Thursday, January 15, 2009

RIP Secret Agent Man

Another cultural icon of my youth passed away this week -- Patrick McGoohan, otherwise known as "Secret Agent Man." The actual show was called "Danger Man" of course, but it had that kicky, manic theme song that still turns up in credit card commercials: "Secret Agent man! Secret Agent man! We're givin' you a number and takin' 'way your name!"

My mother, who was always the espionage devotee in our family, watched him religiously. McGoohan was so incredibly suave and had such a magnetism about him that I always thought he would have been a fantastic James Bond. But in those days there was only ONE James Bond.

Instead McGoohan earned his own place in the Super Spy Pantheon by creating and starring in one of the more original, impressionistic programs of it's time. In "The Prisoner" his suave Danger Man tried to retire and was transported for his trouble to a weird little village that seemed to exist in some other nearby dimension. Between the identity of "Number One" and those nasty weather balloons that hunted down escapees, people are still trying to figure out what this show was about.

McGoohan also had the honor of starring in Ice Station Zebra, infamous for being the movie Howard Hughes obsessed over most (though he may have been more interested in Rock Hudson). And he was spectacular in a lesser-known superhero role: the mysterious Scarcrow.

Patrick McGoohan was 80 years old.

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