Khan and Number Six have died!

Fans of classic SF will be grieved to learn that both Patrick McGoohan, AKA The Prisoner, and Ricardo Montalban, AKA Khan Noonien Singh, will now only be accessible on DVD in the movie room of your local SF convention and on late night television.

We want information. Did Montalban quote Moby Dick on his deathbed?


  1. says

    Dead Pool!!!! Who’s gonna go next? Here’s my brief list:

    Ray Harryhausen (and I’ll miss him)
    Elizabeth Taylor
    Britney Spears
    Ted Kennedy

    Why does Patrick Swayze keep ending up on Dead Pool lists?

  2. says

    The Countess and I raised a galss of sherry and merlot to these folks… join us. And yes, I have Johnny Rivers playing on repeat.

    BTW, we have become HUGE fans of Spooks recently. The Beeb knows how to do spy shows, though BBCA didn’t have the balls to keep showing it.

    Hmm… running afoul of the too many submissions in a short time thingie.

  3. Wowbagger says

    I mostly think of Patrick McGoohan as the very nasty King ‘Longshanks’ in Mel Gibson’s slightly-less-torture-porn-and-religious-nonsense-focused Braveheart. I thought he was great in that.

    But I’ve never seen The Prisoner so now I’m going to track it down and watch it.

  4. Apikoros says

    This is a sorry coincidence. Now that Patrick McGoohan is dead, can we finally find out who was the real #1?

    Was it Mark Felt?

  5. says

    Ahh, The Prisoner… genius. From the lotus super 7 intro, to the feeding unanswerable question to computer to make it go “on-fire” episode. Kirk did that too, but I think McGoohan was first.

  6. says

    BTW, for any science fiction geeks in the Boston area, The Countess and I will be at Arisia this weekend.

    Anyone else coming. Get together?

  7. badwolf says

    Ahem….only because no one has done it yet..



  8. says

    I’m having a book signing at Arisia Saturday morning at 11 am in the Crow’s Nest. I’ll be selling and signing copies of my erotic anthology “Summer Heat: Steaming Stories For A Hot Summer Afternoon”. The Count and I are on bunches of panels Saturday and Sunday, this weekend.

    Hey, folks, so far I’m doing well at Preditors and Editors for the awards. The finalists aren’t in yet. Expect a hot and sexy free erotic story for the Pharyngulites very soon! I’ll give it to PZ when I finish it. You guys really came through for me.

  9. says

    Our panels at Arisia

    The Countess:
    Sat 1100 Book Signing
    Sat 1800 Beloved Ghosts vs Evil Dead (Countess as mod)
    Sat 2200 Writing Sex Magic
    Sun 2000 Poly 175: Is This for Me?
    Sun 2100 Sexy or Sexist

    The Count:
    Sat 2000 CRPGs: The Next Generation
    Sun 1000 Making a Video Game 101
    Sun 1100 SF in Video Games
    Sun 1900 It’s a MMORPG Life for Us

  10. says

    These comments would be appropriate if it were a fictional people who died. It’s disrespectful to treat these people like they’re SF characters when they just played SF characters at one point in their lives.

  11. Carlie says

    I’m repeating this from bekitty at Shakesville, because it was that good.

    “My name is Khan. Remember it, you’ll be screaming it later.”

  12. says

    As actors, they’re accustomed to looking for the next venue. Can’t get any bigger than the final show.

    Seriously… I know actors. Any gig is the best gig.

  13. Doc Bill says

    Prior to The Prisoner, Secret Agent Man was an edgy riff off the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible. Watched it in B/W, I did.

  14. Lee Picton says

    “The Prisoner” was one of my all time favorites. When the husbeast and I went to Wales in 1993, we spent three days in The Village. It was a bit smaller than it appeared on TV, but was thoroughly charming. The abode of #6 had been made into a bookstore, selling all things Prisoner related. It was strange to know that it wasn’t just a bunch of soundstages, but a real place with a colorful history.

  15. Debbie says

    My memories of Patrick McGoohan are from the old Disney series, The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. Now THAT was an excellent show!

  16. gypsytag says

    I look back at The Prisoner now and think, it was a great show but that ball – that $%^&* ball thing scared the crap out of me when i was 6 years old.

