The Prisoner, Number 6

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The Prisoner, Number 6

Post by EdgaraJones on Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:49 pm

The+ Prisoner+ + E01+ + The+ Arrival 9
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Fifth Boy: Mr. McGoohan, when you began "The Prisoner," you began it in a decade in which a lot of people were used to secret agents. You very neatly saw the next decade coming. I thing you saw Watergate; the enemy within as opposed to the enemy without. I don't know if you can answer this, but if you were going to do the series again and you had to look aged to the 80's and you were thinking in terms of what you see as being the real enemy, not the storybook enemy but the enemy that's really going to hassle us. If you were going to look into the 80's now, what would you look to?

McGoohan: I think progress is the biggest enemy on earth, apart from oneself, and that goes with oneself, a two-handed pair with oneself and progress. I think we're gonna take good care of this planet shortly. They're making bigger and better bombs, faster planes, and all this stuff one day, I hate to say it, there's never been a weapon created yet on the face of the Earth that hadn't been used and that thing is gonna be used unless...I don't know how we're gonna stop it, not it's too late, I think.

Fifth Boy: Do you think maybe there's going to be a strong popular reaction against "Progress" in the future?

McGoohan: No, because 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.

Sixth Boy: We tend to view the threat, the Village there, as sort of a thing as something external like Madison Avenue, the media. How responsible are we for accepting this? Where do we become involved in being "unfree"?

McGoohan: Buying the product, to excess. 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.

Sixth Boy: Did you regard the Village as an external thing or as something that we carry around with us all the time?

McGoohan: It was meant to be both. The external was the symbol, but it's within us all I think, don't you? This surrealist aspect; we all live in a little Village.

Troyer: Do we?

McGoohan: Your village may be different from other people's villages but we are all prisoners.

Troyer: Well, I know who the idiot is in mine.

McGoohan: Yes, Number One - same as me.

Seventh Boy: Is No. 1 the evil side of man's nature?

McGoohan: The greatest enemy that we have...No. 1 was depicted as an evil, governing force in this Village. So, who is this No. 1? We just see the No. 2's, the sidekicks. Now this overriding, evil force is at its most powerful within ourselves and we have constantly to fight it, I think, and that is why I made No. 1 an image of No. 6. His other half, his alter ego.

Troyer: Did you know when you first outlined the series in your own mind, the concept that No. 1 was going to turn out to be you, to be No. 6?

McGoohan: No, I didn't. That's an interesting question.

Troyer: When did you find out?

McGoohan: When it got very close to the last episode and I hadn't written it yet. And I had to sit down this terrible day and write the last episode and I knew it wasn't going to be something out of James Bond, and in the back of my mind there was some parallel with the character Six and the No. 1 and the rest. And then, I didn't even know exactly 'til I was about the third through the script, the last script.

Troyer: How about you colleagues, the other writers. Were they surprised?

McGoohan: Yep..

Troyer: Were they annoyed?

McGoohan: No.

Troyer: Did they decide it was untidy?

McGoohan: No, they used to come along from time to time and say, "Who's No. 1?" you see. And I told them , "It's a secret" until I actually sat down and wrote it - and it was, actually; they didn't know until I handed out the script.

Troyer: But were they disappointed by that...?

McGoohan: No, they liked it. They said they always knew it was going to be him.

Troyer: (laughs) Once you told them.

McGoohan: Few of them did really. Nobody really knew. No.

Troyer: Why the double mask? Why the monkey face?

McGoohan: Oh, dear. Yeah, well, we're all supposed to come from these things, you know. It's the same with the penny farthing symbol bicycle thing. Progress. I don't think we've progressed much. But the monkey thing was, according to various theories extant today, that we all come from the original ape, so I just used that as a symbol, you know. The bestial thing and then the other bestial face behind it which was laughing, jeering and jabbering like a monkey.

Eighth Boy: Mr. McGoohan, during the last episode, Fall Out, we see the Prisoner. He's smiling and laughing and dancing for the first time and yet later on the very last scene is exactly the some as the very first scene where he's driving off with his familiar stern face. My question is, has the Prisoner between the first and the last episode actually changed any?

McGoohan: Ah, no, I think he's essentially the same. I think he got slightly exhilarated by the fact that he got out of this mythical place and felt like doing a little skip and a dance, and singing a bit, and felt very happy to be going home with his little buddy, the Butler, you know. And we never did a cut of him when that door opened. We just saw the door open and he went in. So, you never knew whether his exhilaration was lost when he saw that sinister door that was left like an unfinished symphony.

Ninth Boy: In the final episode, does the Prisoner really consider becoming the leader of the Village?

McGoohan: No. He does not. He just wants to get out and he uses a technique which he hadn't used before that, which was violence, which is sad, but he does; and that's how he gets out and then, of course, in the final episode, he goes back to his little apartment place and he has his little valet guy with him and the door opens on its own when he goes in the car. There you know it's gonna start over again because we continue to be Prisoners.

Ninth Boy: And that leads to my last question, what would the Prisoner be likely to do with his newfound freedom?

McGoohan: He hasn't got it. Which is the whole point. When that door opens on its own and there's no one being it, exactly the same as all the doors in the Village open, you know that somebody's waiting in there to start it all over again. He's got no freedom. Freedom is a myth. There's no final conclusion to it. Ah, and I was very fortunate to be able to do something as audacious as that with no final conclusion to it because people do want the word "THE END" put up there. Now the final two words for that thing should have been "THE BEGINNING".

Troyer: This is kind of a banal question, I guess, but if you could leave one sentence or paragraph in the head of everyone who watched the Prisoner series, the whole series, one thing for them to carry around for awhile, when it was over, what would it be?

McGoohan: Be seeing you.

Troyer: Just that?...enigmatic to the end.

McGoohan: Be seeing you. That means quite a lot.

Troyer: It does indeed.

McGoohan: Be seeing you. Yeah.

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