the credit sequence of his long running show GEHEIMAUFTRAG FÜR JOHN DRAKE ("Secret Assignment for John Drake") which is the German title for DANGER MAN aka SECRET
AGENT, originally running 30 minutes, viewers learned that this special
agent, assigned by NATO,
was called into action when delicate tasks had to be accomplished. By 1967 and after 50 episodes McGoohan's
TV series was terminated. It had been a big success also in Germany but only the early 25 minute episodes were shown, of the later ones only eight made it onto the TV screens. "Koroshi" und "Shinda Shima", the very
last episodes, were shot in colour, running one hour each and were re-edited
into a theatrical movie.
While serving Her Majesty smartly, always employing his wits rather than his muscles,
his approach was always gentleman-like and with the help of sophisticated gadgetry. A cosnsequential
anti-Bond was the character: no guns, no women, no affairs, lasting elements
of THE PRISONER, too. The last spoken line of the 30 minute episodes' credit sequence was, "My name is Drake - John Drake" which a little later was to become a standard introduction of a different kind. Being one of Britains most popular TV stars McGoohan was in the position
to turn down the offer to play James Bond in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE
for moral reasons and thus waving good-bye to a promising Hollywood career.
Enter Sean Connery.
One of the
most frequently asked questions of the time whether Drake was Number Six McGoohan
always denied. There are certain strains and parallels, though, considering
the character; as is known that he had become tired playing the same role
again and again. Also, working on THE PRISONER had begun when DANGER
MAN was still being shown and many collaborators would keep on working
with THE PRISONER. Whats more, even the SECRET AGENT title song by Johnny Rivers seemed to be telling about future things: "they've
given you a number, And taken away your name..." But this,
in fact, was a coincidence.
Cronenberg's 1981 movie SCANNERS he took on one of those most likely
rare memorable roles as Dr. Ruth, inventor of some telepathy causing drug,
a dubious scientist character but still a goodie. And a fitting role.
As an actor one facial expression made him unmistakeable. Which is, basically, the only one he's got, always
a controlled face. Provided directing him makes good use of this particular
trait: Striding down the long dark corridor to his superior's office he
is shot a couple of times from an obligue overhead p.o.v. From deep inside
his look emerges with the corners of his mouth slightly twisted. He delivers
a kind of certain and knowing (German wordplay: "eine gewisse und
wissende") grim decisiveness. Here it is, the icon: "Number
Six" is Patrick McGoohan. He was in control of the production. It
was his baby. It was the show that all of those who participated went
through physical and psychic torment. He convinced everyone and all. But
at last it was him who became overpowered by the show.
ending of the series McGoohan resigned from England. TV audiences had felt dissatisfied
watching the series' unusual coda and literally infringed his privacy.
Since then he has been living in California. What a lovely place, just
like the Village.
whenever possible, he has eschewed interviews on his biggest success. And
whenever he gave them his statements were still no less enigmatic than the
series itself. The most extensive interview in this respect could be
the so called Troyer
interview of 1977.
thing one must never do which is in some ways... - I shouldn't be doing
this, talking to you and to people who are going to view it and hear it,
to explain THE PRISONER. I mean, I don't think they'll understand it,
perhaps they won't understand it any better after this attempt at explaining
it..." (Patrick McGoohan, 1984, "Six Into One - The Prisoner