  17. Jadehawk says

    You know, this is the second Trek person we’ve lost in the past month. Majel Barrett Roddenberry died recently, too.

    yeah it sucks, the old Trek guard is disappearing :-(

  18. NewEnglandBob says

    What I think is distasteful is the Countess and the Count using a thread about death to shamelessly promote some soft porn fiction book.

  19. Wowbagger says

    Wowbagger, admitting you’ve never seen The Prisoner among geeks is a fas paux!

    Yeah, well. It’s partly to do with age, partly to do with slackness. It’s never been on television (that I know of) in my lifetime, and while I’ve been keen on it ever since I first learned what it was about (which was probably when it was referenced on The Simpsons), I’ve never managed to get my hands on the dvds.

    I don’t consider myself that much of a geek anyway. My pop-culture interests don’t include much fantasy/sci-fi beyond the Whedonverse, the original Star Wars trilogy, old-school Dr Who and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.

  20. John says

    I never watched The Prisoner, Mcgoohan I remember from Ice Station Zebra.

    They will both be missed.

  21. says

    I always thought the British schoolboy blazer that McGoohan wore was the niftiest thing ever, but American blazers seem allergic to contrast-color edging and you won’t find that look in U.S. department stores. Nevertheless, if you want your own “Prisoner” blazer, the gift shop of Portmeirion (where “The Prisoner” was filmed) offers a replica of McGoohan’s blazer. Only 99 pounds! [Link]

  22. Cliff Hendroval says

    I first watched the show on its first run in the states in 1968, when I was ten. I started watching it and was absolutely fascinated, even when there were things happening that I couldn’t understand. Number 6 was my first grown-up hero, the first adult I ever wanted to be, a rebel with a cause. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always thought that “because everyone else does it” or “because I told you” weren’t good reasons to do things; McGoohan’s Number 6 crystallized this in my psyche.

    For some people, it was Marlon Brando or James Dean or Elvis Presley or the Beatles or the Stones or the Pistols or Nirvana or B.I.G.; for me it was Patrick McGoohan and Number 6.

  23. mayhempix says

    “You are #6.”
    “I am not a number!”

    I loved “The Prisoner” series when I was a kid. It was McGoohan’s labor of love and he wrote and directed some of the most surreal episodes. Years later PBS resurrected it and had a psychiatrist do the introduction and closing. That huge weather balloon as ocean “watchdog” was a cool special effect for it’s time, especially for TV. I went out and bought the DVDs when they were released. It was great to see McGoohan as Longshanks in Braveheart. I had wondered what had happened to him.

    More trivia for the music fans here: my uncle played on the Johnny Rivers theme song “Secret Agent Man”.

  24. peter says

    I’ve never even heard of “The Prisoner”. That Montalban guy was on “Fantasy Island”, I think, with that midget that died of AIDS.

  25. Hank Fox says

    I liked both of those actors. Ricardo Montalban was great as Khan, yes, but more recently he was also fun in the Spy Kids movies.

    Can’t remember whether it was Mad Magazine or Saturday Night Live, but someone came up with what I thought at the time was the best irreverent spoof of a famous name: Retardo Mental Block.

    Alex #16 said: “These comments would be appropriate if it were a fictional people who died.”

    But to those of us on this side of the screen, movie stars ARE fictional people. They never become real to us, so the only way we have to relate to them is in this superficial way. Even if we were devastated by the death of one or more of them, we’d still only be devastated by the IMAGE we had of their deaths, and not the real event in more personal terms.

    If it’s a dead pool, don’t forget that Amy Winehouse appears to be circling the drain pretty close.

  26. says

    #1: Swayze ends up on these lists because he’s been battling a particularly nasty version of pancreatic cancer for almost 2 years, one that kills most folks dead. So far, he’s beaten the odds, but it can’t last forever.

  27. mayhempix says

    Before Khan and after Fantasy Island Ricardo Montalban was also famous for touting the sensual pleasures of “Corinthian Leather” in Chrysler TV commercials. The only problem is that there is no such thing as “Corinthian Leather”. Montalban coined the term “Corinthian” on the set when he asked to sex up the leather features in his delivery.

  28. says

    Loved the Prisoner and turned my kids on to it, they in turn have turned on the grandlings – continuity is important. Also, they ended up watching The Avengers, MST3000, and Star Trek with me, eldest daughter began her lifelong love of reading by attempting to read every Star Trek novel. Same daughter still prizes a copy of the ball from Phantasm and Hammer films. Along the way I managed to sneak in Shakspeare and the kids can all recite long passages from Henry V and others. Not to mention taking them to meet Harlan Ellison. Speaking of which, eldest daughter still trying to steal my complete Babylon 5 set – have to shake her down whenever she visits. (smile)

    Loved Secret Agent Man, was just playing the Johnny Rivers theme in my car yesterday.

