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A Degree Absolute!

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A Degree Absolute!

Chris Klimek & Glen Weldon

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Critics Chris Klimek and Glen Weldon both loved the late-60s British sci-fi series "The Prisoner" in their formative years, but they haven't seen it in a long time and they're not at all sure how it will play in a 21st century rife with with "alternative facts" and militant individualism at the expense of social responsibility. One thing is certain: Run-DMC were clearly influenced by the vocal patterns of Patrick McGoohan, and that malicious weather balloon is still eerie as hell. Wait, that ...
 
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A Time to Kill, the fourth big-studio adaptation of a John Grisham legal thriller to hit theaters in a 37-month period during the first Clinton Administration, is not a great showcase for our man Patty McG. There are just too many high-caliber, high-profile, and high-maintenance players in its stacked cast, and probably too much studio pressure for…
 
Terrible fonts! Racist tropes! Puppetty brontos! A doomed marriage! A movie that was made for no one! Plus Paddy McG phoning it in - hardly a single trilled R! Listen, and catch the opposite of a fever! Prolific podmedian & Eisner Award nominee Jordan Morris joins us to carbon-date a seminal document of his dino-loving youth, BABY, SECRET OF THE LO…
 
MOOR COWBELL! Slip into your cardigan, roll yourself a jazz cigarette, and prepare to savor one of Patty McG's most sinister heel turns as our lovely theme-song singer Casey Erin Clark joins us to deconstruct All Night Long, director Basil Dearden's 1962 adaptation of Othello set in the London jazz scene. PLUS! Casey draws upon her expertise as a v…
 
A movie for McGoohan die-hards that creator Alexis Kanner the Once-Boxed sued the makers of Die Hard over! Paddy McG and Kanner! Squaring off, with a Montreal radio show as their Thunderdome. A film with all the makings of a taut thriller involving hostages, a building wired with explosives, and McG in fine form: Rolling them Rs! Slamming them cons…
 
Patty McG's first major project after The Prisoner wrapped up in early 1968 was The Moonshine War, for Sex and the Single Girl director (and title-song lyricist!) Richard Quine. Quine did not write this film's remarkably concise and descriptive title song, "The Ballad of Moonshine," leaving that to Hank Williams, Jr. The great crime writer Elmore L…
 
Does Mister-not-Doctor Andrew MacDuhui (Paddy McG) hate pets? (He does not, no matter what his low-information neighbors in the fictional Scottish town of Inveronoch think.) Did Walt Disney hate cats? (Our very special guest Disney expert, Josh Spiegel, makes a compelling case.) Were animals harmed during the making of this motion picture? (Most ce…
 
On February 9, 1964, Ed Sullivan introduced a band from Liverpool, England formerly known as The Quarrymen to an estimated 73 million viewers of his primetime CBS variety show. And down the dial on NBC, the anthology series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color drew an audience of something less than 73 million for the first installment of its thr…
 
Pop some vitamin E before listening, because it's gonna be hug 'n' munch all the way to Chicago! Solvable host Ronald Young, Jr. joins Glen and Chris to examine Silver Streak, ostensibly a hybrid romantic thriller / buddy comedy that gave the world the long-running Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor screen partnership and was a huge hit upon its release in …
 
CAUTION: This is not an episode of A Degree Absolute! This is a halldecking aid. Happy Boxing Day, Degree Absolutionists! With Glen still waging his one-man war on Christmas from the sunny heathen hinterlands of Miami, I, Chris, have made an executive decision to use up our vacant server space this month to re-present my 2019 holiday mixtape, "Let'…
 
#Yulemix21 ABIDES! In this second half of my XVIth senses-shattering installment in the apparently unkillable Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable series, Chris attempts penance for preempting your regularly-scheduled podcast with my mixtape by roping Glen & Casey in for some festive preamble before we get to the damn tape. Those halls aren't going to…
 
This is not an episode of A DEGREE ABSOLUTE! This is a halldecking aid. A DEGREE ABSOLUTE! shall return. What this is is the sixteenth installment in what has become a venerable holiday tradition that invariably makes me feel unhinged in the final couple of months of each year. Sixteen! They grow up so fast. The Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable co…
 
It's primae noctis for your ears because we can put it off no longer: The quintuple-Academy Award-winning a-historical epic Braveheart is the most widely seen and, your hosts agree, best latter-day expression of undiluted Patrick McGooted. The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri returns to discuss her journalist doppelganger, the New York Times' Alex…
 
