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INFORMATION FROM THE SECOND PRESS BOOK
"DANGER MAN" starring PATRICK McGOOHAN
"DANGER MAN", one of the most popular television series ever produced, is back again, this time in one-hour episodes, and with the same star, Patrick McGoohan.
The decision to produce a further series follows the international success of the earlier half-hour programmes, which have been seen in almost every part of the world, including America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Egypt, Finland, Portugal, Cyprus, Bermuda, Poland, Western Germany, Rhodesia, Yugoslavia, Hong Kong, Sweden, Spain, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Malta, the Lebanon, Thailand, Algeria, Iran and elsewhere.
The new programmes are on a more spectacular scale than before, once again with the world-wide settings, with big names stars in support of Patrick McGoohan, and made by Britainís top directors.
Ralph Smart, who devised the series, is once again in charge as executive producer.
Patrick McGoohan resumes the identity of John Drake, special security agent, a man taking calculated risks in the cause of world peace, a man dedicated to the cause of better understanding between nations and peoples.
When we meet John Drake again, he is four years older but with his idealism remains undimmed. He now works for a special department in London.
He has changed only in certain personal respects. Patrick McGoohan explains: "Drake now finds himself more emotionally involved with the other characters. Maturity has given him a greater depth of understanding. He rebels against some of his assignments. He doesnít really want to do them because he sympathises with the under-dog."
Producer Ralph Smart analyses the changes: "John Drake is now less cold, clinical and perfect. He is less infallible. He behaves more humanely. He makes mistakes. And he is altogether more likeable."
During the first series, John Drakeís attitude towards the femine sex was guarded. He was not afraid of women, but he was afraid to fall in love. A man of his character would never treat romance in a light-hearted way. With an innate respect for women, he avoided any entanglements because he felt that the dangerous life he led would make it unfair to expect a woman to suffer the anxieties of being married to him. Marriage would be unfair to Drake, too. With the responsibility of a wife and family, he would enviably feel more cautious in risking a life which was otherwise entirely his own, with no-one left to suffer if he were killed. Marriage would affect his work.
"But now", Pat McGoohan says, "Drake realizes that he is getting older and is not yet married. Basically, he would like the security of home, marriage and family, and he is beginning to feel that the time is approaching when he must consider this before it is too late. He intends, however, to give up his job before he takes this step.
"This development is making him change his attitude towards women. They are no longer deliberately out of his reach, potentially dangerous to his own happiness and way of life. He regards them with more personal interest and understanding, because one of them might be the woman who appeals to him strongly enough to make him break away from his job at last and settle down to a more secure way of living."
The broadened concept of his character is matched with a broader aspect of his job. The stories tackle the professional aspect of spying rather than the political side of the job. They keep apace with the changing world, and the world has changed quiet considerably since the first "Danger Man" series was produced.
One thing remains unchanged: the action. Excitement and suspense are the keynotes of the stories. They live up to the title. The emphasis is on danger.
The script editor is Wilfred Greatorox, a leading journalist who, since he turned to television, has shown himself to be a master of his new medium, winning particular praise for his script-editing of "The Plane Makers".
The directors include such noted film-makers as Charles Crichton, Michael Truman, Robert Day and Philip Leacock.
PATRICK McGOOHAN - "DANGER MAN" AGAIN
Four years elapsed between completion of the first of the "DANGER MAN" series and production of the new one-hour programmes.
During that period, Patrick McGoohan played a wide variety of roles in feature films and television productions, ranging from a jazz drummer in "All Night Long" to the prison officer in "The Quare Fellow". But to the public, he remained "Danger Man". The impact of his television series was so great that he could never escape the image he had created for himself on the TV screen.
This was brought home right at the beginning of the new "Danger Man" series when the unit went out on location in London. They lunched at a restaurant. The waitress obviously recognised him. And as McGoohan and his companions left the restaurant, the waitress whispered to a member of the unit: "Iím right, arenít I? That is the Danger Man, isnít it?"
And Pat still receives an enormous shoal of fan mail letters every day from "Danger Man" fans throughout the world. They come to him written in almost every language under the sun, many addressed simply to "The Danger Man, London". They all reach him, too.
There are two reasons for his popularity as the Danger Man. One is the character, John Drake, a man reflecting the spirit of adventure, always jousting with danger, yet different from other such TV heroes because of his depth of character and integrity. The other is Patrick McGoohan himself, good-looking, huskily built, an outstanding good actor and with quirkish appeal of the Irish.
He is broad-shouldered, over six feet in height, with blue eyes and fair hair, and one of the most down-to-earth of all stars.
He hates affectation of any kind. He drives a family car, and it is because he is an insistent that John Drake is not the flashy type of character to race around in a sleek sports car that John Drake of "Danger Man" drives a Mini-Cooper. "The sort of car", he points out, "that can get Drake anywhere at high speeds, can get in and out of places where a larger car couldnít possibly take him, and is unostentatious."
