The Avengers and Me
As far as all-time favorite tv shows go, my number one choice is the ‘60’s cult classic “The Avengers”. I tend to like things that defy categorization. For a spy show, it delved into time travel, ESP, tributes to film classics, plants from outer space that were here to destroy humanity, the Arabian Nights, and countless other exotic themes. And as much as I loved Diana Rigg, the show really also needed Patrick Macnee. Outwardly Mrs Peel was the futuristic woman(still ahead of her time, by the way) and he was like someone out of the 18th century in some respects. Past and future. Male and Female. He refused to carry a gun. When advised to read the James Bond novels to prepare himself for his role, he said he found the books sexist and tiresome and chose instead to go his own way. He made Steed a modern-day Scarlet Pimpernel,replete with astonishing wardrobe. Steed could be understated and still score style points. He could step aside and let Mrs Peel save the day, or, if needed, rescue her and save the day himself, A strong, secure, witty man of either action or leisure. A great role model, and, in the end, also still ahead of his time.
A couple of years ago I wrote a story, “Mrs Peel, You’re Needed”( Mrs. Peel story) in which I get to replace Steed and have an adventure with Mrs Peel in the Field of Infinite Possibilities. In the Honor Blackman series, Brian Clemens wrote an episode entitled “Don’t Look Behind You”, where Cathy Gale is being stalked by a mysterious and viscious killer. This same script was updated for Diana Rigg in the episode “The Joker”. In both Macnee plays Steed, obviously, who comes in at the end to tidy things up. So he performs a similar act in my story. He wrote an autobiography which is a real delight entitled “Blind in One Ear’. He was supposed to appear locally at a bookstore in 1989, and a good friend and I went to hopefully meet him. Unfortunately, his wife took ill and he was unable to attend. Later, he wrote a book, “The Avengers and Me”, which was timed to come out about the time of the 1998 Avengers movie. A student got me the book and it had his signature on the inside. I figured that it was a decorative Photostat of some sort, but later I saw from the opposite side of the page that it had been written in pen. My student checked with Amazon.com and was informed that Macnee himself had autographed a number of copies for them to help promote the film. So I do have his autograph.
Aikido does work energies that are receptive/positive, yin/yang, masculine/feminine. The Founder referred to the 4 treasures as The sun and moon, the breath of heaven, the breath of earth, and the ebbing and flowing of the tide. I think “The Avengers “ worked because of the special chemistry between Mrs Peel and John Steed, which is reinforced by a deep and genuine friendship between Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee. Click below to view the opening sequence of the 1967 season: