Friday, November 20, 2009
Patrick McGoohan: The Prisoner, Danger Man, and Secret Agent, but not James Bond
Her Majesty's Secret Servant , an interesting web site dedicated to Her Majesty's Secret Service's most famous fictional secret agent, James Bond, published an interesting piece about Patrick McGoohan and James Bond.
When I was a teenager in the 1960's I was a big fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond thrillers and the early Bond films starring Sean Connery. I was also a big fan of Patrick McGoohan's two great TV series in the 1960's, Secret Agent (Danger Man in the U.K.) and The Prisoner.
When Mr. McGoohan died last year nearly every obituary noted that he turned down the role of Bond as he objected to the sex and violence. This item was repeated in nearly all of the pieces about McGoohan since AMC aired a new version of McGoohan's classic TV series, The Prisoner.
Mike Vincitore's piece in HMSS offers what McGoohan had to say about the Bond role:
"Interviewer: In Danger Man, one of your particular traits is that you never carry arms.
McGoohan: That's going back a long way, you know. The first episode was about 1960. My objection was that the telly goes into people s homes, and at that time television was very reserved. For that reason I also refused to allow my character to go to bed with a different girl in each episode. In films, it's not the same thing. If you want James Bond to be armed, it's not a problem.
Interviewer: Is that why you turned down the role of James Bond?
McGoohan: That story has been much exaggerated. Broccoli's partner offered the part to me at the end of the first year of Danger Man. I read the script - not very good for that time, even if it has become so subsequently. The real reason for my refusal was that there was a certain person in the crew I didn't want to work with. In any case, it wasn't a part for me, and Sean was perfect in the role.
You can read the piece at http://www.hmss.com/otherspies/prisoner.htm.
McGoohan did go on to portray a British secret agent on the big screen in Ice Station Zebra.