THE TALLY HO - READ ALL ABOUT IT!
THE TALLY HO
Read all about it!
Of course it isn't that simple after all.
Although the narrative drive of the main storyline is quite powerful, it demands all our attention to follow the plot; to understand how the tale is unfolding. We are kept guessing as to the eventual direction of the story, then ﬁnally there is the opportunity of an escape bid, which is then foiled in the most demoralising way.
At the same time there are other themes or subplots (n.) in evidence. We are introduced to ESP and telepathy via a mindreading act. Behaviourism and brainwashing, man and manipulation, conditioning and confusion of self are all explored and commented upon.
Sleep, (n.) In kinesiology (a branch of natural medicine) a recognised method of countering insomnia is to shine a focused beam of light at the centre of the forehead. Referring to Number 2's interrogation of Number 12. I wonder if this is another example of The Village perverting a therapy?
Script, (n.) "Apart from certain simpliﬁcations of things which they couldn't manage in the shooting schedule I was very happy with it." — Terence Feely commenting on the ﬁnal product.
Sense, (n.) (of humour) Humour abounds in this intelligently crafted episode. The verbal duel between Numbers' Six and 12: "Are you one of those double agents we hear so much about?", "Where'd he get you? A people's copying service?", or Number Two's delicious throwaway line "By the time we've finished, he won't know if he's Number Six or the cube root of inﬁnity." Here's a nice line in dry humour that ended up lost in limbo-land. Prior to visiting Number 12 after he has regained "himself" Number Six asserts "I think it's time we paid ourselves a call." This lightness of tone adds another dimension to this potentially bleak tale of mind bending.
(Script) snipped, (a.) In "Number Six", issue 37 [anm.: früheres SIX OF ONE-mitgliedermagazin], Bruce Clark shared with us another of his excellent script-to-screen analysis. He presents it in a highly readable story form.
The tension of the ﬁrst meeting between the doubles would have been built by showing scenes of them separately prior to their ﬁrst meeting. During their competition they would have engaged in a moke car race around the Village lanes! (I wonder what Sir
Clough would have said about that...?) Another test undergone would have shown — via the back projection screen — an X-ray device that would compare their two skeletons. The mental breakdown scenes (when Number Two says "He's cracking. Won't be long now.") would have shown another montage (a succession of the Prisoner's faces, slightly devilish, malicious and mocking), to give an impression from Number Six' subjective viewpoint. Perhaps the single longest cut is when he makes his way to Number 12's at night for the ﬁnal confrontation. Here a whole seventeen scenes were deleted. Our hero would have picked his way over rooftops, narrowly avoiding capture. Given the logistics it is a pity, but understandable, that these scenes were aborted.
lf one mentally adds up the time all of these cut scenes might have taken, I would hazard a guess at around a further 10 - 15 minutes running time.
Shooting, (v.) (the episode). Terence Feely: "I knew split screen was no big headache." Director of four PRISONER episodes, Pat Jackson, who had met McGoohan ten years before, when he had given McGoohan his first ever screen test, had this to say: "Pat rang me up and asked me to go over to Elstree. He said 'I've got a proposition that might interest you'. I went to see him and he showed me the location stills of Portmeirion and the rough outline of the story — which wasn't absolutely clear then. He said 'Would you be interested?' and I said, 'Yes, very much indeed.' Then I got involved in MAN IN A SUITCASE (the Richard Bradford series ). Pat then sent me a script and, as one does, you hope it's going to be nice. I tore open the envelope and started to read "Schizoid Man". I read it through in one session. I was absolutely thrilled. I didn't know what the hell it was all about, but I thought it was fascinating, an absolutely wonderful idea. So I rang him up and said 'I’d love to do it.' So a schedule was worked out and down to Elstree I went."
"We had to get 5½ - 6 minutes of cut ﬁlm a day, double that of a feature yet the quality didn't have to drop at all. It had to look as good as a feature." (The above is an extract of an interview given for the 1984 documentary "Six info One: The PRISONER File". The writer's thoughts at this point are that possibly Jackson was approached by McGoohan whilst the series was in pre-production, then again after the departure of Don Chaffey, the director who shot the early material, including the Portmeirion location footage.)
