Danger Man: A Fine Glen Plaid Suit

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Danger-Man-Glen-Plaid-Suit

The 1960’s spy television show Danger Man has a lot in common with the Bond films. Danger Man was produced by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment, which also produced Roger Moore’s series The Saint and The Persuaders. Many of the guest stars in Danger Man have also appeared in the Bond films, including Anthony Dawson, Eunice Gayson, Walter Gotell, Charles Grey, Geoffrey Keen, Burt Kwouk, Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn, Zena Marshall, Lois Maxwell, George Pastell, Donald Pleasence, Shane Rimmer, Robert Shaw and Paul Stassino. But the common ground between the Bond films and Danger Man continues. Patrick McGoohan, the star of Danger Man, had the same tailor as Sean Connery did, Anthony Sinclair. I think this plaid suit could be one of the suits Anthony Sinclair made for McGoohan, but it has more drape than Connery’s suits do.

Danger-Man-Glen-Plaid-Suit-2

McGoohan’s suits have a similar cut to Sean Connery’s suits, with natural shoulders, roped sleeve heads, a draped chest and a gently suppressed waist. Since the show began in 1960 the lapels are a little wider than on Connery’s suits, but the shape of the lapels is similar to the shape of the lapels on the Dr. No suits. This glen plaid suit, seen in the two images about in its first appearance from the fifth episode title “The Lovers”, has a button two jacket with flap pockets, four buttons on the cuffs and a single vent. The fine plaid is similar to plaid in Goldfinger, but this one has an overcheck that I would guess is light blue. If the plaid suit is the same one I’ve seen in colour publicity stills, the plaid is the traditional black and white.

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In subsequent appearances, McGoohan occasionally wears this suit with a matching waistcoat. This can be seen in the images above and below, taken from the episode “The Sisters”. “The Sisters” briefly features Anthony Dawson, who went on to play Professor Dent in Dr. No. The waistcoat has six buttons with five to button, and when McGoohan wears the waistcoat he leaves the suit jacket unbuttoned. The suit trousers have double forward pleats and turn-ups, just like Connery’s suit trousers have.

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In both appearances featured here, McGoohan wears the suit with a dark satin tie, tied in a four-in-hand knot, and a white shirt with a spread collar and double cuffs. The shoes are light brown two-eyelet, split-toe derbies. The character John Drake is supposed to be American in the first series, which would explain such light-coloured shoes with a suit. They at least look very nice with the suit on black-and-white film. Connery’s black shoes were typical for an Englishman.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Great blog and article on Danger Man/Secret Agent. Interestingly, Patrick McGoohan was also under consideration to play James Bond/007 in Dr. No but turned it down.

  2. It is currently fashionable in America to wear brown shoes with just about any color of suit aside from black. I think that brown shoes with charcoals and grays are a mistake. However, I think brown shoes actually look better than black with certain shades of blue/navy suits. I don’t quite understand the English aversion (if I am correct in stating that there is one) to wearing brown shoes in this context. Is it simply because brown is considered to informal, or is something else at play?

    • I think it is simply that brown is always regarded as more informal. That said, the traditional ‘no brown in town’ rule is honoured at least as much in the breach as by keeping to it.

  3. Is funny that many guest stars an supporting cast of 60s James Bond movies, have also appeared in “Danger man”,”The Saint” and “The Avengers”.
    Great cut,i like Anthony Sinclair style; was a fantastic tailor.

  4. Great article, Matt. I never saw this handsome actor, he reminds me a little of Richard Widmark.
    The Conduit Cut is a great style, but the more I think of it, the more I think you need to be a tall and athletic fellow to pull it off. With a full cut, drape and natural shoulders, the jacket is meant to “hang” gracefully and softly on your body. If one doesn’t have wide shoulders and chest, I don’t think the result would be as good as it is with the actors pictured.

    On another note, it’s nice to see black and white screenshots too, it makes a refreshing change. Matt, do you know any trick that might help to distinguish navy from black in B&W movies ?

    • I think that’s absolutely correct. There is no point in wearing a style which does not suit you.

      Matt, would you say that the style of Anderson and Sheppard is close to Anthony Sinclair because they are apparently renowned for the soft shoulder and drape cut ? This tailor is much favoured by Prince Charles but I do not believe that this style suits his physique at all.

      • Yes, the styles are very close. Someone suggested to me that this suit could be Anderson & Sheppard and not Anthony Sinclair, and that is definitely possible.

  5. Here a Anthony Sinclair blazer of 1950:

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_matyy1PNB21rtwjmgo1_1280.jpg

    Above is a Henry Poole sport coat; note that the Sinclair’s blazer seem less “stiff”,with less marcate waist suppression and more narrow lapels.
    Very impressive; Conduit cut was really smart.
    Sincerly,Bond or not if i had a time machine and I had to choose a tailor in 1950s London,my choose is Anthony Sinclair!

    Bonus:
    Another Sinclair suit: http://www.bundpic.com/2012/10/19800.shtml

  6. McGoohan turned the Bond part down on account of his puritanical Catholic make up. He didn’t relate to Bond’s womanizing nature (although this reminds me a little of Laurence Olivier’s admonishing of Dustin Hoffman on the set of the movie “The Marathon Man”, suggesting “why don’t you just try acting?” when Hoffman claimed to have trouble with his role) McGoohan would probably have been a bit too quirky by nature to have carried the role even if he definitely would have fitted the bill otherwise. He appeared in a number of excellent episodes of the TV series “Columbo” from the 1970’s to the 1990’s so American audiences might recall him from these.
    Incidentally, this is a beautiful suit and a good example of what I think of when I refer to a suit as looking “timelessly elegant”. There is nothing in particular about the suit which dates it to a particular era and it would still not appear particularly dated today (except that waistcoats, sadly, seem to have gone by the board again after a revival from about 1995-2007).

    Carmelo, your last link illustrates perfectly why Connery never had a clue how to wear a suit.

    • Absolutely agree with you on the timeless elegance of the suit and also, regrettably, on what a complete mug Sean looks with both buttons fastened, a sin he committed right at the beginning of Dr No.

  7. “There is nothing in particular about the suit which dates it to a particular era and it would still not appear particularly dated today (except that waistcoats, sadly, seem to have gone by the board again after a revival from about 1995-2007).”

    That’s interesting; here in Toronto I see more people wearing waistcoats than ever before. They seem to have really picked up in popularity in the last few years. Prior to that, I never really saw them.

    • You really never saw a waistcoat prior to the last few years?? How extraordinary. Perhaps Toronto people operate in an exceptional sartorial axis all of their own.
      Will be interesting to see what take fellow contributors have on this?

  8. Waistcoats have definitely had something of a revival in the last couple of years.

    My feeling is that they had had a degree of popularity in the UK from about the mid-nineties through to the start of the new millennium but then faded. They had often been high fastening and accompanied the three and four button single breasted suits that were fashionable. They then became pretty unusual but in the last few years have had something of a return.

  9. Rob

    What I found interesting about McGoohan, is his penchant for wearing desert boots with suits.

    These are especially evident in the early series where they can frequently be seen in close-ups.

    This could be seen as an early version of the current ‘hi lo’ fashion look, mixing tailored clothing with casual pieces.

    As the shape of my feet have changed I can no longer tolerate lace-ups or even loafers and can only wear boots. I have Clarks, Tod’s and a couple of others and I think, with the right colour choice, they can look terrific with suits, sport coats and trousers.

    They obviously add a more casual tone to the outfit. At least there was a supremely elegant model to follow nearly 60 years ago with Dangerman!

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