Sunday, 27 February 2011

What The Prisoner Means To Me

   A life-time sentence that's what it means. There's no parole, no time off for good behaviour, and definately no escape! Ever since that first crack of thunder as dark clouds gather on a long and deserted airfield runway in Norfolk, I was hooked, held Prisoner, and captivated by what I was watching.
   For me Arrival sets the Prisoner up a treat, and it's not only the Prisoner-No.6 who is treated to an aerial tour of the village by No.2, that's also for the benefit of the television viewer. And of course by the end of Arrival you are eager to know, and see more.
    The Prisoner is action and adventure. The action in fight scenes, and a daily bout of Kosho. Adventure, when No.6 tries to escape by helicopter, embarking on long sea voayges with Nadia, and again setting sail on his sea-going raft to god knows where, because he doesn't know where he is sailing to, or for how long!
    The series is enigmatic, puzzling. It makes you think, and question who the Prisoner is? Why did he resign? Where is the village? Which side runs the village? Who is No.2? And if the villages administrations main priority is for the accumulation of information, should they get it - what do they do with it when they've got it?
    For me, the Prisoner-No.6 will always be John Drake. Although to be prefectly honest the Prisoner-No.6 could be anyone. He need not be a secret agent once of M9, and formerly of NATO security. But somehow I don't think that the village authorities would go to so much trouble in having a Butcher, Baker, or Candlestick Maker abducted to the village. Those type of trades men would be recruited via the Labour Exchange, or Employment Bureaux.
    I have, in my time, discussed, debated, and made study of many aspects of the Prisoner. And I've looked for those so called "hidden meanings" which many fans have believed to be within the series. There are no "hidden meanings" within the Prisoner series. I know, because I've never to this day, found any! There was a great deal of pressure on the production of the Prisoner, McGoohan was under pressure. So do you honestly think, because I don't, that the production crew working on the series, really had time to put in so called "hidden meanings" within the series? The thing with the Prisoner is, you get what you see, and have to make of it what you will. You could have one thousand fans of the series put forward one thousand individual ideas or theories about the Prisoner, and the thing is, they would all be right!
    There is of course a further aspect of the Prisoner, that it can be treated as nothing more then pure escapism. The television viewer can emerse oneself in the Prisoners situation, having been abducted to the village, against his will. We sit and watch each episode enthusiastically, as No.6 is pushed, filed, stamped, briefed, debriefed, and numbered, in the safe knowledge that it's being done to someone else other than you!
I'm Piet Hein

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Free For All And The Desire For Power

    After the human chess match of the episode Checkmate, No.14-the chess champion and rumoured ex-Count, informs No.6 that the human chess matches are the only way to satisfy the desire for power. In fact it is the only opportunity one gets in the village. Well for No.6 there was the suggestion, on the day of his arrival in the village, that he might attain a position of authority. Indeed, during the elections of Free For All No.6 was not only given the opportunity to 'run for public Office,' but was duly elected by the good citizens of the community to the position as the new No.2, Chairman of the village. But for all his endeavour, all No.6 received for his trouble, was a sound beating from the two motor mechanics in the Rover cave. They had been given the chance to get their own back on No.6, for his treatment towards them aboard the jet boat, having dunked them both in the water, when No.6 was attempting to escape earlier in the episode.
    At least No.6's motivations for 'running for Office' were not completely selfish, if not genuine. No.6 has a very large ego, an ego that has to be fed from time to time. But in this case his ego took a beating, as well as his physical one. One might think that having attained a position of power, that No.6 might endeavour to bring the system down from within. But no. Instead No.6 tries to organise a mass breakout. But this is known by No.2 and the village Administration, which probably means they already know the outcome of No.6's attempt, and that is why he is allowed to go as far as he could.
   "We want Number two, Number two, Number two. We want Number Two, Number Two, Number Two, Number Two" chant the gathered crowed outside the Town Hall. Then all remain quiet as the new Number Two is brought out before them, standing on the steps of the Town Hall, Number Two's arm is raised in salute. But judging by the look on some of the faces in the crowd, it would seem that they treat this new No.2 with some suspicion.
    Then once the new Number Two is ensconced in his new sanctum, power sudenly goes to Number Six's head, and his voice is heard booming out over the village public address system "This is our chance....this is our chance, take it now. I have command, I will imobilise all electronic controls....Listen to me....You are free to go....You are free to go...I am in command, obey me and be free... you are free to go, free to go, free to go!" But the people don't appear to want to be free. In fact the people outside in the village ignore No.6's pleas for them to go and be free.
   It has all been for nothing, but as No.6 once said "Everyone votes for a dictator," and so it turned out to be. No.6, having gained power, he tried to force his will on the people. He wanted the people to breakout of the village and be free. But the people rejected No.6's form of freedom, and even if some of the citizens gained their freedom, what would they do with it? Because do not forget, that not everyone in the village is a prisoner, some citizens are actually born of the village, and have known nothing but the village. So what would their kind do in the outside world?
    At least No.6's desire for power, and to be free has been worked out of his system. He has also learned a lesson, that the village democratic system is flawed, inflexible, manipulative, and no matter how many elections are held, nothing changes in the village. Things will always remain the same. The village Administration is totalitarian, and absolute!
    Free For All simply shows how easily No.6 is manipulated. He was manipulated into 'running for Public Office' by the incumbant No.2, because he knew that No.6 would not be able to resist such an opportunity. As for power going to No.6's head, he never really had any power, just the desire to be a free man, and he thought the only way he could attain this desire was to organise a mass breakout, and so he could escape in the confusion. But of course No.6 never really was the new No.2 either, although it could be argued that he was, if for so short a time, because the elections were 'rigged,' and that the new No.2 was already in the village, as in another persona as No.58. So that if No.6 had been elected as the new No.2, No.58 would then become the newer No.2! But then, the way that No.58 simply steps into the deck shoes of No.2, just goes to show that there are no such free electons in the village. And that can only mean that No.6 was never really elected in the first place.
I'm Piet Hein

