Tag Archives: British television

Retro Saturday:Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers)

Patrick McGoohan played the character of John Drake, an secret agent for an organization affiliated with NATO in Danger Man(Secret Agent in US) from 1960-1962 and from 1964-1968 he was an agent with British M9. What set it apart from others in the genre was reliance on wits rather than gadgets and gimmicks. And it had a dark theme to it as well as good people sometimes suffering bad things (being killed by an enemy, being arrested for a crime they did not commit)as a consequence of his actions. And Drake did not always follow his orders getting him into conflict with his superiors in the second series.

It was an excellent and well done series with interesting plots and intrique that often put Drake in danger. When the show was imported to the US, the title was changed to Secret Agent and added the song Secret Agent Man sung by Johnny Rivers for the opening and closing of the show. The song became a hit and still is popular to this day. Some people (myself included when I first heard it)often hear Rivers seemingly sing the words “secret asian man….” This is because he stretches the word agent into a-G-ent (secret a-G-ent man) resulting in the g sort of sounding like an s when it is not. It was done for stylistic reasons and makes it easier to sing in this manner. At any rate here is a 1966 performance of Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers.