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Danger Man 1965

One day, as Head of Commercial Productions at UPITN I got a call from our Librarian, Pat Holder, who said that she had been approached by a Producer, Barry Delmaine, at ITC Studios, Borehamwood .

He was working on the second one-hour series of Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan in the title role.

The Danger Man crew had had a reputation, in the first series, for turning round an episode in four days, for using the same sets over and over again and for using library material from the newsreels for inserts, especially for overseas locations.

These shots would always look like what they were, always duplicates from the original, sometimes second duplicates, sometimes scratched.

There is no doubt that they were sending second unit crews around Europe to pick up location shots and even the odd action scene.  Because of this, I was somewhat bemused to hear that they producer was enquiring as to whether we had library material of the coastline of Portugal, with a windmill, and shots of the main square in Lisbon shot from an elevated position.

I called him and after a short while I knew what he was up to.  He would pay us enhanced library rates to obtain the material and he knew very well that the shots were not in our Library.  I said to him that the shots could not be found immediately, but I would think that in a week or so we would be able to come up with them.

For us to shoot this material was strictly against Union rules and this appealed to me. The producers would have had to send a crew of at least twelve technicians plus production staff to get what he wanted.

I said that if he gave me an accurate run down of all the shots he wanted in Portugal, I would make sure that we found them.

Patrick McGoohan as Number Six

Image by geminicollisionworks via Flickr

The scenes he asked for were most particular.  He described exactly what he wanted including a shot of a specific car going round the square in Lisbon and into a side road.

On the coast he wanted a shot along the cliffs panning from the sea to a couple of Portuguese windmills.

We turned out our Lisbon crew, armed with 35mm Plus X film and instructed them what to do.  They did a wonderful job.  Because of the situation, we were not able to offer the producer the original negative, that would have given the game away.  We sent them a Fine Grain Duping Positive which they were able to incorporate within their own negative.

The result was excellent, but it never happened again.   I think the man might have thought it too dangerous to try it.  There must have been a reason that he could not or would not send a crew as had had been doing for some time.  Perhaps there was a change in Union rules which made the cost prohibitive.

While doing these small jobs well, I thought we might get a good deal of follow-up work, but, quite often, we would do a job for a company, and even be congratulated by them, never to hear from them again.

© Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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