In a 1979 interview Anton Rodgers had this to say, "It was very weird doing it, because it was so nebulous. You couldn't pin it down... Pat has such an enormous tension as a man which makes him such a fine actor... The concentration was tremendous... It was popular because Pat was popular. It was unpopular because they couldn't understand it." In her interview for In The Village, issue 1, Jane Merrow spoke of McGoohan in glowing terms and remembered "The set was charged".
Scriptwriter, (n.) Terence Feely. I had seen the interviews with Terence that Steven Ricks had ﬁlmed [anm.: in einer serie videodokumentationen, die erste unter dem titel "THE PRISONER Investigated"] and been impressed with his imagination and keen intellect.
A man who gets 'chaos theory’ and Zen into an interview about a thirty year old TV series is certainly worth listening to. Terence has a long and distinguished career and has written for, among other series, THE AVENGERS and UFO. Therefore, when I decided to write this article I knew it was essential that I had some form of dialogue with him. I wrote, he replied, and we were off. What follows is in Terence's own words.
"I can’t remember a time when I haven't written... I got a double ﬁrst in Literature and Psychology... became foreign correspondent and then deputy editor of The Sunday Graphic. I had been writing in my spare time constantly and I sold my ﬁrst script to Alfred Hitchcock, a 75-minute thriller called "Heartbeat" and was simultaneously head-hunted as story editor of Armchair Theatre. It was a golden time; I was marinaded in writing, my own and other peoplc‘s, creating, among other series, CALLAN 2, THE AVENGERS, TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION 3, and smuggling in my own particular itch for surrealism ( n.) by commissioning wonderful plays like "The Trouble With Our Ivy 4", the memory of which I still cherish, until I was head-hunted again, this time by Paramount Films as their European Story Chief (I bullied them into doing the surrealistic IF 5) and then head-hunted again from them by Warner Bros. In the same capacity (conned them into doing the surrealistic PERFORMANCE [anm.: regie: Nicolas Roeg, 1970, in der hauptrolle Mick Jagger]) and all the time a clause in the contracts saying I could still write and market my own stuff. I left Wamer Bros. When a stage play I‘d written called "Who Killed Santa Claus" hit the jackpot in the West End and I decided that my days in the "executive suite" were over. Make no mistake, though, the executive suite is sweet, the magic pen that eliminates money and signs for everything, the chauffeur, the personal bar in the drop-dead-designed office are all powerfully seductive, but I was a writer, godammit! And now I could afford to be without distractions."
"I became involved in THE PRISONER through another theatre play I had running in the West End called "Don't Let Summer Come" 6. It was a surrealistic play which showed no mercy to its audiences, caused a considerable stir and brought George Markstein in his substantial footwear clumping into my study, looking like a cross between Mr. Pickwick and Goldﬁnger to demand that I write for something called THE PRISONER. From his exegesis of the series I instantly saw it as a chance to get surrealism onto television, which I had always failed to convince people was the perfect medium for it."
"I was obviously among fellow souls and I gave them "The Schizoid Man" within two weeks. George, startled, was deeply suspicious that it was a story I'd been trying to unload for years, but it truly wasn't; it leapt into my head the instant I heard the premise for the series and that Pat was the star."
Sloman (Tony). Film Librarian and in charge of back projection on THE PRISONER. Attended same school as Terence Feely. Tony is well known to society members. Over the years he has been of real service, giving of his time and energy freely. His career includes editing, producing, and directing. He is a member of the Directors Guild and has twice been elected Members' Governor of the British Film Institute. He is currently a post-production consultant with Goldcrest Films.
