Long before Abu Ghraib, long before Guantanamo, children of the '60's knew governments were corrupt and secret prisons held people without due process, without rights, without the possibility of escape or parole.
And one brilliant actor, writer, director and producer captured all the fear and paranoia of the 60's in a brilliant, iconic television series called The Prisoner. That actor, writer, director and producer was the multi-talented Patrick McGoohan, pictured to the right above in a screen shot from the television series.
McGoohan passed away today at the age of 80.
As I lament the likely demise of The Middleman with only 12 episodes ever produced, it is heartening to note that with only 17 episodes, The Prisoner has become more beloved, more important and more popular than it ever was during its short one year season.
The two shows couldn't possibly be more different. While the Middleman is a dizzying comedy rich with pop culture references and tributes, McGoohan's The Prisoner was a dark and sinister spy suspense filled drama. In fairness, The Prisoner did have its sci-fi undertones.
McGoohan was one of the most highly regarded actors in Hollywood and Great Britain. He won two Emmy's for his television work over 30 years, and won high critical acclaim for his portrayal of the King in Mel Gibson's Braveheart.
But it is his vision and work in The Prisoner that will always remain the cornerstone of his career. If you do not already own this great series there is a great compilation produced with love and care by A & E Network, available at bargain prices from the associates at Amazon.
I watched the series when it first aired in the 60's. And I bought it on Laser Disk, believe it or not, paying $40.00 for each episode back in the 80's, proving that I am, indeed, crazy.
P.S. I apologize to my "regular readers" for two successive forays into televison. I do hope to write shortly about the magnificient and historic event of Barack Obama's inauguration. I also feel the need to write once again about the tragedy of Bush Derangement Syndrome and to note, hopefully, that Obama is being treated much more fairly (so far) than Bush has ever been.