Sunday, 27 November 2011

Number Six - A plant?!

   What if No.2 in Hammer Into Anvil actually got it right, that No.6 is a plant, sent to the village to check on security, to check on No.2? That idea makes a total hash of how we see the opening sequence, that of a man who having resigned is trying to get away before they come for him. That would all be an act, as he allows himself to be abducted, as the Prisoner goes to work undercover in the village Absurd? Well Nadia Rakovski allowed herself to be abducted, to attempt a fake escape and be subjected to the awful effects of being captured by the village guardian! To make no mention of being interrogated and subjected to torture in that interrogation room, as she was a plant, working undercover in the village. Oh I know what Nadia Rakovski allowed herself to be put through is nothing compared to what No.6 was put through. But the principle is the same.
   Certainly whoever No.,6 is he is definitely a spy. He has intelligence of working with codes, uses code names, Schmidt, Duval, D6, ZM73, XO4, and a false name of Peter Smith. He gives nothing away about himself, only that of his birthday 19th of March 1928, the only real thing we know about the Prisoner-No.6's identity.
  It isn't until his supposed escape in The Chimes of Big Ben that we see that his cover is blown! the Colonel and Fotheringay have been brought to the village to help extract certain information from an old ex-colleague, and is left dumped in the village. Now he really is a Prisoner, betrayed by his very own people! But the Prisoner is still loyal, as we see in Many Happy Returns when the Prisoner "runs" again, back to old friends and ex-colleagues. And in Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling we not only learn that this one time spy, and undercover man is engaged to the bosses daughter, Janet Portland, and that the Prisoner's direct boss, above the Colonel is Sir Charles Portland. The fact that ZM73 had been sent on a mission deep under cover for the past year, means that even Sir Charles Portland was not privy to such delicate information. After all, Sir Charles may have told his daughter under pressure by her!

I'm Johnny Prisoner

Saturday, 29 October 2011

THEPRIS6NER

   Now I do completely understand that THEPRIS6NER09 is not every fan of the Prisoner's cup of tea. Indeed much feeling against the 2009 series has been vented by fans of the original series. But I feel blessed that I am amongst the minority who can appreciate both series, and I make no apologies for writing about it here in my blog, after all you don't have to read it........oh you're not, well I'm going to spit in the electronic eye of Number One, and be damned to the consequences!
   My mate Dave Stimpson wrote recently in a piece of blog, that he's watching THEPRIS6NER for the fifth time, and says the only thing wrong with the series, is that it's over too soon, there being only six episodes. And that is how I felt after watching the series for the first time, after each episode I was left wanting to see and know more. And I was left with that feeling at the end of the series, it was all over much too soon. But as they say, good things come in small packges, not that the majority of Prisoner fans would agree with me. Anyway, what follows is an article which I wrote in 2009, for whatever it is worth.

I'm Johnny Prisoner

Saturday, 22 October 2011

THEPRIS6NER

   Having watched THEPRIS6NER in 2009, I wrote a series of articles for The Tally Ho, and I thought readers here might be interested in reading them.
   I found myself getting quite excited about the prospect of a new series after all these years. Because ever since 1968 there had been much talk about a new series of the Prisoner. I was not disappointed by THEPRIS6NER and found the series very enjoyable, and still do today. Okay, there's not the scope for much discussion and debate regarding the new series, but all that was done with the orignal series, THEPRIS6NER is more subtle than the original, and I was amazed how I didn't find myself comparing the two series. Yet having said that, there are strong similarities between the two. What follows is the first of my articles, written in 2009.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Saturday, 15 October 2011

45th Anniversary of The Prisoner

   2012 will see the 45th anniversary of the Prisoner and like all good fans of the series I'll be celebrating the event. This year of course it was the 45th anniversary of the start of filming of the series at Portmeirion on September 5th to the very day, a Monday. The weekend prior to filming at Portmeirion, the filming of the opening sequence in London was filmed, driving through the streets of London, and outside No.1 Buckingham Place.
    I don't suppose anything special will be done by ITV in way of celebration, like actually screening the Prisoner on terrestrial television in the evening, no, that would be too much to ask for. The only time the series is screened now is on ITV4 at 11:55am! Not that that really matters, because like all good fans I've the Prisoner series on video and DVD, and can watch the series any time I like. But then that's not really the point.
    I wonder if someone will produce a calendar for the Prisoner, but for us, the fans for 2012, a 45th anniversay special. We haven't had a Prisoner calendar for two years now, but it would have to be something really special, as passed calendars for the Prisoner became rather samey. Everything the same, only the year was different! Mind you my mate Dave Stimpson does produce an excellent Prisoner calendar each year. Its completely unofficial you understand. This years calendar was an amlagamation of both series of the Prisoner. I thought it was rather clever, what's more Dave has informed me that he is already working on a calendar for 2012, something different he said. I asked him if it was a 45th annaversary special, and he said 'No,' which I thought was strange for such a fan of the series as he. But I suppose he knows what he's doing!
     Perhaps Network DVD will produce a DVD box-set for the Prisoner next year to celebrate the 45th anniversary, they did for the 40th, {and will possibly again for the 50th}. Mind you Network DVD later released the 'ultimate' Prisoner box set, containing videos of both series, along with the music for the original series, but not THEPRIS6NER09, so it really wasn't the 'Ultimate'box-set at all! that's getting a bit samey, just releasing continuous box-sets of the Prisoner, blimey, I cannot believe I just typed that! Mind you that's how it feels at the moment, unexciting! The most exciting thing to happen regarding the Prisoner this year, was the discovery of a Village Mini Moke in the Netherlands, well I thought it was exciting, as did my mate Dave.
   The monthly meetings of the LPG {Local Prisoner Group} do still take place on the last Tuesday of the month, when Tommy Moke and myself meet up at the Goat and Compasses to discuss all things Prisoner, Danger Man, Patrick McGoohan, and Portmeirion. We have invited Dave Stimpson along to that last couple of meetings, but he has failed to put in an appearance, which has menat that we have had to drink the pint of bitter we order for him and put in his place, half expecting Dave to turn up. I mean who does he think he is, Patrick McGoohan? Do you know something, I attended the 2001 Prisoner convention at Portmeirion, and there was a guy there wearing a grey 'T' shirt, upon which were the words 'The David Stimpson Appreciation Society.' I asked the guy what that was all about, and Giles said that he had had the 'T' shirts specially made for the first summer after the Prisoner conventions held at Portmeirion had been cancelled, that was in 1999, at the same time as there would have been a convention. Anyway, the fans had gathered at Portmeirion that week in 1999, not for a non-convention, and the 'T' shitrs had been specially made, for it was expected that Dave Stimspon would be there. But as Giles said, that in true McGoohan style, Dave never turned up for the non-Convention of 1999!
I'm Johnny Prisoner 'Without appreciation society!'

