John Drake is a special operative for NATO, specializing in security assignments against any subversive element which threatened world peace. The series featured exotic locales from all ...
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John Drake is a special operative for NATO, specializing in security assignments against any subversive element which threatened world peace. The series featured exotic locales from all over the world, as his assignments frequently took him to Africa, Latin America, and the Far East. Written by
Marg Baskin <email@example.com> UPDATED U.N. Owen
Although hugely successful in Europe, this show failed to find an audience in American syndication and was cancelled after one season. By the time production resumed in 1964, the James Bond fad had hit and Americans were more receptive to the idea of a spy TV series. See more »
[Opening titles narration]
Every government has its Secret Service branch: America, CIA; France, Deuxieme Bureau; England, MI5. NATO also has its own. A messy job? Well that's when they usually call on me, or someone like me. Oh yes: my name is Drake. John Drake.
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I think the "Danger Man" series I remember, with its distinctive racy theme tune, was the later hour-long remake series from 1964 onwards, which would fit in with my own youthful time-line I suppose. Hunting down the show on the web I came across the first episode from 1960 entitled "The View From The Villa", which I was interested to see was co-written by the great Brian Clemens of future "The Avengers" fame.
This episode contained a neat little mystery taking in a murder, the city of Rome, and an enigmatic femme fatale which Patrick McGoohan's John Drake solves with his eye for a painting, all in a brisk 25 minute time-frame. The show, unlike its successor, is pre-Bond so there are no gadgets and there's also an icy detachment from the glamorous and flirtatious ladies he encounters which 007 would never countenance.
No, Drake is there simply to get the job done, which he does with steely aplomb, dispensing what might have been an early catchphrase "Obliged" as he does so. He's handy with his dukes too, but again not in a flashy or contrived way.
McGoohan strolls through the part with laconic ease and as well as elements of the early Bond, you can also see the genesis of Roger Moore's Simon Templar character here, the latter of course with added humour, suavity and raised eyebrow.
I'll certainly make an effort to try to watch more of this entertaining series, confident it will retain the standard of this opening programme.
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