THERE CAN BE ONLY TWO(s) as Chris & Glen rank their top six on this week’s exciting episode! Thanks to @UrbanSpaceMan64 for suggesting the topic. Write to the Citizens Advice Bureau at adegreeabsolute dot gmail! Leave us a five-star review with your hottest Prisoner take on Apple Podcasts! Follow @NotaNumberPod! Our song: "A Degree Absolute!" Music…
 
It’s the Notorious V.R.G. v. the founder of the Jackson Fivehead in this 16th century showdown among two dope queens—and we don’t mean Timothy Dalton & Ian Holm! PLUS: Jimmy Stewart! Current Release Corner! Dispatches from the French of Liberty, Kansas! Mary, Queen of Scots Written by John Hale Directed by Charles Jarrott Released December 1971 Wri…
 
It's Patty McG v. Lee Va C as Original Cast host Patrick Flynn joins Chris & Glen to discuss the existential 1980 thriller The Hard Way. Write to the Citizens Advice Bureau at adegreeabsolute dot gmail! Leave us a five-star review with your hottest Prisoner take on Apple Podcasts! Follow @NotaNumberPod! Our song: "A Degree Absolute!" Music and Lyri…
 
Chris and Glen discuss Dean Motter & Mark Askwith's 1988 four-volume comic book sequel to the unclassifiable and unforgettable TV series. The A Place to Hang Your Cape interview with Dean Motter we discuss in this episode is here. Write to the Citizens Advice Bureau at adegreeabsolute dot gmail! Leave us a five-star review with your hottest Prisone…
 
An increasingly besotted Glen & unceasingly bemused Chris wax purple on THE PHANTOM, 1996’s two-fisted failed franchise starter with Billy Zane as the 30s comic strip hero who coulda been called WHITE PANTHER & Patty McG as the Ghost Who Walks™ ’s… Ghost Dad? The Phantom Written by Jeffrey Boam Directed by Simon Wincer Released June 7, 1996 Write t…
 
Democracy dies in dorkiness this week as the brilliant Washington Post columnist, essayist, playwright and retired (?) Emo Sith Lord Alexandra Petri joins us to autopsy David Cronenberg's 1981 explosive migrane of a cult classic Scanners, featuring 24 minutes of a possibly first-billed, maybe third-billed, but unequivocally box-named-on-the poster …
 
Chris freestyles and epic poem about getting his iPhone replaced and eventually he and Glen dig deep into the too-long-neglected mailbag. Casey sings a reader-penned jingle. Write to the Citizens Advice Bureau at adegreeabsolute dot gmail! Leave us a five-star review with your hottest Prisoner take on Apple Podcasts! Follow @NotaNumberPod! Our song…
 
Maximum Fun? More like maximum security! Maximum Fun podcast network founder and San Francisco native Jesse Thorn joins us this week to tunnel through the crumbling walls of Escape From Alcatraz, the 1979 Clint Eastwood-starring dramatization of the real 1962 prison break, featuring Patty McG as…The Warden. Stunt casting doesn’t get any stuntier, t…
 
DID YOU KNOW that Columbophiles are properly nomenclatured Columboheads or Trenchcoatheads? DID YOU KNOW that fans who divide their sympathies equally among Patrick McGoohan and Peter Falk are formally designated McGalks? Pal Linda Holmes joins Glen & Chris to investigate Patty McG’s historic run as a four-time Columbo killer / five-time Columbo di…
 
Vulture TV critic and noted Lindelofologist Jen Chaney joins us to examine the influence of THE PRISONER on subsequent stranded-by-the-seaside puzzle-box shows like LOST. Plus we once again pop The Hatch on the mailbag. Read Jen's definitive oral history of the LOST finale here! Follow her on Twitter here! Write to the Citizens Advice Bureau at ade…
 
I (Chris) have long suspected The Prisoner is a show with a particular appeal to creative people, and I love to be proven right. Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling is a Prisoner-inspired punk duo comprised of filmmakers/musicians/writers/creators/etc. Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein. When we saw their video for "Arrival" — a meticulous, two-yea…
 
Shot in December 1966 under the title "Degree Absolute" and not broadcast until more than a year later when it became The Prisoner's penultimate — and, we agree, ultimate — episode, "Once Upon a Time" is the real thing. A bottle episode that locks GOAT Number Two Leo McKern and Number Six in the black-box "Embryo Room" and compels them to reenact t…
 
Chris and Glen respond to listener email and then take up a tactical position on the western emplacement of Glen's Remote Mountain Stronghold to discuss their IRL reunion and promised viewing of Rob Marshall's Best Picture-winning 2002 film version of John Kander & Fred Ebb's Chicago. Which has precisely nothing to do with The Prisoner but hey, we …
 