Sunday, 2 October 2011

My Mathmos Lava Lamp

  You may recall how some time ago now, I was telling you about how the oil of my Mathmos Lava Lamp had gone cloudy, and refuses to clear. I wondered if there was anyone out there in the Village, who could tell me if there was anything I could do about it............ apparently not. Well I suppose I could send it back to Mathmos who would clean and refill the glass section with new oil. But that would prove costly. However there is another way I have found, in fact I found out last Friday when I was out and about town, and gazed into a window of a local Charity shop, gazing upon a Mathmos Lava Lamp. I hastened inside and examined the said Lava lamp closely, and found it to be in perfect condition. The blue tinted oil as clear as, well blue tinted oil. This is a picture of the lamp. It's not as the one I already have,not as the ones seen in the Prisoner, but it's predecessor of 1963, of which this is a Mathmos replica, just as the original would have been, but in copper metal.
   I have five Lava Lamps in my collection, but only two of them are Mathmos, and one is as seen in 93's apartment on THEPRISONER09, and another is a tall square lamp.
   There is something soothing about a Lava Lamp, to sit and gaze at a Lava Lamp seems to quieten the mind somehow. Possibly that is the reason why No.2 is seen to have the image of the perpetual Village Guadian on his wall screen in his office.
    Yet it can appear to have something malevolent about it, that the wax inside is symbolic of the Village Guadian, a perpetually moving, living 'thing,' that it would do harm to you if it were to ever escape its confines. It is almost as though anyone who owns such a Lava Lamp, and is a fan of the Prisoner, owns his or her own small containment area akin to that somewhere at the bottom of the sea.
I'm Johnny Prisoner enjoying his Lava Lamp, and having done good work for a charity into the bargain!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

We're All Lifers!

    Well according to No.2, who is definately an optimist, that's why it doesn't matter who Number One is, it doesn't matter which side runs the Village. Yes it's run by one side or the other, but if both sides looked in a morror, they would see that both sides are becoming identical. What has been created is an International Community, a blueprint for the future, the whole world as the Village in fact. No.2 is just as much a Prisoner as No.6, because he knows too much, mind you that's nothing to go by, because so are those citizens who know too little!
  There are three types of Village citizen, those like No.6 who are abducted to the Village, and wake up a Prisoner, and those who are brought to the Village of their own free will and hold certain positions in the Village. People who actually help run the Village at the Sewage Plant, the Electrical Power Station, Water Works, the Gas Works, on the farm etc, etc. Then there are the warders who serve the Village as guardians, helping to keep the Prisoners in order. Hardly anyone is allowed to leave the Village, except for No.2, and those like Nadia Rakovski, and Cobb who are under special circumstances. Everyone else is just as much a Prisoner as anyone, including the Warders, even if they don't act as such!  
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Friday, 19 August 2011

Fall Out!

    Does the episode Fall Out work? It doesn't really seem to fit in with the previous episodes that's for sure. Mind you, a previous No.2, formally of The Girl Who Was Death, has been brought back to the Village, and that would not be for the first time, nor to play the role of a Judge.
    For me there are two things which stand out about Fall Out, one  it's the James Bond style ending to the series, which isn't what McGoohan said he wanted, but its what the fan of the series got. Secondly Fall Out works better if viewed as a further manipulation of No.6. The Judge, or President, tells the gathered delegates of the Assembly, that the man brought before them, formally the Prisoner-No.6, must no longer be referred to as Number Six, or indeed a number of any kind. For 'Sir' as he was called had survived the ultimate test, and had gloriously vindicated the right of the individual to be individual.
    Sir, as the Prisoner was addressed, which really doesn't mean anything in itself, because the Prisoner was addressed as Sir on the morning of his arrival in the Village by the Shopkeeper of the General Store! Anyway I digress for the moment. There are three rebels who have been brought before the Assembly, No.48 who is nothing more than a representation of rebellious youth which rebels against anything it can find, against anything which is considered to be the norm. The 'late' No.2, who isn't even allowed to rest in peace, having been resuscitated, and then feels like a new man, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, his laughter still rings richly in the ear! And Sir, who is applauded for his private war. Yet Sir is the only one of the three rebels brought before the court, who is not listened to by the Delegates of the Assembly, shouted down as he is every time he commences upon his address to the court. Yet none the worse for that, Sir is permitted to meet No.1, and that's where the ordeal gets decidedly worse. Yes Sir has been rewarded with the keys to his house, a passport valied for anywhere. Travellers cheques-a million, and a leather drawstring purse of petty cash.
   Finally Sir gets to meet with No.1 in what turns out to be a rocket, and No.1 turns out to be himself, No.6's alter ego, who has been running the Village all the time, or has he? For me this alter-ego of No.6 being No.1, and vice versa, doesn't work for me in conjunction with the previous episodes. No,  for me No.1 is Curtis of The Schizoid Man, who didn't die in that episode, but was resuscitated in much the same way as the 'late' No.2. Curtis could then have been kept in hospital, or isolation somewhere in the Vilage, certainly he couldn't be left to walk the Village on his own, citizens would notice two No.6's in the Village at one time. No, Curtis having been put on ice so to speak, was later wheeled out for a second confrontation with No.6. In fact Curtis having been kept isolated from the rest of the Village community for all that time, may have tilted his brain and that would account for No.1's maniacle laughter.
    It is interesting to note that both No.1 and No.6 escape the Village at one and the same time. One blasting off aboard his rocket, and Six in the cage aboard the Scammell Highwayman transporter lorry. If anything can be said in its favour, I suppose it might be this, Fall Out does appear the most logical ending to the Prisoner series. Perhaps logical is not the right word. But I cannot see any other way the series could have ended, not with the hero able to escape the way he did. But is escape the right word either? Because even at the end, No.6 is just as much a Prisoner as he was at the beginning! Perhaps we're looking at this from the wrong end, it might very well be that the Prisoner begins because of the actions of Fall Out. Is that why the Prisoner resigned?
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Kosho

     When it was reported in the daily activity prognosis of No.6, that he attends his semi weekly Kosho practise, originally it was to have been his semi weekly Judo practise. So I wonder why it was changed, and how it was that Patrick McGoohan came up with the novel notion for Kosho? Perhaps it was during some inebriated reverie that he foresaw the idea of Kosho. It has to be said that Kosho has a more visual effect than judo might have done, and makes for a more dramatic action scene.
  Another thing - which episode was the Kosho scene filmed for? Because a brief scene appears in Hammer Into Anvil after No.6 challenges No.14, played by Basil Hoskins, to a bout of Kosho. Yet the majority of the filmed Kosho scene actually appears in It's Your Funeral, which would be fine, save for the fact that No.6's Kosho opponant is played by Basil Hoskins of Hammer Into Anvil, who can be  clearly seen, yet makes no other appearence in the episode It's Your Funeral. But I suppose the television viewer was not supposed to notice that, and even having done so, to make nothing of the fact. Well I'm sorry Pat, but most of us fans of the Prisoner have the most enquiring minds! I have to say though, that Patrick McGoohan and Basil Hopkins were quite fit, because they did the majority of the action themselves for the bout of Kosho. Yet I wonder why it is, that after the short bout of Kosho of Hammer Into Anvil, that No.6, who is clearly the victor, doesn't actually 'dunk' No.14 into that tank of water. It was as though the sudden appearence of two other Kosho contestants had put No.6 off from doing so. Yet he had no such compunction when it came to dunking his opponant into the tank of water in It's Your Funeral. But then I suppose that's because it wasn't Basil Hoskins!
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Prisoner Collection