    I will also miss Mr. Montalban, but he was less of a character to me. Great at Khan, of course (yes, I am a proud geek).

    Also miss Majel Barrett, but I realize the only loss of an entertainer in my adult life that left me with tears was Jim Henson. It is odd what touches our hearts.

    Anyway, Patrick and Ricardo and Majel, board the silver spaceships and fly.


  29. Wowbagger says

    I’ve never even heard of “The Prisoner”. That Montalban guy was on “Fantasy Island”, I think, with that midget that died of AIDS.

    You’re partially correct. Ricardo Montalban was on Fantasy Island. But ‘the midget’ was Hervé Villechaize, who was also a Bond villain in The Man With The Golden Gun. But he didn’t die of AIDS; he committed suicide.

  30. says

    Thanks, Cephus. I wondered why Swayze kept making it to the lists. That sounds horrible.

    I never saw “The Prisoner” myself. The Count was into that one. I was more of a fan of “The Avengers”. Saw “Star Trek” in syndication, and I thought Montalban in “Space Seed” stole every scene he was in. That was one of my favorite episodes.

  31. moo says

    Ah, good ol’ Pharyngula … I was beginnning to feel I was the only one that noticed. It’s yet another sad day … and we just lost Majel Barrett =(

  32. Lycosid says

    I saw Number Six died in my RSS feed and almost puked. You should be more clear on the eve of the beginning of the final season of Battlestar Galactica.

  33. SoMG says

    My favorite Ricardo Montalban movie is CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.

    The best Patrick McGoohan movie is harder to decide. ALL NIGHT LONG, a setting of OTHELLO in the “modern” (1960s) jazz world with Pat playing the Iago character is very good, but so are all four COLUMBO episodes he appeared in. The best of the four is “By Dawn’s Early Light” in which he plays a brutal soldier who runs a boot-camp academy.

    Maybe SCANNERS, although his role in that is very unusual for him–he plays a character who actually cares about people other than himself.

    I use his trick of pausing and inhaling at the wrong points in sentences, in the middle of a (*pause*) phrase or whatever, in my own acting and teaching.

  34. PlaydoPlato says

    He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s flames before I give him up! –Khan Noonian Singh

    My favorite quote from the oh, so smoov, Ricardo Montalban.

    BTW, Countess, the Internet is abuzz with rumors that our beloved Steve Jobs, may be a candidate for your list. Alas, not even his fabled RDF (Reality Distortion Field) can stay the hand of fate.

  35. Bacopa says

    Two from my dead pool have died. They are just two pointers, but I’m way out in front. I picked them for their sci-fi awesomeness. The Prisoner is the most amazing show evr shown ion US network TV, and it was produced by the same company that brought us Space 1999, and The Muppet Show.

    Child celebs are worth 20 on my dead pool. I stuck my neck out and put Suri Cruise on there. If Suri goes, I win $200.

  36. Hank Fox says

    The only public-figure death that really hurt me was that of Carl Sagan. I was on vacation at the time I heard of it, and I had to pull off the highway because I started crying. The first thought in my head was “One of my People has died.”

    Regarding which: Dammit, PZ, you better be taking good care of yourself! If you die, I’ll kill ya.

  37. says

    No!!! Seriously, I just started watching The Prisoner last week. Oh, that’s not a new show? Never mind, I’ll continue watching them.

    In total seriousness, I had NO idea what I was missing until I watched the first episode of The Prisoner. I have bad dreams of giant white gelatinous bubbles, and it’s great!

  38. mothra says

    Scotty’s gone, McCoy’s gone, Chapel’s gone, Pike is gone, Khan is gone, Cephrodesius (sp?) is gone, Sarek is gone, Simon van Gellder is gone, Oxmix is gone but the Enterprise security guards are still alive.

    Yes, gallows humor, but these actors brought joy into our lives and to curmudgeonly mope (#16) is antithetical to the acting profession. Respect is noting the work of these people was so deeply appreciated that their characters come vividly to mind.

