Would the real shark please stand up?

Maxwell Smart takes to the pool table in "The Dead Spy Scrawls." Squint and you can see Mr. Spock over his shoulder.

Maxwell Smart takes to the pool table in “The Dead Spy Scrawls.” Squint and you can see Mr. Spock over his shoulder.

Episode 18
The Dead Spy Scrawls (original air date: 1-22-66)
Cast:  Shark – Jack Lambert, Stryker – Leonard Nimoy, Professor Parker – Milton Selzer, Informer – Don Brodie, Willie Marconi – Harry Bartell, Vendor – Roy Engel, Agent 46 – Clive Wayne, woman in bus terminal – Rose Michtom, pool parlor groupie/bus terminal guy – Robert Karvelas, man at pool parlor – Hans Moebus
Director:  Gary Nelson
Writers: Stan Burns and Mike Marmer
Producer:  Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Max and 99 are tasked with finding an “Electronic Brain” Kaos is using to intercept Control’s secret messages. The device is operated by The Shark, expert pool player and proprietor of Mother’s Family Pool Hall.

The one moment we see Leonard Nimoy in the same frame as Don Adams and Barbara Feldon.

The one moment we see Leonard Nimoy in the same frame as Don Adams and Barbara Feldon.

My thoughts:
The Dead Spy Scrawls is a “what’s not to love” episode.

This is the episode where Leonard Nimoy has a part as a Kaos agent. That’s about all you need to know. Well, actually there’s more to it than that. We’ll get to Nimoy in a bit. Something more important must be discussed first.

The crux of this episode is pool — a plot device many a TV show finds itself revolving

Leonard Nimoy as a Kaos assassin? This seems illogical.

Leonard Nimoy as a Kaos assassin? This seems illogical.

around. Given this is Get Smart, we would certainly expect our star character, the all-thumbs Maxwell Smart, to be a disaster at this game — and he is. He destroys pool cues, tears the felt on the pool table and injures his instructor. It’s painful to watch – especially if you’ve ever had to re-felt a pool table.

Here’s the catch, Don Adams was actually an expert pool player. This is evident in Max’s pool game with the Shark. Be sure to look for the trick shot Adams makes at the end before the table opens to reveal the electronic brain. The scene also gives a nice homage to Adams with the “Three Fingers Yarmy” reference. Adams would go on to make a guest appearance on Celebrity Billiards with Minnesota Fats.

Now back to Leonard Nimoy. He makes a not-exactly-pre-Spock appearance as Stryker, an assassin that eliminates his targets with a bullet-firing briefcase. He’s in a handful of scenes in this episode, but other than killing Agent 46, whacking the informer, shooting at Max and being berated by the Shark, that’s about all we get. There’s one scene in the whole episode where we get to see Adams, Feldon and Nimoy in the same frame. While Star Trek wouldn’t air until the fall of 1966, Nimoy had already donned his Vulcan ears for The Cage — the first Star Trek pilot which was filmed in late 1964 and early 1965.

Agent 46's dying declaration.

Agent 46’s dying declaration.

The episode opens with Max and 99 seeking out Agent 46 in a bus station – they need to provide him with $2,000. He initially communicates via the silent signal system. Max confuses the signals for ones in the spy baseball handbook. By the time they determine that 46 is signaling a blue alert (extreme emergency condition) he ends up shot by Stryker. He then leaves his dying declaration scrawled in wet cement.

Stryker returns to the Shark’s Kaos front – Mother’s Family Pool Hall. Its marketing phrase is “The family that plays together, stays together.” After being chastised for interrupting the Shark’s game, Stryker proceeds to report that he eliminated 46 and plans to do the same to 86. The two then intercept a message from Control using Kaos’ electronic brain. The device is neatly tucked inside the Shark’s pool table and can only be opened when the proper sequence of balls land in the correct pockets.

Back at Control, Parker explains 46’s markings in cement are code from The Dead Spy Scrawls, a message system used by dying Control agents. The scrawl in question translates to PI for “Paid Informer” as well as a Washington, D.C. phone number, which Max traces back to to the informer 46 was supposed to meet. The Informer agrees to sell his information to the tune of $2,000.

Max, who is being tailed by Stryker, treks back to the bus station where he confuses a vendor for his contact and ends up with a $500 pack of gum. The informer then makes his presence known – only to be shot by Stryker. Max is at least able to get three words from the informer before he dies: Shark, pool, mother. The Chief connects the dots that the Shark is their man.

Max manages to convince the Chief to let him infiltrate the pool parlor. The Chief reluctantly agrees, but lines up pool lessons with pool expert Willie Marconi. This does not turn out well — especially for Marconi. As for Max’s buffoonery, well, at least that’s on point.

All hope for the mission, however, is not lost. Just before the Chief can pinch the bridge

The Dead Spy Scrawls - decoded.

The Dead Spy Scrawls – decoded.

of his nose in frustration, Parker and 99 arrive to save the day. Max is outfitted with a Pool Cue Gun and a Remote Control Cue Ball. 99 gets to operate a Lipstick Remote that controls the cue ball.

The episode buttons up exactly how we’d expect. Decked out in a flashy jacket Max, with 99 posing as his girlfriend, show up at the pool hall and challenges the Shark to a game — little do they know Kaos is about to intercept a Control message so the Shark has to be goaded into playing. The scene shows some absurd shots as well as a few legitimate ones. The Shark is none too happy that Max’s trick shot (or should I say Don’s) opens the up the electronic brain. A fight ensues. Stryker ends up shot and the Shark gets a knot on his head.

By the way, Max would still like that $13,000 he’s owed from the pool game.

Watch for:
• Aunt Rose appears in the bus terminal.
• Robert Karvelas is noticeable as one of the Shark’s pool groupies. He also shows up in the bus terminal, but you may have do a double take and squint to catch him.

The Shark accesses the Electronic Brain. Kaos went to a lot of effort to hack Control.

The Shark accesses the Electronic Brain. Kaos went to a lot of effort to hack Control.

Footnotes:
• The episode’s title refers to the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of manuscripts discovered in 1946-47, 1956 and 2017 in the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea.

• Three Fingers Yarmy, who Max mentions, is a nod to Don Adams’ real last name. Yarmy is also mentioned in the third season episode “Don’t Look Back” and, if you count it as Smart-lore, the name is one of the Easter eggs in the 2008 feature film.

• The character Willie Marconi is a nod to professional pool player Willie Mosconi, who, between 1941 and 1957, won the World Straight Pool Championship 15 times.

• Jack Lambert appeared in a load of westerns, usually playing a tough guy – most notably as compulsive killer Steve “The Claw” Michel in the film Dick Tracy’s Dilemma. He appeared in multiple episodes of Gunsmoke, Daniel Boone and Wagon Train

• Leonard Nimoy is best known as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock and as Paris in Mission: Impossible. Post Star Trek TOS, Nimoy hosted In Search Of. He would later go on to host other similar shows – Ancient Mysteries and History’s Mysteries. He had a reoccurring role as Dr. William Bell in the TV series Fringe. Nimoy has quite the TV résumé pre-Star Trek, having appeared in Dragnet, Sea Hunt, Wagon Train, The Virginian and Gunsmoke. He also appeared in a 1964 episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., “The Project Strigas Affair” with future Star Trek co-star William Shatner.

• Don Brodie also appeared in the first season episode “The Day Smart Turned

Be careful not to confuse the Silent Signal System for the hand gestures in the Control Baseball Handbook.

Be careful not to confuse the Silent Signal System for the hand gestures in the Control Baseball Handbook.

Chicken.” His character rented Max that creepy chicken suit. He began appearing in movies starting in the 1930s and his TV series appearances ranged from the 1950s to the 1980s.

