It was one of the iconic TV series of the ‘60s and, for one that reveres both the decade and the various products of mass entertainment OF that decade as much I do, I can’t help but wonder why GET SMART and I have been separated for so long.
Happily, such is no longer the case, as the same Black Friday DVD sales that yielded THIS, also reunited me with the great Don Adams (who also starred in THIS relatively recent addition to my DVD stable) as “Maxwell Smart: Agent 86 of Control”.
It’s been DECADES since I’ve last seen GET SMART – the sitcom saga of Secret Agent Smart, the lovely “Agent 99” (Barbara Feldon), and the long-suffering “Chief of Control” (Edward Platt) in their battle against KAOS, an international organization of evil – and, seeing it from this perspective; I appreciate it all the more.
Not only did it add to the lexicon of the sixties with such oft-repeated catch-phrases as “Would you believe (fill-in-the-blank)?”, “Sorry about that, Chief” and the sure-fire laugh-getter “Missed it by THAT much!”, but it indulges in the all of the writing facets and techniques that I love… obsessive wordplay (Thanks, GeoX!), absurdity turned matter-of-fact, and constant “call-backs” to previous gags or lines!
|Max takes the elevator AND the stairs!|
|Max and a Pair of Shoes!|
He reports back to The Chief bearing the ideal face for a secret agent:
CHIEF: "It's an amazing technique, Max, but the face is all wrong!"
MAX: "But, Chief, Doctor Proctor said this is the PERFECT face for a Secret Agent!"
[It is MARTIN LANDAU, who was then starring in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, speaking with the dubbed voice of Don Adams.]
CHIEF: "That's just the point! HIS face is even more well-known than yours!"
CHIEF: "Martin Landau."
MAX: "Never heard of him!"
Then, Max does a little out-of-the-box thinking with his next attempt:
CHIEF: "You look just like a WOMAN! ...The DRESS... The HAIR!"
MAX (again dubbed): "What about the FACE?"
...Yes, it's the great Phyllis Diller, speaking with Max's voice!
GET SMART was born of the “Spy Mania” of the 1960s, which started with James Bond, and gave us THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., I SPY, SECRET AGENT (MAN), earlier episodes of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, and so much more in TV, movies, comics, and animation. Did any ongoing cartoon series of the time fail to do a spy parody? Even TOM AND JERRY ("The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R.") and THE ROAD RUNNER ("Sugar and Spies")!
Let alone SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN! (Would you believe "Superman's Casual Acquaintance"?)
|Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen # 89 (1965)|
...And TOM AND JERRY comics!
|H.U.N.G.E.R.? T.R.A.P.? Who can keep T.R.A.C.K.!|
GET SMART, debuting in 1965, so perfectly reflected that mania back at us in hilarious ways for five seasons, and I'm looking forward to enjoying it all over again.
Does ANYTHING say SIXTIES like these covers?!