  39. Stardrake says

    Actually, DANGER MAN/SECRET AGENT predates even the Bond movies! The first season was in 1960. (In fact, the Broccoli brothers tried to get McGoohan to play Bond in DR. NO, but he didn’t like the character! He suggested some guy named Connery for the role….)

  40. clinteas says

    Second the post regarding this book-promoting crap in a thread about dead actors.

    Star Trek II is one of the good ones,and Montalban was great as Khan.Never heard about Prisoner.
    And I dont get the whole making fun of people with pancreatic cancer and drug dependance/anorexia thing,at all.

  41. Barry says

    Prior to The Prisoner, Secret Agent Man was an edgy riff off the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible.

    Pretty impressive, given that the first series of Danger Man (UK title of Secret Agent) predates them by half a decade.

    And The Prisoner was probably decades ahead of its time…

  42. says

    Totally off topic, but I thought Dr. Myers would enjoy seeing a report from the AP detailing the Vatican’s “secret confession tribunal”, where super bad sinners can confess directly to the Pope. Link to the story here.

    The reason this is applicable to the good doctor, is that it appears that mass murderers are not qualified for the super secret confessional, but people who “violate” the Eucharist are. I assume Dr. Myers would enjoy meeting the Pope, seeing how the Catholics consider him a greater sinner than a murderer.

  43. muadgib says

    I bet if you turn the volume to 11 on the EVP recordings, and listen really, really hard, you can hear him whisper: “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee!”

  44. the pro from dover says

    I actually have a song on my Itunes playlist called “I helped Patrick McGoohan escape”. I have no idea where it comes from but it has all these references to number 1,2 6 etc. Now I know where that came from. BTW, my most significant public death was S.J.Gould.

  45. Crudely Wrott says

    Goodbye to familiar faces. This happens with increasing frequency as time goes by.

    There go two well known actors, icons to some. And with them have gone geologists and mechanics, surgeons and cops, legislators and janitors The old man at the grocery and the mailman I met the day I moved in.

    I have all these memories of real people that are really gone, enough to populate a small world that really isn’t there, though it might please me to imagine it so.

    More notable, I think, is that when I turn around twice I find that there are capable contestants for all of these roles. They are, of course, our children and it seems that at least some of us have been wise parents. There is great solace in such an observation, however unscientific and subjective. Part of being human, I suspect.

  46. SkepticalPete says

    What sad news, The Prisoner is one of my favourite late night DVD vices. The final pair of episodes are just about the most surreal thing you’ll see on a “mainstream” TV show from any decade.

  47. Phil says

    I Khaaaaaan’t believe it. We love these characters and by all accounts Montalban was a great guy. Here he is dancing to La Bamba.

    We have fun because we love their work, and I suspect that’s the way they would like it. Much like the Irish, I suspect that posters here would much rather remember the good times.

  48. says

    Ken Cope (#56)
    Also the voice of Senor Senior Senior from Kim Possible.

    Perhaps Number Six and Number Two (or at least Leo McKern) are somewhere enjoying their final escape from the Village at long last. I still think Hammer Into Anvil is one of the better ‘monkeywrenching with an intelligence network’ plotlines I’ve ever enjoyed.

    Thank you both, gentlemen, for all your fine work. You’ll be missed.

    The MadPanda, FCD

  49. antaresrichard says

    “Six of twelve; half a dozen of the other.”

    Uh, I’m wondering if one of the linings will involve “real Corinthian leather”?

    I will miss them.

  50. says

    New England Bob and Clnteas: ASAD.

    It’s not a book promotion, as much as a “holy shit” she published a real live print book celebration. It’s her first… it’s a big deal.

    If that’s a problem with y’all… ok, so be it.

    Lots of Love, The Count! :)

  51. says

    We also lost Roy Scheider and George Carlin in 2008. I miss them still. Saw Carlin live in concert about twenty years ago. He stayed sharp as a tack.

    “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” – I love “Jaws”.

  52. CortxVortx says

    I was racking my brain for a movie that I was sure had Patrick McGoohan, and I was right: “The Three Lives of Thomasina.” Really enjoyed it when I was a child, but on seeing it in adulthood, I was struck by McGoohan’s “mad-at-God atheist” character who regains his (not really lost) faith at the end. Smarmy.

  53. Colin says

    Well at least they both lived good, long fruitful productive lives. They’ll be missed.

    Montalban seems to have been a very active Catholic. What was McGoohan? I can’t find anything.

