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.

The Old Spy in the Santa Suit Trick

The Old Spy in the Santa Suit Trick. Yes, that's Maxwell Smart hiding behind the beard.

Christmas is here – which is why this blog has found itself in a lull.

In my world, Christmas started up in October when I began preparing for my family’s handmade ornament exchange. From there it spun into digging out the decorations, sorting the decorations, mulling over which decorations to use and where to put them and finally, setting up the decorations. We still need to put the garland on the porch. Maybe we’ll get to that next weekend. 😉

The topic of Christmas naturally takes me to Get Smart. No, really, this is legit considering that, back in the early days of ilovegetsmart.com, I used to get all kinds of emails from people seeking shoephones for Christmas gifts.

Santa actually made a couple appearances in Get Smart.

Agent 86 collects intelligence from Agent 12.

St. Nick’s initial cameo was in the first season episode, Our Man in Toyland.

Santa in this case is Agent 12, one of the agents Control has stationed in Bowers Department Store, which is a Kaos front.

Max has a few moments seated on Agent 12’s lap, discussing enemy courier Leopold. They keep the exchange brief, so they don’t look suspicious. Uh huh. Before Max leaves, Agent 12 offers him a lolly.

Max tries to explain his choice of disguises. 99 tries not to laugh.

The next Santa appearance is in the fourth season episode, a Tale of Two Tales.

When Max learns that 99 is on a mission – and could be in danger – The Chief allows him to tail her. Despite it being August, Max disguises himself as a Santa posted by a donation kettle. 99 initially mistakes him for a Kaos agent -until he tries to rescue her from an actual Kaos agent.

Max later explains, since it was the night of the Control costume party, all the good costumes were taken. At least he wasn’t stuck with a chicken suit.

The topic of Get Smart Santa cameos naturally brings us to Elf on the Shelf.

Max and Red the Elf exchange some top secret Christmas information.

Huh?

Sure it does. Just work with me.

If you have a child in your life, you probably know all about Elf on the Shelf. You may think the concept is cute. You may find it annoying because you forget to hide the darn thing. Or, you see it as an opportunity to resurrect your own toys and collectibles.

We’ve had an elf named Red for the past two Christmases. If I remember to hide him, he ends up in the typical spots: The tree, on a shelf or the mantel. I do take one day for bit of fun where he meets up with Maxwell Smart.

Last year we saw Max and Red have a secret bookshelf meeting to exchange clandestine information. In the process, they positioned themselves in front of all the espionage related literature they could find.

This year they gathered around a small Christmas tree decorated with even smaller GS-themed ornaments. Said tree went to work with me and found a home on my desk. Everyone else in the newsroom either scratched their heads or considered the source.

As for next year’s Elf/GS adventure? Right now I’m just trying to remember where I last hid the little guy.

Merry Christmas!

Red the Elf offers Maxwell Smart some tree decorating advice.

The old spy in the dog suit trick

One of the individuals in this train compartment is a Kaos agent.

Episode 13
Aboard the Orient Express (original air date: 12-11-65)
Cast: Countess Rifchevsky – Carol Ohmart, Agent 44 – Victor French, Demetrios – Theo Marcuse, Ernst – Bill Glover, Dr. Minelli – Del Close, Porter – Maurice Marsac, Courier – Jack Donner and Special Guest Conductor – Johnny Carson
Director: Frank McDonald
Writers: Robert C. Dennis and Earl Barret
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Control is having a problem getting its payroll to all its freelance agents working behind the Iron Curtain: The couriers carrying the cash keep turning up dead. Max is tasked with hauling a half million dollars in a briefcase chained to his wrist -and finding the identity of Kaos agent Krochanska.

Control's special weapons adviser Dr. Minelli (Del Close) preps Agent 86 for a gas of a mission.

My Thoughts:
This episode is the one with Johnny Carson in it – well, one of a couple episodes. Carson shows up again for a brief cameo in the third season episode, “The King Lives?” On the Orient Express, he’s in a handful of scenes -namely to stamp passports and clean up carnage.

The Chief initially plans to enlist 99 as the next courier, providing her with a security briefcase containing the payroll, a handcuff and a 5,000 volt charge that would shoot through anyone trying to purse snatch. Agent B-12, stationed in the Baltics, has the only key to the handcuff and is set to intercept the briefcase when the courier gives him the password Tanganyika.

We later see that the fancy security briefcase doesn’t stand up to much of a scuffle, so all this scary build up about electrocution, deafening alarms and threats of amputation amounted to squat.

Once upon a college psych paper on the topic of how TV influences gender roles in children, I used the following exchange to illustrate how 1960s TV bosses were reluctant to give their female employees dangerous assignments:

Chief: The enemy knows we must send another courier. Our one chance is that they won’t be expecting a woman.
99: I know. I’ll do the best I can.
Chief: It will require intelligence, determination and icy nerves.
99: Will I be issued a destruct pellet?
Chief: Yes, 99.
Max: Wait a minute, Chief! You’re not thinking of sending her! She’s a woman!
99: (smiles at what he has said) Thank you!
Chief: Being a woman is the reason we chose her. Four men have failed!

After this, Max manages to accidentally handcuff himself to the briefcase. 99 calls his action bravery. Likely it was simply stupidity.

99: Max, that was the noblest, bravest, most heroic thing I’ve every seen. Thank you.

86 doesn’t give 99 much of response outside of a weak smile. He had other thoughts after she left the room.

Max: Maybe I could soak my wrist…

Tonight Show host Johnny Carson busied himself with passport stamping on the Orient Express.

