Article from: "Television 'Smart'
Gets Update; '60s Cult Stars Return for New Series" By Harvey Solomon; Boston Herald; January
When the original "Get Smart" aired in
the late '60s, its timing could not have been better. Developed by comic
masters Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, the spy spoof ran alongside popular secret
agent dramas like "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," "The
Avengers", "The Wild, Wild West," "The F.B.I." and
Twenty-five years later, a retooled "Burke's
Law" has resurfaced on CBS, but is the time right for a rejiggered
"That's a difficult question," said Don
Adams, whose oafish, yet endearing Maxwell Smart is now Chief of CONTROL.
"The '60s were a special kind of decade, a
lot of innovate things were happening then and 'Get Smart' was a part of that.
It became a cult classic."
"This a '90s version," Adams continued,
"a different kind of show. I'm more of a '60s person than I am a '90s
person. We have to adjust, don't we?"
In the contemporary version, Smart reunites with
Agent 99(Barbara Feldon), who is now a congresswoman in charge of CONTROL's
budget. Doing the legwork is their son Zachary(Andy Dick),an eager but, like
his dear old dad, an inept spy. He teams with the beautiful Agent 66(Elaine
Hendrix) to battle the archenemies at KAOS.
One aspect that hasn't changed through the decades
is the work itself.
"I've done 12 years of series," said
Adams. "It's a job. You go to work, you learn your lines, you do your
But "Get Smart" differs from the
standard situation comedy in its form and style.
"I find it hard to apply the word 'sitcom' to
'Get Smart'. although that's what it is," Adams said. "Sitcoms are
shows done historically in a studio with a live audience with four tape
'Get Smart' is done with one film camera, on
location, in sets. It is scored musically, like a movie. There's no situation
comedy like that, never has been. I didn't do half-hour television shows, I
did 139 mini-movies. That's a few more than John Wayne."
Like Hondo, Smart is always trying to beat the bad
guys, and he and his offspring now have assorted high-tech gadgetry at their
fumbling fingertips. The original "Get Smart" utilized innovations
like the shoe phone and the charm bracelet. Now the Cone of Silence may be
inoperable, but CONTROL has a host of new-fangled devices, including a speaker
phone, a bullet bra, and a Swiss Army knife that comes complete with ladle and
But, as the boss, Maxwell doesn't get to mishandle
these tools in the field. Instead, he's mostly back at headquarters,
unleashing his son and partner on the unsuspecting enemy.
Not to be confused with the late Ed Platt, who
played the patient Chief in the original, Maxwell is learning his new position
as he goes.
"It splits my personality," he said.
"Maxwell Smart is what he is, and the Chief is another thing entirely,
the authority figure. When you become that authority figure, you can't be as
"I'm not so sure how it should be played, if
the show is picked up and time goes on, I'll find out who the character is and
how to get the most out of it."
"Get Smart" premiers Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Note from the Webmaster: For some
reason, Don Adams is quoted as saying that there were 139 episodes of Get
Smart. Odd... at last count everyone else was watching only 138
episodes! Is this a mystery episode that fell to the wayside on the
cutting room floor, or did this author misquote Adams with a big fat boo-boo? A Big
Tip O' The Hat to Ryan Schroer for
sending me this! Thanks, Ryan! J