McGoohan Thread (mentions Armchair Theatre Vol 4)

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Moor Larkin
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McGoohan Thread (mentions Armchair Theatre Vol 4)

Post by Moor Larkin »

Following the tearing down of the old Mausoleum that so quickly followed the unwise incantations made within the precincts of that venerable but mortal place, it seems timely to once again whisper the name that resonates through the echoing chambers of the hallways of the Hallowed.

I so hope the rumours about 2012 being the end of days are false.

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Re: McGoohan

Post by Juswuh »

I'd be sorry if the world ended before Scotland Yard comes out. (Just certificated by the BBFC - I see it does include "Wall of Death".)

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Re: McGoohan

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Moor Larkin wrote:Following the tearing down of the old Mausoleum that so quickly followed the unwise incantations made within the precincts of that venerable but mortal place, it seems timely to once again whisper the name that resonates through the echoing chambers of the hallways of the Hallowed.
I didn't understand a word of that.
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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by ian b »

Don't you get it? According to another site...

They managed to delete "several thousand" posts (including most of the Archive TV thread) in the process. Apparently there were no backups. Doh.

and...

Wow! ten years of the Mauso club and its gone -just like that.
The new site looks like a cheap holding page. It was hard enough getting membership on the old page but this site looks even more closed shop. Maybe its now even more just for friends and like minded people? - can't see it lasting for much longer as a mutual appreciation society as they will fall out as well and when they do there will be nothing left.


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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Mr_Wolf »

Guess I have at that. The fact that you can actually register here (and you couldn't on the old one) and, by the time I've finished restoring the latest backup, only the last few weeks worth of posts will be missing is obviously neither here nor there.
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Re: McGoohan

Post by Moor Larkin »

McGoohan was hardly ever prolific, except in that brief 1964-65 output of hour-long Danger Man but he had been around the TV scene since about 1954, when Michael Barry at the BBC seems to have held him in some regard, and specifically had him cast as Parnell, which Irish role suggests McGoohan was noticed to carry an Irish accent (even when *acting*). His first role in the "You are There" strand as Nolan in The Charge of the Light Brigade seemed to have led Barry to keep him in mind. This was in 1954. It's also notable perhaps that he was invited to take the lead role in the opener of the BBC's 1955 The Makepeace Story, leading off a four-part story that was compared in popularity and impact at the time to Quatermass! In that he seems to have been utilised for his ability to reproduce a "Northern" English accent.

McGoohan's tall frame made him look rather dashing in a uniform, and his role as a mounted cavalry-man in the Terence Young/Broccoli movie, Zarak, appears to have brought him to the notice of Rank, who soon had him signed up as a putative British movie-star, he was very highly-regarded by critics, one even suggested he would make more money for Britain than Guinness! The financial collapse of the Rank film studio in the late 1950's and the rise of the commercial TV networks seemed to occur at just the right time for one another, with the cross-fertilisation of redundancy and the rise of a new technology. McGoohan seems to have ridden this wave somehow into a new Commercial medium that he personally seems to have held in some contempt. He doesn't seem to have worked for the BBC again until 1963 but the way his apparently awkward character seemed to be able to garner both public and critical praise seemingly without any effort to garner either of their approval seems quite remarkable. He certainly was to be a TV pioneer with a certain uniqueness about him.

TV in practice seemed to complement him better than movie-making and he was awarded what was essentially a TV Bafta (contemporarily awarded to the likes of Ralph Richardson) after the play that appears in this collection, and partly as result of it, although his role in another TV play, All My Sons, that year was also highly respected.

Alongside McGoohan's theatrical sensation in the otherwise normally popularly-impenetrable Ibsen milieu, he garnered a reputation somehow of both brilliance and popular star quality that seems in some ways unmatched by many others of his time, outside of the acknowledged "film-stars" of the day. The popular and growing success of the first series of Danger Man must have made him amongst the first British acting stars who achieved international recognition via television, rather than film or theatre.

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Re: McGoohan

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Moor Larkin wrote:McGoohan was hardly ever prolific...
TL;DR.
The Trials and Triumphs of Les Dawson and Britain's Greatest TV Comedy Moments - available at some indifferent bookshops.

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Cheeseford »

Mr_Wolf wrote:Guess I have at that. The fact that you can actually register here (and you couldn't on the old one) and, by the time I've finished restoring the latest backup, only the last few weeks worth of posts will be missing is obviously neither here nor there.
Yep. Registrations are open again, because the new software enables us to administer them better. No doubt the same point-missing naysayers will claim that the deletion was deliberate, and intended to expunge all record of the Savile thread. It wasn't deliberate, but the loss of that thread is a fringe benefit.
The Trials and Triumphs of Les Dawson and Britain's Greatest TV Comedy Moments - available at some indifferent bookshops.

