culture, entertainment

Number Six Escapes

Well, that’s one way to get away for good – Patrick McGoohan, known to most of us ‘Koggers as Number Six, the eponymous hero of “The Prisoner”, has passed away at the age of 80. Obits in the New York Times and the Globe and Mail describe his long and varied career.

One of the frequently overlooked and more popular series of his career prior to arriving at The Village was “Danger Man” (“Secret Agent” in North America), wherein he portrayed John Drake, originally an agent of NATO, but eventually an operative of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. As was common at the time, the show was filled with cool gadgets (the electric razor/tape recorder was my favorite) and filled with suspense, but unusually, Drake never carried a gun, used violence sparingly, and was very respectful in his relationships with women. McGoohan deplored the James Bond-style sexual escapades that were becoming common at the time, which is one of the key reasons he turned down the role of Bond – Sean Connery ultimately becoming the more famous secret agent worldwide. McGoohan was also an experienced film actor, with his most well-known recent role being as Edward Longshanks in Braveheart.

During his tenure as John Drake, McGoohan filmed a few episodes at a welsh resort called Portmerion, which, for those of us in the know, will be recognized as The Village. Disputes continue to this day as to whether John Drake was the ex-secret agent who was imprisoned as Number Six, although McGoohan was famously evasive on the subject.

Anyway, in honor of a life well and creatively lived, I present the following:

I love that theme. There’s something fun and exciting about it that makes it enjoyable in its own right. And, speaking of themes:

I believe I speak for all of us when I say…

Be Seeing You.

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15 thoughts on “Number Six Escapes

  1. I loved both those shows. Could barely wait for the next episodes to come out the following week. Long time ago but there are times when it feels like yesterday. Yikes I’m getting old. 😉

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  2. I remember Saturday afternoons with my Dad – Star Trek and The Prisoner, one right after the other.
    I find that a lot of the old shows are far superior to what’s available now, and the spy shows in particular were entertaining – the Man From U.N.C.L.E., and even Get Smart, a great spoof of the genre. Then of course there’s The Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, Lost In Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Doctor Who, Time Tunnel, and on and on.
    I have been giving serious thought to writing a book on this type of thing – maybe just the thing to keep me out of trouble and use some of the mountains of trivia stuck in my head…
    Lest anyone think I haven’t noticed, Ricardo Montalban passed away as well, at the age of 88. Smiles, everyone, smiles! Well, maybe not right now.

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  3. I dunno, Flash, I think you might be looking at the shows of the past through the Rose-coloured glasses of nostalgia – not arguing with you on the merits of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. or Get Smart, but Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea? I remember an awful of lot of reused stock footage and recycled storylines in that series – if you can find it, read Harlan Ellison’s account of how the producers screwed over his scripts so much that he had his name taken off the credits and replaced with Cordwainer Bird. Speaking of Ellison, it’s also important to remember that for every good series of the past, there were a lot of sucky ones – remember ‘Starlost” – CTV’s answer to Star Trek?

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  4. Are they going to stabilize the new series with one Number Two? A couple of years ago I watched through all of them again (thanks, Flash!) and if memory serves he destroy Number Two’s just about every episode.

    What a great show, rosey glasses or no. It, and he, were classy and cool. It’s a sad day.

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  5. When I used the term rosy glasses, I wasn’t referring to the Prisoner – I’ll agree with you, it was a great show, I was referring to what I thought was an over-generalization of ‘the old shows were better’ – I’ll agree that that the shows Flash quotes are better than anything on the 4 major networks today (except for Voyage – sorry Flash) but there’s a lot of newer shows (the Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Shield) which couldn’t have been made back then.

    As far as there being one Number Two – I would presume so, they don’t mention any other actors for the role. Speaking of roles, there’s an interesting bit of trivia tailor-designed for Flash – it seems that McGoohan, Tom Baker, and Sean Connery were all under consideration for the role of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings – it truly is A Small World After All….

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  6. Okay, looking at the AMC website – it’s a 6 episode miniseries, and apparently McKellan is going to be the only Number Two, they’re not billing it as a remake – it’s a ‘reinterpretation’ – which could be good (Battlestar Galactica) or bad (Bionic Woman).

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  7. I have a high tolerance for cheese, Dan – I just today purchased two of Toho Studios’ finest – “Rodan” and “War of the Gargantuas”. I wouldn’t say “Voyage, nor any of Irwin Allen’s many shows were brilliantly (borderline competently) made, but I find them fun and mindless, and sometimes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.:)
    It’s probably just me not being even marginally interested in most of what’s on now, to be honest.
    Oh, and I forgot “The Six Million Dollar Man” – thanks for the reminder on that one. Plus de fromage, tres bien.:)

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  8. This conversation seems to have a ’60’s thriller flavour may I be permitted to mention “Land of the Giants” and “Thunderbirds. They were two of the few shows that the two stations available in NB ever aired that I enjoyed.Actually, everything CBC and ATV showed by Gerry Anderson is worthy of inclusion. I won’t say “everything by Anderson” because frankly, he produced a couple of truly dismal TV shows.

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  9. Speaking of Gerry Anderson, I’d like to add ‘Space: 1999’ and ‘UFO’ – two series I enjoyed – actually, UFO would be a series I’d like to see reinterpreted for the modern day

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  10. That would be cool, actually – certainly in keeping with the ‘homeland defense’ theme of the past few years. If done well, it could be a big hit on the order of BSG.
    But please, for goodness’ sake, get rid of the mesh shirts the guys wore on the submarines. Or send them up to Moonbase, nudge, nudge…

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