is all part of the McGoohan legacy, and we make of it what we can. We each have to find out own way of understanding ‘the Prisoner,’ and two people may not share the same path, and their end conclusions differing in so many ways. And yet the desire to share ones ideas, interpretations, as well as theories about ‘the Prisoner’ is strong within the fan of the series, and the fact that fellow fans and aficionados may not agree with us, or us with them doesn’t seem to matter. Such is the desire for debate and discussion with fellow fans, and that has been the case for the past forty-seven years, and no doubt will be the case for years to come. And yet………and yet there are still today many mysteries and un-answered questions about ’the Prisoner’ that will now never be resolved.

Be seeing you

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