Get Smart: Me-TV’s Summer of Classic TV Blogathon

Would you believe… Get Smart is one of my all-time favorite Classic TV Series???

Well if you’re reading this blog post as part of the Me-TV Summer of Classic TV Blogathon, I would venture to guess that, yes, you could believe it!  But — before I start blogging away about this fabulously zany spy spoof, I just want to extend a big thank you to the Classic TV Blog Association for hosting this blogathon! I am absolutely thrilled to be participating in it!

Okay now, here we go…

So, why do I adore Get Smart? In all honesty, I never really thought about it until now. Perhaps it’s just some crazy kind of comedy magic that just ‘works’. Okay, okay, I know that sounds a bit ludicrous, so let me think about this for a minute… a totally inept but extremely loyal spy (understatement), a crazy cast of colorful villains (dig those crazy accents), a bunch of agents that ‘pop up’ just about anywhere (have you checked your garbage can lately?), a ‘chief’ with the patience of a saint (well almost), a sultry and clever co-agent (thankfully some normalcy), some kooky ‘cutting edge’ spy gadgetry (shoe phone anyone?), catch phrases that will echo in the annals of Classic TV Fandom for eternity (eh, would you believe, for years to come?), and the never-ending battle between KAOS and CONTROL (hummm… wonder what that means). Oh, oh, oh  and let me not forget the comic genius of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry (big understatement).  It’s really quite an insane combination when you think about it — but boy does it work!

So without further ado, here’s to the comic genius of Get Smart!

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The Genesis:

Leonard Stern, Talent Associates, Get SmartLeonard Stern, partner (with Daniel Melnick and David Susskind) at Talent Associates, the production company for Get Smart

Daniel (Melnick) and Danny (David Susskind) had the idea to satirize James Bond. They hired Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, and Mel and Buck did the original idea for ABC… ABC did not like the script and essentially turned it down.* -Leonard Stern from Talent Associates

*After being turned down by ABC, they brought the pilot to Grant Tinker at NBC who loved it

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Daniel Melnick Get SmartDaniel Melnick, the brains behind Get Smart

“What are the two biggest movies in the world today? James Bond and Inspector Clouseau. Get my point?” -Daniel Melnick (according to Buck Henry interview)

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The Creators:

Mel BrooksMel Brooks (essentially) started his career as a writer for Your Show of Shows…
and the rest is history :)

Buck Henry was very, very talented, and together we came up with some incredible ideas. He invented the “Cone of Silence.” And I think I
invented the cell phone, because I dreamed up having Maxwell Smart talking on a shoe telephone.
-Mel Brooks

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Buck HenryBuck Henry wrote Screenplays for The Graduate, What’s Up Doc, Catch 22, and The Owl and the Pussycat

“We knew where the fun would be. It’s parody and satire, and all we had to do was think about the aspects of either of those films (Bond, Pink Panther), but mostly Bond of course.” -Buck Henry

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The Seasons:

Get Smart Opening SceneGet Smart ran for Five Seasons: Four Seasons on NBC (September 18, 1965 – March 29, 1969), plus the Fifth and Final Season on CBS (September 26, 1969 – May 15, 1970)

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The Emmys:

EmmysWins:

1967: Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series, Don Adams
1967: Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, Buck Henry and Leonard Stern (For episode “Ship of Spies” Parts 1 and 2)
1968: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy, Bruce Bilson
1968: Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series, Don Adams
1968: Outstanding Comedy Series Burt Nodella (producer)
1969: Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series, Don Adams1969: Outstanding Comedy Series, Burt Nodella (producer)

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Featured Cast:

Don Adams in Get SmartDon Adams as Maxwell Smart, CONTROL Agent 86 (138 episodes, 1965-1970)

Sorry about that, Chief. – Maxwell Smart

,,,,,

Barbara Feldon in Get SmartBarbara Feldon as CONTROL Agent 99 (137 episodes, 1965-1970)

Good thinking, Max. -Agent 99

…..

Edward Platt as the Chief in Get SmartEdward Platt as the Chief, Head of CONTROL (134 episodes, 1965-1970)

The Chief: Now listen carefully: [complex instructions here] Did you get that?
Max: Not all of it.
The Chief: Which part didn’t you get?
Max: The part after ‘Now listen carefully’.

…..

Bernie Kopell as Ludwig von Siegfried in Get SmartBernie Kopell as Ludwig von Siegfried, Head of KAOS (14 episodes, 1966-1969)

This is KAOS. We don’t ‘shush’ here! -Siegfried

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Leonard Strong as The Claw on Get SmartLeonard Strong as The Claw, from the East-Asian KAOS branch (3 episodes, 1965-1968)

Max: Well, well, if it isn’t my old friend the Craw.
The Claw:  Not the Craw, the Craw! [in distintive Chinese accent]

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 And some more fun characters:

Robert Karvelas as Larabee on Get Smart

Robert Karvelas as Larabee, the Chief’s slow-witted assistant; Karvelas was Don Adam’s cousin (94 episodes, 1965-1970)

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Hymie the robot from Get SmartHymie the Robot: built to serve KAOS but switched to the side of CONTROL. Hymie has superhuman strength and abilities but is about as sharp as a bowling ball (6 episodes, 1966-1968)