• In addition to a career as a character actor, Harry Bartell was also a radio announcer. He made TV appearances in Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, Dragnet and The Partners. He also appeared in the second season episode “Cutback at Control” as Dietrich.

• Roy Engel had a reoccurring role in The Wild Wild West as President Ulysses S. Grant. He appeared in numerous TV shows including Maverick, Have Gun – Will Travel, My Favorite Martian, The Andy Griffith Show, Lassie, Bonanza and Mission: Impossible.

• Both Get Smart appearances by Hans Moebus, as with a lot of the parts he had, are uncredited. In “The Dead Spy Scrawls” he’s seen in Mother’s Family Pool Hall. He also appears in “Back to the Old Drawing Board.” He can also be seen in Bonanza Gunsmoke, Ironside, Bewitched, Mission: Impossible and Batman. He is known for Psycho, Gone with the Wind and North by Northwest.

Glick meter: We get an “And Loving it” as well as a “Would You Believe” which references Steubenville, Ohio. Poor Max is kind of a disaster in this episode.

Oh Max meter: There really isn’t any flirting going on between 99 and 86. Sorry about that.

Control Agents: Agent 46, Professor Parker

Kaos Agents: Shark, Stryker

Gadgets: Remote Control Cue Ball, Lipstick Remote, Pool Cue Gun, Micro Camera, gun briefcase, Electronic Brain (hidden in a pool table).

Episode Locations: Mother’s Family Pool Hall, bus terminal.

The old trick shot in the 60s TV sitcom trick.

The old trick shot in the 60s TV sitcom trick.

Would you believe: Bill Dana’s contribution to Get Smart

Bill Dana as José Jiménez.

Bill Dana as José Jiménez.

Sometimes a mere word – or a few – can create something big. Thus was the case with a joke formula written by comedian and noted screenwriter Bill Dana in the early 1960s.

Dana passed away on June 15 at the age of 92.

Born William Szathmary on Oct. 5, 1924, Dana was best recognized as the thick-accented immigrant character José Jiménez. Dana also had a hand in Get Smart’s success -and in influencing the popular vernacular of the late 1960s. However, his efforts came long before Get Smart or even his own show, The Bill Dana Show, were conceived.

In the early 1950s, Dana had started out as an NBC page and performed in New York nightclubs with partner Gene Wood. After the Wood/Dana partnership ran its course, Dana set his focus on writing material.

Around this time the talent agency representing Dana, NRB Associates, expressed interest in stand-up comedian Don Adams, who had just made an appearance on the Garry Moore Show. They directed Adams to work with Dana, who would write material for him.

Adams was sent to a swank 20th floor duplex apartment on Central Park West. There he found Dana, who was decked out in a smoking jacket. Adams would learn, after Dana’s unemployment check dropped on the floor during the course of the meeting, the posh digs didn’t belong to his new partner. The smoking jacket wasn’t Dana’s either. Dana had been house sitting for Imogene Coca, who was known as Sid Caesar’s partner on Your Show of Shows.

The two would eventually expand on Adams’ depiction of a detective with an exaggerated

The cast of The Bill Dana Show, including Don Adams, Maggie Peterson, Jonathan Harris and Bill Dana.

The cast of The Bill Dana Show, including Don Adams, Maggie Peterson, Jonathan Harris and Bill Dana.

William Powell voice. “The Voice” found its way into other routines – notably as a defense attorney and a football coach.

Adams had some hesitation about using the nails-on-chalkboard voice but Dana encouraged it.

“That character, when you said the words, they just pierced right through you. It was a comedy writer’s dream,” said Dana in a 2001 documentary, Inside TVLand: Get Smart.

“Bill Dana said to me, you know, that voice is funny,” said Adams. “I said, I hate that voice. Bill Dana said, no, no, no, it’s funny. Use it.”

Dana would later defend use of The Voice when producer Sheldon Leonard wanted to “release” Don Adams from The Bill Dana Show.

Their other enduring collaboration, scrawled on a piece of yellow legal paper, was one Dana would later lacquer and frame: The Would You Believe gag.

The routine was a take off on the British in India themed movies of the 1930s, including The Lives of a Bengal Lancer  and Gunga Din, In it, Lieutenant Faversham confronts villain Mohammed Sidney Kahn:

Faversham: Not so fast, smarty Kahn. You think you’ve got me, but I have you surrounded by the entire mounted Seventeenth Bengal Lancers.
Kahn: I don’t believe that.
Faversham: Would you believe the First Bengal Lancers?
Kahn: No.
Faversham: How about Gunga Din on a donkey?

The Voice originally wasn’t used in this gag. Instead, Adams used his Cary Grant impersonation for Faversham’s lines.

Dana and Adams, circa 2001 with the original Would You Believe gag.

Dana and Adams, circa 2001 with the original Would You Believe gag.

The routine replayed itself in other acts, other shows and would find a place on The Bill Dana Show. Get Smart had a solid collection of these over the years. The joke was so strong that it became one of the elements most commonly associated with Get Smart, in addition to the Shoephone, the opening door sequence and Maxwell Smart’s voice. It’s assumed it was always there – even though it wasn’t used in every episode.

Moving forward, Dana took up the reins as a writer on The Steve Allen Show and created his own character for Allen’s Man in the Street segments – José Jiménez. These segments included a pantheon of other comedians: Don Knots, Pat Harrington Jr., Tom Poston and Louis Nye.

Dana’s Jiménez would eventually make the variety show rounds (including a take on the Ed Sullivan Show) and net a few comedy albums.

The character became a hit and in 1961 Dana made several guest appearances on the The Danny Thomas Show with José serving as an elevator operator. Riding the tide of popularity, NBC gave Dana his own show which ran from 1963 to 1965.

José Jiménez and Byron Glick ponder their fate in "Blood for Two Turnips."

José Jiménez and Byron Glick ponder their fate in “Blood for Two Turnips.”

In The Bill Dana Show, José was employed as a bellhop at the swank Park Central Hotel. Much to the annoyance of hotel manger Mr. Phillips (played by Jonathan Harris), José would either find himself in some predicament or engage in a daydream sequence ala shades of Walter Mitty.

Gary Crosby played fellow bellhop Eddie for the first season. Joining the cast later in the series were Don Adams as house detective Byron Glick and Maggie Peterson as Susie the waitress.

The Jiménez/Glick episodes produced some of the funniest bits in the series. However, that was infrequent. Adams appeared in only 15 of the show’s 42 episodes.

Nevertheless, it was the Glick character that would survive. After The Bill Dana Show was canceled, Adams, still under contract with NBC, found a future with Get Smart.
Dana actually appeared in two episodes of Get Smart.

His first stint was a cameo in the third season episode “Super Sonic Boom.” In that episode, Max and 99 are gaslighted in to believing they’ve been smuggled into Argentina. Once they escape Kaos by crawling out of a sewer, Max approaches a man on the street played by Dana and addresses him in Spanish. Dana responds by saying he doesn’t speak Spanish.

Dana’s second appearance, which he was paid SAG minimum for, was in the fifth season episode “Ice Station Siegfried.”

In this episode he fills in for Don Adams, portraying CIA Agent Quigley. In DVD commentary, Dana remarked that the character was José Jiménez without the accent -and longer sideburns.

“Don and I were like brothers. It was just one of those situations where he was under the weather… a lot of personal stuff going on at the same time. He wasn’t feeling well,” said Dana.

Dana was also one of the writers of the The Nude Bomb (1980), which he had a role in as fashion designer Jonathan Levinson Seigle.

As for José Jiménez, his last TV appearance was in a 1966 episode of Batman. The character was laid to rest in 1970 with Dana actually holding a mock funeral for José on Sunset Boulevard. This character really wouldn’t fly today.