Pat himself is never to be found in the sophisticated haunts so popular with his fellow actors. He likes plain food and plain drink. His favourite drinks are stout and beer, and the places he likes to drink them are pubs and working-menís clubs.
He is a family man. The security of his home life is more important to him than anything else. Married to former actress Joan Drummond, he has three children: Catherine (who is ambitious to become a film director), Anne and Frances. And to complete the household, there is a corgi named Honey.
"DANGER MAN" McGOOHAN - THE YEARS BETWEEN
Director Michael Truman called: "Cut! And thatís it boys!"
The final scene for the "Danger Man" episode "The Actor" had been shot. It was the last episode in the series of 39 programmes starring Patrick McGoohan as Danger Man John Drake.
Almost exactly four years later, Patrick McGoohan again faced the cameras on the guise of John Drake, stepping back once more into the character that had brought him world-wide fame for a further series of "Danger Man" productions, this time in one-hour episodes.
"An odd feeling to return to a character after such a long break", he admitted. "Iím feeling quite nervous."
But it was not long before he found himself slipping naturally into the character of the man he had played for a complete year which had been spreading his popularity around the world ever since.
In the years between, he had been increasing his reputation as a film actor in a wide variety of roles, all of them very different from the Danger Man.
The first film he made after "Danger Man" was "All Night Long", in which he starred as the jazz drummer. He had to learn to become an expert drummer for the part, and locked himself in his own garage while he did so.
This was followed by the memorable role of the prison officer in Brendan Behanís "The Quare Fellow", and then the moving part of the doctor in "No Life For Ruth". He went from this into the rip-roaring "Dr. SYN" in the dual role of the respected, serene Vicar of Dymchurch and as the notorious and daring smuggler "The Scarecrow"; and then, a complete contrast, into the Scottish adventure-drama, "The Three Lives Of Thomasina", as the veterinary surgeon who loses the love of his only daughter when he sentences a cat to death.
During the four years between the "Danger Man" series, he also appeared in several television plays, the most outstanding of which was "The Prisoner".
The four years have treated the star lightly. He has changed very little, but confesses: "I had to trim off a bit of weight to get back to John Drakeís athletic figure! At the same time, in portraying him, I am not forgetting that he is four years older, and this is reflected more in his mental attitude towards people and events than physically."
It may seem surprising that an actor who has always selected his roles because of the variations they could provide should be content to play a character for a long time in a television series, but Pat McGoohan explains: "There us nothing monotonous in portraying John Drake week after week because each episode in ĎDanger Maní is quite different from the others. Each one has a different setting. And in each one, Drake has to assume a different identity in the course of his job.
"Therefore, though I am John Drake all the time, I am in actual fact of portraying a wide variety of different characters, some of them calling for physical disguise. In one of the earliest of the new series, for instance, John Drake assumes the identity of a schoolmaster, and for this I wear glasses, walk with a bit of a shuffle and bow my shoulders."
"I find it as stimulating as a playing in repertory, with something fresh to tackle in every new production."
THE PATRICK McGOOHAN STORY
Once again, Patrick McGoohan steps into the character that brought him world-wide fame, security agent John Drake in a further series of "DANGER MAN" adventures.
It is a character close to his own heart. It had adventure and variety. John Drake is one of the most colourful heroes ever created for television.
Pat McGoohan, a sincere and versatile actor, regards it as a challenge to sustain one character in a long television series. There were 39 half-hour episodes in the original series, and there will be 32 one-hour episodes in the new series.
Although he has appeared in television plays, John Drake is the only running character he has ever played on television, and the part came to him just after British national newspapers critics nominated him as the theatreís best actor of the year for his performance in "Brand". A little later, further honour came when he was elected televisionís best actor of the year for his role of the first man on the moon in "The Greatest Man In The World".
Patrick McGoohan comes of farming stock, born in New York (on 19th March, 1928) of Irish parentage, and taken home to Ireland at early age, where he was brought up on the family farm in County Leitrim, Erie. When he was ten, he went to the school in Sheffield and a year later, when war broke out, was evacuated to Loughborough. He later went to school at Ratcliffe College, Leicester, where his strongest subject was mathematics.
When he left school in 1944, he joined the wire mills of the British Rope Company in Sheffield and the managing director told him that there was an executive post at the end of three years for him if he worked his way through all the various departments.
The very idea of a steady career of this sort appalled the imaginative young Irishman. Security was the last thing he wanted. So he resigned from the job and looked around for something else to do, and the next job to come his was a bank clerk. It wasnít the answer to his ambitions, but it provided a change and, at the time, he expected it to last for only a short time before he went into the Services.
But he was still under the calling-up age when the war ended, and he was still at the bank-by now, as the very youthful manager of a very tiny sub-branch.
There were prospects here, too; but it was not long before he turned to other fields. Literal fields. He returned to the open-air life he had known as a child by becoming a chicken-farmer.
Although he had always been interested in amateur theatricals, he never given serious consideration to the idea of becoming a professional actor. He might never had taken this step but for what appeared be, at the time, a tragedy. He was taken so seriously ill that he had to lie on his back for six months. It meant the end of his chicken farming and when he was fit again he looked around for something else to do. He took one or two very temporary jobs, doing office work, to fill in the time and then, for no particular reason at all, he walked into the Sheffield Repertory Company and asked if there were any vacancies.