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David Ketchum as Agent 13 in Get SmartDavid Ketchum as CONTROL Agent 13: you can usual find him in a washing machine, locker or trash can (13 episodes, 1966-1967)

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Victor French as Agent 44 on Get SmartVictor French as CONTROL Agent 44: Agent 13′s predecessor, also found in tight spaces (7 episodes, 1965-1966)
(was played by Al Molinaro in the Final Season, 2 episodes, 1969)

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Stacy Keach Sr as Carlson in Get SmartCarlson: CONTROL gadget man (10 episodes, 1966-1967)

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William Schallert  as The Admiral on Get SmartWilliam Schallert  as The Admiral: founder of CONTROL and the former Chief (5 episodes, 1967-1970) [yes, that's right, it's Mr. Lane, Patty's dad, on the Patty Duke Show]

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King Moody as Starker on Get SmartKing Moody as Starker: Siegfried’s chief henchman (10 episodes, 1966-1969)

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Jim Boles as Dr. Ratton on Get SmartJim Boles as Dr. Ratton: scientist who defected to KAOS and built Hymie the Robot (2 episodes, 1966-1967)

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Jack Gilford as Simon the LIkeable on Get SmartJack Gilford as Simon the Likeable: KAOS killer whose nice face mesmerizes everyone into liking him (2 episodes, 1969)

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And last but not least:

Fang on Get SmartRed as Fang/Agent K-13: met Max in Spy School, sometimes uses the cover name Morris (9 episodes, 1965-1966)

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And that is my entry for the Me-TV Summer of Classic TV Blogathon— but there are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this event. So, please be sure to check out the other entries.

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

This post is part of Me-TV’s Summer of Classic TV Blogathon hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association. Go to http://classic-tv-blog-assoc.blogspot.com) to view more posts in this blogathon. You can also go to http://metvnetwork.com to learn more about Me-TV and view its summer line-up of classic TV shows.

 

 

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11 Responses to Get Smart: Me-TV’s Summer of Classic TV Blogathon

  1. Troy Y. says:

    Great post. I’m glad that you use your blog for niceness instead of evil.

    Get Smart is also one of my all-time favorites. It is one of those shows where the cast works so well together than even the occasional less than stellar episode is still fun to watch.

  2. I love “Get Smart” because it makes me laugh. It made me laugh when I was a kid because it was silly. It makes me laugh now because it’s silly and because I can recognize that it is brilliant.

    It was wonderful the way you put the spotlight on all those memorable characters.

    • Oh me too. I have to laugh out loud. And I agree, as a kid I just thought it was silly, but as an adult I really appreciate its comic brilliance!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting :)

  3. Great post. I grew up watching Get Smart, and it always reminds me of sharing a laugh with my parents. I also can’t believe that Bernie Kopell wasn’t in more episodes. I seem to remember seeing him a lot!

    This is a great blog. I especially love your layout. Very nice!

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting — and for the compliment :)

      You know, it’s funny, but I also seem to remember Siegfried in a lot of episodes so I was really surprised when I found out that he was only in 14 of them. Even more surprising to me was that The Claw was only in 3 episodes. I guess it’s a testament to the vividness of the characters – because they stand out so clearly in our minds!

  4. Rick says:

    CMH, you did a fantastic job of describing all the things that went into making GET SMART a one-of-a-kind classic TV series. Heck, even the same actors couldn’t recapture the magic years later (in both a theatrical film, sans 99, and a made-for-TV reunion movie). What I enjoyed most about GET SMART was the number of gags–verbal and visual–packed into an episode. If three or four jokes fell flat, there’d be seven or eight zingers! Siegfried was a marvelous addition in season 2 and I wish Hymie had been in more episodes (I recently interviewed Dick Gautier, who seems to love everyone that worked on GET SMART). This was a delightful post for the Me-TV Blogathon.

  5. Jeff (Classic Sports TV and Media) says:

    Great post on one of my favorite shows. I watched with my brothers and we were huge fans of the Cone of Silence. Lots of classic lines (including “missed it by that much!”), all the special gadgets, Agent 13, etc. Super memories of this series.

  6. Great post..and great choice of series! Don Adams was the perfect spy ( for a mad tv show that is ), Feldon was delectable, Hymie was a hoot as the robot, and I like Simon too, what’s not to like about him? A few weeks ago I was watching Lloyd Nolan as Michael Shayne in “Blue, White and Perfect” and couldn’t help but notice the similarities to Smart. I wonder if Don Adams took a cue from Nolan on how a gumshoe should behave. They were both charismatic and of small stature too. Thanks for embellishing your post with such great pics!

  7. Great post! I loved “Get Smart” as a kid, although the closing credits with the doors closing always freaked me out as a kid. I’m not sure why, perhaps I thought Max would get caught or trapped! LOL I did always want a shoe phone, though :)

  8. The Lady Eve says:

    Great choice for the blogathon. Very interesting back story on the show’s development and all those involved. I remember when the show debuted and became a break-out hit – with a catch phrase that was instantly on everyone’s lips, “would you believe…” Every kid I knew was suddenly a comedian (without the benefit of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry writing their material).

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