When I read of actor Patrick McGoohan’s death four months ago, my first thought was of my parents watching The Prisoner when it was reran on PBS in the late 1970s. I believe it was 1978.

I recall that as the probable year because that was around the time that I had finally developed a deep appreciation of The Beatles’ music, and one of The Prisoner episodes (possibly the last one) had this chaotically-filmed scene where everyone was running around in a frenzied state while the optimistic refrain of “All You Need Is Love” played. I remember that as being very cool.

[Editor’s Note: It was indeed the final installment of the 17-episode series that ran from October 1967 to February 1968 when it originally aired. The last episode, “Fall Out,” features several jukeboxes playing the song.]

I’ve never seen The Prisoner in its entirety, but what segments I remember I’ve never forgotten. I did collect and read DC’s four-issue sequel to the series, by Dean Motter and Mark Askwith, that was published in 1988. I recall liking it very much, but my personal life was in a self-inflicted shambles at that time that my memories of it aren’t that vivid.

I re-read the collected tome, The Prisoner: Shattered Visage (1990), the other night and enjoyed it–although the ending was a little ambiguous. In other words, I didn’t quite get it, and I feel I should.

Jack Kirby began his own telling of The Prisoner in the 1970s, which was never completed . . . darn, darn, darn. Kirby illustrated a two-page spread where “Number Six,” McGoohan’s character, is walking alone through the heart of The Village, and that’s all the character is doing. However, there is so much depth and detail to the hamlet’s design and architecture that I keep finding myself staring at the image in just plain awe.

Kirby’s two-page spreads are mesmerizing, so much so that just thinking about them–from Kamandi, The Demon, Our Fighting Forces, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Forever People, and on and on–easily distracts me from the original subject I’ve been pursuing.

Anyway, the original TV series of The Prisoner is a must-see–and with it available on DVD, the time has come for me to indulge in it before the new miniseries debuts on AMC later this year.

The original series is also available for viewing online for free at: http://www.amctv.com/originals/the-prisoner-1960s-series/

About The Author

Jim Kingman

Jim Kingman is a writer for Comics Bulletin