Well, I just found out that Patrick McGoohan has finally escaped the island–for good.
Yes, I am referring to his masterful turn as “Number 6″ in “The Prisoner.”
McGoohan was actually born in New York to Irish parents, who, after his birth returned to Ireland and later England to raise him. He was a Pisces with an Aquarius rising and a large cluster of Aquarian planets in his first house. McGoohan would go onto star in a number of films throughout his career, often popping up as a bad guy. We’ll talk about one of those films a little later.
“The Prisoner” is a virtual cornucopia of layers of symbolism, a feast for anyone wanting to “think backwards” as Crowley once exhorted those who wanted to know the truth. “The Prisoner” debuted on October 1st, 1967 in England. It was a sequel to a show called, “Danger Man” in The UK, known as “Secret Agent Man” in The USA. McGoohan’s “Danger Man” was part of the popular spy genre that permeated TV in The 60′s. From, “I Spy” to “Mission Impossible.” to “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” to “The Saint” and to “The Avengers” (in some ways, The Prisoner’s companion show), these shows leant an air of secrecy and intrigue to the culture at large. What was the social subtext, if there was any? It was that there were eyes and ears everywhere. There is no show that this is more evident on than “The Prisoner.” While on the island, Number 6 is under constant surveillance. The term that is used for this type of society that is constantly under observation is called, “panopticonism.” Ironically this is the current state of affairs in England with the prevalence of CCTV cameras everywhere, a society that is constantly under watch. ‘The Prisoner” was a prescient model of the observable society.
For those that are unfamiliar with the show, McGoohan’s “Danger Man” character calls it quits and decides that he wants out of the cloak and dagger game. But, just like you can never truly leave a gang, or the mob, you can’t get out of the spook world either. Number 6 knows too much and would be too much of an asset to other agencies and countries around the world, so they put him on ice with a bunch of other spooks and plants and see what they can crack out of him during his stay. Most of the series is dedicated to Number 6′s attempt to escape the island, find out who is behind his captivity (Number 1) while matching wits with his captors.
The show was stylish and futuristic, employing arcane symbolism and what amounted to hi-tech devices for the time, which gave the show an extremely authentic feel.
In the very first episode, “The Arrival” tracks Number 6′s abduction and introduction to the island. In an early sequence, Number 6 is brought in to get his orientation and some interesting things occur. First, on the large screen behind Number 6 is a floating mural that has a series of Jupiter’s, rippling in and out of focus. While on the other screen, the one that faces Number 6, the constellations are stretched out across a map of the world. I find this to be fascinating. First of all, Jupiter plays a large role in the symbolism of Free Masonry. It is often considered “The Second Sun” and while Venus, The Morning Star, is often symbolic of Lucifer, Jupiter represents the new Sun, The Sun that is The Sun of this world. Arthur C. Clarke, used Jupiter as a key symbol for his books, 2001 and 2010, where Jupiter gives birth to the new consciousness in 2001 and the second Sun in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »