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Sunday 10 August 2014

The Village - a Smoking-less Zone!

    When Number 36 in ‘It's Your Funeral,’ said that she couldn't go a whole day without her sweets, originally the script called for it to be cigarettes which she couldn't go a whole day without! I've sometimes wondered why the change. Perhaps it had to do with drug dependence, the dependence on nicotine. But I’m not sure that works, as ‘the Prisoner’ was produced at a time when smoking as socially accepted. After all in many production shots of ‘the Prisoner’ Patrick McGoohan is often seeing with a cigarette in his hand, his nicotine stained fingers seen in the actual series, something which was far less noticeable in the days before “High-definition!”
   In ‘The Schizoid Man’ Number 6 is conditioned to smoke black Russian cigarettes, although he has a brand of cigar which he is supposed to smoke. Yet when he does try to smoke a cigar he coughs on it because there is a length of plastic running through it in order that Number 6 should not be able to smoke it. Giving the impression that it’s too strong for him! Why that should be I’ve no idea, because you do not inhale cigar smoke! And mentioning cigars, it was once thought by fans watching ‘Living In Harmony that the Man With No Name rolled his own cheroot. However this was a misconception, as he was rolling a cigarette using brown liquorice cigarette paper. It is the only time in ‘the Prisoner’ that you ever see anyone actually smoking! Number 6 may have lit Number 24’s cigarette for her, when he went to see her on Number 2’s instructions, but you do not actually see her smoke it! In the General Store in ‘Arrival there is a cigarette dispenser on the wall by the door, but it is later replaced in ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ by a newspaper rack!
    Perhaps Patrick McGoohan was showing through the lack of smoking in The Village, a prediction that it's quite possible that at some point in the future smoking would be an activity of the minority, and not by the majority was it was at the time of ‘the Prisoner.’ For myself, I used to enjoy a cigarette, and cigars, I even smoked a pipe once upon a time. But I gave it up, and have not smoked now for the same length of time that I did smoke, which is twenty years. And yet even today….well suffice to say that when un-Two and the shopkeeper-37927 each smoke an illicit cigarette in ‘Anvil,’ the scene is so seductive even though Un-Two lists the dangers from smoking, the scene always makes me feel like I want a cigarette. But the feeling soon passes with the passing of the scene.


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