Sunday, 13 February 2011

It Doesn't Really Mean Anything!

   It has been suggested that the Prisoner doesn't mean anything. That there are no hidden meanings within the 17 episode series, and that with Fall Out, Patrick is playing us all for fools. Well if he was, it worked!
    McGoohan once said that "With Fall Out you get an allegorical ending to an enigmatic series," the only trouble is, Fall Out doesn't fit in with it's 16 predecessors! I think McGoohan was hiding behind his use of the word 'allegorical,' because to use that word means Fall Out could mean anything at all, no wonder McGoohan was so pissed off at the end! Oh, didn't you realise that? Sir, as he had become to be addressed, gave a speech which commenced with "I believe that dispite the decimilisation of the pound, nevertheless.......... Of course much of McGoohan's rantings in that speech is completely inaudible. But it is possible to lip read three words at the end of that speech "I'm pissed off!" And do you know, even though it's so obvious that McGoohan shouts these three words, they have been ignored. As though it's not possible for McGooohan to utter such words. I bet some fans believe all that gunk that McGoohan spouted about him and his family being threatened by angry fans at the end of the 1967-68 screening of the Prisoner, that he was attacked in the street. That people would have killed him, and that is why he had to run away first to North Wales, no, not to Portmeirion. Then on to Switzerland, to finally settle in California in the United States of America. He did that to evade the British taxman. The film company set up by Paytrick McGoohan and film director David Tomblin Everyman Films which produced the Prisoner went bankrupt, and owed the British taxman some £40 -£60,000, that's the real reason McGoohan did a runner in 1968.
    Some fans put Patrick McGoohan on a pedestal, even looked up to him. But he was just a man, with man's frailties, just like anyone else.
I'm Piet Hein

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Village Badges

    Have you observed the badges worn by citizens in the village? regular badges have a white background with a black canopied penny farthing and red numeral. While other badges have the negative aspect, of black background, white penny farthing, and red numeral. Mrs Butterowrth, the new No.2 in Many Happy Returns being the exception in two respects. Firstly, she is the only No.2 to wear the negative aspect badge, but with a 'white' number 2!
    There is one other aspect to these village badges, that being the canopied penny Farthing. On some badges the bicycle faces to the left, on others to the right, as demonstrated here.

No, I've not selected No.2 and No.6 for any reason, other than they are just two such badges which I happen to have to hand at this time. I did wonder if the reason for the Penny Farthings to be pointed to the left and right denoted ones political ideals. But that would be ridiculous in the village, because there is no politics in the village. No political opinion. There is no democracy whatsoever. No free elections, just a tyranical dictatorship! Mind you, I like the design of the canopied Panny Farthing. Striking I would call it, and perhaps one of the greatest logo's or emblems ever created. Because it's memorable. It stays in the mind, it says the Prisoner.
I'm Piet Hein