Friday, January 16, 2009


Many fans of 'The Prisoner' have argued that Number 6, as played by Patrick McGoohan, was actually the character of John Drake from McGoohan's earlier series 'Danger Man' and 'Secret Agent'. When asked this (as he must have been hundreds if not thousands of times!), McGoohan would always say no, that they were two different characters.

Of course, legally he would have to say that. Otherwise, he and Lew Grade would have had to pay the creator of Drake royalties for coming up with the secret agent man.

But Toobworld Central is not bound by such stricture. It's our belief that it was John Drake who resigned, only to find himself a prisoner in the Village - where "they" had given him a number, and taken away his name.

Just as the line goes in the 'Secret Agent Man' song.......

But Number 6 wasn't the only character played by McGoohan in 'The Prisoner'. In the episode "Schizoid Man", McGoohan also portrayed Number 12 (real name: Curtis) who was used in a plot to break McGoohan. He presented himself as the real Number 6 in order to get 6 so thoroughly unsure of his own identity that he would spill the beans on why he resigned.

Near the end of the episode, Number 6 gets the better of Number 12 and forces him to give up the password to get by Rover, the "watchdog" of the Village. When they are both confronted by the possibly sentient balloon, the real Number 6 says "Gemini" first; Rover attacks and kills Curtis after he then gives the password.

But just because Curtis died in the Village, that doesn't mean he had to stay dead. As we would learn later in the final episode "Fall Out", Death is transient in a place with their futuristic devices. So if the Village was able to resuscitate Number 2, why couldn't it do the same for Curtis?

And once he was alive again, where did he go?

It's the Toobworld Central theory that he returned to his previous employ as a spy; actually as a double agent, working for both sides. For the CIA he was known as Nelson Brenner, code name: Colorado; he remained Curtis for the Other Side. And it was as Nelson Brenner that we saw him again - this time in the 'Columbo' episode "Identity Crisis". Behind the scenes, this episode was directed by Patrick McGoohan with several allusions to 'The Prisoner'. The number "1" was seen at the amusement park, where Brenner was seen wearing a windbreaker very similar in style to the outfit worn by Number 6 and most of the Villagers. And if I'm not mistaken, he would say "Be seeing you" to the Lieutenant.

This theory that Nelson Brenner and Curtis were the same man was presented here in the past. (Or maybe it was in the old website of The Tubeworld Dynamic.) But with the death of Patrick McGoohan, I thought it would make a nice, typically Toobworldly tribute to bring it up again.

Toby O'B


wytchcroft said...

it wasn't Curtis in Columbo, it was No.6.

i mean really, where we he go?

among the myriad references in Identity Crisis is the fact that Brenner's profession is SELLING INFORMATION.

wytchcroft said...

'where would he go?', even. oops!

Toby O'B said...

No, I think I'll stick with Curtis on this. That snide personality of Brenner's better suited him. The argument could be made that Drake/Six had the same personality, but I think his was dialed down quite a bit in comparison.