    Over the years and decades of appreciation for the Prisoner, I have built up a collection of memorabilia and mechandise to do with the 1960's series from pens, pictures, posters, and postcards. Maps of Your Village, both in black and white as well as in colour. Badges, mugs, books, Local Group magazines, newsletters, and material produced by Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society. Soundtrack of the series on both record and CD's, every release of the Prisoner on both video and DVD. I have four Lava Lamps, both original to the series, and the 2009 series, which I had prior to the 2009 series.
   Here is an interesting curio.......it is a chap wearing a Top Hat, on a Penny Farthing, fitted with a pair of stabilising wheels, and it has a clockwork mechinism. I also have a collection of die-cast model cars relating to both series of the Prisoner, which includes two Village Mini-Moke taxis, and a model  Lotus Seven which I built with my own hands. Flapjacks are one of my favourite dishes, and more recently anything in a wrap! I have a white envelope which contains blank sheets of paper. A packet of Black Russian, and Senior Service cigarettes from the time of the Prisoner. I've travelled to a Prisoner convention inside a crate, and have spent a night on the beach at Portmeirion. I have rigged up the door to my flat so that it will not open unless I place a security pass disc in the little black box first, this as the secuirty precautions in the Town Hall in the episode of The General. One day I went out without a security pass disc in my pocket, and effectively locked myself out of my flat. Which meant my having to spend the night on the landing, and calling in a locksmith the next day!
    I suppose my collection, which is second to none, has turned into something of an archive more than a collection. If anyone decides to create a museum for the Prisoner I would gladly make one or two donations myself. But I don't suppose they ever will. In bygone days, if someone had a collection of something, say paintings, a person would give to the nation, like the Soames and the Forsyte bequest. Trouble is I don't think the nation is ready for the J.P bequest, and even if they were, I wonder what they would do with it? Would people come and see it, to marvel in the Village?.....shouldn't think so somehow!
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Never Trust A Woman - Not Even Of The Four Legged Variety!

   Last Tuesday was once again the last Tuesday in  the month, and that meant the monthly meeting of the Prisoner Local Group at the Goat and Compasses. This month's meeting saw the attendance of my sister, Jenny Prisoner, along with Tommy Moke. Drinks were ordered, and we all sat in the usual corner booth of the lounge bar. Tommy expressed his dislike of my new Village blazer. He saw my wearing of it as an insult to the original series. I was sorry Tommy felt like that, but assured him that I had not given up on the original series of the Prisoner, having appreciation for both series, unlike Tommy Moke!
   However the presence of my sister Jenny Prisoner, brought about a fresh discussion for Tommy and I, what is it that attracts the fairer sex to what is generally thought to be a masculine televsion series, the Prisoner? Three actresses play the role of No.2, Rachel Herbert, Georgina Cookson and Mary Morris. Other actresses play supporting roles, or bit parts within the series. So what is it about the Prisoner that attracts women to the series? Jenny Prisoner explains - 'Now I can't speak for woman-kind as a whole, only myself, and other female fans I have known. The Prisoner tends to be thought of as a 'Boys Own' series, but why shouldn't women enjoy such adventures too? Afterall, as a child I was a fan of 'Dan Dare,' albeit playing the part of Proffessor Joselyn Peabody with my brother and his friends. But to return to the Prisoner. I have found that most women fans are initially drawn to the hero No.6. Patrick McGoohan oozes tostesterone in the series, and appeals to most women. We fantasize of being in the Village with him, of perhaps being Nadia, living in close proximity, maybe even becoming his soul-mate succeeding in this where so many others have been spurned!
    As I understand it, at more recent Prisoner conventions held at Portmeirion, the roles of No.6 and No.2 in the election re-enactment from Free For All have been played by young women. This rather turns my idea on it's head. J.P asked me why young women would want to play these very masculine roles. The answer is......I have no idea.'
    Well thank you Jenny for your thoughts on the subject. I'm sure that readers will find it very interesting reading, and perhaps female readers have an opinion of their own, and might like to comment. However over the years, young women have also played the role of No.6 in music videos, and continue to do so today. And it's not just young women, those of a more mature age go about as male characters from the Prisoner. When I used to attend Prisoner conventions, there was one woman who went about dressed as No.48, in top hat, white boots, and all. And as I understand it, this woman, who is now in her sixties, is still attending Prisoner conventions dressed as No.48, who is supposed to be symbolic of rebellious youth......work that one out if you will!
   In the Prisoner women play roles of authority within the Administrative Office for the Village. Or doctors who want to do nasty things to No.6, or at the very least, to find his breaking point! But generally, it is the role of the woman to betray No.6, having first attracted him to her by the ruse of being a damsel in distress, whom No.6 can never resist! Nadia, if indeed that is her name, is a plausable enough woman, but by the end of The Chimes of Big Ben it is quite apparent that you cannot believe one single word that woman utters! The same goes for the white Queen-No.8 of Checkmate, who has often helped others with their escape plans, yet none of which ever succeeded! And what about No.9 in Arrival, she was good at her job. She succoured No.6 in, and who could believe her story about her and Cobb planning to escape together? It's no wonder No.2 of The Girl Who Was Death was under the impression that No.6 wouldn't drop his guard with his own grandmother, and probably with good reason!
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 21 July 2011

New Village!

   Well now, how do you like the new blazer folks? I purchased it from a store called T-K-Max for £15, the original price £29.99p I know Tommy Moke will not like it, as he didn't take to the THEPRIS6NER at all. Nor would those of Six of One like my attending a Prisoner convention, I would stir up things far too much, as the members of that society are still old Village, while I am new Village, able to change, and adapt to something new and exciting. Anyway I sent Tommy Moke a picture of myself in my new blazer, and the comment came back that I look like that character 11-12 in THEPRIS6NER! Just a minute, just a minute.....11-12 doesn't really exist in the series! He was but a figment of his mother, M2's, imagination, dreamt up in her subconscious....bloody cheek!
I'm well pleased this week, as I've now located a source of refills for my Six of One-the Prisoner pens celebrating 30 years of the Prisoner, and 20 years of Six of One. Also there is this pen, which is something of a collectors item, an original Prisoner pen from the mid 1980's, well you can't buy them anymore.
Such a pen also reads I Am Not A Number I Am A Free Man
      This morning I read of the death of film director Pat Jackson, who died at the age of 95, who was the last surviving director who had worked on the Prisoner, having directed A B & C, The Schizoid Man, Hammer Into Anvil, and Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling. It would seem that the old Village has not yet dispensed with my services!
I'm Johnny Prisoner - in whichever Village!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Obsessive......Me?!

