GEORGE MARKSTEIN: WHO IS NUMBER ONE?

The Prisoner Nummer 6


The sediments at the bottom of television: series and serials, omnipresent and almost as infinite as the medium itself. Few only were successfull in touching the underside of our attentiveness.
UNWAHRSCHEINLICHE GESCHICHTEN ("Improbable Stories") was one that did, the classic TWILIGHT ZONE.
Anything associated with the expression TV-magic applies to this.

Phantastic television of the sixties, among other things, is one conjuring formula:
"Be seeing you!" or
L'année dernière
au Village:

CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS:
(GERMAN KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED)

 

SEITENBLICK:

ANDERSWO GELESEN
 

AUTOREN:

BEITRÄGE VON...
 

INTERVIEWS:

Nr6DE MIT
DAVE BARRIE
Nr6DE MIT
TIM BOURNE
Nr6DE MIT
MAX HORA
CHRIS RODLEY MIT
GEORGE MARKSTEIN
SIMON BATES (BBC) MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
ALAIN CARRAZÉ MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
BILL KING MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
MIKE TOMKIES MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
WARNER TROYER MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
TOM WORRALL MIT
MARY MORRIS, N. WEST
UWE HUBER MIT
HORST NAUMANN
Nr6DE MIT
STEVE RAINES
DAVE BARRIE MIT
IAN L. RAKOFF
HARALD KELLER MIT
BERND RUMPF

 

 

 

The question above all questions: Who is Number One? An answer is given indeed in THE PRISONER or, rather, a couple of answers, that is. Which does add even more to this particular puzzle.

There is George Markstein who, along with McGoohan was the main source for the series, very much deserves this attribute. He is the bald man behind the desk, seen briefly in almost every opening sequence, who is confronted with the apparent anger and presented the papers of resignation of the man who later will be known as Number Six. In reality things had happened vice-versa.

Information on George Markstein is scarce. Inconsistent dates of birth circulate. What appears to be fact is that he was born in Berlin in 1929 (English Wikipedia: 1926, French Wikipedia: 1929) and, together with his Jewish mother, moved to Great Britain in the 1930s when the Nazis took over power in Germany. Elsewhere it is reported that he also lived in the USA during his youth. He died early in 1987.

After World War II he worked as a journalist in England, during the Cold War in the 50s he was a writer for a US Forces magazine. He worked for the young British televison writing telescripts, later he became a writer of political novels. He also was script editor on THE ODESSA FILE, a movie directed by Ronald Neame.

ROGER LANGLEY: COOL CUSTOMER: GEORGE MARKSTEIN (D)

His researches made him aware of a certain place where, during WW II, the British government had detained people with too much delicate knowledge in order to protect their knowledge or to keep them away from an enemy. They would be sent "on holiday" so nobody would be able to get hold of them. One such "holiday resorts" for high-profile officials, located far away in Scotland, was called Inverlair Lodge. Markstein pursued this thread, going further as to keep the character of Number Six and the audience guessing which side was responsible for the abduction. This was also the subject of the novels he kept writing. As a consequence he regarded himself the inventor of THE PRISONER.

In an English Wikipedia entry now in disuse it was reported that Markstein had in fact developed a conclusion to the series. But because of his conflict with McGoohan he left the production and the idea was abandoned.
In this treatment Number Six, being a young agent, suggested measures of how to get along with "retired" secret service persons who would always be security risks, they would be kept in safety for the rest of their lives under unintrusive surveillance. Years later Numer Six discovered that his plan had been put into reality - but his idea had also been perverted. The Village he had conceived had become an interrogation and detainment camp. So, Number Six then staged his resignation from service and, as expected, was brought to that place. His intention was to learn as much as possible about it and eventually destroy it from within. But as a prisoner himself with many agents of different nationalities around, doubts arose as to which side ran the camp. Was it his service or that of "the other side"?

Eventually the entire world was a potential "holiday camp", he would have taken the Prisoner to the outside world where he, nonetheless, would have stayed a prisoner of his circumstances.

