There can be little doubt that Danger Man (ITV, 1960-67) fuelled a whole spy boom in the 1960s, inspiring a whole genre of shows and movies to follow, most of which have since been elevated to cult status.
Broadcast across Europe and America under various titles (‘Destination Danger’ in France, ‘John Drake’ in Germany and ‘Secret Agent’ in America) the show pre-dated the first screen incarnation of James Bond by two years. Although having certain notable similarities (‘The name is Drake … John Drake') the character of Drake never became involved with women and avoided using guns at the behest of the show’s star, Patrick McGoohan. So strong were McGoohan’s Catholic convictions on such matters, that he allegedly declined the role of the first James Bond due to the explicit nature of sexual content and violence.
The image of this somewhat unconventional agent, combined with excellent scripts and slick production, was without doubt the key to the show’s enormous worldwide success, making McGoohan a star.
The series was created by Ralph Smart, fresh from his success with the series The Invisible Man (ITV, 1958-59) and first appeared in 1960 in a half-hour format, running until 1962.
The popularity of the show, ensured its return in 1964, this time in hour-long instalments, with a brief venture into colour for two episodes of the fourth season, before McGoohan felt it was time to move on — this time to the even greater cult success of ‘The Prisoner’.
For the collector, Danger Man is an appealing area. The imagery is classic, and aside from the usual annuals, story books and paperbacks — all of which can be seen in the following gallery — the smooth image of McGoohan as John Drake, graced the covers of many publications worldwide throughout the 1960s. This makes Danger Man interesting subject-matter and an area full of surprises for the ephemera collector. The following gallery therefore showcases just a selection of the material produced.
Click on the link to view this featured collection.