  54. clinteas says

    SC,OM @ 57,

    Of course,McGoohan was in all these Columbo episodes !!! Now I know who he is,ty for mentioning that….

  55. mrsmarch says

    The “Retardo Mental Block” bit was performed on an episode of Make Me Laugh, hosted by Bobby Van in the 70s.

  56. RamblinDude says


    Both of these guys had great intensity.

    I used the watch the “The Prisoner” as a kid on TV, but then later when PBS presented it, they gave it their own special touch by adding this little monologue at the end of each episode from this sophisticated-sounding guy who would wax philosophical about what we had just seen–and I liked it even more! That guy was interesting to listen to. I used to watch the show very carefully and try to anticipate what he would say about what Number Six had just been through.

  57. Marcie Dietrich says

    I spent many a Saturday night in my youth watching The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. I have seen the Wrath of Khan, but it’s the only Star Trek movie I’ve seen.

    I remember Patrick McGoohan from Escape from Alcatraz. I love that movie.

    They’ll both be missed.

  58. Blondin says

    Patrick Magoohan was always Danger Man to me. I loved that show and was really annoyed when he dropped it to do The Prisoner. The silver lining was that, not only was The Prisoner a great show, but they filled his old time slot with another great spy show called Man in a Suitcase with Richard Bradford. It was also a great show but the best part was the jazzy theme:

    Patrick Magoohan really did bad guys well (the evil mobster in Silverstreak,a corrupt treasury agent in Moonshine War not to mention the despicable Eddy Longshanks).

  59. Bruce says

    “The Prisoner” was the best TV series ever!!
    But it takes some relaxation of preconceptions to watch it, much more Kafka-esque than anything besides a Dick Cheney news interview.
    The Simpsons and Star Trek are good too.

  60. Michael says

    You just freaked out a whole lot of Galactica fans. But it’s still sad. I never really watched The Prisoner but Ricardo had a great Sci-fi resume.

  61. says

    @Debbie (#23)

    Disney just reissued the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh on DVD last November. It has both the 3-part series as broadcast in the US and the 90 minute movie shown in the UK.

    McGoohan is brilliant in that one. He will be missed.

  62. says

    Dangerman and The Prisoner had something in common in addition to McGoohan appearing in both. In both cases he played the same character.

    Patrick was getting tired of playing the part in Dangerman and wanted to go on to other things. After some negotiation he agreed to do a sort of coda to Dangerman in which his character would be abducted and held captive in a secret prison. After a bit of work the idea of an isolated village was born, other details were added, and The Prisoner started filming. In a sense The Prisoner was the last season of Dangerman.

    An example of the interesting stuff I tend to pick up while forgetting exactly where I heard it.

  63. says

    While the master of the beetling brow did not appear in it, the new number 2 did, as The Duchess, in a hashish delirium BBC production of Alice in Wonderland directed by Jonathan Miller that looks to have been made at about the same time as The Prisoner. Also appearing was Angelo Muscat, the enigmatic butler at Number 2’s residence. Watching Peter Cook as the Mad Hatter, and Eric Idle’s first screen appearance, along with Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts, all in glorious black and white and to a Ravi Shankar score, takes me back in time to when I was 12 or 13 and looking for clues as to whether Paul really was dead.

  64. John Phillips, FCD says

    Sad, I grew up with Danger Man and it was probably the series that most turned me on to enjoying spy based programs and books in general. Plus, for its time it had an edge that, IMO at least, few if any other similar programs has ever quite matched. A few years ago one of the UK terrestrial channels started reruns of Danger Man as an afternoon filler and I caught a few of them. They actually still worked quite well, even being black and white. Or perhaps even better because of the black and white as it retained the edgy feel. The Prisoner was just the icing on the cake.

  65. Colugo says

    Jonathan Raban, The Guardian, 3/2/02,4273,4365978,00.html

    “The essential charter of the jihad movement – its Mein Kampf – is Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones (1964). Before Qutb toured the US, between 1948 and 1950, he was best known as an Egyptian novelist, poet and critic. After his time here, he became famous as an Islamic ideologue and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Cairo-based think-tank and home of theocratic revolution. He achieved martyrdom in 1966, when he was executed by Gamal Abdel Nasser. …

    Qutb’s sense of extreme moral precariousness comes to the fore in every encounter. Few men past the age of 40 can ever have felt their immortal souls to be in such danger at a church hop as Qutb did when he attended one in Greeley, Colorado. The pastor, doubling as disc jockey, lowered the lights to impart “a romantic, dreamy effect” and put on a record of Baby, It’s Cold Outside (presumably the Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban version, from the soundtrack of the 1949 hit movie Neptune’s Daughter). “The dancing intensified… The hall swarmed with legs… Arms circled arms, lips met lips, chests met chests, and the atmosphere was full of love.””

