As can be seen from the next snippet, from Time Out published in 1982, the story as told in most official sources has not changed in some ways since the fan club first broke out of their closed club and into the mainstream media.
Once Upon A Time was actually the sixth episode to enter production. One of the persistent tendencies of the closed fan-history seems to be to always seek to glorify the role of almost every collaborator in The Prisoner at the expense of any positive light upon Patrick McGoohan as the evident leading player in the entire project.
It is this bizarre tendency to diminish him that indeed led to the J'Accuse title of my entire blog-roll. The dvd documentary mentioned earlier was re-christened by one reviewer I read as "Let's All Kick Pat". The events told may be true to a greater or lesser degree but why are they *spun* the way they are? The most negatively critical tales often hinge upon the episode It's Your Funeral and remarkably it is study of the context of those events that seem to expose one of the biggest falsities at the heart of *official* fandom.
Its Your Funeral was the first episode to go into production after the two-week break of Christmas, 1966. But the events after It’s Your Funeral lead to a conclusion very different to viewing those events in mere isolation as somehow typical of the whole project. The next several episodes made in the new year of 1967 seem to demonstrate a gradual lifting of the cloud of funereal ire. Certainly McGoohan took over the direction of the very next episode in production, Change of Mind, but unlike the unfortunate Ms Andre, Angela Browne commented how nice Patrick McGoohan was to her while this episode was filmed. The next two episodes in production were the two made with Colin Gordon who commented how proud he was of the roles that took him out of his frequent acting niche of light comedy. At any rate he certainly enjoyed making A,B&C enough to want to stay on and make The General ! Next up was another comedic actor, Patrick Cargill, who like Colin Gordon, spoke later of relishing the opportunity to explore a more sinister character than he usually was offered in Hammer Into Anvil. Finally Many Happy Returns entered production, featuring a second appearance by Georgina Cookson, who had featured in A,B&C and Patrick Cargill again. Like Leo McKern some people seem to have kept coming back for moor. It was now April 1967 and seemingly whatever had ailed the production mood back in early January was resolved. So why had the making of that episode back in January become so fraught and unpleasant in the memory of those actors who were there?
In 1968, Patrick McGoohan made a very interesting comment to a journalist from the British national newspaper, the Daily Mirror, after the project was completed,
Incredibly, Markstein has since been lauded over the years by fan faction as some kind of guru behind this seminal series. The truth could barely be any more of a polar opposite. The answer actually becomes obvious by studying the very accounts of the production history of the show that these same fans have collected ! In that 1982 published article I quoted earlier, there is this paraphrase of what presumably George Markstein had told the fans who had interviewed him in the fag-end years of the 1970’s.
Was it this scathing, but honest comment to McGoohan from his long-time associate actor the moment of change in McGoohan’s mind about his patience with the script production process ? Whilst nowadays the *official* versions of the prisoner story have George Markstein’s guiding hand applying to the first thirteen episodes to enter production, in 1982, the story was significantly different:
George refused to be convinced and with his mind of his own he wrote his own war commando spin on some aspects of The Prisoner, seven years later (The Cooler). By that time Patrick McGoohan was resident in the USA and beginning his long association with friend and colleague Peter Falk; but the identity crisis of his putating prisoner fans was still a couple of years in the future. As Nelson Brenner might have quipped with a grin, Be Seeing You....................