Monday, June 28, 2010


Hello, again!

In the past, I've provided TV-based identities for various characters to be found in 'The Prisoner' (the original version) which linked to other TV series, either from before 'The Prisoner' or after, and in one case, during.

Number Two - as played by Leo McKern in "Chimes Of Big Ben" and the two part finale - was the identical twin brother of Horace Rumpole. While the wife of 'Rumpole Of The Bailey' was She Who Must Be Obeyed, his brother was He Who Must Not Be Named.

Number Six had an identical twin in the Village - Number 12, also played by Patrick McGoohan. This "Schizoid Man" was addressed as Curtis, but his real name was Nelson Brenner. And he was a double agent in the CIA, as exposed by Lt. 'Columbo' in the "Identity Crisis" murder case.

Number Two - as played by Clifford Evans in "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling" - created a cryogenic process to freeze himself until his damaged heart could be repaired in a completely safe operation. Keith Longman was his true name and he tried to test the process on Simon Templar, aka 'The Saint'.

The Butler - played by Angelo Muscat - was the son of Dr. Miguelito Loveless (from 'The Wild, Wild West') and an unknown Italian woman. His father gave him the job in the Village, a place Loveless created, never knowing his son might one day betray his dreams of world domination.

And of course, Number Six himself was NATO/MI-6 agent John Drake of 'Danger Man' & 'Secret Agent'.

And now Toobworld Central has turned the Eye towards another Village resident......
In the final episode of 'The Prisoner', we met Number 48, a prisoner who was on trial as a representative of rebellious youth against the state - that is, the Village. He joined the former Number Two, the Butler, and Sir (the former Number Six) in a coup that brought down that particular Village. (There have always been others, confirmed by last year's "revision" of the series.) It's the only episode in which Number 48 appears, even though there was another in the Village who looked exactly like him. One of Number Two's assistants in the Village, Number 8, entered into a virtual reality simulation of the Old West, calling himself "The Kid," in order to play mind games with Number Six. However, the programming affected his own troubled mind, leading to his murder of a woman involved in the plan and to his own possible suicide. (It's unclear if he died from the fall of the balcony in the bar, but it does look like he broke his neck.) I suppose the argument could be made that The Kid and Number 48 were the same man, based on their similar features. (As you probably figured out, they were played by the same actor, Alexis Kanner.) But that would have required at least one additional episode to show the reformation of The Kid, that he was under the influence of Village brain-washing or whatever. Toobworld Central can accept that a lot of things happen unsaid and offscreen - the first meeting between Ensign Chekov and Khan Noonian Singh, for instance - but this would have been too much to allow without seeing some sort of reform.

There's no problem in accepting that the President of the Assembly in that last episode of 'The Prisoner' is the same man who served as Number Two earlier in "The Girl Who Was Death"; there's a logical progression there. But Number 48 and Number 8 can't be the same man.

As for them looking alike, the Village was known for its skill in plastic surgery. Number 12, who looked just like Number Six, is a good example of that.

So who was Number 48? Of his television roles, I'm going to suggest it was Police Constable Matt Stone, whom Kanner played in nine episodes of 'Softly, Softly'. His character just disappeared, with no good explanation. (The behind the scenes reasons given for Kanner's departure from the show - especially as his character was proving popular - do not influence what happened within the reality of Toobworld.)

It's possible that while he was with that police squad in the Wyvern region, Constable Stone stumbled across sensitive, even top-secret information that he wasn't meant to see. (Or hear - it could be someone, from MI-5 perhaps, whispered their dying secrets to him when Stone found the dying agent.) Because of that, Stone was abducted by those in control of the Village and brought to the Village in order to learn what he knew. Matt Stone would have been there for over a year before Number Six, the former John Drake, found himself in similar straits.
(Could it be that those bar patrons listening in on Matt Stone's conversation would turn out to be the ones to abduct him?)

As to what happened to Matt Stone after their escape from the Village, apparently he went underground so completely he was never seen again in Toobworld - not even under assumed names in one-shot TV roles. Alexis Kanner apparently only appeared on TV one last time, in an episode of 'UFO' in 1970 - although the show took place in 1980. It's unlikely that Matt Stone would risk detection by those who kidnapped him by training to be a SHADO pilot with the alias of Jim Regan. Stone would have stayed as far away as possible from any government agency.

Alexis Kanner died in 2003, but there's no reason to assume that "dem bones" of former constable Matt Stone were interred as well. He may still be out there, living under an assumed name, leading a life that is so unremarkable that there's not even a tangential chance it might be observed in the background of some other TV series.
Anyway, it's more fun to remember him as he was as Number 48 - one of the most colorful characters to come out of Toobworld in the late 1960's........

Hear the word of the Lord.

* I was tempted to use "KANNER-Y ROLES" as the subject heading, but that pun is even worse than the one I used.....


Moor Larkin said...

When I first watched this show, back in 1967, I accepted that the young guy in 'Fall-Out' was intended to be 'The Kid' resurrected and re-formed, just as the No.2 was.

I gather that collective Cult Theory discounts this nowadays, because the numbers don't add up.

Whom makes the rules, I am inclined to ask.


Toby O'B said...

Hi Moor!

As far as Toobworld goes, it's a majority of one. But I'm always open to advice and sometimes change my opinion based on it. (However, I'm sticking with Number 48 and The Kid being two different characters.)

Toobworld - like TV itself which sometimes gets rewritten - is always in flux.

Thanks for tuning in!