  66. natural cynic says

    So, as the final episode, #6 really is on his way to becoming ‘dem dry bones. Forty years later I still remember that surreal finale.

  67. TomF says

    Very sad to hear about McGoohan. The Prisoner can be held somewhat responsible for my wife and I getting married – she showed me the series while we were at university together. I now own a Caterham Seven (a direct descendant of the Lotus Seven he drove in the series) in what are commonly called “Prisoner colours” (BRG + yellow nose) with the license plate “Not A 6”. Geddit? Best we could do with 7 characters. And yes, I did check, but somebody else already had “KAR120C”.

    I was going to celebrate his co-expirer’s mode of transport – the USS Reliant – but honestly I wouldn’t know where to find a Reliant Robin in Seattle. It’s not quite as fun as the Seven either.

  68. Robert Byers says

    From Canada
    I loved his role in the Star trek episode and the Maxwell commercials. never watched fantasy island.
    Yet in reading here just now about him I was very dissapoointed to see his reward to being allowed into america and a cool life was a knife in the back to America.
    First he started when true americans were fighting in WWW11. Like Mexico he had no moral or practical interest in the War. Yet he wanted the reward of America.
    It said he founded a traitorous, racist, segregationist group to move mexicans and other “Latinos’ into the jobs, wealth, and fun of hollywood to the loss of americans and other ethnic American citizens.
    He was a traitor and a thief. like many “hispanics, latinos’ but unlike many more who are good citizens assimulated or not.
    Someone being given the acceptance and applause and rewards of a different peoples land with only asking in return that this Mexican immigrant become a American in heart or at least as a good citizen obeying the spirit and law of treating everyone based on equality of rights to happiness (like doing well in Hollywood) was more then he deserved.

    He’s remembered not for solid adult roles but silly character ones. It fits. A Mexican claiming to be a Latino/Hispanic but wanting the american mans home and inheritance.
    A silly character.
    His smile was a deception. He was after all another bad guy Mexican bandito trying to rob the american settler.
    Odd his most famous role is a name called Khan. A lot of Khans in mexico?

  69. clinteas says

    Accompanies Byers back to his cell….
    Its ok mate,its ok,we talk about the Khans in Mexico tomorrow,now be a good boy and take your meds,there’s a good lad……

  70. GeoffR says

    I mostly remember being fond of Patrick for his role in “Dangerman”.(This was at about the time the pyramids were being constructed.)
    The storylines were pretty dumb but he had style.

  71. Feynmaniac says

    As an Hispanic Canadian I take issue with Robert “the racist Schizo” Byers’ latest rant. He is simultaneously ruining my country’s image by speaking shit of my ethnicity.

    ¡Eres un idiota¡ Come mierda, eh?

    Why hasn’t this fool been thrown in the dungeon yet?

  72. Samantha Vimes says

    At this rate, the dungeon could end up filled with racists.

    I’ll miss Patrick– I think I liked all his roles I’ve seen.

    But the celebrity death that hit me most was Asimov’s. He always had chatty little notes to his readers in his forewords and collections and editorials. So it was easy to feel he was a sort of friend, as I was growing up. My college admissions essay was on the book that influenced me most, and of all things, I chose I, Robot; it wasn’t that the book had a stunning profundity, but that it got me started on science fiction, which ended up helping me learn social skills (I’m very weird, I know) and introducing me to new ideas, new people, and influencing my possible career path.
    Anyhow, Asimov seemed kind of like the grandfather I didn’t have, and a role model. I was really upset over his death.

    Terry Pratchett is still alive, but I know I’m not the only fan who is hoping like hell for a fast cure for Alzheimer’s.

  73. says

    I used to think I was always on the trailing edge of glory days – the baby boom, science fiction, killer software apps. Now that I’m halfway through life I am encouraged nevertheless that people my own age or younger are coming up with good stuff. Neal Stephenson, Charlie Stross, China Mieville. Of course I still may not be able to take proper advantage, now that I’m essentially mulch.