    What is it about the Prisoner that has turned me, and fans like me, into an obsessive? Well perhaps watching the series three or four times a year, while watching my favourite episodes in between might just about do it. But if that's not enough, there is not a day goes by when I don't think about the Prisoner, or write something about it, either here, for the Tally Ho, or adding to the pile of notes on the series, simply for my own gratification. I've asked questions, debated with other like-minded fans. I've been a member of Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society, but have not for ten years now. I've gone on pilgrimages to Portmeirion, attended the Prisoner conventions there, and walked in the footsteps of McGoohan, but drew the line at sleeping one night on the beach!
    I have a mass of files, I used to collect all manner of newspaper cuttings, magazine articles, and anything remotely connected with the series, Prisoneresque as it became to be known. I've collected many of the newsletters and journals created in appreciation for the prisoner, many of which no longer exist today. All the information one could ever want, is but a click of the mouse away. Or you could read a fellow fans blog, that of David Stimpson, he's far more the obsessive than even I about the Prisoner. My god the stuff he churns out each and everyday......... most prolific of him in my book.
    Fans have talked about so called 'hidden meanings' within the Prisoner series, and do you know, I've spent years and decades watching the Prisoner, but I have yet to discover one single hidden meaning, perhaps because there are none!
    I always go about in deck shoes, piped blazer and scarf. Occasionally I carry either a black and white umbrella or a shooting stick umbrella. I do have a colourful striped cape, as worn by Villagers, but in the outside world there are certain limitations........ even for me!
    I've always managed to keep the Prisoner in mind, I've never forgot him, even in the barren years between 1968 and 1976 when the Prisoner was not shown on television. I, and many like me, had to rely on the memories of the first screening of the series here in Great Britain. But these days, I can watch my favourite television series whenever I like, be it via video or DVD.
   There are a few fans of the series with whom I keep in touch, either by email, or letter. And when I do write, I always use a Prisoner pen or pencil, of which I have a substantial supply. And of course there is the Local Prisoner Gorup which I help organise, with Tommy Moke. There used to be such local groups the length and bredth of the country, but those days have long gone. Only three such groups still survive today, as I understand it.
   I've got posters and framed pictures from the Prisoner on the walls of my flat, the best of which is the Channel 5 video poster from 1986, that is my pride and joy, framed of course. One friend and fellow fan came to my flat, and looking about the walls, commented that it looked like a shrine to the Prisoner! And of course my flat is full of memorabilia for the series. In fact it;'s more an archive really. And quite often I'll sit in my globe chair, going through old Prisoner based newsletters and magazines, going back to the very beginnings of Prisoner appreciation, with the soundtrack to the series playing in the background.
   The hot and cold taps of the shower I have put on the wrong way round, and the door to the bathroom slides to the left!  I drink my tea out of a Prisoner mug, and pancakes are my favourite dish. yes I know in the series No.6 says that flapjacks are his favourite dish, but it's pancakes he eats in The Schizoid Man episode!  In otherwords, I live and breath the Prisoner.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Mustn't Damage The Tissue!

    I sat watching Free For All the other evening, with a glass of Coca-Cola and a Pizza. I hadn't realised how much No.2 is so hands-on in this episode. Visiting No.6's cottage, and getting there so quickly after speaking to No.6 on the telephone from the Control Room, but through his television set, you can see a piece of the World map on the Control Room wall behind No.2. I mean No.2 appears at the cottage door almost instantly the phone call is over, if No.2 was ever in the Control Room in the first place, it could have been a trick, and one I cannot see how it was done. Certainly he's damned clever to have pulled that one off!
   I said No.2 was hand-on, he walks No.6 right through the election period. From putting the idea in No.6's head to run for electoral office, to the Polling Station, to oversee a landslide victory for No.6. No.2 even pilots the helicopter and goes in pursuit of No.6 when he was trying to escape by Jet Boat. And there he is again, in the therapy Zone, playing the part of an alcoholic. You know I almost believed No.2 when he said to No.6 To hell with the Village! But of course No.2 wasn't an alcoholic, he wasn't even drunk, and neither was No.6. And that's the hell of the Village, you can't buy an alcoholic drink for love nor credit units. You can't drink yourself into a stouper and forget the Village for a few hours. 
    All the way through the episode, there is the reminder that they musn't damage the tissue, either first stage only, or the drug used must be to the exact proportions the carry No.6 right through to the end of the election. Yet by the end of the episode, the tissue had taken a real beating, with No.6 left battered and bruised! But he still didn't talk.
    If No.2 is a statesman style of administrator, then the new No.2 is more direct. She soon dropped that 'little miss nice' routine as No.58, who couldn't even speak English. Yet as the new No.2 she spoke perfect English, and without any hint of an accent. She looked severe, as though she would have anything done to No.6, but within reason, and take pleasure from it. It is a pity that Rachel Herbert, the new No.2 of Fee For All didn't carry on her role into the next episode of The Schizoid Man. But that would be jumping the gun somewhat, because don't forget No.6 was a new No.2 for the shortest term of office in Village history!
    No.6 said to No.2 that everyone votes for a dictator, well he got that one right! Because as it turned out No.6 was no different. No sooner had No.6 attained the position of No.2, did he begin to dictate his will upon the good citizens of the Village. He told them that he has command. That he will imobilise all electronic controls. He told the citizens that they were free, free to go, free, free, free to go! But to No.6's disappointment, as his voice boomed out over the Village, no-one was listening!
    And then there are the inumerable continuity errors. Take No.6 for example, if you watch carefully you see that he changes his blazer as often as he changes scenes in the episode. While in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall witnessing the dissolution of the out-going council, and undergoing the Truth Test in the Labout Exchange Managers office, No.6 is wearing a blazer with broken piping on the lapel. But upon leaving the Labour Exchange, he's wearing a blazer with continuous piping on the lapel! It would seem that on most occasions Patrick McGoohan had one blazer for on-set film work at the MGM Studios, and one for location film work at Portmeirion.
    It was a dead cert that No.6 would 'run for office,' given the opportunity. And 'they' knew all the time what No.6 wouold do if he was elected as the new No.2, so they simply let No.6 get on with it, knowing that there was no chance of his actually organising a mass break out of the Village. Such was there confidence in their own ability to manipulate such a community as the Village.
   Free For All is a pretty straightforward episode, well as straightforward as any episode of the Prisoner can be I suppose. But there are one or two things which I have never been able to fathom out. One is the rotating of the inner wall of the Green Dome, that it reveals a single steel door, which when open leads into a cave. Where did the cave come from? What's more there's a segmant of the Village Guardian in the cave, with four men sat in chairs wearing dark glasses, why? What's going on? Is it some kind of indoctorination the men are going through at the membrane of the Guardian? Is it the Therapy Zone? Or could the men be members of some weird 'Rover' worshipping sect? I suppose, it's a touch of the allegorical, and inexplicable that forced me to draw my own conclusions over the years, and to be satisfied with that.

I'm Johnny Prisoner - A free man, not a number!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Prisoner Mini Moke Discovered in The Netherlands

   Well I could hardly believe it. Just when you think that there is nothing to get excited about the Prisoner anymore, that all the surprises have come and gone, you still find, from time to time, that there is just one more discovery to be made. Such is the Prisoner Mini Moke HLT 709C, which is pictured here.