This is only snippet of what can be noted about Bill Dana. It’s also worth pointing out that his brother Irving Szathmary composed the Get Smart theme. Dana’s other brother Al Szathmary served as Don Adams’ stand-in on Get Smart.

Bill Dana with Barbara Feldon in Ice Station Siegfried.

Bill Dana with Barbara Feldon in Ice Station Siegfried.

Kisses for Kaos: The old jealous spy trick

On the job: 99 has a date night with a Kaos agent. Max offers his assistance - and disapproval.

On the job: 99 has a date night with a Kaos agent. Max offers his assistance – and disapproval.

Episode 17
Kisses for KAOS (original air date: 1-15-66)
Cast:  Savage — Michael Dante, Mondo — John Abbot, Parker — Milton Selzer, Policeman —  Ray Kellogg, Gallery Patron —  Rose Michtom
Director:  Gary Nelson
Writers:  Stan Burns and Mike Marmer
Producer:  Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis:
99 masquerades as a socialite and Max as her chauffeur in order to stop creepy Kaos art dealer/chemist Rex Savage from hanging his exploding paintings in the Pentagon.

This Kaos agent's gloves? They won't be coming off.

This Kaos agent’s gloves? They won’t be coming off.

My Thoughts:
The episode opens with Max posing as a gardener and 99 as a nurse watching a fake

Exploding consulates? That may require extra paperwork.

Exploding consulates? That may require extra paperwork.

baby. Max busies himself recording the activities of a foreign consulate when said consulate blows up. He manages to turn up one piece of evidence from the scene of the explosion – a portion of a painting from a gallery owned by Rex Savage. The Chief reveals that pieces of paintings from Savage’s gallery have been found at previous explosions – an embassy and a police station.

The problem is, Savage is a ghost to Control’s records – no photo or finger prints. 99, using the alias Melissa Westbrook, is tasked with posing as a wealthy society girl in order to make contact with Savage. Max tags along as her chauffeur.

In the meantime, Savage, a chemist, and his artist partner Mondo have been mulling their plan to add an exploding painting to the Pentagon.

99 manages to charm Savage during her visit to the gallery, but the gadgets she and Max are outfitted with fail. She’s supposed to gather his fingerprints with a special pencil – but Savage always wears gloves. She then decides to met with Savage alone in the local lover’s lane in hopes he will eventually take his gloves off. Max, whose jealousy is prominently on display in this episode, wholeheartedly disapproves.

The night out, however, proves unsuccessful. While cuddling, 99 complains about Savage’s gloves – his response is to put a softer glove over the other glove. Max, in the meantime gets thrown in the clink for violating 387B of the penal code – sitting in a chauffeur’s uniform next to a rubber dummy. The rubber dummy lobby, by the way, has been trying to get this law repealed.

Cop: What kind of weirdo are you?
Max: I don’t know, just a plain, normal everyday weirdo.

Forget the fax machine - Control sends memos by hurling a rock through a window.

Forget the fax machine – Control sends memos by hurling a rock through a window.

99, however, manages to score an intimate supper with Savage after finding out that he only takes his gloves off when eating or bathing. Carlson supplies Max and 99 with a few devices for the dinner: The Soup Bowl Camera, Bread Roll Print and Fruit Recorder.

With the exception of Max’s jealousy (and his use of a gong) dinner and the devices work out smoothly – until Mondo barges in the apartment and reveals to Savage that he’s been courting a Control agent.

Max and 99 are hauled off to Savage’s gallery where 99 is instructed to paint a shirtless Max (yes, shirtless) to death with exploding paint. 99, however, stops Savage and Mondo in their tracks by dumping a can of explosive paint on the floor. Of course, this also stops Max and 99 from escaping.

The episode closes with Max having repainted his apartment – only he used Savage’s paint. Well, at least he covered the furniture.

The episode is a veritable gadget toy box. Here’s a run down of some of the gadgets and other fun items:

• Inter office top secret relay – forget those pneumatic tubes of the good old days, those

Outgoing rocks from Control's Inter office top secret relay. Did one come crashing through your picture window? No worries - just plunk it in a mailbox. Control's address is on it.

Outgoing rocks from Control’s Inter office top secret relay. Did one come crashing through your picture window? No worries – just plunk it in a mailbox. Control’s address is on it.

office instant messaging systems of the last decade or two or even texting – Control sends inter office memos via a rock through the window. If you find one, don’t worry – just return it by plunking it in any mailbox. Control’s address is printed on the rock.
• Pencil Painter – A pencil scientifically treated to obtain a suspect’s finger prints – as long as that person isn’t a smooth talking man that likes wearing gloves.
• Chauffeur’s Cap Camera – Best used for still photography.
• Steering Wheel Phone – Installed in Max’s car and in need of adjustments – every time a driver turns the corner, the phone dials the operator.
• Soup Bowl Camera – A camera in the bowl takes selfies while the person eats. The flash is absorbed by the soup.
• Bread Roll Print – The rolls gather fingerprints.
• Fruit Recorder – This bowl of fruit records conversations – just don’t eat the banana.
• Inflato Girl – It’s exactly what it says it is. How they got away with it in this episode is beyond me.
• Even Kaos has its own ammunition: A painting of a camera that is actually a camera and Savage’s collection of paints that go boom.

For those that have the TimeLife DVDs, there is an audio commentary by Barbara Feldon for this episode. She talks at length about being taller than Don Adams as discusses a conflict that occurred early on with the show’s advertiser.

This episode is fine, though for some reason it never particularly wowed me. However, watching this one via the DVDs provides the opportunity to pick up on minute details that would be overlooked otherwise – specifically the facial expressions coming from Don Adams and Barbara Feldon.

There are some things you can't explain. The Inflato Girl is one of them.

There are some things you can’t explain. The Inflato Girl is one of them.

Watch for:
Aunt Rose makes an appearance.

Footnotes:
• A former pro-baseball player, Michael Dante appeared in numerous TV westerns including Cheyenne, Maverick, Bonanza and Death Valley Days. He appeared as Maab in the Star Trek episode “Friday’s Child.”

• John Abbott’s career in TV and film spanned all the way back to the 30s, with his most notable roles being in The Jungle Book and Gigi. He had an uncredited role as Mason in Jane Eyre, staring Orson Wells and Joan Fontaine. He also appeared in The Partners and Star Trek.

• Ray Kellogg appeared in a number of TV series including Perry Mason, The Real McCoys and The Dick Van Dyke Show. He was usually seen playing a bartender or a law enforcement official.

Glick meter: Max gives us a Would You Believe for our troubles in this one: 25 Control agents quickly turns into a vicious street cleaner and a toothless police dog.

Oh Max meter: When 99 suggests setting up a date to get Savage’s photo and finger prints, she’s noticeably surprised (and delighted) to detect Max’s jealousy.

99: If I could just get him alone
Max (offended): What do you mean alone? …I don’t think you should be alone with him.
99 (smiling): Max, you sound like you’re jealous.
Max: Jealous. Now that’s ridiculous 99. It’s just that, that man might turn out to be a dangerous kisser -er killer.

Control Agents: Professor Parker returns.

Kaos Agents: Savage and Mondo.

Gadgets: Secret Message Leaves, Pencil Painter, Cap Camera, Camera Painting, Steering Wheel Phone, Soup Bowl Camera, Bread Roll Print, Fruit Recorder, Explosive Paint, Vibration Explosive Paint and Nitro-Floor Paint. It’s up to you whether you consider the Inflato-Girl a gadget. *eye roll*

Episode Locations: Max’s apartment and Rex Savage’s Art Gallery. I could include that consulate, although that’s not much of a location anymore.

