|FROM ||From: "Michael L. Richardson"
|SUBJECT ||Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] The Prisoner Died today...
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Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2009 05:55:54 -0500
From: "Michael L. Richardson"
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Subject: Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] The Prisoner Died today...
References: <20090115091408.GA32644-at-www2.mrbrklyn.com> <200901141443.35546.sderrick-at-optonline.net>
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"I am not a number" I always thought he was ahead of his time.
> Remember, in "The Prisoner", where he would give the "okay" sign with his
> fingers? And look through the "O"?
> He was also in at least 2 Colombo episodes. Terrific actor.
> On Thursday 15 January 2009 4:14 am, Ruben Safir wrote:
>> Patrick McGoohan was No. 1 as 'Prisoner's' Number 6
>> The 'Prisoner' actor's indelible, implacable Number 6 lives on.
>> By ROBERT LLOYD, Television Critic
>> January 15, 2009
>> In the summer of 1968, the most important television series of my life
>> premiered on CBS as a summer replacement for "The Jackie Gleason Show."
>> A British import about a spy who, having resigned his position, is
>> drugged and kidnapped and wakes up captive in a fanciful holiday resort,
>> where he is hectored week after week to explain himself, â€œThe Prisonerâ€
>> starred and was co-created by Patrick McGoohan, who died in Los Angeles
>> on Tuesday at the age of 80.
>> Pop culturally, we were near the end of an age of spies. McGoohan
>> himself, who had passed on a chance to be James Bond, was already known
>> to audiences as John Drake, the hero of "Secret Agent," whose theme song
>> (written by Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan) became a hit for Johnny Rivers.
>> "The Prisoner" was something different: Most every other spy, on movies
>> and in television, was a glorified cop doing his (or, rarely, her)
>> master's bidding. To the extent that he was free, it was expressed in a
>> tendency to do things "his own way," but he was always first and
>> foremost a company man. Whether his cause was just was something that he
>> and we alike took for granted. It wasn't part of the deal to question
>> it, or to ask any questions at all.
>> By contrast, "The Prisoner" was a television show of ideas -- the
>> inalienable if inconvenient right to self in a world that demands your
>> cooperation, if not capitulation -- which also distinguished it from
>> pretty much every other television show I had ever seen. The fact that I
>> was just then working out that my own junior high school was a kind of
>> jail made its appearance timely and amplified its meaning, as did most
>> everything else about that chaotic summer of the battlements.
>> "The Prisoner" was more than an idea, of course: It was an idea
>> personified, and while it's fair to say that its artistic success was
>> the lucky product of the work of many hands, it was McGoohan who made
>> the series work. (That is perhaps why I am not yet more excited about
>> AMC's coming remake, set to premiere sometime this year.) It was,
>> metaphorically, his own story, having quit "Secret Agent" at the height
>> of its success because it no longer suited him to play that role.
>> Nearly 40 at the time (and the father of three), he was heroic in a way
>> that mixed the self-reliance of the classic secret agent with the comedy
>> of the new age's anti-authoritarian tricksters. Good-looking, in an
>> Everyman sort of way, he had a musical voice, a light step, a twinkling
>> eye -- he was a bit of a John Lennon, come to think of it -- that in
>> itself bespoke a kind of freedom. There was always humor in his
>> contrariness, and if Number 6 was fated corporeally to remain a prisoner
>> -- caught at the border by Rover, the bouncing ball from hell, or shown
>> that his imagined escape was merely an illusion -- he remained himself.
>> As hard as they tried, they could not wash his brain.
>> It is not McGoohan's fault that he is so closely connected with that
>> role in my mind that I cannot clearly assess his larger gifts as an
>> actor. He played many parts before it, and many parts over the
>> remaining, second half of his life, including the 1977 series
>> "Rafferty," several turns on "Columbo" and in the films "Silver Streak"
>> and "Braveheart." I was always glad to see him working, because I felt I
>> owed him something, and though he was not the busiest of actors, he may
>> have been as busy as he liked.
>> Having early in his career deprived himself of an annuity by passing on
>> Bond (and "The Saint," whose Roger Moore became Bond), he more recently
>> turned down both the roles of Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings" and
>> Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films. This might have been for reasons
>> of health, as has been reported, but I prefer to think of him once again
>> exercising his right to be perverse: "I am not a wizard," he might well
>> have said, "I am a free man."