Saturday, 26 February 2011

Village Taxi Restoration Project

   Hello readers, J.P here. I like to think of myself as having been at the fore front of Prisoner appreciation for many years now. I have made study of my favourite television series. I've written letters and articles regarding the Prisoner. I've talked and debated the series with other fans, I was even a member of Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society for a good many years. Why did I join such a society? Well initially not to meet with like-minded people, but so that I could get my hands on the Prisoner merchandise produced by that particular society, which was produced nowhere else.
    Today I stand by myself in the world of Prisoner appreciation. I am no longer a member of any fan club, Neither Six of One, nor Once Upon A Time. I write about the Prisoner in on-line blog, and have done now for a number of years, which reaches a good many people than are in Six of One these days.
  But a recent project of mine is the Village Taxi Restoration, which is now virtually complete. I have repainted the Village Taxi, the Prisoner Mini-Moke, produced in 1968, which had been showing it's age.
    To my mind the original plastic canopy of the model, looked just that, plastic. In fact the more I looked at the Prisoner Mini-Moke, which as I say Dinky Cars produced in 1968, didn't look right with it's red and white striped canopy. So I made a new canopy for it, and decorated it accordingly, in the regular candy-striped colours.
    A second Mini-Moke in my possession was a green army Mini-Moke, also produced by Dinky Cars in the 1960's, which I painted off-white, with brown panelling. To this model I added a black and white striped canopy, as would have been seen as the village hearse at Cobbs funeral in Arrival, had the funeral cortege, and Brass Band not obliterated it from the camera! Anyway, these are now my own pride and joy, and here are some pictures of my two properly restored Village Taxis.
 I am very pleased with my handy work, and I hope that you, the reader, will be at least slightly impressed. I even added a proper looking radio aerial to the model, using fuse wire! I still have to paint the seats of the taxi brown and yellow in order to make the model complete and exact, but that is a mere detail
   As far as I am aware, these two models are the only ones exact to those Village Taxis which appeared in the Prisoner series, that are in existance today. Certainly I am aware of no others.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Friday, 18 February 2011

Patrick McGoohan - The Man Behind The Bars

"It ends this week..... the nightmarish cat-and-mouse game of spirit sapping tortures, subtle, scientific brainwashing and malignant mind probing."
Such was the description written by Anthony Davis for an article written for the TV Times, published in 1968, which went on........ "The last episode of the Prisoner, the most bizarre thriller series ever, is at an end. The moment when viewers will expect the answers to the questions they have been asking since this intriguing, two level blend of special agentry and science fiction began, sixteen curious episodes ago.
The Prisoner is Patrick McGoohans series. He devised it, after the original idea of George Marksteins which he also shared. He was executive producer, starred in it, wrote some of the episodes, had a hand in direction and even helped with the composition of the music. Never before, or since, has one man been so responsible for a television series, let alone a television series as remarkable as the Prisoner. Before it all began McGoohan said "If people don't like it, there is only one person to blame - me!"
So with that in mind its not so much a question of the Prisoner-No.6 behind the bars, but of Patrick McGoohan himself, having made himself a prisoner because of the television series he created. When asked about the Prisoner Patrick McGoohan could be the most exasperating man. Volunteering little or no information, answering laconically, or with one or two questions of his own for the one question asked! When asked what his feelings were now that the series has come to an end? McGoohan responded "I've done a job. I set out to make a specific number of films. I've made them. The series has come to an end. It's just the end of a job, that's all."                                  
     Well I can see where McGoohan was coming from, because that's just how members of the cast treated it, the majority of whom perhaps only worked on the Prisoner for a couple of days. After they had filmed their scenes, actors, actresses simply moved onto the next job. It is the fans who have made the Prisoner special, and they would have to figure it all out for themselves. It is very intersting to read of McGoohan underplaying his hand in the Prisoner, after all at the time there was nothing special about the series. Although McGoohan was trying to make people sit up, to make them angry, and ask questions, well television viewers certainly did that, there was a good deal of anger about the series at the time. Perhaps at the end of the day, Patrick McGoohan had put too much of himself into the character of the Prisoner-No.6. Had driven the production crew too hard, and himself even harder.
    Did Patrick McGoohan, at the end, achieve all that he set out to achieve, when he embarked on the Prisoner project? Well it is certainly a controversial series. At the time, you either loved or hated it. But love and hate are but different sides of the same coin. "If it failed in some respects then that's a pity" McGoohan once said "But I don't think it has." Although letters received by McGoohan at the time were not at all complimentary regarding the series, but the pros did outweigh the cons. Was Patrick McGoohan simply stirring up contraversy, and was that his main aim? Well I would have to say yes. But as McGoohan said to Anthony Davis Who said so? Pat demanded. "Are you saying or asking? Oh, you're asking."    But it was the Prisoner that was asking the question. "Has one the right to tell a man what to think, how to behave, to coerce others? Has one the right to be an individual? The series was meant to get people talking about it, love it or hate it, say what you want, but get people talking about it, which of course they did, and complained at the time to ATV. With the Prisoner McGoohan provoked people, he made them angry. People argued, discussed the series, and would continue to do so, for years and years after the original screening. Patrick had made Prisoners of us all, Prisoners of the Prisoner as the term has been coined. There is no continuity between the episodes, there is no logical pattern either. But if it's logic you're looking for, then the Prisoner is the last place you'll find it! What Patrick McGoohan had to say on the matter of logic was this, to ask yourself two questions; "You're living in the world? To which you must answer yes. Do you always find it logical? No. And that is your answer to that."  And when it comes to answers, brings one clear answer at least from McGoohan. He envisaged it from the beginning. "In a series like this, you have to know at the outset what you're aiming at. You have got to know the ending before you begin. So I had the idea for the final episode first of all and took it from there." The only trouble is, McGoohan had no idea how the series would end. He told Lew Grade as much during the production of the series. McGoohan met with Lew Grade, telling him that he'd lost his way, and could not find an ending. So much for knowing at the outset how the Prisoner was to end!      
    But what of the riddles, would the final episode provide all the answers? "What riddles?" was McGoohan's demand to Anthony Davies. "Those who run the village, where the village is located. Who is No.1? Why did the Prisoner resign? Which side was No.6 on? "No, no it doesn't" said McGoohan. Which was about as straightforward an answer anyone at the time was likely to get from Patrick McGoohan.
In fact the answers are there, in the Prisoner, all one has to do is ask the right questions. We may all not arrive at the same understanding of this remarkable series. But we can all agree simply to watch and enjoy.
As a footnote, when Patrick McGoohan was asked by Anthony Davies "Will the Prisoner ever return?" McGoohan's answer was a simple one "Definately not."
I'm Johnny Prisoner                                                                       