On Thursday 30th October 1997 Tony took time out of his busy schedule to view "The Schizoid Man" alongside me. I recorded our conversation and what follows is a record of parts of it. Tony’s comments, upon seeing the quality of the Channel 5 tape was "Appalling, it's 16 mil. and the colour is dreadful. This is not fair to the show which was deliberately brightly lit," Referring to the early scenes he commented "For some of these Pat and Jane were shot separately." Tony said that McGoohan liked director Pat Jackson "very much... Look at the way Pat Jackson is framing those four items, very simple, very classic... He had a clear-cut vision of what he wanted." As we watched the drama unfold Tony continued "The importance of Wilf Thompson's soundtrack cannot be underestimated... the power is in the soundtrack... See the rapport Pat has with Anton... Look at Jack Shampan's very bold use of colour... Note how Pat faces the camera and makes eye contact on the last line of delivery."
Discussing his role in arranging the back projection he pointed out the scene where Number Six pays a night call to Number 12, (who is laying on the bed significantly reading a copy of "The Homecoming by Leonard Barnes",) "That's back projection when he sees himself, it's quite clever... We had Tom Howard on set all the time we were shooting the matts. Tom won an Oscar for his special effects in BLITHE SPIRIT. We would shoot the two sides and then marry them in the lab."
When I had interviewed Tony at Birmingham we had discussed the seven "key episodes" that McGoohan talks about and Tony did not agree. "There were seven he spent more time on than any of the others. He cared — or seemed to care — about them more. These seven form a constant body of work." Tony was convinced that "The Schizoid Man" was one of those seven. I thanked Tony for being so generous with his time. "It’s for posterity, it should be recorded," he explained.
Stuntman, (n.) The role of Frank Maher cannot be underestimated. Frank's brief on THE PRISONER, apart from "doubling" for McGoohan, was to deal with the stunt aspect. This meant that he not only hired the stuntmen but also would arrange their fee and contract Then, as stunt co-ordinator, he had to choreograph the ﬁghts and know exactly where to place the cameras and choose the lenses to make the stunt appear realistic. Frank remembers he had more work to do in this episode than any other bar "Living In Harmorry". "There were so many things," he recalls, "I was doubling for both roles and for the timing I had to learn the dialogue for both parts. It's easy for Pat, he has a photographic memory. I had to keep changing jackets, white to brown. Pat was a very hard taskmaster, but very good, all the stuntmen loved him. That ﬁght sequence in the kitchen: his punch connected, it caught me on the chin, and I went over backwards. He came out later, held his hands up and said "Sorry". "We used to play squash for 1½ hours every night. It kept us both superfit. One evening we both went for the ball together and collided. For a week alter he was cursing me...”
Springboard, (n.) or Signposts, (n.) Examining THE PRISONER stimulates the viewer to question and wonder. What follows may assist the reader in appreciating this episode more fully.
Skinner (B.F.) A Psychologist who put forward the view that the personality was the sum of learned behavior. The brainwashing of Number Six could subscribe to that theory. Certainly the episode is a comment on the behaviourist theory of psychology. However, as he "re-discovers himself" the argument is open to question. If the personality could be programmed then - as has been pointed out in The Gemini Times, "Could a vegetarian become a meat eater, a paciﬁst become violent?" These are debatable points. Yet are we not inﬂuenced by advertising? Or peer pressure? Are we not prisoners of customs until we become self aware?
Sinatra (Frank) Star of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. Tremendously inﬂuential book, then a ﬁlm (1962). The premise is that a group of American soldiers are captured by the communists during the Korean war. They are taken to Manchuria where they are comprehensively brain-washed. Alter repatriation they return home unaware of what has happened to them. One of their number is a programmed "sleeper", awaiting the command that will trigger instructions buried in his deep unconscious for him to become an unknowing assassin.
During the Cold War both super-powers, afraid of what the other was up to, launched themselves into intensive programmes of mind control experiments. In 1995 BBC Television broadcast a documentary ("The Living Dead") detailing a number of them. At the time it was believed — in some circles — that John F. Kennedy's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who had spent time in Russia, had been brainwashed by the Soviets to perform this deed.