What If Jimmy Page played a session with Stillwater? Our podcastin' inspiration Matt Gourley joins us for a Cinerama epic of an episode that we didn't plan to release on Father's Day week, but the cookie happened to crumble serendipitously. Because our subject is a genuine, certified, no-foolin’ Dad Movie, Ice Station Zebra, based on The Guns of Na…
 
Number Six must elude the tender embrace of a lady who probably uses pseudonyms at least as often as he does in a late-in-the-run-but-lavish filler episode that sends up the spy genre circa ’67 & burns plenty of Sir Lew Grade’s money. (He refused to finance a floated 90-minute version.) Justine Lord and Kenneth Griffiths are your magnificent guest …
 
Prolific screenwriter, prosewriter, comic book writer, and podcaster Ben Blacker — co-creator of the magnificent monthly-live-show-turned-podcast The Thrilling Adventure Hour, and its delightful Western parody feature, Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars, among his many other notable and impressive credentials — joins us this week to dissect "Living in …
 
It seems Patty McG had softened his "don't call it television because television cuts corners and we'll never ever do that" position by the time of The Prisoner's much-abbreviated second and final season, because for most of the production of this week's episode he decided his time would be better spent in Los Angeles co-starring in John Sturges' u…
 
Number Six's Public Enemy Number Six act is getting tired — and what is alternately referred to within a single scene as The Committee, The Council, and The Commission will tolerate it for only so long before they decree that their prize captive must undergo Instant Social Conversion. It's a procedure so chilling that Number Eighty-Six (the marvelo…
 
There's an assassination plot afoot in The Village, and Number Six must protect his oppressor to spare his fellow Villagers. Derren Nesbitt is our Number Two and Annette Andre is our Girl Friday. Neither one of them could stand their scene partner an (uncredited) director, Patty McG. Pink-blazered henchman Mark Eden didn't hate him, but he did rese…
 
Pride Goethe before a fall. To boldy Goethe where no one has gone before. Just how well do you know your Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? Patrick Cargill is back from "Many Happy Returns" and in Number Six's crosshairs after he drives a woman to suicide two minutes into the episode. And so begins Six's campaign of vengeance via psychological warfare. >F…
 
It's Carnival in The Village, and Dance of the Dead — an episode that was nearly scuttled on account of Patrick McGoohan's disdain for it (and refusal to shoot at least part of its climactic scene) — offers a fascinating glimpse into The Prisoner's conflicting aesthetic priorities. Marry Morris, our latest Number Two, is a memorable malefactor whom…
 
The first half of this episode is dialogue-free! This episode of The Prisoner, that is, not this episode of A Degree Absolute!, though that's the sort of formal experimentation we'd be game to try. Anywho, Number Six awakens in an inexplicably raptured Village and opts for the seaborne escape route, where starvation, pirates, and intrigue await. As…
 
SPOILERS AHOY for the entirety of the 54-year-old television series The Prisoner! You've been warned! Save this episode for later if you haven't yet seen the whole series! Lifelong Prisoner fan Alex Cox joins Chris to talk about his 2017 book I Am Not a Number: Decoding the Prisoner, and What It's All About. Write to the Citizens Advice Bureau at a…
 
Glen is under the influence of digital vermouth and under the spell of John Castle in our dissection of "The General." Wherein Number Six gets anger-cruised and Kirks a computer, and Colin Gordon "returns" as Number Two from "A.B. & C." — an episode obviously intended to follow this one, but which was broadcast before — apparently having survived h…
 
It's election time in The Village and Number Six is the frontrunner! Eric Portman, this episode's Number Two, greets him thus: "Good morning, good morning! Any complaints?" And of course Six has complaints. He's like Portnoy: famed for his complaints. Featuring the lovely Rachel Herbert as Number Fifty-Eight, his irrepressibly enthusiastic and enth…
 
Number Six attempts to escape The Village with the help of a newcomer named Nadia and a "basically primitive" abstract art project with a hard-to-overlook nautical vibe. He also finds out where The Village is. Unequivocally. Indisputably. Maybe. Featuring the first of the great Leo McKern's appearances as Number Two! Follow us @NotaNumberPod Write …
 
Chris & Glen embark upon their first look back at Patrick McGoohan's 1967-8 British sci-fi series The Prisoner in many years and hope that the show's ethos — "militant and individualistic," in the expression of one of The Village's ever-changing Number Twos — will turn out to be something more generous than it seems. Also, will Number Six ever be n…
 
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