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Village Taxi Restoration

    Hello readers, J.P. here.
    I'm always very active in the field of appreciation for the Prisoner, and the past couple of weeks have been no different. Amongst my collection of Prisoner memorabilia and mechandise, are two die-cast models of Dinky Mini-Mokes, one being a Village Taxi - Mini-Moke, whilst the other is a green Army Mini-Moke. Both had fallen into disrepair, which is extremely lapse of me, to let them fall into such a state. Mind you they are 44 years old, and showing their age.
    So I decided that it is high time that I restored the Village taxi Mini-Moke to it's former glory, and re-condition the army Mini-Moke by turning it into a Village taxi. The original Village Taxi - Mini-Moke I have carefully repainted, and have given a 'Vote for No.6' placard. Whilst the once green army Mini-Moke I have painted in Village livery, with the addition of a canopy, which I am in the process of making myself. Here is a picture of the two Village taxis at a stage of their restoration.
As you can see the canopy of one taxi has yet to be painted. Not as Dinky cars had the canopy, in red and white stripes, I will be painting the canopy in original taxi livery, yellow, brown, and white. Also the seats of the taxi will be painted yellow, brown and white, and the inside of the taxi will be finished in brown, making the models exact to the taxis in the Prisoner series. Also a new canopied Penny Farthing decal has been added to the bonnet. I am very happy with the progress of this restoration project. They will be the most exact models of the Village taxi, ever to be seen. And no, I had not forgoten the required addition of the aerial to both mokes!                                                                                                                                             
I'm Johnny Prisoner                                                                                                                 

Saturday, 5 February 2011

We Want Information, Information, Information...........

    How do you get information about your favourite television series the Prisoner? Well these days all the information one might require is at the click of a mouse, all the information you want, to be found on the wonderful World Wide Web. But in bygone times, a fan of the Prisoner was alone, a lone wolf in the wilderness you might say. Well that was until Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society, which one joined so as to meet like minded people, and gain as much information as one could absorb. Then as time went by, independent Prisoner based magazines and newsletters started to be produced from the end of the 1970's into the mid to late 1990's, such as Free for All, Camera Obscura, The Penny Farthing, Alert, Spokes, Number Six magazine, In The Village, The Manchester Guardian, Orbit 48, The Tally Ho, Le Rodeur, Eight Rank, The Green Dome, Well-Come, to name but a few produced here in the United Kingdom, France, America and Canada. But all have now long fallen by the wayside, save for Six of One's magazine Contact Imminent, which I think is absolutely appauling. Believe me, I've seen a copy or two of that particular magazine. And one completely independent newsletter The Tally Ho, which keeps the old tradition alive today. It is a free and completely unofficial newsletter, and enjoys a modest readership.
   But back then one depended on such magazines and newsletters for news and information on the Prisoner, and so they had an importance. That is why I have made it my concern to make a collection of many of these magazines and newsletters. Not only for the information they contain, but also for their social aspect, the people who came together to research, and produce such material.
I'm Johnny Prisoner