It was in this atmosphere of paranoia that the ideas that resulted in THE PRISONER gained momentum. Roger Parkes, author of "A Change Of Mind", has discussed THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and its inﬂuence upon him, Terence Feely uses the idea of brainwashing to great effect in "The Schizoid Man" and, recording an interview with me, Tony Sloman said that "There were seven episodes that McGoohan cared about more than the others... and they all were concerned with brainwashing." Tony conﬁrmed that "The Schizoid Man" was one of McGoohan's favoured seven. This is news to most, if not all, members of SIX OF ONE who never thought this episode was one of the "essential" seven.
Student, (n.) of Prague, The. Film (1913). The ﬁrst time the idea of a doppleganger was translated to the screen. In a talk entitled "The Artistic Possibilities of Film" the noted actor Paul Wegener said "I entered the cinema because l wanted to do what could only be done with ﬁlm, to create a split personality on screen, a doppelganger that would be the equal of anything imagined by Hoffmann."
Shangri-La, (n.) The name of the mythical utopian village community in the book (and 1937 ﬁlm) LOST HORIZON by James Hilton. lt is hidden high in the Tibetan Himalayas, where the Lamas, utilising their mental powers, have succeeded in creating an ideal where the residents can live for a great many years without perceptibly ageing. Hilton got the idea after reading an article on the longevity of life among people on the Western China/Tibetan border in a 1933 copy of the New York Times. The concept of a "Shangri La", as a remote village which is physically cut off from the rest of the world and where the residents cannot leave, does have certain parallels with "The Village" in THE PRISONER. The pilot for the ITC series THE CHAMPIONS appears to draw very heavily upon the ideas in LOST HORIZON.
Stevenson (R. L.), Writer of "Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde". (Jekyll should be pronounced "Jegk-yl" to rhyme with "hide and seek"). Stevenson felt he was two dilferent personalities. He grew up in Edinburgh at the time of the bodysnatchers "Burke and Hare". Initially he drew upon their infamous activities to write a story, "The Bodysnatcher". Aﬁer a dark and vivid nightmare he crystallised these elements into "Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde". Often described as a morality tale or an allegory it touches a nerve with many individuals and of course echoes in the unmasking scene in "Fall Out". ln "The Schizoid Man" we are encouraged to view Curtis as the villain and Number Six as the hero.
Surrealism, (n.) A form of art in which an attempt is made to represent and interpret the phenomena of dreams and similar experiences. It is generally thought that the term was first applied to [André] Breton and his fellow surrealists to describe their work. In fact the term was coined by the critic Apollinaire who, upon seeing a ballet by Jean Cocteau, described it as being beyond reality, thus surreal.
Cocteau employed surrealism to dazzling effect throughout his extraordinary life in whichever realm of the arts he chose. (His films shine out as astonishing and magical examples of surrealism at its best. "Dance Of The Dead", and to an extent "A. B. And C-" draw upon Cocteau.) Terence Feely has deﬁnite views about surrealism. "The purpose of surrealism is to awaken people to the fact that they’re using only the conscious half of their mind, which is a waste."
Symbolism, (n.) Symbols stand for, or represent, or denote something else, not by exact resemblance, but by vague suggestion or by some accidental relation. In THE PRISONER symbols abound, Rover, the pennyfarthing, etc.
Prominent among the symbols utilised in "The Schizoid Man" are the cards with which Alison and Number Six practice their mind reading act. This deck of cards was invented in the 1920s by a Dr. Rhine for the express purpose of conducting experiments in telepathy. The ﬁve symbols themselves are symbolic of numbers one to five in their construction.
Terence Feely takes up the story: "The mind reading device? It was a way of getting round Pat's reusal ever to kiss a girl on screen. The girl was supposed to be able to distinguish Number Six from his double by kissing them, ﬁrst one then the other. Pat said he wasn't going to do it and that was that. I therefore had to substitute a cerebral or psychic sympathy for a carnal one and being interested in the paranormal, I recalled Professor Rhine, of blessed memory, and used one of his telepathic card-reading experiments. Actually, I thought Christmas had come early for me because that would have been my chosen solution for the scene anyway, but I was sure I couldn't sell it — as in any other show I couldn't have — but here it was the dish of the day."