    I only ever saw Prisoner episodes at parties where some fan had brought videos, but I thought the ones I saw were pretty thought provoking and entertaining. The Khan Star Trek movie: the only good one, for my $0.02.

    Knowing that death is needed to clear room for evolution (cultural as well as biological), I can’t be all sad, and echo the sentiment of those who toast the joyful memories of those no longer maintaining homeostasis.

  74. says

    I loved the Prisoner. It was the first serious science fiction-y show I was ever exposed to that treated the subject matter seriously.
    And Montalban – when he wasn’t doing fluff (Fantasy Island etc) he had quite a presence as an actor.
    I’ll miss them both.

  75. mayhempix says

    It always amazes that people like Byers even exist. How do they find this place anyways? I doubt that he is an atheist or has any interest in biology or evolution. By his writing style he doesn’t appear to very smart or educated, which is quite common among racists.

  76. KI says

    “The Prisoner” was the best TV show ever, period. Those of you who haven’t seen it need to go out now IMMEDIATELY and track down all 17 episodes and watch. John Drake (#6) is the epitome of the righteous honorable man, and one of the three TV characters I try to model myself after (Spock and Kwai-Chiang Caine being the other two. Yeah, I’m pretentious).
    Tom@95 I’m totally jealous, I’ve always wanted a Seven but it’s just not practical for a one-car Minnesotan, what with the no roof bit.

  77. E.V. says

    I’ll just call you Dick from now on.

    Byers: You’re just a loathesome prick who deserves all the bad shit that comes your way.

  78. Faithful Reader says

    Farewell to two great craftsmen.

    Watch Ice Station Zebra and note what McGoohan does in the scene right after being drenched with arctic water in the torpedo bay. Brilliant acting. He also had a number of impressive stage credits.

  79. SteveM says

    You just freaked out a whole lot of Galactica fans.

    I don’t know if Ronald Moore ever talked about this, but I wonder if naming Hefler’s character “Six” was a small homage to The Prisoner. There is some similarity in BSG not knowing who the Cylons are with The Prisoner not knowing who the guards are and the resulting paranoia it fosters.

  80. E.V. says

    I think PZ has fantasized about being John Steed to Diana Rigg’s cat-suited Emma Peel. (Then again, haven’t many of us of a certain age)

  81. says

    Ok, now you’ve done it!

    I won’t be at ease until I get to see “The prisoner”…

    Hope there’s a way to get it on DVD

  82. Watchman says

    Byers is an idiot.

    Gee, Byers, I don’t recall Ronald Reagan taking up arms in WWII, either. He sure was good at cooperating with Joseph McCarthy, though, wasn’t he?

    (Cyd Charisse was a peach!)

  83. Paul says


    Apologies if anyone else has posted this aleady:

    “…To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”
    – Moby Dick, quoted by Khan (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

  84. Leslie in Canada says

    For those not familiar with The Prisoner, it is easily available on DVD. Brilliant stuff: television that forces you to think. Of course, this idea horrified people when it came out back in the day. It raises lots of questions and issues (Mccarthyism, self-identity, the abuse of science, the role of the individual in society, power and trust) and then proceeds to not give you any answers. If television could be literature this was it. The last episode infuriated so many viewers that Patrick McGoohan left the UK. He left behind a body of excellent work and uncompromised standards.

  85. Longtime Lurker says

    (Cyd Charisse was a peach!)

    She passed away last year… sorry to be a downer!

    Ricardo Montalban did the radio tourist information spots (the “Tune in 1610 AM” ones) for the state of New Mexico. It was awesome hearing his voice on the radio while cross-country road-tripping. He will be missed.

    Wow, without Robert Byers, I never would have known that Ricardo Montalban was sneaking Latinos into a suburb of La Ciudad de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles. I hope the “Ethnic American Citizens” he mentions don’t take a cue from him and leave the reservation to come after my “Euro-American” ass.

  86. Daniel R says

    Byers is a well known troll from Internet Infidels, where he made a habit of this sort of racist tripe. It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that he is a creationist too…

  87. Janine, Bitter Friend says

    Byers has been trolling here for a while also. Cannot say I am surprised he does the same elsewhere. We already know he is a creationist.

  88. Nerd of Redhead says

    Daniel R, Byers does an occasional incomprehensible diatribe here. He never sticks around to defend himself, so the thread typically goes: nice discussion, splat of shit from Byers, nice discussion picking up where it left off with a couple of insults to Byers thrown in.