    The Mini Moke, which is almost complete, despite the lack of the two rear seats, spare tyre and candy striped wheel cover, front seat covers, and inside trim, was discovered in a barn in Holland. And that word barn suggests to me a farm, and by the state of the Mini Moke, it is possible that she was used as a farm run-about for a time. The rear seats having been removed so that she could carry small farm equipment, or bails of straw perhaps, but that is only my own personal speculation, and is not in need to be speculated on. Although this Mini Moke does have a story to tell, if only she could tell it to us. Apparently a Dutch restorer is to restor the Mini Moke to her former glory. The candy striped canopy seems to have survived fairly well, but then that's plastic for you. And there's even the canopied Penny Farthing to be seen on the bonnet. As for the provenance of the Village taxi, well that's as plain as the nose on your face, the license plate proves that very nicely HLT 709C. I have to say that this is a very exciting find, and can only rekindle the thoughts of other items related to the Prisoner, just waiting to be discovered in some long forgotten place.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Prisoner Local Group Meeting

    Tuesday 28th was the last Tuesday of the month, which meant a meeting of the Prisoner Local Group, at the Goat & Compasses public house. The meeting was due to commence at 7pm, and there was a one hundred percent turn out. Namely myself and Tommy Moke. After ordering two pints of best bitter, two packets of cheese and onion crisps, a packet of salted nuts, and pork scratchings, we settled down at a corner table in the lounge bar. I had arrived armed with two copies of the Prisoner based newsletter The Tally Ho, to which I have the honour to contribute, having brought one copy for Tommy. And it was while we sipped our beer that we thumbed through the newspaper, Tommy then setting his copy to one side, saying that he would enjoy reading it later that night with a cup of coffee. For readers here, I reproduce, with the kind permission of the editor, the front page of the latest issue of The Tally Ho. As it happens my latest article for this newsletter is quite controversial for me, and I will include a copy posted at the end of this piece of blog.
 Tommy came to the meeting with a copy of Rupert Booth's biography 'Not A Number; Patrick McGoohan A Life. Tommy said that there is little or nothing in the biography which he didn't know about McGoohan, save for the fact that he was done for drink driving in 1964, Patrick McGoohan that is, not Tommy Moke, and had spent six days in prison. The trouble is, Tommy added, that there is no mention of which prison McGoohan had spent those six days, and as far as Tommy could read, it is not at all substantiated by Booth in his book. Tommy told me to thumb through the book, and let me know my preliminary thoughts. Well I could tell that much of the text had been taken from newspapers and magazines, prior interviews with Patrick McGoohan on television, or video, and Rupert Booth makes no pains in hiding the fact. All in all I don't think I would be buying a copy of this book, and told Tommy as much. In reply Tommy said that he didn't actually buy the book, but borrowed it through his local library. We both came to the same conclusion, that even though we are fans of both Danger Man and the Prisoner, the cover of the biography on the life of Patrick McGoohan is very P*** poor! Even I could have come up with a better design than that. After all what has the front cover got, the image of a fictional character the Prisoner-No.6, and that is Tommy and my point in a nut shell, it's always that, and not Patrick McGoohan the man himself! What follows is my article for the latest issue of The Tally Ho. I hope you enjoy it, and perhaps find it somewhat controvertial, as was the idea behind it.
            We ordered more drinks, and went on to discuss the situation as it is today with appreciation for the Prisoner. I think it was The Tally Ho which had us thinking back to the heyday of Prisoner appreciation. There used to be numerous newsletters and magazines produced on the subject of the Prisoner. Local groups sprang up the length and breadth of England and Scotland. This of course was between 1979 and the early 1990's. Of course nearly all of the local groups have gone, as have the newsletters and magazines, The Tally Ho being one of the remaining two left, as far as Tommy and I are aware. The reader of this may of course know different. Even Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society is a poor shadow of it's former self. Today appreciation for the Prisoner is made up with fans mostly meeting up on line in forum groups and the like, which is good, because it means that a fan, like myself, can reach out to all four corners of the globe, something which I could not do through Six of One even. But there we were, Tommy Moke and I, flying the flag for the prisoner at a local group meeting. Even if we did look a bit strange to other regulars, dressed as I was in regular piped blazer, straw boater, and deckshoes. While Tommy wore his colourful striped cape, which he used to wear on the chessboard at Prisoner conventions at Portmeirion, but not made perhaps for the outside world!
    The meeting continued through the evening, talking about all things Prisoner, at one point discussing our favourite episodes, and those which were not so favourite. In fact we both came to the same conclusion, that the Prisoner would have been better if the series had stopped at seven episodes! Tommy remarked that originally there was to have been twenty-six or even thirty-six episodes for the series. I said they struggled to produce seventeen, so what price all those others? No price at all!
    Then we came to No.2, who was the best and worst. We both agreed that lLo McKern made the best No.2, and that perhaps that Clifford Evans or David Bauer made the worst No.2. Tommy said that he felt sorry for No.2 of Hammer Into Anvil, after all had he trusted in those about him more, then No.6 would never have got the upper hand, and put the question of what might have happened to that particular No.2? I said that it seems likely to me, that No.2 having reported the breakdown in control, in all probability, spent the rest of his life in the psychiatric ward of the hospital, before being retired into the Old People's Home!
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 23 June 2011

I Have A Very Low Pain Threshold!

   If I were in Number Six's shoes, I would have soon told them why I resigned! Well I have a very low pain threshold you see, and it wouldn't have taken me long to talk. I've been watching the 1979 television series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on video, you know the Series, the one with Alec Guinness as George Smiley. It is a pity that John Le Carre wrote the novel well after the Prisoner, because I think had it been possible to have brought George Smiley to the Village, he would have made the perfect Number Two. Smiley would have made Number Six talk, just by walking into the room, sitting down, taking off his spectacles, and having cleaned them, put his spectacles back on and anyone who he was inquisiting........soon blabbed about all they knew. Those peoeple who have seen the television series, or have read the book, will know where I'm coming from.
    The nastiest, possibly scariest Number Two in the Prisoner, was played by John Sharp. When Number Two said to Number Six I'm not angry with you dear friend. That is just the way things seem to be to you, because your new world is so quiet by contrast, the way Number Two whispers those words to Number Six always sends a chill down my spine.
    I suppose that there could be the chance that the first Number Two could be Colonel Ross from the film The Ipcress File, highly unlikely of course, but possible. After all Guy Doleman does play the two roles in much the same way. Well he did until he got kicked off the production of Arrival........well that's why you don't see the face of Number Two, hidden behind the loud-hailer when Number Two is directing the Prisoner to the labour exchange, it's because it's not Guy Dolman!
    Anyway, I can't sit here all day typing words to you like this. I have things to do, places to be, and people to see. Because next Tuesday is the last Tuesday in the month, and that means a meeting of The Prisoner Local Group at the Goat And Compasses public house to start organising. There are just two members of the group, myself and Tommy Moke. I suggested to Tommy that we hold a marathon screening of the 2009 series of THEPRIS6NER, like we did last year for the original series. But Tommy isn't interested in the new series. I think he was disappointed in the fact that it wasn't filmed at Portmeirion, plus the fact that Patrick McGoohan had had nothing to do with it. I bet Tommy, and all the other fans of the original series would have been all over THEPRIS6NER had Patrick McGoohan been in it, and praising it to high heaven. I found THEPRIS6NER a real breath of fresh air. Just like the music video by Sophia Cacciola, have you seen it? I found it awesome, and brilliantly filmed, and executed. I was pleased not to see Portmeirion in the music video, filmed as it was in Boston, and around New England. All the detail that Sophia, her band Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling had put into the video, it's quite astounding really. And to achieve a shot by shot replica opening sequence to the Prisoner, is quite marvellous to see. And you can see it, by clicking on the link below. Then you can compare the music video 'Episode 1 Arrival' to the opening sequence to the Prisoner. It's great!