When you repurpose paint from a Kaos agent, make sure it's not the exploding kind before you paint your apartment.

When you repurpose paint from a Kaos agent, make sure it’s not the exploding kind before you paint your apartment.

Color me bad: The Get Smart coloring books

Three of the four Get Smart coloring books from 1965 and 1966.

Three of the four Get Smart coloring books from 1965 and 1966.

Coloring is all the rage at the moment – adult coloring that is. In that vein, and since I’m a bit swamped with all kinds of work and chores, the time is due for an entry on the Get Smart coloring books.

A colored in Agent 99 in her chauffeur's outfit from the pilot episode.

A colored in Agent 99 in her chauffeur’s outfit from the pilot episode.

Now referring to these collectibles in the plural, while technically accurate, isn’t exactly correct. Produced by Saalfield Artcraft, there were four Get Smart coloring books with publishing dates of 1965 and 1966. They each had different covers, but the guts on the inside were the same.

There was the yellow one — and the red one that looked like the yellow one except it was die cut along the top corner. There was also the blue one that didn’t look like either of the first two, but there was another red one that looked like the blue one.

Are you confused? Good. The first yellow/red cover design is Max and Fang with the dog’s leash wrapped around him. The second blue/red cover design is a photo of Max and Fang tied to chairs.

Through some resourceful ebaying, I finally managed to score three of them. All have been colored in and that is typical when finding one of these.

The art was drawn by comic book artist Sam Burlockoff. Born in 1924, his comic book work spanned the 1940s into the 1950s, primarily as an inker. In addition to illustrating other Saalfield coloring books, he also did illustration work for encyclopedias. Among the syndicated comics he worked on in the 1960s were Flash Gordon and The Saint. Burlockoff passed away in 2007.

In terms of continuity, Max is drawn to look like Don Adams – a few of the pages are take-offs on Get Smart publicity photos. Agent 99 looks cute, yet she does not quite look like Barbara Feldon. The Chief is given a full head of hair and a mustache. He looks more like Chief Quimby from Inspector Gadget rather than Ed Platt.

As for Saalfield Artcraft, its parent, the Akron, Ohio-based Saalfield Publishing Company, was once one of the largest publishers children’s materials in the world. It began publishing children’s books in 1899. Under Saalfield Artcraft, it produced the likes of coloring books, paper dolls and puzzles. The company went defunct in 1976, however, Kent State purchased the company’s library and archives in 1977.

A peekaboo into the coloring books. We've got 99 doing a new hair color, a sweet fluorescent hot air balloon and Max and 99 chasing after some sort of flying saucer.

A peekaboo into the coloring books. We’ve got 99 doing a new hair color, a sweet fluorescent hot air balloon and Max and 99 chasing after some sort of flying saucer.

As I mentioned before, if you get your hands on one of these – or any vintage coloring book for that matter – don’t expect them to be mint. I’m a bit of a research nerd, so I actually find that aspect interesting. The colored pages are a like a time capsule of a kid’s day back in the 60s. Which pages did they color? What colors did they pick? Did they stay in the lines?

I noticed some patterns. The first couple pages were usually always colored – then the coloring would peter off with the exception of a few random pages in the middle and at the end. Not that I can blame those choices – the best illustrations, in my opinion, were on the first couple pages. In two of the coloring books I found that the previous owners had colored in the pages displaying the “Captured Kaos Weapons.” Hmmm….

Two different approaches to the Kaos weapons. One young artist went with realism while the other gave the guns a more colorful look.

Two different approaches to the Kaos weapons. One young artist went with realism while the other gave the guns a more colorful look.

The coloring habit has recently proved to not just be a past time for little ones. If you walk into a store — and, at this point, one of any kind — you will likely find a shelf of adult coloring books. Inside will be pages of intricate patterns and repetitive detail ranging from paisleys and flowers to mandalas and animals.

I own several and they are a fun and relaxing way to spend time. I also have a bit of a compulsive art habit and spend all kinds of spare time drawing my own illustrations. Periodically I post my art on Instagram – feel free to take peeky-boo there (@ahaverstick86). For fun, I did my own take on a couple of the Get Smart coloring pages by adding some… enhancements.

Well, the kids got to color, so I wanted a turn too.

Well, the kids got to color, so I wanted a turn too.

 

Double Agent: Going to seed for the spy business

Max goes to the dark side. 99 tries to talk him out of it.

Max goes to the dark side. 99 tries to talk him out of it.

Episode 16
Double Agent (original air date: 1-8-66)
Cast:  Alex- Robert Ellenstein, Kaos Agent 1 – Arthur Batanides, Parker – Milton Selzer, Texan – Gregg Palmer, Kaos Agent 2 – Dave Barry, Kaos Agent 3 – Clay Tanner, bartender – Fabian Dean, drunk – Jack Orrison, Fang – Red, casino dealer – Robert Karvelas, gambler – Rose Michtom
Director:  Frank McDonald
Writers:  Joseph C. Cavella and Carol Cavella
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis:
A group of Kaos agents plan to attack the Pentagon and need to recruit someone that has access to it. They decide on Maxwell Smart. Max has to convince them that he’s the man for the job by going bad — as in blowing his money, becoming a drunk and killing 99.

Nano technology: Parker shows off his new fly transmitter.

Nano technology: Parker shows off his new fly transmitter.

My Thoughts:
The episode opens and concludes with Professor Parker’s super small spy devices, so let’s get that out of the way first.

Max and 99 are first seen listening to the Kaos boys via an ice cube transmitter. The device is soon discovered and destroyed when a Kaos agent realizes the “ice cube” hasn’t melted. Parker apparently spent six months testing the ice cube transmitter in every known fluid — which is how he got his reputation as a drunk.

Meanwhile back at Control, Parker is presenting his latest minuscule device to the Chief — a fly transmitter. According to Parker, it took two and a half years of nerve wracking micro miniature fabrication and $400,000 worth of research and equipment to make the fly. The fly’s antennae are each a transmitter and receiver and the eye is the world’s smallest radar tracking dish.

Sadly, the fly would never make its spying debut. All the time, labor and tax payer dollars put into the fly met the end of a newspaper lobbed by Agent 86.

By the end of the episode Parker has managed to work through his grief over the loss of the fly. He replaces it with a new device that is again destroyed by Max — a light bulb. Perhaps he should have gone to work for Apple.

With no way to mechanically spy on Kaos, the Chief assigns Max to do it the hard way. Since the Kaos boys already had their eye on Max as a potential weak link, Max is given instructions to tarnish his reputation.

Max has a bad day at the casino - because he's too lucky.

Max has a bad day at the casino – because he’s too lucky.

Phase one of the effort involves Max gambling away his six-month’s salary at an illegal gambling den — conveniently frequented by Kaos agents and apparently Aunt Rose. The idea sounds good on paper. After all, the house always wins, right? Wrong.

Upon walking into the casino, Max turns out to be a “bonafide angel of luck” for an over-zealous cowboy playing the roulette wheel. After giving the cowboy the brush off, Max hopes for bad luck at a table game with the Kaos guys. Again, he fails — even a nearby slot machine likes him.

It’s unknown what happened to Max’s winnings, but after returning to Control, he voices his frustrations to the Chief.

Max: No one from Kaos is going to approach me. I’ve got too good a reputation to live down.

Never mind that — it’s on to phase two. Max is less than pleased that phase two – physical degradation – involves him becoming an alcoholic. Thanks to a bottle of Absorbo pills and ratty coat that resembles something from Kanye West’s clothing line, all he has to do is act the part.

With orders to go to seed, Max first has to blow off 99 — starting with their plans to attend a concert. The Chief has left 99 out of the loop on this mission, which appears to be a sore spot with Max.

