Rover - White, spherical guardian that
roamed throughout the espionage adventure THE PRISONER/CBS/1968-69.
Shaped like a large weather balloon, the Rover (with a sound like a lion's roar and a gale
force wind) hunted down any person who attempted escape from the secret seaside
resort known as the Village.When the Rover caught an escapee, it enveloped
their body, suffocating them temporarily or permanently.
The Rover traveled on both land and sea to catch its prey especially Number Six (Patrick McGoohan) an
unwilling guest of this strange environment whose continual attempts at escape
were thwarted by the ubiquitous white patrolman.
On the episode No. 5 "Schizoid Man," a man looking like Number Six tried to
convince real Number Six that he was not who he thought he was. In the end, the
double was killed by Rover. This was the episode that first identified the
guardian with a name. When it killed the double (because he panicked and ran),
Number Six telephoned Number Two and said "Rover got him."
Originally, the script for the series envisioned a driverless Volkswagen with a
blue light as the Rover. Fortunately, this idea was abandoned for the more
mysterious, nebulous rolling security device.
In an interview in Toronto in 1977 Patrick McGoohan told TV host Warner Troyer:
"We had this marvelous piece of machinery that was being built which was gonna
be "Rover" and this thing was like a hovercraft and it would go underwater, come
up on the beach, climb walls; it could do anything. The was our original Rover.
By the first day of shooting, unfortunately, the engineers, mechanics and
scientific geniuses hadn't quite completed it to perfection. And the first day
of shooting, Rover was supposed to go down off the beach into the water, do a
couple of signals and a couple of wheel spins and come back up. But it went down
into the water and stayed down, permanently."
The show's Producer Manger Bernard Williams and star Patrick McGoohan soon after
noticed a meteorological balloon floating overhead and thus was born "Rover."
According to the book "The Official Prisoner Companion" (Warner Books, 1988) the
"Rover" symbolized "repression and the guardianship of corrupt authority, which
when corruption is finally overcome, disintegrates." The Rovers were the "sheep
dogs of the allegory...when people asked too many questions or assert their
individuality, the Rovers acted as a stifling force. If one began to stray from
the herd, Rovers were sent to bring them back."
TRIVIA NOTE: Female kangaroos are "Rovers."
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