Thursday, 30 December 2010

Pris-Con 2011

   The next thing on the agenda is the Prisoner Convention held at Portmeirion in April. special guest this year is the Girl who was death - Justine Lord, a real feather in the cap for Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society. Also attending the 'Con' is the band DC Fontana, and the one man play Everyman, about the life of Patrick McGoohan. is to be performed at the 'Con.'
   But other than that it will be the Convention as usual, not that the Prisoner Conventions are what they used to be. Not so many people attend these days, and many of the old familiar faces have gone. My old mucker David Stimpson and his wife Morag were the first to leave the society back in 2001. And sometime after that, many 'core' members also left the society. I once asked Dave if he would ever consider returning to Six of One. He said hell would freeze before that ever happened. He was once asked to attend a Prisoner Convention as a guest you know. Well perhaps you don't. It was ten years after his production of the arthouse film Village Day. Dave was once contacted and asked if Village Day could be screened at the Convention a few years ago, and could he come and give a presentation about the film? Dave was delighted, and said yes. I think he was actually honoured to be asked along to a Prisoner Convention as a guest. But it fell through in the end, because, well it was society politics really. I spoke to Dave about it, and I think he was very disappointed. Well he'd put a lot into the presentation for his film, and would have donated items used in the film for raffle prizes. But the thing was you see, the presentation would have been read by someone else at the Convention, as Dave was unable to attend! But even then the guy in charge of Six of One at the time didn't even want Village Day shown at the Convention for fear that his very image seen at the Convention would provoke a revolution.......How paranoid can one get?!
   Will I be there at the Convention? You bet I will, because I'm Johnny Prisoner

Friday, 24 December 2010

A Very Merry Prisoner Christmas

   I've never stayed at Portmeirion for Christmas and New Year. There's snow in the village as I type this, but not as much as there was a few days ago.
   They don't seem to celebrate Christmas in the village. But for Christmas 1966 Patrick McGoohan did give each of the production crew a special Prisoner Christmas card, of which I have a facsimile, and present it to you here.
   It was signed by Patrick McGoohan himself, and featured a Canopied Penny Farthing, and the Butler, together with a sprig of holly dangling from the canopy.
So all I need do is employ this card and wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The Ultimate Prisoner Box Set

  Hello readers. I've been reading about the Prisoner 'ultimate' box set on Network DVD's website. This is a picture of it, nicley designed I have to say.
              Before this the 40th anniversary used to be 'the ultimate' box set, but this contains both the 1960's series, the exact same content of the 40th annivserary box set, which has actually been released in two formats by Network DVD, not to mention on 'Blue-Ray this together with the 2009 series, and three cd disc set of the original series soundtrack, previously released by Netwrk DVD. So if you're like me, and purchased all that Network DVD has previously produced on the Prisoner, and I include  THEPRISONER 2009 series, then you've no need to buy this 'ultimate' box set! So, why as a fan of the Prisoner am I saying this? Because I'm not so gullable as some may think I am! Oh I've collected everything I could, and every release of the Prisoner on both video and DVD over the years, but not Blue-Ray, because I'm not Blue-Ray ready!
    The first release of the Prisoner on video was by Precision Video, owned by ITC. That was back in 1982, when four videos were released containing eight episodes of the Prisoner series. They were The Arrival {using the working title of the episode} and The Schizoid Man on the first video. Video two Many Happy Returns and A B & C. Video three Checkmate and Free For All. And video four The General and The Chimes of Big Ben. They were very expensive to buy originally, at about £30 per video, if of course you had a video player in the first place. And if you did, to only have these eight episodes, and to be able to watch them whenever you liked, was something quite remarkable, and is something which today, we take completley for granted what with iPlayers and the like. Why only the release of eight episodes of the Prisoner by Precision Video back in 82? Because ITC went bankrupt! It wasn't until 1986-87 that Channel 5 released the whole series of the Prisoner on video for the first time. I still have those Channel 5 video's, and they still play as good today as they first did, all those years ago. And I can say the same for the Precision Video's, which I still watch from time to time.
    There is one question I'll be interested in seeing answered......when the time comes. And that is, I wonder what Network DVD will produce for the Prisoners 50th anniversary? Well it's not that far off you know, and really there is only the one natural step remaining, to release the Prisoner in 3D! So remember, you read that here first.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Monday, 20 December 2010

It's Become An Obsession!

    I've been a fan of the Prisoner for the best part of my life so far, and see no reason why I should not continue to be in the future. I've been a member of Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation society. Collected all that I could of the merchandise produced from many sources. Stayed at Portmeirion for holidays, and gone about the village dressed in piped blazer and deck shoes. And on inclement days, I've worn a scarf in the style of No.2's, and carried about me a furled umbrella. And of course in the 1980's and to the late 1990's there was the Prisoner information shop, run by one Max Hora. Oh the Prisoner based merchandise he used to sell - everything from pens, penny farthing stationary. Photographs, postcards. Badges, stickers, video's, books, 'T' shirts, sweat shirts, candles, mugs, and everything. Oh I know what you are going to say, there is still a shop dedicated to the Prisoner at Portmeirion. And it looks very nice. But there isn't the content of the original Prisoner Shop.
    Prisoner Conventions, I've attended them from the late 1980's into the mid to late 1990's at Portmeirion. But these days the Prisoner Conventions are not what they once were. London Location walkabouts for the Prisoner, I've been on them, and had my photograph taken standing on the steps of the Prisoner's house in Buckingham, Place. And I have spent time discussing and debating the series. Have written many articles, and blogged about the Prisoner.
    It has been an obesssion with me, over the years, to collect anything and everything I could about both the Prisoner and Portmeirion, in both press and magazine articles, enough to fill thirty files and more. And that's without any other Prisoner material I've collected, such as Six of One material, and Once Upon A Time  magazines produced by an American based Prisoner appreciation society.
   What's more I'm able to appreciate THEPRISONER, the reinterpretation of the original series, which many fans for some reason, cannot. I have to say that the 2009 producrion starring Ian McKellen as Two, and Jim Caviezel as Six, have for me, refreshed the Prisoner phenomenon. I've watched the series three times now, and will be watching it again soon. I see what scriptwriter Bill Gallagher was trying to do, and succeeded in doing. And what's more, THEPRISONER is not so very different from the original you know. All the main elements of the original series are there, just reinterpreted, the Prisoner reinvented, that's all. What Patrick McGoohan would have said of it we'll never know, because he died before he had the chance of seeing it. But I like to think he would have approved of this take on his creation.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Johnny Prisoner - That's Me

    You don't know me, but I'm Johnny Prisoner, and like my old colleague Piet Hein I used to write for The Tally Ho on MySpace, and since things came to a head at a final editorial meeting of the said local newspaper, I've been out of work!
   I've always been a keen fan of the Prisoner, and have a collection of merchandise and memorabilia relating to that series, which even if I do say so myself, is second to none! I have also spent many hours, days, weeks, and months over the years researching the Prisoner series, and you should see the piles of files, and paperwork I've put together on the series. I also help run the LPG {Local Prisoner Group} which meets every last Tuesday of the month.
   Anyway, there I was at home one day, sat watching an episode of my favourite television series, when I was disturbed by a telephone call from Piet Hein, an ex-colleague who also worked on The Tally Ho. Piet told me that he had been recruited by an old friend David Stimpson, who was in need of a couple of team members to help with writing Blog articles at I asked if Piet would put a good word in for me with Dave, and well here I am. Pleased to have been given a second chance for my writing skills, and another place for the release of my knowledge about the Prisoner, and not left on the scrap heap, like so much......well, like scrap!
Johnny Prisoner