Chief: Until your mission is a success, she’ll learn to live without you.
Max: Yeah Chief, but what if my mission is a failure?
Chief: Then we’ll all learn to live without you.

Max makes for a particularly gnarly bar-fly. Dirty, unshaven and surly, everything is going according to plan — until the bartender chews him out for letting a dog in the place. Max attempts to send Fang on his way with a weak insult about doggy breath. 99, however, arrives and tries to stage an intervention with Max.

Max’s response is to tell 99 that he doesn’t like her because she’s too statuesque. At this rate, he’d better hope Kaos isn’t grading him on his insults.

Part of me feels that if this episode had occurred later in the series, Don Adams would have pulled out his Bogart impression.

With 99 out of the way, Max moved on to phase three, which involved the Chief coming into the bar and Max cracking him over the head with a bottle of booze. This is the episode’s big slapstick moment and includes Max busting up the bar. After he and the Chief complete their pantomime, Max manages to swallow his Absorbo pill and pass out.
Max wakes up in a Kaos office where he’s given his first assignment: He must kill 99. Max first attempts to stall and then convinces the Kaos agents to leave the room so he can work.

After the bad guys leave, 99 declares that she knew Max’s behavior was an act. They then work on an escape plan and we get to see the best gadgets of the episode. Max uses his Phonowatch along with 99’s charm bracelet record as a distraction. One side of the record produces a woman’s laughter and the other a woman’s screams.

In something of a classically confusing conclusion, we learn that the group of Kaos agents are actually double agents with the CIA, FBI, Naval Intelligence and Scotland Yard. This discovery is made, unfortunately, after Max wounds each of them. It’s later revealed that the real Kaos agent who started the group died several years prior and was never replaced.

Busted equipment, wounded agents … this episode gives us a nice little life lesson: Don’t keep people out of the loop.

In other matters, there are some issues with this episode:

• 99’s not so good with the maths. She offers to help pay off the $400,000 fly that Max swatted with a $10 a-week loan, which she determines would take 900 years. Would you believe it would just take 769 years… unless she was factoring in interest.
•While in the bar, Max makes a phone call to the Chief. After he hangs up, the phone rings in the phone booth, but that comes off as a bit that goes nowhere.
•For this episode, Absorbo pills were supposed to “absorb” all the alcohol Max was drinking. That’s a cute idea – unless you swallow the pill like Max did. So my question is, after that, how did he not wind up with alcohol poisoning or at least with his head on the toilet seat?

Max is less than pleased with his wardrobe for this assignment. He should know Control paid a lot of money to have all those nice holes ripped into that coat.

Max is less than pleased with his wardrobe for this assignment. He should know Control paid a lot of money to have all those nice holes ripped into that coat.

Watch for: Look for cameo appearances by both Robert Karvelas and Aunt Rose. Robert Karvelas is wheeling and dealing and Aunt Rose can be seen playing cards.

Footnotes:

IPod - the Cold War version. Max's Phonowatch plays 99's Charm Bracelet Record.

IPod – the Cold War version. Max’s Phonowatch plays 99’s Charm Bracelet Record.

• Early on in his acting career, Robert Ellenstein was featured as one of James Mason’s henchmen in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. He made multiple appearances in various TV series including Perry Mason, Ironside, The Wild Wild West and Mission Impossible. He also played the Federation President in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
• Arthur Batanides appeared in four of the Police Academy films as Mr. Kirkland. He made multiple appearances in Happy Days, Lou Grant, The Odd Couple, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., The Wild Wild West, I Spy and The Dick Van Dyke Show. He appeared in six Mission Impossible episodes and the Star Trek episode, “That Which Survives.”
• Gregg Palmer was known for his roles in TV westerns including Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Death Valley Days, Bonanza, The Wild Wild West, Have Gun – Will Travel and Wagon Train. He made another Get Smart appearance in the first season episode, “I’m Only Human.” He appeared in The Rebel Set along side Ed Platt and, you guessed it, Star Trek and Mission Impossible.
• Stand-up comedian and voice over artist Dave Barry provided the opening act for Wayne Newton for eight years.
•Fellow Hoosier Clay Tanner appeared in multiple episodes of Bonanza, McHale’s Navy, The Virginian and had an uncredited role as the devil in Rosemary’s Baby. He also appeared in an episode of Mr. Terrific, which co-starred Dick Gautier a.k.a. Hymie the Robot.
• Fabian Dean appeared in two other Get Smart episodes, the second season episode “Island of the Darned” and the fifth season episode, “Witness for the Execution.” Also, he too appeared in an episode of Mr. Terrific.
• Jack Orrison appeared in a variety of 1960s TV series, including Petticoat Junction, The Wild Wild West and Gunsmoke.

Glick meter: We get an “And Loving it” out of this episode.

Oh Max meter: So… neatly tucked into this episode is the fact that Max and 99 have a date lined up. It’s not so neat to see poor 99’s disappointment when Max tells her he’s not going.

Control Agents: Fang, Professor Parker

Kaos Agents: That’s debatable. See above.

Gadgets: Ice Cube transmitter, Fly transmitter, Absorbo Pills, Phonowatch, Charm Bracelet Record, Light Bulb transmitter

Episode Locations: Seedy illegal casino Kaos agents frequent and Chez Charles, a skid row bar

Nothing to see here - just a meeting between Kaos agents that are not really Kaos agents.

Nothing to see here – just a meeting between Kaos agents that are not really Kaos agents.

Anatomy of a fansite

Would you believe I still need to load all this stuff?

You’ve probably visited one while surfing the web for some topic that peeked your interest and while you might have found the answer you were looking for, you may wonder what kind of person is on the other end of that information.
I’m referring to fansites and their owners.
I have been busy with extensive site maintenance since early spring – hence why writing about episodes have been pushed to the back burner. While in the midst of website housekeeping, I figured I should talk a little about what goes into maintaining this site. For those just stumbling into this blog, it’s attached to a larger site, www.ilovegetsmart.com
The site is coming upon its 17th birthday. The internet was a different world when this was built – a slower, smaller world. The site still reflects that era – well just a little.
The fansite of 20 years ago was probably one that had visually distracting wallpaper in the background — coupled with a few annoying midi files that played when a page was opened. Maybe there were frames. Maybe there were image maps and roll over text. Sure, it was gaudy but, hey, everyone has their guilty pleasures.

Media - old school. A stack of VHS taps and a few boxes of floppy disks are probably the foundation of any longtime website.

Believe it or not, there were actually a bevy of Get Smart sites back in the late 90s. They focused on aspects of the show ranging from fan fic to photographs. A handful of these sits shot up in the early 2000s during TV Land’s run of Get Smart.
However, over the years a good number of those sites vanished. Many of them went by the wayside with the demise of Geocities, which closed down in 2009. Others likely remained inactive long enough that their service provider pulled the plug. Still, there are a few of us that, despite changing media trends, life, universe and everything, are still hanging around.
In the summer of 1999 I taught myself HTML and started my site over on Geocities, focusing on three different topics: Swing music, The Beatles and what would eventually over take the whole thing — Get Smart. At the time I was — and still am — part of an email-based fan group dedicated to the show. Some of the topics we discussed there and during our weekly chat made their way to my website — like that noted painting of Agent 99 we see in two episodes.
My angle has been to take those sort of topics — like Max’s cars and all of Control’s female agents — and craft fun content.
I have some photos here and there — enough to illustrate things, but this site was not photo heavy for a few reasons. When the site started years ago, there were a couple sites focused entirely photos but I didn’t want mine to look like a copy of those — I wanted maybe more unique things. Technology back then was different. There was very little space to work with and adding and acquiring photos was a process.
Since technology has improved, there is more room for that kind of media, but I still see keeping photos to what they are — except for when there is a new blog post – then I’ll add a few relating to that topic.
Over the years other sites have lifted photos from my site without asking or even referencing the site. Lately I’ve been seeing people building social media sites with images that they’ve grabbed from Google – images that I know belong to other sites. I used to have a page featuring original artwork, but because of this growing trend, I deleted it.