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by stearn »

The traditional conspiracy theory for Christmas - where would we be without one?

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Cheeseford »

I like the one starring top naturist David Niven impersonator Paul 'Mr Midnight off that Anglia' Lavers.
The Trials and Triumphs of Les Dawson and Britain's Greatest TV Comedy Moments - available at some indifferent bookshops.

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Juswuh »

McGoohan certainly wasn't an all-round creative genius, but he was an actor with a highly distinctive presence and (obviously) a willingness to take risks. He's also one of those people who never recover from their biggest success.

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by brigham »

Is there to be an Armchair Theatre volume 4?

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Juswuh »

11 Feb 2013, according to Amazon!

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Moor Larkin »

Juswuh wrote:McGoohan certainly wasn't an all-round creative genius, but he was an actor with a highly distinctive presence and (obviously) a willingness to take risks. He's also one of those people who never recover from their biggest success.
McGoohan did recover from several successes though, to whit this play in the Armchair Theatre collection. It formed part of those years where he seemed unable to put a foot wrong, however hard he may have tried by taking risks. He was in something of a blue funk over doing his theatre Brand, and apparently bemoaned that it hadn't gone well in the pub after the first night (according to Michael Meyer) despite the reported standing ovations, and Peter Sallis commenting that that night was one of the few he recalled when he stood in the presence of acting greatness!

Not withstanding all that he did in '58/'59, winning that Bafta and the theatre plaudits too, McGoohan stepped away from all of the success, and did a TV series... with all it's dangers of typing, that were as well-known back then as now - plus the supposedly casual standards of production that are often claimed by movie-makers. From Ibsen and live TV plays to canned TV...... and he became more popular than ever, as Danger Man and while he stepped away from that, to have another stab at movies, those canned shows were broadcast over the next year or two and made him more successful and popular than ever before!

Reading reviews of "The Greatest Man in the World" suggests Donald Pleasence as the President was the best performance in that play, but his distinctive presence was only to lead to his playing two guest roles in McGoohan's new series.

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Re: McGoohan

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Moor Larkin wrote:He doesn't seem to have worked for the BBC again until 1963
True, though he doesn't really do very much "proper" telly at all after Brand.

Having apparently set his sights on film - for the small or large screen - that's pretty much your lot for an age, in this country at least. Just three more plays, one each for ABC, Granada and the BBC. It's not really that he's working away from the BBC by choice, more that they don't make the kind of series it seems he wants to do.
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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Mr_Wolf »

ian b wrote:Don't you get it? According to another site...

They managed to delete "several thousand" posts (including most of the Archive TV thread) in the process. Apparently there were no backups. Doh.

and...

Wow! ten years of the Mauso club and its gone -just like that.
The new site looks like a cheap holding page. It was hard enough getting membership on the old page but this site looks even more closed shop. Maybe its now even more just for friends and like minded people? - can't see it lasting for much longer as a mutual appreciation society as they will fall out as well and when they do there will be nothing left.


So, you've been told!
Quarter of a million posts' worth of wildly dubious quality have just been restored to the old site. So they can put that it their pipe and smoke it.
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Re: McGoohan

Post by Moor Larkin »

Simon Coward wrote:
Moor Larkin wrote:He doesn't seem to have worked for the BBC again until 1963
True, though he doesn't really do very much "proper" telly at all after Brand.

Having apparently set his sights on film - for the small or large screen - that's pretty much your lot for an age, in this country at least. Just three more plays, one each for ABC, Granada and the BBC. It's not really that he's working away from the BBC by choice, more that they don't make the kind of series it seems he wants to do.
I would guess also though that commercial television paid much better than the BBC, as the advertising business took off.

I've also wondered if McGoohan's abrasiveness created barriers to his having much to do with the BBC although Barry was till there until 1961. McGoohan's initial success in TV, as he finished with Rank, was with Granada too, rather than with the London operators, which may be of some significance perhaps - he was never the polished RADA graduate type I don't suppose.

Nonetheless this late 1950's work was all comprised of "telly plays" - just the same sort of thing that the BBC were also making.

He did seem to be conscious of not getting too much telly exposure after 1960 I would agree, because prior to his 1963 "The Prisoner" play, he's quoted as saying that Danger Man was giving him more than enough small-screen exposure and this was why he'd not been seen in other TV work recently, so your point about his interest in films after 1960-61 or so is certainly backed up by his own comments.

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Re: McGoohan

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Moor Larkin wrote: I've also wondered if McGoohan's abrasiveness created barriers to his having much to do with the BBC although Barry was till there until 1961. McGoohan's initial success in TV, as he finished with Rank, was with Granada too, rather than with the London operators, which may be of some significance perhaps - he was never the polished RADA graduate type I don't suppose.
It's hard to judge, with all the main players having studios in London as well as in their own regions. Once ITV had got going, he moves from company to company, both ITV and BBC. After those which pre-date his first attempt at feature films and one of which pre-dates ITV in any case, he never makes two consecutive plays for the same company - assuming my list is complete.