They took him on as an assistant stage manager, that impressive-sounding appointment which really means running around and doing all the odd jobs, making coffee and being useful in general.
The theatre got into his blood. He was seized for the first time, with a genuine urge. He wanted to become an actor.
He remained with the company for four years: four of the most vital years in his life. He learned the rudiments of his job under the director of the company, Geoffrey Ost. He played small parts, then bigger parts.
He also fell in love. The girl was a talented and attractive young actress named Joan Drummond. And they found time between a rehearsal of "The Taming Of The Shrew" and matinee of "The Rivals" to get married. They are still very happily married, with three children, all girls: Catherine, Anne and Frances.
Pat, after some time as a leading player with the Sheffield Rep., then widened his experience by working for several other companies, including the Midland Repertory Company, the Bristol Old Vic, the Windsor and the "Q". His West End debut came in 1955, when he appeared in the "Serious Charge" at the Garrick Theatre, and during the following two years he played in the Orson Welles version of "Moby Dick" and "Ring For Catty".
He also broke into films as a "bit" player in such productions as "Zarak", "Dark Avenger", "The Dambusters" and "I Am A Camera", gradually attracting sufficient attention to win a contact with the Rank Organisation. Filmgoers saw him playing major roles in "High Tide At Noon", "Hell Drivers", "Gipsy And The Gentleman" and "Nor The Moon By Night" before, impatient at being tied down to a contract and feeling that his roles were not the type that he really wanted to play, he broke away to become a free-lance.
He ignored films for a time, concentrating on the stage and television. His theatrical successes were "Dantonís Death" and "Brand". On television, he was seen in one play after another, including "The Makepeace Saga", "All My Sons", "This Day In Fear", "Rest In Violence", "Greatest Man In The World", "The Big Knife", "A Dead Secret", "Shadow Of A Pale Horse" and the TV production of his stage hit, "Brand".
Then came "Danger Man", and despite the reputations he had already gained on the stage, in films and television, it was this series that led to international recognition for the first time.
He has never really been able to get away from "Danger Man", simply because he made such a personal impact in the role of John Drake. Unlike some actors who have become closely associated with one character and have found that it has interfered with their careers, Pat McGoohan has never been adversely affected in regard to other parts.
Success, however, begets success. Pat liked John Drake. So have viewers. And thatís why he is in a further series of John Drakeís adventure.
But donít call him a star. He doesnít like the description. He prefers to be known as an actor.
THE CREATOR OF "DANGER MAN"
The man who created "Danger Man" is the restlessly energetic Australian director-producer-writer Ralph Smart, who is executive producer of the "Danger Man" series.
He had been asked to suggest a new series for filming, and out of several ideas and outlines emerged John Drake, the Danger Man.
He was created out of Ralph Smartís fertile imagination. He had no particular actor in mind. Then he saw Patrick McGoohan in the stage success "Brand" (which won him an award) and in the television production of "The Big Knife".
Pat McGoohan and John Drake merged naturally. "Danger Man" went into production. And Ralph Smart, no stranger to success, had another hit on his hands.
Though Australian, he was actually born in London when his father was working there with the Australian Government Service.
His career began in London, too, when he went into the cutting-rooms of the British Instructional Studios as an assistant at the age of 19. He learned his craftsmanship through editing, then the direction of short documentary subjects and script writing. Besides directing documentaries, he wrote comedy material for several British feature films.
With the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force. Before long, his film experience led to his directing official films for the Air Force.
When Ealing Studios produced "The Overlanders" in Australia, Ralph Smart was engaged as associated producer, and he remained in Australia to write, produce and direct "Bush Christmas", which attracted world-wide attention and gained an award at the Venice Film Festival.
With the newly won reputation, he returned to England and became a feature film director on "A Boy, A Girl And A Bike", the "Facts Of Life" episode in the Somerset Maugham anthology "Quartet" and other productions, and was then invited by Sir Michael Balcon to return to Australia to direct "Bitter Springs".
He then collaborated on the screen play of "Where No Vultures Fly", made in South Africa and which gained the distinction of a Royal Film Performance in London, when Ralph Smart was presented to the Queen.
Even greater success came to him when he co-directed, in Italy, the enchanting "Never Take No For An Answer", the story of a little boy and a donkey. Back again in England, he directed "Curtain Up" and "Always A Bride", and then the challenge of television appealed so much to his pioneering spirit that he turned to TV film writing and direction. He worked on "The Adventures Of Robin Hoodí, "The Adventures of Sir Lancelot", produced "The Buccaneers", "The Adventures Of William Tell", "The Invisible Man" and then "Danger Man".
He felt that it was time for a change, and he went to Spain to invest in property and enjoy the sun. And he was living contentedly there when the call came for him to produce another "Danger Man" series. The temptation to get back into film production was irresistible.
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