Danger Man Gadgets [Back to the homepage]
007 is noted for the gadgets supplied by Q - here we look at the gadgets used by Drake
Gadgets, Special Equipment, call them what you will, Secret Agents use them. In the case of James Bond, these gadgets became more and more bizarre as the film series progressed. Cars that went under water, cars that had skis, cars that had ejector sets and an amazing collection of weapons.
Danger Man had gadgets too, but despite the public's belief, Drake did not use them in every episode, and when he did they were to help him with his mission and not to solve a problem the screenwriters otherwise couldn't get there lead character out of. Drake relied on his wits, he didn't need flashy gadgets.
The first gadget to appear in Danger Man was in "Time To Kill" produced in 1959, some three years before Sean Connery became Bond. The special equipment used here was a self assembly sighted rifle made from parts hidden in a car and other pieces baked inside a loaf of bread.
The most familiar gadget used by Drake was a small cigarette lighter that contained a tiny camera. This was a popular prop and used throughout the first season and in the revised one hour episodes. It is thought that this prop was the invention of "Avengers" writer Brian Clemens.
The inventions used in Danger Man were simple and only on rare occasions reached the ridiculous. One example of plain silliness can be seen in "A Very Dangerous Game". Here Drake is seen in his bed, but this is no ordinary one. There are buttons everywhere, that open sliding draws and turn the lights on and off. At the foot of the bed a television screen rises into view at the flick of a switch. Drake can now see and hear his bosses as they brief him on his mission.
This episode also featured a cream that looks like toothpaste, very useful for melting glass and a smoker's pipe that once activated fired a dart that sent out a radio signal. A similar device was also used in another episode, where Drake assembled a dart gun from tubes strapped around his leg. A small gas cartridge supplied the power to send the tracking device on its way.
The good old fashioned type writer was used in various ways, as a camera to take pictures of trainee spies, as a tracking receiver and occasionally as a means of writing!
A toilet case in "Not So Jolly Roger" was in reality a shortwave radio. A wine barrel in "No Marks For Servility" hides a video surveillance system. There were cigar's that were exploding flash bombs and a fishing rod that acted a directional microphone in "The Man With The Foot". This episode also included rifles that shot motion picture film.
Other episodes used umbrella’s that shot darts (another tracking device launcher), and an electric razor that acted as a tape recorder, a drill or a radio transmitter.
Patrick McGoohan recalled in an interview that he used to look forward to seeing what the various writers involved with the series had come up with for the next episode, and the actor himself is said to have contributed the odd idea.
For the most these gadgets were unobtrusive but in 1966 ITC finally gave into the pull of Bond. In "Koroshi" John Drake's penultimate adventure, the gadgets come thick and fast. There were cufflinks that contained a small exploding device, a listening device hidden within a matchbox and a bomb-detecting wrist watch. The episode also featured a flower that was used as a direction finder, a listening device, and also released a deadly gas.
This page takes a look at some of the gadgets Drake used.
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