CHRIS RODLEY ÜBER SIX INTO ONE: THE PRISONER FILE (D)
DAVE BARRIE: THE MARKSTEIN-McGOOHAN DEBATE (E)
MORE: COLONY THREE - DANGER MAN

Both, McGoohan and he, had been working on DANGER MAN (SECRET AGENT), the PRISONER precursor. To Markstein it was obvious that Number Six was John Drake. McGoohan and he, opposite poles, are the fundamental currents at the basis of THE PRISONER which at the same time mark a distinguishing line: symbolic-allegorial, existentialistic the one; the other political-practial, down-to-earth in a way, straight forward oriented to the spy genre. Markstein left the production before the first 13 episodes had been completed. There was nothing left for McGoohan and him to discuss.

At the 2017 PRISONER convention Joan Drummond, McGoohans widow, for the first time since the passing of her husband made herself heard publicly in a pre-recorded message to the audience. She left no doubt that the idea to the series, from head to tail, had been Patrick's alone. This is also confirmed by earlier reports by contemporary witnesses like production manager Bernard Williams or camera operator Jack Lowin.

Markstein, in an interview, left no doubt on his attitude towards things developping in the series, "rubbish" the word he used. McGoohan, as he saw it, was an egomaniac who would proceed only his own way, control everything and would eventually drift into pointlessness. THE PRISONER, to him, was the work of a team of talented people like David Tomblin, Jack Shampan, the directors involved and of course the authors. It wasn't just McGoohan's "opera". On his leaving the crew he stated: "I walked out. That's why it became silly, you see. It needed a certain hand at the helm, you see."

It will probably remain forever uncertain as to how many percent of creative input must be attributed to any, Markstein or McGoohan. As a matter of fact, McGoohan did have his own and quite clear conceptions of the series as such and its features, the Village structure, how it was supposed to work, e.g. telekommunication and certain details concerning the production design. And while McGoohan refused to comment on the series or the conclusion in particular, at the most he would give cryptic statements, Markstein did not like reading too much into it. And discussing a television series like THE PRISONER in university courses (like in Canada) was a rather absurd imaginaton to him.
Markstein in his own words talking for the 1984 documentary "Six Into One: The PRISONER File" can be found as a video on the web. While Larry Hall's website, the original transcript source, is no longer online.

GEORGE MARKSTEIN INTERVIEWED
FOR THE 1984 SIX INTO ONE: THE PRISONER FILE DOCUMENTARY

To him McGoohan as Number Six, as a TV star he was a prisoner of his role, his face, his success. Regarding his own contribution he, with a good deal of self consciousness, was flattered by the thought being the real Number One.

 


Contact impressum filmtexte - texts on film deutsch english language
  "Wir sehen uns!" oder L'année dernière au Village · The Prisoner · Nummer 6

 

top of page

 

WIR SEHEN UNS! D
BE SEEING YOU! E
THE CAFE
FREE SEA
OLD PEOPLE'S HOME
CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU
WALK ON THE GRASS
6 PRIVATE
2 PRIVATE
GENERAL STORES
TOWN HALL
LABOUR EXCHANGE
COUNCIL CHAMBER
BAND STAND
CHESS LAWN
www.match-cut.de
DISKURSE

FREE INFORMATION
SIX OF ONE · 601 D
THE VILLAGE D
CAMERA OBSCURA D
WHO IS NUMBER 1?
THE NEW NUMBER 2
"ORANGE ALERT!"
VILLAGE FACT FILES
"MUSIC SAYS IT ALL"
McGOOHAN INTERVIEW D
"ARRIVAL" SCRIPT
SPEEDLEARN DIR
THE TALLY HO D DIR
Nr6DE FRIENDS & SUPP.
THE PRISONER WEBLINKS
TV-MAGIC WEBLINKS
IMPRESSUM | FEEDBACK

ARRIVAL
THE CIMES OF BIG BEN
A. B. AND C.
FREE FOR ALL
THE SCHIZOID MAN
THE GENERAL
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
DANCE OF THE DEAD
CHECKMATE
HAMMER INTO ANVIL
IT'S YOUR FUNERAL
A CHANGE OF MIND
DO NOT FORSAKE ME...
LIVING IN HARMONY
THE GIRL WHO WAS DEATH
ONCE UIPON A TIME
FALL OUT

PATRICK McGOOHAN