http://youtu.be/7KcWB4B_nBM

I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Italianate Village of Portmeirion

 When I first went to Portmeirion, it was for a weeks holiday in the September of 1988. When I arrived, the first thing which struck me, was the smallness of the Village! I had expected somewhere a little larger. But as Clough Williams-Ellis {the architect behind Portmeirion} said of the Village, "Portmeirion is basically tiny." Well he got that right.
   So I settled myself into my self-catering cottage, prepared to be a prisoner for one teeny weeny week! And as I began to explore the Village in ernest the next day, following in Patrick McGoohan's footsteps for the very first time. But I found much of the Village seen in the Prisoner, not to exist at Portmeirion. Especially what we see in The General, Hammer Into Anvil, and It's Your Funeral.
   I quickly found out that rushing about, trying to see everything in Portmeirion at the same time, doesn't work. You have to sit down and just look, drinking the whole atmosphere from a bench. And on Sundays, there's the Brass Band Concert to attend, the Band even played the Prisoner theme music, very atmospheric.
    Oh I was dressed in full Village attire. Turtle neck jersey. Beige trousers, deck shoes, and piped blazer. No.6's house being the Prisoner shop run by Max Hora at the time, whom I had met the previous day. But the next day, when I went to purchase merchandise, I found the Prisoner shop to be closed!!! I looked at my watch, the time was ten thirty, and the Prisoner shop, as I was to learn, didn't actually open until after eleven O'clock!!! I've known people go to Portmeirion for just a few hours, as part of their holiday in North Wales, only to arrive and find the Prisoner shop to be closed. And having only a few hours in the Village, they leave never having been able to step one foot in the Prisoner shop, and having left disappointed!!! Then again the shop can be closed for five minutes, when that happens, there's a scribbled note on a Prisoner shop paper bag, stuck on the shop door. Well there was in those days.
   But boy oh boy, when the shop was open, and you stood there in what was the Prisoners house, for the very first time, it was quite amazing. And to be in the Prisoner shop, always well stocked with all mammer of merchandise connected with the series, and I bought something of each item, to take home with me after my holiday.
   There's a quirkiness about Portmeirion, with it's arches which you can only just walk through, even though from afar they look huge. And the Fire Station, marked on a pair of doors. There is no Fire Station, because it is just as you see it, two doors marked Fire Staion in red lettering on two doors simply attached to the wall of the Hercules Hall.
   I would go running about on the beach shouting 'I am not a number. I am a free man.' And go in search of the cave of the Therapy Zone. There is a cave, just round the headland from where the graveyard in on the beach in Arrival, the lighthouse on the headland, there's no bell, there's no light!! But there is a small cave, in the cove where No.6 found that body washed up on the beach in Dance of the Dead.
   I used to got to Portmeirion at least twice a year. Once for a holiday, and again for the Prisoner convention held there annually. And there would also be the occasional day visit. It was always like coming home, going to Portmeirion. and when I arrived there, it felt as though I had never been away. A real home from home.
    Have I been back to Portmeirion in recent years? No. I have to say I haven't. Why? Well, it' not the same somehow. The last time I was in Portmeirion, was when I was getting ready to leave Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society, and somehow things there didn't feel the same. I suppose in my early days of visits to Portmeirion, it was like going there on a pilgrimage. Oh I still hold Portmeirion in my heart, and have many happy memories of my times there. These days I'm no longer the Pilgrim that I once was. Besides which Portmeirion has been 'messed about with,' and is no longer, for me, the place it once was. Besides it's so damned expensive to actually stay there now, and my purse in not as full as it once was.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 9 June 2011

How many Prisoners Does It Take To Build A Lotus 7?

   Mrs Butterworth was kind enough to lend the Prisoner his own car on the occasion of his return to London, but only on the promise that he would stop the Lotus 7 from over-heating which Mrs Butterworth had been experiencing in traffic. Well it wouldn't have taken the Prisoner long to fix that. All he would have to have done is remove the front number plate from the grill, which was obstructing the air flow to the engine!
    On his arrival home, and finding soeme woman now in possession of his car, he wanted to ask her a few questions about it, this in order to prove that it was actually his car, and that he had built it with his own hands. What's the number of that car? he asked Mrs Butterworth, and told her KAR 120C. Well that's an easy one, after all he'd just stood there and watched Mrs Butterworth drive up and park outside 1 Buckingham Place. What's the engine number? The Prisoner then told her 461034TZ. The Prisoner then went on to explain that he knew every nut, bolt, and cog, because he had built the Lotus 7 with his own hands. And this demonstrates two things. Firstly that the Prisoner had purchased the Lotus seven in kit-car form, and that he is an accomplished motor mechanic. And thirdly, having built the Lotus kit-car the Prisoner would have had to have known every nut, bolt, and cog, and have to have the all the receipts to prove it, in order for the car to have a "year" license plate, otherwise it would have been registered as "Q" instead of "C", as "Q" denotes a year which cannot be proved. Then the Prisoner would have had to present the built Lotus for a road worthiness inspection, by some official inspector, possibly from the Department of Transport, but don't quote me on that.
   How long does it take to build a Lotus/Caterham Seven? Well a pal of a chum of mine built his Caterham Seven kit-car over a weekend, that does not include the spraying of the body-work. I think he sold it in the end. Well the Caterham Seven, formerly the Lotus 7, is a car for the purist, the wind in your hair, the rain on your cheek, the freedom of the open road and all that. There's no radio, not heater, but then you can't drive the 7 in the winter anyway. My pal, of a chum of mine, had to garage his Caterham Seven during the winter months, so having a heater wasn't really a problem!
   One time, I was taken for a long ride in a Caterham Seven..........I remember I had a problem in keeping my eyes open against the wind, and it was bloody cold I can tell you. What's more, I can see why a tall man like Patrick McGoohan would have to lean out of the side of his Lotus 7 in order to see the road ahead, as he does in Many Happy Returns. A man over six foot like McGoohan, would have the top of the windscreen at eye-level!
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Man With No Name

