Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Prisoner

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.

11 comments:

Lee said...

I recall watching The Prisoner every time they ran the series (PBS).

They would always have some talking heads at the beginning, analyzing the show. Talk about stupid...

Yes, this is one of those Short Run BBC shows with quality scripting. Aside from the really, really, triping climax, I view it as required for anyone disparaging Television shows universally.

shoo said...

The Prisoner was awesome. I might have to pick it up off Amazon.

Back in the day, there was an Apple II game based on the series. It was a Zork-inspired text adventure game. What was really cool was that it didn't tell you what the objective of the game was. They said "If you think you've won, send us a screen shot and we'll tell you if you won."

Stella said...

Please don't apologize, Wizard! I loved The Prisoner. Are we all in agreement? Cool! Shoo, what was the name of that game?

Thank you for the wonderful break from politics...

shoo said...

I think the game was called simply "The Prisoner".

shoo said...

Dang I love the Internet, and Wikipedia too!

The Prisoner (Computer Game)

Vigilante said...

Right on, Wizard. I, too, was a complete fan of Patrick McGoohan! He was awesome!

Stella said...

...and now we've lost Ricardo Monteban. I understand he was sick for many years.

Yeah, I know, Fantasy Island was terrible, but I loved him in The Wrath of Khan.

Lee said...

Just flip that around Stella. He was the ONLY good thing about Fantasy Island.

You had quite a few shows that ran for too long. The networks had this mindset that you had to get five seasons for a true success. If a producer could keep the writers engaged or change things up, it had a chance to not end up as an example of Entropy.

Stella said...

Agreed, Lee. Those 70s Aaron Spelling shows were terrible.

Lee said...

I find it amusing that we can all agree on something like a 60's TV show and its star.

Stella said...

Funny, Lee. I was thinking the same thing.
8^)