Tuesday, March 1, 2005


"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, de-briefed, or numbered. My life is my own."
- Number Six, 'The Prisoner'

Perhaps. But it is also ours to celebrate.

It's March in the year marking the fiftieth anniversary of my arrival on your world. And as such, every candidate for membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame is granted waivers from the usual strict (shyeah right!) regulations for induction.

At 4:31 am on the morning of March 19th, 1928, actor Patrick McGoohan made his debut in the Real World.

By an "amazing" coincidence, this was also the date and time of birth for a secret agent who would grow up to have an incredible resemblance to Mr. McGoohan. Once he resigned from the service, this secret agent was drugged and kidnapped, only to awaken in a place known simply as "The Village". Here he was stripped of his identity and referred to as Number Six.

"They've given you a number, and taken away your name." Sounds familiar, right? It's from the hit pop song that accompanied the TV spy show 'Secret Agent', which was sort of a sequel to 'Danger Man'. In this series, an agent for NATO (later for British Intelligence) named John Drake also bore an incredible similarity to the actor Patrick McGoohan.

And it's this writer's opinion that Mr. Drake and Number Six were one and the same man.

Mr. McGoohan has long denied this. But then he would have to, from a purely business standpoint. To acknowledge that it is John Drake we see in the opening sequence of nearly every episode of 'The Prisoner' as he resigns would then leave him open to having to pay royalties to the creators of 'Danger Man' and 'Secret Agent'.

But aside from the physical resemblance, Drake and Six both share a deep moral ethos; something of an outlook based on a Catholic upbringing, perhaps. We never saw either the 'Secret Agent' or 'The Prisoner' involved in a sexual relationship of a transitory nature as one would expect from a spy during the swinging sixties.

(In his past life, Number Six did have a fiance, however. When they were reunited, it appeared as though they must have had only a very chaste relationship, although that could be attributed to the fact that he returned to her with his mind trapped in the body of another man.)

And both men shared other things in common from their pasts, including a former associate by the name of Potter.

In the years I've been a caretaker for the TV Universe, I've posited that many characters from different series were in fact one and the same. But I've never had so compelling an argument as I have with John Drake of 'Secret Agent', 'Danger Man', and the theatrical release of "Koroshi" (actually two episodes of the series edited together) and Number Six, 'The Prisoner'.

Number Six appears in more than one TV dimension; in fact, he's also crossed over through the multiverse vortex to other worlds. In the Tooniverse, he met Homer Simpson when the resident of Springfield was whisked away to an island version of "The Village" because he knew too much.

And there have been several novels as well as a limited comic book series based on his time served as 'The Prisoner'.

Connections can be made as well to other TV series where, although he does not actually appear, references are made to the fact that he must have existed in their reality.

A good example of this would be in the future as depicted by 'Babylon 5'. The black ops organization known as Psi-Corps uses the salute of "Be Seeing You", which could almost be considered traditional in "The Village".

(One day soon I'll get around to posting the theory I have that links 'The Prisoner' not only to 'Babylon 5', but also to 'Deep Space Nine', 'Enterprise', and 'Alias'.)

I use a guest character in another series to make a link to 'The Prisoner' - Nelson Brenner, the double agent/murderer in the 'Columbo' episode "Identity Crisis". Not only did Brenner repeatedly use the phrase "Be seeing you" and was surrounded by visual imagery suggesting the other series ("Number One" signs, his style of clothing), but he also bore a remarkable resemblance to the actor Patrick McGoohan.

For me, this is easy to splain away. Nelson Brenner had been in "The Village". No, he wasn't Number Six and thus John Drake. He was in fact Number Twelve, the agent brought in to help break Number Six's sense of his own identity in the episode "The Schizoid Man".

Those who know this episode might protest that Number Twelve dies at the end of this episode, smothered by "Rover" during an Orange Alert. However, at the end of the penultimate episode of "Once Upon A Time", Number Two also perished during Degree Absolute, only to be revived in the finale "Fall Out".

"The Village" had the technology to revive him, why not for Number Twelve as well? Wouldn't it make sense to bring him back from the dead so that he could return to his previous life and avoid raising questions?

So the link to 'Columbo' isn't to Number Six or to John Drake but rather to the man who was hired to impersonate him and thus it's an implicit admission that Number Six is in the same TV Universe as 'Columbo'.

"He has revolted. Resisted. Fought. Held fast. Maintained. Destroyed resistance. Overcome coercion. The right to be Someone, a Person, an Individual. We applaud his private war and conced that despite materialistic efforts he has survived intact and secure. All that remains is recognition of a man."
- President of the Assembly, 'The Prisoner'

And we'd like to recognize this Individual as well, with his induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.


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