    We are all familiar with Clint Eastwood's character from the three Spaghetti Western films A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, the Man With No Name. Although he is called by the names of Manco, Joe, and Blondie in the three films. But basically he's the Man With No Name.
    I suppose you could call the stranger on the right the Man With No Name, because if he has a name no-one ever uses it throughout the entire series of the Prisoner, although in his time he has been known as Duval, Schmit. ZM73, and he once called himself Peter Smith, and the Colonel in Many Happy Returns called him Number Six, to which the Prisoner took great offence! So, in the Village he goes by the name of Number Six. Yet in Living In Harmony even this name is taken away from him, and truly becomes the Man With No Name , a 'drifter,' a 'high plains' drifter!
    But before this Man With No Name became a drifter, he was a Town Sheriff of an American Wild west frontier Town in the late 1800's. It was a job from which he resigned, no letter of resignation, but simply signified by the handing in of both his badge and his gun. But why did he resign? A town Sheriff is open to many dangers as he tries to keep the peace. There might be a gang come riding into town, say the James gang, the Dalton boys, the Youngers, or the Clanton gangs, to rob the Bank. And the Sheriff would have to try and stop them, and if he couldn't, then he'd have to form a possy and go after the Bank robbers. A Sheriff, worth his salt, would have to be fast on the draw, otherwise he wouldn't last very long. But then the faster on the draw the Sheriff became, so much greater his reputation, and that in turn would attract every gunslinger out to make a reputation for himself to Town. And each time the Sherrif, who got paid very little, would have to stand up to each and every gunslinger who came to Town, and more than likely would have to face him, or them in a gun-fight. In time, this sort of thing can wear a man down, the killing. Having to put his life on the line every day, for little pay, a few dollars a month. So perhaps this one time Sheriff was fed up with the killing he had to do. Fed up with having to get up every morning, to face having to put his life on the line became too much for him, as it did for many of the time. So it could be as simple as that, as to why the man With No Name resigned!
I'm Johnny 'two guns' Prisoner

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Prisonerdom

    I received a couple of letters the other day asking if I ever discuss, debate, theorise, put forward ideas on what the Prisoner means, is, and might be? I have to say that in the past, I have done all that. Indeed I've contributed to journals and newsletters from Alert to Free For All, all of which have been dedicated to the Prisoner in their time. I've stacks of yellow, faded, and crumpled papers in my flat, which contain hand written and typed personal notes, ideas, and theories on the Prisoner, which has taken years to amass.
  For years I was a long standing member of 6of1 The Prisoner Appreciation Society, and joined in with debates on the series at Prisoner Conventions at Portmeirion.
    But I don't discuss, or theorise the Prisoner series as much as I used to. All the passed theorising, debate, discussion, and speculation has turned the Prisoner on it's head, inside out, and back again! I feel that anything that can be said about the series has been said. That all that can be written, has been written, although my good friend Dave Stimspon persists in squeezing just that little bit more out of the Prisoner. He's a prolific writer on the subject of the Prisoner, and although he doesn't always get it right, I feel he is to be congratulated for his work and persistance with the subject.
    These days I am more than happy to show my appreciation for the Prisoner and I'm talking about both series, by simply sitting back in my globe chair in my flat, and watching both seris of the Prisoner for its pure entertainment and escapism, especially THEPRISONER 2009.
   What has surprised me in recent years, is the clarity of the Prisoner. In that I mean the times that the actual film of  episodes of the Prisoner that has been put through the re-mastering process, at least three times to my knowledge, and that's not counting High Definition! And to my way of thinking that's wrong, because such clarity shows up all the blemishes of the Prisoner. The line down the middle of the television screen in The Schizoid Man when the two No.6's face each other in the cottage. Not to mention the different lighting on either side of the screen. And then there are the painted back drops of Portmeirion used in the later episodes of the series, namely Hammer Into Anvil, It's Your Funeral, and A Change of Mind. Me, I much perfer to use my old Channel 5 videos from 1986-87, which still play as good today as they did when they were first issued. And sometimes, I turn off the colour and watch the Prisoner as I first did, in black and white.
   An old, old friend of mine telephoned me one evening, and we were talking in general about the Prisoner, and he said that he'd been watching the series recently. So I asked him if he'd noticed then the different magazines in the Tally Ho newspaper rack in the General Store. Namely Village Weekly, and the magazine with the picture of that chap from the 1960's series Time Tunnel........James Darren? Or The Village Journal which is on sale at a kiosk in It's Your Funeral? My friend said that he hadn't, which I found strange, because he has the Prisoner in High Definition, and watches the series on a 44 inch television, and he's missed these small details!!!!!!!!!! It appears to me, that life-time fans of the Prisoner have a different degree of observational skills, as well as differing understandings of the series.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A Prisoner Of The Prisoner!

    Why is it I cannot escape the Prisoner, and why should I want to in the first place? There's not a day go by when I don't think about the Prisoner, or write something about the series, either series for that matter. I'm of the opinion that the Village is all in the mind, well my minds full of it! I told my doctor this, and all he had to say was that I'm round the twist to be such an obssessive. Take a holday he said, go somewhere quiet, somewhere different. "Portmeirion" I suggested. "Portmeirion, why there?" "Because that's where they filmed the Prisoner" I told him. "No, no, no. Go somewhere else" he insisted. "There's always Swakopmund" I said. "Swakopmund, where's that?" he asked., It's a holiday resort in Namibia" I told him. He said that's the perfect place, to go and get away from it all. Pack immediately, and just go. "Fine" I said "Because that's where they filmed the 2009 series of THEPRISONER. As I left my doctors surgery he was banging his head upon his desk!
    I suppose it's all that Patrick McGoohan's fault really. If he'd left well along after resigning as Danger Man, in not having such a fanciful idea of creating the Prisoner, but simply gone on to appear in Coronation Street like most actors and actresses do these days, I wouldn't be like I am today. Patrick McGoohan made me the way I am, a single minded obssessive, who only has one thing on his mind. For me the Prisoner is a life sentence, just as it was for No.2 and No.6. But even then No.2 managed to escape by suffering a Village death in Once Upon A Time. For the Prisoner it took him slightly longer, another forty-two years!
   I suppose I could always throw my piped blazer in the dustibun, or give it to charity. Sell all my Prisoner collection on ebay, get rid of it all, as I know some fans have done. But it would still be in there, in my mind. So here I am, doing a life-time sentence. And I suppose when all is said and done there are worse things to be, so why not a Prisoner of the Prisoner?
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 12 May 2011

My Lava Lamps Gone Cloudy!

