Not Just A Number, Episode 1: “Arrival”

Numb.er 6 arrives at the Village

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Allen Wilson says:

    Watching the episodes has brought back faint memories from back in the 70’s when I probably saw all the reruns of this show. Today it occurred to me that I think I can remember my father saying back then that the village is really the world we live in. I’m not sure about that though.

    What I am sure about is seeing an episode back during the late 80’s or early 90’s, and my father being amused that the band were playing the Radetzsky march for a funeral procession. That may have been the first time I heard anyone call the tune by it’s name. There may be more to that tune than meets the eye here, because it’s normally a tune that is very pleasing to the ear, like candy, but not here. The band plays it in a way that is rather annoying, and it doesn’t seem to be just because it’s a brass band. I’ve heard brass bands play the tune in a pleasing way. Perhaps they are supposed to be playing like amateurs, or perhaps those who run the village want it to be played in an annoying way?

    I had the privilege of watching the show back in the 70’s when cordless phones and other things like that would amaze or intrigue a child. Nowadays such things are common and so children and young adults won’t catch the significance. I think that’s one reason the Bond films lost much of their lustre. The high tech gadgetry no longer amazes.

  2. Avatar Jacob Johnson says:

    I’ve head references to this show many times before but had not watched an episode until last night. It held interest quite well and I can see many instances where it was ripped off by something else. After the fact I wondered if there was an instance where he could have tried to puncture that balloon interception thing but did not at the time look to see if there was a conspicuous absence of sharp objects, so I’ll have to wait and see. If that is the case I suppose that could be another infantilizing control mechanism, the sort of Ralph Nader approved household objects.

  3. Avatar Allen Wilson says:

    This question might be best held back for a later podcast, but what is it with all the lava lamps? I realise they were common during the late 60’s but they seem to have some kind of prominence in the show.

  4. Avatar JD Salyer says:

    I too have had the “Where am I” experience. My stateroom on the last ship to which I was assigned was stuck in the bowels and not well lit, and had rather the ambiance of a tomb. I recall at least a couple unsettling instances whereupon waking I spent some time racking my brain in the pitch-dark trying to figure out what region of the world we were in. Singapore? Ukraine? The mid-Atlantic?

    Our pastor recently decided he had to de-clutter his residence and among the other treasures (“Das Boot,” and a Kurosawa film) we got was a boxed DVD set of this series. I have heard about it for years but only watched the 1st episode yesterday. I confess it took me a while to get into it. I generally don’t have a taste for the surreal. But now that I have a sense of a plot, it has already started to grow on me. Obviously the underlying theme resonates. Imagine, a world where someone is continually spying on you and trying to manipulate your mind! Whoa. . .

    The evil robot balloons are a brilliant touch, appropriately disturbing. Special effects were much more effective back when filmmakers had to use their imaginations. As an aside, I am reminded of certain bits of Graham Greene material, which as I recall occasionally gets pretty weird in its treatment of the espionage world. Might that have influenced this series?

    The bio material about Patrick McGoohan is fascinating & much appreciated. It is deeply comforting to realize that even in Hollywood there was once at least a tiny handful of upright & reflective people.

  5. Avatar Stephen Chaplin says:

    A somewhat recent song by Sara Bareilles called “Orpheus” includes the following lyrics, which, pun intended, strike a similar chord:

    I know you miss the world, the one you knew
    The one where everything made sense
    Because you didn’t know the truth. That’s how it works,
    ’Til the bottom drops out, and we learn
    We’re all just hunters seeking solid ground . . .

  6. Avatar Allen Wilson says:

    This show keeps reminding of the German movie “The Lives of Others” (Das Leben der Anderen). Coincidentally, that movie was made by former East Germans in order to show people what it was like to live in the DDR.