Required reading: Webmasters wanting to create a site with substance had to be ready to do their homework.

If you’ve found a fansite on your favorite show that’s still hanging around, keep in mind it’s a labor of love for that webmaster. There’s no monetary gain from this hobby, and in all likelihood the webmaster is probably operating on a deficit. So, while other girls are into getting blinged out nails at the salon and having fab lunch dates at the local bistro, I’m the weirdo scouring ebay for a new collectible. To each their own.
Now, my world doesn’t entirely revolve around this — as hard as that might be to believe 😉 I have a job and a family to tend to, so opportunities to work on this website can be sporadic. Thankfully my husband humors my nerdity.
Now for a fun fact!
What’s turned out to be the most popular part of my site? Interestingly, the most referenced and visited section is about a gun Max is pictured with — the AR-7. I’ve found that page linked to various message boards over the years and people still come back here to read about that topic.

The guts of a fansite or, in this case, scrapbooking for geeks.

Survival of the Fattest: A weighty mission

Boy versus girls: Max has a little trouble with the ladies in this episode.

Episode 15
Survival of the Fattest (original air date: 12-25-65)
Cast: Mary Jack Armstrong- Karen Steele, Parker – Milton Selzer, The Prince – Dan Seymour, Carla – Tanya Lemani (credited as Tania Lemoni), Rhonda – Patti Gilbert, Control Agent 1 – Arthur Adams, Control Agent 2 – Ned Romero, Control Agent – Robert Karvelas
Director:  Frank McDonald
Writers: Mel Brooks and Ronny Pearlman
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Max has to rescue the prince of a Middle Eastern country from a trio of athletic Kaos agents bent on making the ruler lose weight. If Max fails and the prince doesn’t make his 300 pound goal, he loses his throne and the U.S. loses an oil supplier.

Cocktails for two: Max tries to slip Mary a Mickey.

My Thoughts:
Max is charged with keeping tabs on the well-fed Prince Sully of Ramat. The prince’s main concern is eating up because if he doesn’t make it to 300 lbs., another faction will take over his country – one that has already demonstrated that it’s unfriendly to the U.S. And, yep, Ramat’s oil supply to the U.S. will be cut off.

The episode opens with Max checking up on the prince, using the alias of a bespectacled oil exec named Bill Banford. There’s just one problem – the prince is abducted while Max is on the phone telling the Chief not to worry about how the mission is going.

Max is left with 48 hours to find the prince so he can be fattened up – only he can’t remember anything significant about the abduction.

Out of desperation – and probably because only he would think of this — Max submits himself to Control’s Grill Team. Apparently Control has two agents charged with slapping enemy spies until they talk. After taking enough of a beating that one the agents complains of his hand hurting, Max finally recalls how the maid was able to carry a refrigerator.

The Chief concludes that they are dealing with Mary Jack Armstrong – the world’s strongest female counterspy. The Chief goes on to warn Max about how dangerous Mary Jack is -only he leaves a detail or so out.

Parker shows Max some new gadgets. Max, however, is more concerned about being knocked off the best dressed spies list.

After a visit with Professor Parker, Max is outfitted with a handy homing device sewn into the shoulder of his jacket. He also gets a tie that serves as a flask and includes a spigot in the clasp. However, he’s not pleased that the pairing of a gray suit and an avocado tie will drop him out of the top 10 best dressed spy rankings. Picky, picky.

The episode’s humorous banter continues when Max goes back to the hotel to face off with Mary – she’s been expecting him.

Initially he introduces himself as Bill Banford, president of the Ramid American Oil Company. The prince may have bought that, but Mary was not going to be played. Other used and mostly rejected aliases included: Fred Lamister, munitions supplier; Harry Schlerts, toy manufacturer and Mervin Gribbs, calling card manufacturer.

After his attempt to get Mary to take truth serum backfires, Max wakes up shackled to a wall in Mary’s massage parlor and reducing salon on the top floor of the hotel. He finds he’s not alone: The prince is tied to an exercise bike and Mary’s assistants Rhonda and Carla have joined her.

Max tries to signal Control via the homing device built into his jacket, however, Rhonda seems to find his shoulder slapping habit odd.

Rhonda: There must be some reason why you keep doing this.
Max: To tell you the truth, it’s kind of a nervous habit with me.
Max slaps his shoulder, followed by Rhonda, again, slapping his shoulder.
Max: Look, it’s my nervous habit, not yours.

Rhonda tattles and Mary, having enough of Max’s behavior, instructs the girls to lock Max in the steam room. In a deft maneuver, Max manages to lock up the ladies instead. He then gets the upper-hand with Mary, thanks to the Old Finger in the Gun Trick. Mary joins her pals in the steam room, leaving Max a window to free the prince.

Steam and steal doors, however, don’t hold super strong spies. Mary breaks free, gives a classic bad-guy speech and then attempts to chuck Max out the window. Thankfully, the Chief interrupts the proceedings. It’s then revealed that the Chief and Mary Jack once had… well.. a thing.

Chief: How did a nice girl like you ever get involved in this rotten business?
Mary: Well Thaddeus, it’s a living.
Prince: They know each other?
Max: That’s the wonderful thing about the espionage business. You make friendships that last forever.

Prince Sully falls short of his goal, but it’s all good in the end. His citizens are happy with his weight loss and treat him as a matinee idol. For Max’s efforts on this mission, the prince sends him a belly dancer as a present. Due to Control’s no gift policy, the dancer was to be returned to Ramat.

There is no 99 in this episode, but we get by. Survival of the Fattest is actually a nice recovery from the previous insipid episode. This episode offers a good example of Don Adams’ storied timing skills. Thanks to that, what we end up with is something of a Christmas stocking of great comedic bits. Added bonus: We get a glimpse into the Chief’s past.

Max really takes a beating in this episode.

Watch for: The Grill Team scene, Max and Mary playing the old “drug the drink” game, the shoulder slapping bit and that nice little reunion between the Chief and Mary. This is the first episode featuring Professor Parker.

Footnotes: 

Land of a thousand aliases: Max tries the old "They Won't Guess it's Me if I Wear Glasses Trick."

• The episode title is a reference to “Survival of the Fittest,” a phrase coined by English philosopher Herbert Spencer after reading Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
• Appearing in a number of TV series throughout the 50s and 60s, Karen Steele was one of Mudd’s Women in the Star Trek episode of the same name.
• In addition to a regular part on Get Smart, Milton Selzer had quite the TV and film resume. It would probably be easier to list what TV shows he didn’t appear in.
I will note that he appeared in a handful of Mission Impossible episodes, including one, “Cocaine,” which Get Smart alum King Moody also had a part in. For what it’s worth, this episode was directed by Reza Badiyi, who directed a good number of GS episodes. This particular episode’s main guest star was William Shatner. But I digress.
• Dan Seymour appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including Key Largo and Casablanca.
• Tanya Lemani primarily played belly dancers in TV and film. She appeared in an episode of Star Trek and I Dream of Jeannie.
• Patti Gilbert will get an encore appearance in Get Smart as Miss Magruder in the third season episode, “Operation Ridiculous.”
• Arthur Adams made repeat appearances on TV shows such as Cannon, Bewitched and Ironside
• Ned Romero mostly portrayed American Indians, most notably in Hang ‘Em High. He also played Krell in the Star Trek episode “A Private Little War.”

