Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Be Seeing You

Tonight's entry is an ode to Patrick McGoohan, may he rest in peace.

I first remember being chilled by a movie he made for Disney, which I watched one Sunday night at Uncle J.W.'s house in the late 1960s/early 1970s as the grownups played canasta and talked. My memory of it is spotty at best, as I recall the story somehow being about a vigilante freedom-fighter in old England, but I've been reading descriptions of the movie, and it sounds very little like that. Anyway, it's called The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.

He was in lots of films: Ice Station Zebra, Braveheart, Silver Streak, and more. But I'll always remember him most fondly as the unnamed Number Six on The Prisoner. Never bending, never broken, always smarter and stronger of will than the bureaucrats and strongarm rulers who wanted to get his "information -- by hook or by crook." I may have seen the show as a child, though I don't recall watching it then. Initially only knew about it from reading Starlog magazine articles about it in the early 80s. I don't recall actually seeing the show until sometime in the late 1980s/early 90s, when CBS ran it as part of a late night mystery block that also included the first season of Forever Knight. It was surreal and cerebral for an adventure series, with layers of meaning, tiny clues throughout, and experimental storytelling techniques. Shows like Lost and Galactica owe it a great debt. I videotaped many of these episodes and watched them till the tapes wore out.

It's Today's Pick:

Imagine my delight, then, when I found a book at the local Goodwill store: The Prisoner Omnibus, a collection of three original novels based on the series, originally published in 1969 and 1970.

It's also Today's Pick:

Today's Word: How about a word from McGoohan, taken from a 1977 interview and posted at Wikipedia:

"…We're run by the Pentagon, we're run by Madison Avenue, we're run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don't revolt we'll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche… As long as we go out and buy stuff, we're at their mercy. We're at the mercy of the advertiser and of course there are certain things that we need, but a lot of the stuff that is bought is not needed…"

"…We all live in a little Village… Your village may be different from other people's villages but we are all prisoners."

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