    It's a devil when that happens, your Mathmos Lava lamp goes cloudy, why does it do that? I've tried all the recommended tricks in order to try and reverse this action, but none of them have worked. It's so bad, is the clouded oil within the lamp, it's like milk with sediment of wax mixed in, that I can no longer see if the wax itself is rising or not! What's more I think the seal has worn out, because I'm pretty sure that the oil is also evaporating, because the oil was almost to the top of the glass, now it's just below the metal cap of the lamp!
   Yes, my highly prized and favourite Mathmos Lava  Lamp is in a poor state of health. I've different types of Lava Lamp, and their oil is as clear as the day I first purchased them, and that's a good few years ago, unlike my Mathmos Lava Lamp which is more recent.
    It's a common complaint I understand, with Mathomos Lava Lamps having their oil go cloudy after a time. I suppose I could send the Lava Lamp back to Mathmos to resolve the situation, but that's going to be damned expensive. The only way I can see myself getting my Mathmos back in good working order is to empty the oil, gain two cheap lava lamps, if small, and refill the Mathmos with their oil. Ah, but then what to seal the screw top with to stop evaporation? If I cannot resolve the situation, I could always cough up the money and buy a new Mathomos Lava Lamp, but then I know perfectly well, that sometime in the future, the exact same thing will happen to a new one. So personally I cannot see the point in that.
I'm 'a despondent' Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Prisoner

    I've been a fan of the Prisoner for much of my life. In fact I was ten when I first watched the Prisoner series on television back in 1967. Before that there was Danger Man, with Patrick McGoohan as John Drake, first of NATO Security, and later of M9, I always took M9 to be MI9, that they dropped the 'Intelligence' bit for the Danger Man series!
    John Drake as the Prisoner-No.6, well I suppose he could be, No.6 could be anyone really, so on that basis you cannot really rule out him being John Drake.
    They say, although I'm not entirely sure who 'they' are, that John Drake resigned from M9, the only trouble with that is, I don't remember John Drake actually resigning in Danger Man. Yes, the Prisoner resigned, and Patrick McGoohan resigned from the role of John Drake, because he thought the plot lines in the series were getting a bit thin. Actually when I view the 50 minute episodes today, I see how repatative some of the plot lines are. But in others, I see an element of truth about them, as in Under The Lake, and Don't Nail Him Yet, and several of the episodes set in any African country.
    So, John Drake had little truck with women. He kept them at arms length, well for most of the time. As for No.6, well he's a succour for a damsel in distress. Especially if she claims to know where the Village is, and if she tells No.6 like Nadia did, then he knows where he's sailing from, and therefore sailing to. But in Many Happy Returns, No.6 builds himself a Kon Tiki style raft. And really it is a voyage of faith, because No.6 still doesn't know where he is sailing to, because he doesn't know where he is sailing from! However, by the end of Mnay Happy Returns No.6 does know the location of the Village, because he has found it during the aerial search for the Village. So why is it, that when No.6 has drawn that map of the Village, adding north, south, east and west, he doesn't add both longitude and latitude to the map? If only they had added a little continuity between the episodes, then the Prisoner would have been a little more understandable, if you see what I mean. I feel that the Prisoner suffers from the too many writers syndrome!
    So what of the Prisoner today? What is it that keeps me a Prisoner of a forty-four year old television series? Well really I suppose it's the fact that I've perhaps been a fan far too long. I hate to say it, having been a fan for so long a time, but the Prisoner did become to be a little stale. An awful thing to have to admit to, but I felt that my appreciation for the Prisoner was on the wane. On the wane until that is THEPRIS6NER 2009 series came along. THEPRIS6NER with Jim Caviezel as Six, and Ian Mckellen as Two. With the Village set in Swakopmund in Namibia, instead of Portmeirion in North Wales, which many fans found to be unthinkable. But not me. Many fans in both America and here in the United Kingdom, took against the 2009 series of THEPRIS6NER, but not I. Because to me THEPRIS6NER 2009 series is refreshing. Okay, there's not quite the quirkiness of the original. There's not so many questions. The viewer is under no illusion what is happening, once you've picked up on all the clues along the way. And of course by the end of the final episode Checkmate, you know excatly what THEPRIS6NER is all about. And I think the 2009 series is all the better for having one scriptwriter, and only six episodes. It would have been better for the original series of the Prisoner to have had only seven episodes, which was Patrick McGoohan's idea.
   But there we are. We have what we have with the Prisoner of both series. I'm one of the lucky ones, I have appreciation for both series. I'm excited about the Prisoner again. And thanks to 2009 series my appreciation is renewed.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Prisoner Conventions I Have Known

    Last time I promised to provide pictures from past Prisoner Conventions which have been held on an annual basis at Portmeirion. The images you are about to see come from a number of different Conventions from the early to late 1990's.
    I have to say that there is a marked contrast between these pictures, and those which I posted last time. But to be fair, these pictures do come from Prisoner Conventions which used to be held in the summer months, rather than in early spring, or late autumn, as is the case these days.
   The pictures are of the Human chess match, in which No.6 was played by David Stimpson, and No.8 by his wife Morag, with Dave Barrie as the chess champion-No.14. You will observe the number of spectators, many of whom are day visitors to Portmeirion over the Convention weekend,
 

   And now a shot of the Boxing match, a re-enactment of Barney's Boxing Booth from  The Girl Who Was Death, with David Stimpson as Mister X, and Simon Morris as the Polish giant "Killer" Kaminski, and Rick Booth as Master of Ceremonies.
Next, the fencing match from the Schizoid Man, with David as No.6, and Steve Ward as, well No.6!
    And finally Mister X, just to demonstrate just how much David Stimpson went into detail for the character he played in re-enactments, which some at Prisoner Conventions don't seem to bother! Here's Dave as Mister X.                                                                                                             
 As for me, well I don't miss the good old days of what was the' hay day' of Prisoner Conventions. But I do retain some very happy memories from those times.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Prisoner Convention

   Hello Folks. I suppose I may have mislead you with my most recent piece of written blog about the Prisoner Convention, when readers might have been expecting to read about what took place there. Well I might not have made it there, but I have been able to gain a few pictures from the 'Con.' But believe me, 'Cons' are not what they once were. For instance they are no longer held in the summer months, but in April and even March, as in the case of next years Prisoner Convention. The number of people, members of Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society is well down to what they once were. I recall how in 1994, when David Stimpson played the role of No.6 in the Election Parade, how on the Sunday there were in excess of 200 people taking part in that election parade, and that included day visiotrs to Portmeirion over the Convention weekend. Visitors actually believed that David was Patrick McGoohan, I heard them saying so, Look, there's Patrick McGoohan they said gleefully. This years election parade was lucky to have forty people taking part! Anyway here are some pictures taken at the Prisoner Convention 2011.
These are of the election parade and the human chessmatch. Below is the re-enactment of Barney's Boxing Booth from the episode The Girl Who Was Death.
This is the second time that this re-enactment has been performed at a Convention, well that's not quite true, because it's the fourth time. The first two times were back in the late 1990's, when David Stimpson played the role of Mister X, and he looked like Mister X, mind you he was a look-a-like for Patrick McGoohan, but that's another story. David wore the clothes so alike to those worn by Patrick McGoohan in the role of Mister X, even to the point of false whiskers, moustache and sideburns. It would seem that they don't bother much these days, and use boards marked 'Biff' 'Bop' 'splatt.' In former times the crowd cheered and booed Knock his block of Killer! Go on Killer, hit him! And watching the boxing match, people would be four deep, hundreds of them, not so watching this boxing match!
    No, I am not having a go, not at all. Just seeing how things used to be, and how they are today. I'll have to dig out my pictures of past Conventions. They will prove to be quite contrasting.
I'm Johnny Prisoner