The word simpatico (n.) springs to mind. This term has its roots in the Italian "simpatia", meaning sympathy.
Summary, (n.)Terence Feely: "I've not been allowed to write that way since..."
This is a very well made episode. It is obvious that both time and care have been spent on every aspect of it, from the thought-provoking script to the minor detail of Alison carrying a book, "The Mind Reader", in her ﬁnal scenes. If it is, as Tony Sloman ventures, one ot McGoohan's seven, then it is a worthy candidate. So good is the story that we don‘t even realise that it was virtually all shot at Elstree.
This is a "Village" episode. It is an attempt by "them" to unravel his mind to ascertain his reason for resigning, an escape only seems possible right at the end and must be seen as a subplot twist.
Number Six is under attack of a most vicious kind and he must use every reserve of selfknowledge and belief to maintain his
self and his individuality. He must also bear grim disappointment that his wildest dream of escape is dashed, but he emerges intact, stronger in spirit. He has risen to the challenge nobly. In his battle of wills with the Village this adventure is an honourable draw.
My, er, our profound thanks, as always, are extended to all those who made this article possible: Roger and Karen for producing "The Gemini Times", an invaluable source, Bruce Clark, for his script review, Simon Coward, for "being there", Steven Ricks, for his stiring work in recording memories for posterity, and Tony Sloman, Frank Maher and Terence Feely for their time andgenerosity of spirit.
1. lt ls easy to assume that most readers will have some understanding of the work of the physiologist lvan Pavlov. In case one is not familiar a brief résumé of what is meant by "Pavlov's dog" may be in order: Pavlov discovered that dogs would salviate when anticipating food or by associated stimuli, for example their keeper's approach. By ringing a bell when giving them food he found in time he could achieve salvation by merely ringing the bell alone. This in time led lo his discoveries about conditioning and behaviourism. He has been a major influence in 20th century psychology. His ideas crop up more than once in THE PRISONER , notably in "Checkrnate" and. of course, "The Schizoid Man".
2. Terence Feely. "I was story editing Armichair Theatre when I saw this script that... had that dog-eared look and told the writer "There is a series in this. Would you be prepared to let me write a presentation and inject a couple more characters and I'll sell it as a series The rest — as they say — is history."
3. Terence Feely again. "Mystery And Imagination in family viewing time with lesbianisrn, vampirism, black magic — it's amazing what you can do if you do it with subtlety, good writing and ‘period'. "
4. I watched this play on its ﬁrst appearance in 1961. It featured two farnilies as neighbours, who, over a past relationship that soured took suburban warfare to undreamt heights. One couple raided Kew Gardens for a cutting of a particularly fast-growing Amazonian creeper; which they let loose during a particularly sweltering summer. The creeper sets about colonising Surbiton at an alarming rate whilst our suburbanites set about each other with a meat cleaver. Their voices escalate and quicken, until all we hear is gibberish (a sequence not unlike the unmasking of Number One "I-I-I-I-III") and the camera pulls back to reveal we are in deep jungle with a chimpanzee in the foreground.
5. "Living in Harmony" creator Ian Rakoff worked closely with Lindsay Anderson on this film, which is a powerfull allegory.
6. Terence Feely writes: "'Don‘t Let Summer Come' is a play about a timid little man and two bold naked girls who alternately titllate and torment him as agents of... what? He was ﬁnally carried off to... where?... by a black-clad hooded giant."
DAVE BARRIE: SEVEN FROM SIX
Dieser artikel erschien im SIX OF ONE-mitgliedermagazin "In The Village" 17/1998. Mit dank an Dave Barrie für die überlassung! Eine deutsche fassung existiert derzeit nicht. Abküzungen: (a.) = adjective: Adjektiv; (n.) = noun: Substantiv, Nomen; (v.) = verb: Verb, Zeitwort
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