28/05/1955 TERMINUS: Margin For Error (BBC)
16/10/1955 SUNDAY NIGHT THEATRE: The Makepeace Story - The Ruthless Destiny (BBC)
19/12/1955 Farewell Companions (BBC Radio)
.
.
.
14/05/1958 PLAY OF THE WEEK: All My Sons (Granada)
04/06/1958 PLAY OF THE WEEK: Disturbance (Associated Rediffusion)
01/07/1958 TELEVISION PLAYWRIGHT: This Day In Fear (BBC)
12/09/1958 TELEVISION PLAYHOUSE: Rest In Violence (Granada)
09/11/1958 ARMCHAIR THEATRE: The Greatest Man In The World (ABC)
30/12/1958 PLAY OF THE WEEK: The Big Knife (Associated Rediffusion)
03/03/1959 PLAY OF THE WEEK: A Dead Secret (ATV)
04/08/1959 PLAY OF THE WEEK: Shadow Of A Pale Horse (Granada)
11/08/1959 WORLD THEATRE: Brand (BBC)
12/03/1961 ARMCHAIR THEATRE: The Man Out There (ABC)
24/10/1961 PLAY OF THE WEEK: Serjeant Musgrave's Dance (Granada)
24/02/1963 THE SUNDAY NIGHT PLAY: The Prisoner (BBC)

It's pure speculation on my part, but I suppose it is possible that the slight bias towards Granada was related to the fact that it (along with ABC) served Sheffield.
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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Moor Larkin »

This Day in Fear being BBC had completely slipped my mind earlier.

McGoohan squeezed in a trip to make a version of The Iron Harp in Canada on St. Patricks' day in 1959, in between his theatre runs in Danton's Death and then Brand. How the heck these fellows remembered which words to say, and who they were meant to be, in all these various performances I have no idea!!

I also think there was a suggestion that that episode of Rendezvous The Executioner, Missing believed Wiped showed a couple of years ago, may actually have been produced in 58/59 - although not broadcast until 1961. There's also a convoluted suggestion McGoohan starred in an abortive Pilot for a series by Roald Dahl, that Pat Jackson once recalled, but confused as an episode of that same Rendezvous strand. The Hanging of Alfred Wadham.

There's also that annoying CTVA credit for an episode of Tales of the Vikings that I've never been able to confirm anyplace else, which must have been made in 1959 if it is real.

The Rest in Violence play seemed to make a deep impression on McGoohan, as he spends a couple of paragraphs in his womens magazine 1965 autobiography, describing how he, Cliff Owen and Richard Harris spent a fortnight destroying themselves and several secretaries, re-writing the original script on the creative hoof. It might be that it was Cliff Owen that led McGoohan into the "re-writing" tendencies he seemed to adopt for much of the rest of his career. There's no suggestion he tried to do that sort of thing before, in his life-story recounting.

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Simon Coward »

Moor Larkin wrote: McGoohan squeezed in a trip to make a version of The Iron Harp in Canada on St. Patricks' day in 1959, in between his theatre runs in Danton's Death and then Brand.
I'd quite forgotten about that one.
Moor Larkin wrote: I also think there was a suggestion that that episode of Rendezvous The Executioner, Missing believed Wiped showed a couple of years ago, may actually have been produced in 58/59 - although not broadcast until 1961. There's also a convoluted suggestion McGoohan starred in an abortive Pilot for a series by Roald Dahl, that Pat Jackson once recalled, but confused as an episode of that same Rendezvous strand. The Hanging of Alfred Wadham.
I'd dropped this from the list as being more film - like the episodes he did of The Adventures of Aggie, The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, Assignment Foreign Legion and Mark Saber, but you're right - unlike the other television films of the time, it is actually a one-off play and so not quite the same as the others.
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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Darren Fricker »

Ah, many thanks for reminding me that I'd not picked up Vol. 3 yet, which I've just snagged at a very respectable price in the Network sale :o)

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Moor Larkin »

Darren Fricker wrote:Ah, many thanks for reminding me that I'd not picked up Vol. 3 yet, which I've just snagged at a very respectable price in the Network sale :o)
Some McGoohan in that one too, but you don't get to see much of him........ ;-D

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Re: Armchair Theatre volume 4 (warning: contains McGoohan)

Post by Alan Hayes »

Surely this thread title should be 'McGoohan (warning: contains traces of Armchair Theatre volume 4)'. ;)

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Re: McGoohan Thread (mentions Armchair Theatre Vol 4)

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Changed, but you watch, it'll revert now.

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