The Prisoner Nummer 6


The sediments at the bottom of television: series and serials, omnipresent and almost as infinite as the medium itself. Few only were successfull in touching the underside of our attentiveness.
UNWAHRSCHEINLICHE GESCHICHTEN ("Improbable Stories") was one that did, the classic TWILIGHT ZONE.
Anything associated with the expression TV-magic applies to this.

Phantastic television of the sixties, among other things, is one conjuring formula:
"Be seeing you!" or
L'année dernière
au Village:

CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS:
(GERMAN KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED)

AUTOREN
DAVE BARRIE
FRANK T. BITTERHOF
TOBIAS BECKER
M. KEITH BOOKER
MICHAEL BRÜNE
ANTHONY DAVIS
PATRICK DUCHER
ROBERT FAIRCLOUGH
HOWARD FOY
GUILLAUME GRANIER
LARRY HALL
HARALD KELLER
ROGER LANGLEY
MOOR LARKIN
JEAN-MARC LOFFICIER
KEVIN P. MAHONEY
RICK McGRATH
JANA MÜLLER
STEVEN RICKS
CHRIS RODLEY
ZIAUDDINE SARDAR
CHRISTOPH WINDER
VALARIE ZIEGLER
 
INTERVIEWS
DAVE BARRIE
TIM BOURNE
MAX HORA
STEVE RAINES
BERND RUMPF
SIMON BATES (BBC) MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
BILL KING MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
WARNER TROYER MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
MIKE TOMKIES MIT
PATRICK McGOOHAN
DAVE BARRIE MIT
IAN L. RAKOFF

 

 

Even years after the first screen appearance many people would remember THE PRISONER as the series with the white balloon.

 

The white ballon that can be seen during the opening and closing sequences emerging out of the sea and drifting over the shores according to the episode "The Schizoid Man" is called Rover. This episode did not play in German until the year 2010. And it even has an important supporting role. It is only in the first episode "Arrival" that the thing, for once, is called Hystero in the German version. This is actually "Be still!", the command to all Village inhabitants/inmates to stand still without a move. Otherwise they would be in danger of being suffocated by Rover in a horrific image. Here Number 6 receives a demonstration of Rover's abilities.

An underwater test tube seems to Rover's place of birth. On appearing he is recognized acoustically by some impressive dinosaur-roaring noise. This watchdog patrols the Village borders, paralizes and catches fugitives. Internally it is utilized to establish and enforce the rules. Quite a lot of pictures show Number Six driven by Rover from behind.

Rovers final realization, though, was rather improvised by the props department. According to the shooting script - which is supported by old photographs - Rover was to be a hemispherical unmanned mechanical vehicle with no windows and a rotating blue police light on top of it. Thus it was to roam the Portmeirion streets and beaches.

THE PRIMAL ROVER: 8-MM FILM FOOTAGE
SHOT BY A PORTMEIRION HOTEL GUEST IN 1966

But as soon as the very first test shots in the Village took place it became obvious that this would not be working. The team had imported a vehicle on a go-kart chassis which was much too disproportionate and could only be driven on solid ground. Because it was too heavy it would sink into the estuary sand. Elaborate shots were impossible to accomplish - as the dreaded watchdog it was all but ease and unpredictability. Besides, driving proved torture for the person inside, with the sun shining and the way ahead hardly discernible.

Ultimately in shape, Rover is said by some to be McGoohan's idea while others hold it was one of the team: in fact, passing weather balloons must have been the prime source of inspiration. But in front of the camera they wouldn't display their skills. They were too lightweight and tended to vanish in the sky or were easily damaged. So tests were made, they were partly filled with water to improve their bouncing behaviour and to receive a better control in navigating them.
Eventually, what was most important in order to get the best performance, an almost invisible thread was attached to the balloons, they were dragged and the sequence was screened in reverse.

It is this simple explanation why the Villagers had to stand motionlessly while Rover was at large. In the history of movie mistakes and continuity errors there is also one particular scene where, on passing Rover, smoke is seen returning into the chimney - for those watching closely...

Futuristic and cleverly visionalized, Rover is the absolutely synthesized embodiment of the ever-present oppression in the Village and a symbol of the double character of progress.

ROVER = LAVA LAMP?

...those watching closely will surely discover Rover's "birth" graphically brought to the eye by the Rover mini replica, the famous Lava Lamp. One piece can be seen in Number Six' flat, another one in Number Two's control room where scenes of the Rover coming-to-life can also be spotted occasionally on the big wall screen as a kind of screen-saver.

This designer artwork piece was created in 1963 by Edward Craven Walker who intoduced it as the "Astro Lamp". In 1965 it was marketed in greater scale as the "Lava Lamp". Technically it's a glas container with heated up wax in a special liquid forming bubbles rising upwards, cooling down and then sinking and rising again. Walker was born in Singapore. He served in the British RAF's aerial reconnaissance during WWII. He had the idea for the Lava lamp when he saw a cocktail shaker in a bar with a mixure of oil and water in it heated by a light bulb. The bubbles created by the oil were projected as shadows upon a wall. And because the inventor of this device was already dead Walker went on to develop his idea by experimenting on the viscosity of the oil-water mixture until the bubbles' ascending and sinking was thought satisfactory enough. For the outer shape of the the Lava lamp he borrowed from the then popular "Tree Top" syrup bottle.

After its initial success the Lava lamp was rather forgotten until in the 1980s Mathmos purchased the object launching a whole product range on it which was distributed by furnishing houses.

By choosing this piece of artwork as a prop the PRISONER producers showed their understanding of forms and artistic taste as well as their fine sense in recognizing contemporary artistic trends.

WORSHIPPING? THERAPY? INSTRUCTIONS? UNSOLVED MYSTERY IN "FREE FOR ALL"


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  "Wir sehen uns!" oder L'année dernière au Village · The Prisoner · Nummer 6

 

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WIR SEHEN UNS! D
BE SEEING YOU! E
THE CAFE
FREE SEA
OLD PEOPLE'S HOME
CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU
WALK ON THE GRASS
6 PRIVATE
2 PRIVATE
GENERAL STORES
TOWN HALL
LABOUR EXCHANGE
COUNCIL CHAMBER
BAND STAND
CHESS LAWN
www.match-cut.de
TEXTS ON FILM

FREE INFORMATION
SIX OF ONE · 601 D
THE VILLAGE D
CAMERA OBSCURA
WHO IS NUMBER 1?
THE NEW NUMBER 2 D
"ORANGE ALERT!"
VILLAGE FACT FILES
"MUSIC SAYS IT ALL"
McGOOHAN INTERVIEW D
"ARRIVAL" SCRIPT
SPEEDLEARN DIR
THE TALLY HO D DIR
Nr6DE FRIENDS & SUPP.
THE PRISONER WEBLINKS
TV-MAGIC WEBLINKS
IMPRESSUM | FEEDBACK

ARRIVAL
THE CIMES OF BIG BEN
A. B. AND C.
FREE FOR ALL
THE SCHIZOID MAN
THE GENERAL
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
DANCE OF THE DEAD
CHECKMATE
HAMMER INTO ANVIL
IT'S YOUR FUNERAL
A CHANGE OF MIND
DO NOT FORSAKE ME...
LIVING IN HARMONY
THE GIRL WHO WAS DEATH
ONCE UIPON A TIME
FALL OUT