It was like a dream, a dream that had become fabulous reality.
Here I am in America for the very first time in 1983 on a mission to get an interview with Patrick McGoohan about his groundbreaking television series, The Prisoner.
A dream because the series had changed my life back in 1969 when it was first shown in Britain.
A dream that you almost never get to meet your heroes.
A dream because an infant Channel 4 Television in London had commissioned a documentary about its making. A dream because I knew nothing about making television programs. As a director, this would be my first…
In 1983, Chris Rodley sought to interview Patrick McGoohan for a documentary commissioned by Britain’s then new Channel 4 about The Prisoner. McGoohan, who was living in Los Angeles at that time, agreed to talk; Rodley came out from the UK with a film crew.
There were two filmed interviews, one that eventually played a part in the 1984 documentary titled Six Into One, and one not used and not seen until this, Rodley’s second documentary about Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner, and the making of Six Into One 35 years later. Supplemented by a recent interview with McGoohan’s daughter Catherine and clips from other interviews and sources, In My Mind is a love letter to two of its subjects, but not the third.
Deep Space Nine was my favorite Star Trek–and my favorite TV show for most of the 1990s, edging out Babylon 5 and The X-Files, although I did buy all three on DVD and do binge-watch them occasionally. It was my first online fandon. When the internet was in its infancy, I discussed episodes on usenet groups, wrote fanfic, and made friends, some of whom I still keep in touch with. There’s a little model of the DS9 space station on the shelf above this computer, and somewhere around here in a box is a collection of DS9 and B5 action figures; they started out as chess pieces (with Dana Scully as a referee), and wound up performing scenes from Shakespeare’s plays and standing in for the figures in the nativity during the holiday season.
What We Left Behind, the recent documentary about DS9 which I only just received on BluRay, has been a huge nostalgia trip for me. While watching it, I’ve been looking back as well on something I once loved and remain fond of.
The conceit of What We Left Behind is that the DS9 writers are brought back together by a literally blue-bearded Ira Steven Behr to discuss an imagined 8th season of the show if they were given the opportunity to do one today.
Where are the characters 20ish years later?
And most important of all: Does Captain Benjamin Sisko come back from that overly bright, white place where he went to hang out with the Prophets in non-linear-time?
The primary focus of this recent documentary about producer/director Dan Curtis is of course on Dark Shadows–as its title declares. Fair enough, since that is his most famous work and what he’s best remembered for. Fans of the show, such as myself, will be its main audience. I think that most of us will come away from viewing it satisfied in that respect.
But pretty much all the rest of his film and TV work is given disappointingly short coverage.
When he was 13, Dan Curtis’s mother died quite suddenly in front of him; this tragedy was a fact I’d never known about him before, but it’s where his story begins. Barbara Steele, who worked with him on Winds of War and War and Remembrance, and played Dr. Julia Hoffman in theDark Shadows Revival, calls it the “defining factor of his life.”
Steele is one of many people interviewed for this documentary. Others include the surviving members of the original Dark Shadows cast and show’s writers, Curtis’s secretary Rita Fein, his two daughters, ABC executives, media historians, and surprisingly Whoopie Goldberg.