Glick meter: Save Max’s apologetics in the opening scene, this episode largely dispenses with nasal catchphrases. Instead we get something better: Don Adams’ excellent comedic timing.

Oh Max meter: No 99 in this one, folks. However, she need not worry about Mary Jack and her cohorts – Max didn’t seem too impressed with them. The belly dancer that appeared at the end of the episode, however, would have earned him a solid eye roll and possibly the stink eye.

Control Agents: Professor Parker, Agent 1, Agent 2 and Larabee who appears in the mop up crew, although he’s not credited.

Kaos Agents: Mary Jack Armstrong, Carla, Rhonda

Gadgets: Homing Coat, truth serum, Necktie Pipette, .22-caliber Finger Gun

Episode Locations: Control HQ, the hotel where the prince is staying and where Mary Jack has her massage parlor and reducing salon.

Love and war: The Chief and Mary Jack share a moment.

Weekend Vampire: Sometimes espionage bites

The honeymooners. Max and 99 cross the threshold into Dr. Drago's house of horrors.

Episode 14
Weekend Vampire (original air date: 12-18-65)
Cast:  Dr. Drago – Martin Kosleck, Professor Sontag – Ford Rainey, Arrick – Roger Price, Hugo – William Baskin, Agent 52 – Don Ross, Control agent – Robert Karvelas
Director:  Bruce Bilson
Writers:  Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso
Producer:  Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Three Control agents have been murdered – all with suspicious puncture wounds on their neck. Could it be… a vampire?

Max and 99 are fine tuning their eavesdropping skills.

My Thoughts:

The episode opens with Max and Agent 52 involved in a game of chess while stationed in Professor Sontag’s laboratory. In the midst of the game, a shadow descends across the room and a strange tune fills the air. Agent 52 slumps over dead — his only visible sign of injury being two puncture wounds to the neck.

Two previous agents, 23 and 49, also succumbed to what they used to refer to as “neck rupture” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the meantime, the newspapers are having a field day reporting on a “Weekend Vampire” because the incidents only occur on the weekend. Is a weekend vampire anything like a weekend smoker?

Scratching for some sort of clue, Max and the Chief set out to decipher the tune heard before 52 is murdered. They are assisted in this with Dr. Arrick and the Detecto-Tune. This is probably the best bit in the whole episode – and it was included among the tracks on the Get Smart LP from 1965 (and later re-released on CD in 1996). Max and Arrick’s attempt to sound out the mystery tune devolves in to a rendition of Heart of My Heart – which gives us a nice sample of Ed Platt’s vocal talents. It also earns the Chief the lead in the annual Spy Frolics.

After trying to get the autopsy results from the lab, Max and 99 find Sontag having a phone conversation with Dr. Drago, Sontag’s predecessor. Drago, it’s revealed, was released from his employment at Control after being caught performing unauthorized experiments.

Max and 99 eventually follow Sontag to Drago’s house. For added creep factor, this all transpires during a storm and the car Max is driving conveniently dies right outside of Drago’s house. This leaves 86 and 99 to come up with the idea of approaching Drago as stranded travelers.

When Max advises that they use one of the cover kits stored in the car’s trunk, 99 is quite eager to use the newlywed cover. Regardless, Max also grabs the Commando Kit. They could have also selected the Diplomat Kit, the Publisher Kit, the Dr. and Nurse Kit or the Lion Tamer Kit. For what it’s worth, the Commando Kit comes with a throwing knife, knockout drops, a revolver and brass knuckles. The Newlywed Kit includes all that plus a bouquet of flowers, Expando-Rice, a “Just Married” sign, Ignito-Paste and two sets of bulletproof pajamas.

Upon arrival at Drago’s house, they are greeted by Drago himself, the grunting Hugo and a coffin set out in the front room. Drago tries to scare Max and 99 off, but later decides to keep them for the night – locked tight in a bedroom.

After some detective work, and going to the effort of breaking out of their room, Max and 99 find that Drago’s coffin leads to his basement laboratory.
Drago reveals that he murdered the Control agents who testified against him with a twin-chambered flute that fires two poison ice pellets. Then Drago decides to demonstrate the flute on 99.

In a perfect chain of events, Max tackles 99 and knocks her out of Hugo’s grasp. Sontag, who has just arrived for his own confrontation with Drago, shoots his mentor. Drago then hits the note on his flute, leaving the poison pellets to land in Hugo’s neck.

Gotcha! In this quick scene you can see the back of the sound stage.

There are a couple of other issues to note:

• In terms of character consistency, in the previous episode, “Aboard the Orient Express,” Max didn’t know the difference between checkers and chess. In this episode he knows what he’s doing and beats Agent 52.

• One thing I find odd is Drago’s coffin/secret staircase. He clearly climbs into it and lies down, which just doesn’t fit with it being a staircase.

• When Max exits the car during the storm, you can see the top of the backdrop as well as the stage. For whatever reason, they’re also not using the Sunbeam Tiger in this episode.

This is one of a number of episodes in the series that plays on the absurd. I don’t know what it is, but I find the rhythm of this one predictable. Sure, what’s a TV series without a vampire episode – you get one every now and then. However, I’m left with this feeling that everyone was just kind of going through the motions in this episode. Compared to some of the other episodes in the first season, like “Mr Big” and “Aboard the Orient Express” to name a couple, this episode comes off as weak.

Maybe I’m just not buying the superstitious nonsense.

Max: (as he moves to walk under a ladder) It’s a good thing we’re all sensible civilized men who don’t believe in a lot of superstitious nonsense.
Chief: Max! Don’t walk under that!

Watch for: The Dectecto-Tune bit.

Footnotes:

Max and 99 decide it's time to break out of their bedroom.

• Martin Kosleck primarily played Nazis and appeared in a number of horror flicks. On the tube he appeared in several episodes of The Man from Uncle as well as a Mission Impossible two-parter.
• Ford Rainey has a storied career in television, appearing repeatedly in the likes of The Virginian, Bonanza, Alias Smith and Jones, Search, The F.B.I., Mannix, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Ned and Stacey and The King of Queens.
• Humorist Roger Price was best known for “Droodles,” a syndicated cartoon feature that was a combination of a doodle and a riddle. Price, along with Leonard Stern, also invented Mad Libs. They later partnered with Larry Sloan to create the Price-Stern-Sloan publishing company. Price appeared on a number of TV shows, with his final role as Hottentot in Get Smart, Again!
• William Baskin had a few roles here and there – including in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.
• Don Ross appeared in two other episodes of Get Smart: The third season episode, “Maxwell Smart, Private Eye” and the fourth season episode, “Hurray for Hollywood.” He appeared regularly on Sea Hunt, The Fugitive, The F.B.I., Dragnet 1967 and Adam-12.

Glick meter: Max closes out the episode by nearly beaming the Chief with a poison ice pellet from Drago’s flute. Sorry about that.

Oh Max meter: 99 gives Max more of a scolding in this episode – though it’s unwarranted. Initially 99 appears more than happy to be carried over the threshold of Drago’s house by Max. However, she’s not exactly up to pulling out all the stops in the role of “Mrs. Smart.”
Max: We’ve got to do everything honeymooners do. These pajamas are our best bet. Get in them 99.
99: (scandalized) Max!
Max: (annoyed) They’re bulletproof 99!

Control Agents: Professor Sontag, Arrick, Agent 52 and Larabee – although he isn’t actually named as such. Mentioned were Agent 23 and Agent 49 – both murdered by Drago.

Kaos Agents: None really. Drago was just a disgruntled former Control scientist that got the boot for unauthorized experiments.

Gadgets: DetectoTune, Expando-Rice, Ignito-Paste, bulletproof pajamas and, if you count the villain’s toys, the Flute Gun.