  89. says

    If The Prisoner wasn’t the best TV show ever, I’ve no clew what was. It’s the only show where I have any episode on DVD—and I’ve got the full set. I bought the set here in France (Le Prisonnier), so it has Français subtitles; watching with the Anglais audio and the French captions makes it even more surreal…

    And like many others, I was introduced to the series ob PBS with the oddish analysis at the end of each episode.

  90. tms says

    Hey PZ,


    Apologies if anyone else has posted this aleady:

    “…To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”
    – Moby Dick, quoted by Khan (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

    Actually, the quote comes from Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. Herman Melville borrowed it for use by Capt. Ahab in “Moby Dick”

    Don’t you remember,
    “Have you ever read Milton, Captain?”

  91. says

    @#96, it’s true that Montalban founded “Nosotros” in 1970. It is (was?) a race-based organization dedicated to promoting Latino actors in Hollywood.

    I’m not sure how that qualifies as a “knife in the back” to America, though, considering the large number of Latino citizens we have.

    The real shame is that Montalban was a Catholic, and is therefore burning in his rich Corinthian leather. That makes me sad.

    Oh, and that “dead pool” idea is a good one. How about a “damned pool”? Nah, that’d be too big. Maybe a “Saved pool” would be more manageable! :D

  92. says

    Not a bad idea, seeing as to how some people went to the dark side already, there’s that Rambling theist for starters… ´:S

  93. SteveM says

    The real shame is that Montalban was a Catholic, and is therefore burning in his rich Corinthian leather.


  94. Leigh Williams says

    I miss Isaac Asimov and Steve Allen. Asimov is obvious, I suppose . . . I was a huge fan of both his popular science stuff and his fiction. But Steve Allen was such a mensch, a passionate secular humanist and eloquant spokesman for reason.

  95. BillDarryl says

    Two actors die on the same day, both most noted for playing characters confined to islands. Coincidence?

    If I were Russel Johnson, I’d be looking over my shoulder.

  96. Virginia says

    Speaking of great British sci-fi, be sure to check out the new “Doctor Who” revived in 2005, with the first four series now available on US DVDs. Very well-written and funny, with great acting and SOTA effects to boot.

    It’s made by BBC Wales, so you may need to turn on the subtitles occasionally.

  97. gwyllion says

    Ummmm #45 – the quote is “he TAXES me” to tax someone is to annoy/bother/worry them NOT tasks
    and as for MacGoohan – my FIRST (and still most deeply felt) childhood crush!
    The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh – that face – that VOICE (which is the reason i loved both Montalban and MacGoohan) i am a SUCKER for a beautiful basso voice!

  98. Robert Byers says

    From Canada
    #124 Palibanmom
    It is a knife in the back, First there is not Latino citizens. There is only American citizens in America. There are no such people as Latinos. They are in fact immigrant people from existing nations. The word is used to bring legitimacy for foreigners to stay in their identity without keeping their true native name which true americans would deny legitimacy.
    its a deception of identity. Mexican American doesn’t work for claiming status and rights in America. Americans would just say Mexico for Mexicans and America for Americans. You want special status or rights as Mexicans then leave. so they came up with the words ,Hispanic and latino. They are no longer their former nations but they are not Americans.
    Then they live and claim segregated existence and rights.
    A deception and illegal robbery of America. There is no right for them to claim to be these new peoples and Americans are under no moral or legal obligation to recognize them other then who they actually are. Mexicans, Cubans, this or that. The truth.

    To promote these ‘Latinos’ is to demote true americans or other ethnic citizens of American. it is traitorous, immoral, illegal, racist, and the essence of division and unworkable segregation.
    They beg to be citizens and then are beggers about interference with Americans rightful inheritance and rights to everything fair and square on abilities.
    These type of Mexicans etc should be not allowed to stay. they broke their contract for being allowed citizenship. Back to Mexico and good riddence.
    To those who become assimulated true americans or at least proper citizens then they are legally in good standing.

  99. teammarty says

    DEVO’s version of Secret Agent Man is far better even though Johny Rivers is cool

    Used to play with “Rover”, by pulling the sheet hard over my head and making that tortured face and pretending to pass out.

    The Prisoner wa also ahead of it’s time with it’s New World Order storyline, but then there’s always been a new New world Order.