Drake takes the place of a defector and goes behind the iron curtain to find out what is happening when foreign agents reach England. When he gets there he finds a replica English village, which is a...
The Jolly Roger is pirate radio station on an old sea fort. A DJ is killed just as he sends a message saying that the station is sending coded messages to foreign submarines. Drake goes undercover as...
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The lid show made Saturday evening a treat. Not only for the great opening sound track by JOHNNY Rivers, but the creative exploits of the main character John Drake. At the time it followed the spy craze created by the 2 James Bond movies made just prior to the show's debut, Dr. No and From Russia With Love. What made this show different as well was several years after it went off the air on CBS, a spin off series was crest called "The Prisoner". The show gained rave reviews during a ST run. It picked on what happens to John Drake after he quits the British Secret Service.. Somewhat dated but still both shows are exciting TV fare.
The American theme song (replacing Edwin Astley's new "High Wire" tune) "Secret Agent Man" was originally titled "Danger Man" with corresponding lyrics, until the decision was made to change the series title for US broadcast. It was composed by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, and performed by Johnny Rivers, who included a live version of the track on his 1966 album "...And I Know You Wanna Dance". See more »
The opening credits for the original British version of the series are only about 10 seconds long -- one of the shortest credit sequences in TV history (among shows with opening credits). The American version of the opening credits is some 3 times as long. See more »
Don't let B/W scare you, this series is better than Bond!
Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner, Scanners, Braveheart) stars as Secret Agent John Drake in this highly entertaining series full of quick dialogue, twist endings, and inventive storylines that would be right at home on Primetime TV now. McGoohan's subtle yet intense acting and well-choreographed fight scenes, as well as minorities and women in the roles of intelligent, important people are far ahead of their time and worth watching again and again. The characters have a fair amount of depth for a show that's primarily "us-against-them"; the bad guys are sympathetic and the good guys aren't squeaky-clean.
The fact that John Drake occasionally makes mistakes and has to improvise with his wits, luck and humor rather than a series of well-placed gadgets sets this series above the Bond films. It's fast-paced and tightly written...exceedingly clever overall.
McGoohan's acting style reminds me of both Mel Gibson and Ben Browder; he's capable of saying loads of things with no dialogue, is equally adept at humor, action and anger, and can flip emotions quickly. Today's audience may find some of the styles of the other actors a little dated, and the contrast is more pronounced because McGoohan is so much better than most of them.
FIGHTING: The fight scenes are inventive and action-packed. McGoohan's boxing experience shows, but he isn't limited to one fighting style, fights dirty when necessary and isn't above unexpectedly throwing furniture across a room or tossing an adversary down the stairs. There are several back-breaking stunts in the fight scenes which are probably not allowed any more, so if you're a fight buff as I am, they're worth rewinding.
GADGETS: The spy gadgets are for the most part items which could actually exist, and they are brought in as part of a plan rather than the Gothic Trick style gadgets of 007; Drake never has to hope that someone borrows his exploding pen at just the right time. I love Q's inventions, they add humor and flavor to the Bond films, but I find that I don't really miss them since it's clear Drake could beat Bond on an IQ test.
BONUS FOR THE LADIES: If you like James Bond (McGoohan actually turned down the role of James Bond -- twice), but prefer someone who's less of a rake with a bigger sense of humor, this is the guy for you. Not quite funny enough to beat Austin Powers, mind you, but he has better teeth. He's cute, clever and charming and I became a "Drake Drooler" upon my first viewing.
LOVE SCENES: While other characters kiss and have affairs and trade sex for secrets on the show, and Drake clearly enjoys the parties he attends and gambling with the Agency's money, the main character had not one kissing scene throughout the entire series, (which may have something to do with the fact Drake smokes constantly-- his lighter is a camera). I had thought this would make it seem dated, but actually it became an important detail of a well-crafted character, and is part of why I grew to like him better than Bond after only the first disk. I am speaking as a lifetime Bond fan, too, so it wasn't easy for me to admit.
BONUS FOR PRISONER FANS: Fans of McGoohan's cult hit The Prisoner will love to join the scavenger hunt and pick out the characters and clues that have led many to conclude that John Drake and Number 6 are one in the same, or at least that the Everyman in the Prisoner is represented by John Drake. (McGoohan categorically denies this, but it's more fun to play with it.)
Those who have watched The Prisoner may wish to start with set 2, which contains the episode Colony Three, the first appearance of a town full of spies referred to as "The Village". Villagers will also feel quite at home in "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove", a surreal look into Drake's mind in which he sees Death at every turn. The symbolic use of midnight, mirrors and reflection will satisfy your urge to dissect if you're one of the more fervent Prisoner fans.
Be Seeing You!
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