Episode Locations: Control headquarters, Drago’s creepy 200 year old house

Heart of My Heart: The Chief brings it home.

30 years later and not forgotten

The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986.

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.
— President Ronald Reagan after the Challenger disaster

Webmaster’s note: This is an off topic post

There was all kinds of hype prior to the Space Shuttle Challenger going up that January. There was build up -big build up. This wasn’t a typical space flight. A civilian teacher named Christa McAuliffe had joined the group. She had planned to teach a lesson from space.

In my second grade kid-world this was a big deal. Usually we didn’t get to watch TV unless it was something special. The activities that were to be held on the Challenger more than qualified. Not only would there be a lesson from space, but they would also be broadcasting a tour of the ship from up there. Personally, I was excited about watching the tour.

Our teacher had cautioned us that the transmission might not be able to come through because of the weather or whatever reason. We didn’t believe that. That was typical grown-up prudence that was best to be ignored.

To some degree, in a school back then you could still be closed off from the rest of the world for at least six hours. It was not a TV/Internet in every classroom environment. You could go in the place in the morning and go home in the afternoon and find the world had decided to change without consulting you.

The afternoon of the 28th we had finished up our library class and were engaged in watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory –the Gene Wilder version. For some reason we were allowed to watch it up until 15 minutes before school let out.

Then our teacher returned from whatever mysterious place she had gone to that afternoon. She kind of looked at us and then looked down at her hands. She then said something to the effect that she had to tell us some bad news about the space shuttle.

“We won’t get to see the TV program?” blurted out a boy.
“No,” she paused. “The spaceship exploded.”

The TV was then turned back on to the news where we watched that trailing white cloud. My initial thought then was the same thought I had the morning of September 11 when the news I was watching flipped to the first of the twin towers being hit. What am I looking at? What is this? All I could do was cry. It was, that day, a great national tragedy.

I initially wrote this at the 20 year mark. Now it’s 30 years later. It may sound like an age has passed but one glimpse of Jan. 28 on the calendar along with the iconic- and tragic- photo of the explosion makes it yesterday once more.

While the memory may get packed away with all the other junk life hands down, it’s still there. The same feelings are easily retrievable. The reaction is still the same. Loss is still loss.

A cache of news clippings documenting the Challenger disaster. The color photo in the paper on the right is one of the first times this paper used a color photo.

A tale about a pair of lenses

Webmasters note: This is an off topic post 🙂

A somewhat obsessive habit of mine is taking photos in my fair city. On one such outing last spring I scored a good one — a shot of a paddle boarder gliding through the sunset. In December I was honored to have won a Hoosier State Press Association award for that photo.

I had mentioned, after announcing this in December, that there was something of a story leading up to how the photo came to be. It’s probably not the type of story you’re expecting. This yarn really starts with a need for new lenses -and not the kind that go with cameras.

Recently I’ve been sporting my spectacles more — rather than only wearing them at night and out of sight. This may not sound like a big deal. In fact, it may come off as a little odd that I would hide such a thing. Hear me out.

I’ve worn glasses since I was two – and probably should have had them before that. My eyesight, which was inherited through my paternal grandmother, is what’s usually referred to as extreme or severe myopia. Without correction, life looks like a large cloud. More information on the likes of high myopia be found here.

I wear high power/high index lenses. These are a different animal compared to most glasses. In the old days someone with extreme myopia would be stuck with the the thick “coke bottle” lenses. Now high index lenses, which make the lens appear less thick, are available. However, they’ll cost you and in my case they’re still not as thin as the average pair of glasses.

As an added bonus, when you have a high prescription like I do, your face ends up looking distorted. In the case of extreme nearsightedness, the eyes wind up looking smaller and out of proportion to the rest of the face. It’s enough of an issue that Wikipedia wrote an entry about facial distortion and social stigma.

My bespectacled youth wasn't pretty. Even cool 1990s lasers couldn't save me.

Again, this may not seem like such a big deal, however, glasses, when I first started wearing them, weren’t the fashion accessories they are today. There weren’t hipsters walking around wearing horned rimmed frames with no lenses. Instead, there were kids either shunning you or straight up informing you that, yes, you were ugly. Sorry, no spots at the lunch table for you – or much of any other socialization for that matter.

During my freshman year of high school I made the switch to contacts. I found, after the switch, some people didn’t know who I was – even though I had gone through junior high with them. Other people that previously gave me the brush-off actually spoke to me. I still wasn’t in the “in” crowd, but at least I wasn’t treated as a complete pariah.

Life got to a point where I kept the fact that I had a vision problem a secret. On the occasions I did have to wear them, I’d either warn who I was with or attempt to joke that I wore coke bottles. To be frank, I was really embarrassed by my glasses. I figured if someone saw me in thick specs they’d quickly deem me as ugly and then associate me with all the stereotypes: Nerdy, smart, bookish, blah, blah, blah.

Contacts, though, have their hang ups. They can only be worn for a few hours during the day, they get stuck in your eyelid, you spend most of your free time cleaning them and they can be subject to many an unfortunate accident. I once had a pair that someone washed down the bathroom sink —  which was basically like finding out my eyes had gone down the drain. While they’re preferred for aesthetic reasons, they’re really a pain in the ass.

Coke bottle glasses and contact lens problems are actually the least of the woes associated with extremely high myopia. Each time you visit your eye doctor they dutifully recite the signs of a retinal detachment. That speech is usually followed by a lovely eye dilation – which in turn is followed by sunglasses and blurry vision for the bulk of the day.

Usually I would go about my business after that discussion – and dilation. This last doctor visit was different. Other matters, which I won’t detail here, were discussed. I found myself looking at a reality I couldn’t push to the back of my mind as I had before. The future, which should have the promise of some moments of color, had also clouded over.

This brings us to an image of a paddle boarder taking his evening trip around an Indiana lake.

Eh?

After that day’s doctor visit, my husband, daughter and I, still wearing the darkest shades I owned, decided to take our evening walk around the lake a couple blocks from our house. I never know what I’ll see on one of these walks, so on some nights I take my cell phone – which has a pretty decent camera. On other nights I skip the cell phone and take a better camera – a Nikon DSLR. This, thankfully, was one of the “other” nights.

We walked down to the lake and made our way to a small bay. I spied a fishing boat and then took in the colors the setting sun was casting on the lake. In one narrow stream it was a ray of pinks.

I then noticed a paddle boarder approaching the ray of sunlight. I’d seen him before -and photographed him on a previous outing. I wasted no time with doing the same and was thankful I had my camera’s settings where I wanted them. Just as soon as he was in my frame, he was out of it. That guy was not fooling around.

Once I finished up, I checked my chip. It was like a gift: I had one shot where the paddle boarder was in that red and pink beam of sunlight. The following shots were of him making his way over to a boat occupied by fishermen.

Viel Glück!

A couple days later the newspaper I work for ran the photo as stand alone odd art. We also used a few of the other images that came out of that moment for some of our special sections.

Spring eventually gave way to late summer and I had forgotten about that image – until my colleagues started working on their Hoosier State Press Association contest entries. While touching base with the editor compiling all those entries, I decided to chuck it into the mix. Props, by the way, go to that editor for helping me – and all the work he did with compiling the entries.

In the fall, a few of us were pleasantly surprised to learn we had won HSPAs -although we wouldn’t find out exactly what we had won until we attended the conference in December. I was indeed surprised to have won a first since I’m not considered a photographer.

In the end it was nice that, for a little bit, a shiny moment took the focus off of a dark moment.

This graphic shows the before, during and after of the paddle boarder riding into the sunset.

*This is Kaos. We don’t talk about our diopters here.