In other matters, we’re introduced to Agent 44 who is hiding in the medicine cabinet in Max’s train compartment. After a bit of whining about how he hasn’t been paid in five months, 44 manages to mooch some cash off the usually cheap Agent 86. Agent 44 then proceeds to charge Max for the secret messages he’s supposed to distribute – they’re $5 a message or three for $10 and leave a bitter aftertaste if you have to eat them.

Max spends the rest of the episode trying to sniff out Krochanska from a train car full of suspects. His choices are a snotty French porter, a blind hat salesman and British spy named Ernst or the Countess Rifchevsky.

The answer was none of the above. Krochanska turned out to be Ernst’s service dog, Cyril. The pooch was given orders from Kaos agent Demetrios to chomp on a poison gas pellet that had no effect on dogs but was lethal to humans.

I’ve always liked this episode – Johnny Carson nonchalantly walking into the trashed compartment at the end gives me a giggle. However, some of the scenes seem a bit… abrupt… at times. I notice this most with 99’s appearance on the train.

The episode concludes back in the Chief’s office where the conversation trails from the fate of the double agent dog (he was adopted by a nice family) to the union benefits of overseas Control agents.

Watch for: Johnny Carson’s cameo.

Max and 99 work on narrowing down their suspects - and their expressions of horror.

Footnotes:
• The episode title is a reference to Agatha Christie’s novel, Murder on the Orient Express, which featured Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot.
• The incomparable Johnny Carson served as host of the Tonight Show for 30 years.
• This is Victor French’s first shot as Agent 44. He continued the role as the hidden agent until Dave Ketchem came aboard as Agent 13. Agent 44 returns in the fifth season, but the part was then played by Al Molinaro.
• Carol Ohmart, known for starring in film noir and horror films, was promoted by Paramount as the next Marilyn Monroe. She appeared in a handful of TV shows, including a few roles on 77 Sunset Strip.
• Known for playing villains, Theo Marcuse appeared in a bevy of TV shows, most frequently in The Wild Wild West and The Man From Uncle. He also appeared in an episode of Star Trek.
• Bill Glover’s credits include a number of appearances on TV shows and two soap operas – General Hospital and Santa Barbara.
• A director of Second City, Del Close was a mentor to many well known comedians. His movie credits include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and American Graffiti.
• Maurice Marsac was the all-purpose player of French parts on TV. Marsac returns to Get Smart for the third season episode, “99 Loses Control.” He also appeared in Mission Impossible.
• Jack Donner has a lengthy TV resume including a reoccurring role on General Hospital, several appearances on Mission Impossible and as Romulan Subcommander Tal on Star Trek. He even appeared on Scare Tactics.

Glick meter: Max accidentally handcuffs himself to the security briefcase – and he develops an appetite for paper.

Oh Max meter: 99 chooses to believe that 86’s screw-up with the security briefcase was simply chivalry.

Control Agents: Agent 44, Agent 85, Dr. Minelli, Agent B-12 (mentioned)
Kaos Agents: Demetrios, George Robinson (mentioned – agent in drag from the Kaos Hawaiian branch), Cyril Krochanska

Gadgets: Destruct Pellet (mentioned by 99, not actually issued), security briefcase, Bowler Gas Mask, Ladies Gas Mask hat, Straddler Shoes

Episode Locations: Would you believe Lichtenstein?

Tickets please: Mr. Conductor informs 86 and 99 that poison gas and dead bodies are no match for what's in compartment 13.

Family gatherings can be ‘Kaos’

Full house: Max keeps his gun trained on a Kaos agent (Conrad Janis) while trying to entertain his visiting aunt and uncle.

Episode 12
My Nephew The Spy (original air date: 12-4-65)
Cast: Victor- Conrad Janis, Uncle Abner – Charles Lane, Aunt Bertha – Maudie Prickett, salesman – Vincent Beck
Director: Bruce Bilson
Writers: Arne Sultan and Marvin Worth
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: While shoe shopping, Max just happens to uncover a Kaos front at Larsen’s Shoes and winds up with Kaos agent Victor hot on his trail. In the middle of the commotion, Max’s Aunt Bertha and Uncle Abner arrive on his doorstep.

Don't answer that! One of many times Max's shoephone will blow his identity.

My Thoughts:
So much for date night.

The episode opens with Max shopping for new shoes and anticipating going to dinner and a concert with 99. In the meantime he’s been busy trying to locate a spy ring. His shoe store, as it turns out, is just the Kaos front he’s been looking for – only he comes to that conclusion after his shoephone gives him away. Clearly the device was jealous of Mr. Smart’s new footwear.

Max soon finds out that his Aunt Bertha and Uncle Abner are going stop by for a “surprise” visit – which he was warned about thanks to Control’s crack intelligence gathering efforts. The catch is that he can’t let his relatives find out what he does for a living.

Abner and Bertha are about what we would expect from sitcom relatives that make unannounced visits. Abner comes off as cranky and sarcastic, while Bertha is mostly overbearing. Both waste no time in taking over Max’s apartment and yet neither of them wish to claim him as their nephew.

Bertha: My sister’s son? I thought he was your sister’s son?
Abner: I don’t think so. I hope not.

This is the only time in the series where we meet one of Max’s relatives. While Mel Brooks was adamant that Max have no mother, I think the occasional appearance of a random relative could have been interesting.

Later on in the series, 99 was granted a mother, played by Jane Dulo, in a handful of episodes.

Agent 99 was dressed to the nines - and all for naught.

Agent 99 gets a raw deal in this episode. She has grand plans of a date that just doesn’t happen. Having to waste time dealing with Victor is bad enough, but everything goes south with Max tells his relatives that 99 is the maid. Way to go Max.

Bertha’s behavior is over the top – she makes 99 clean the windows by precariously perching on Max’s windowsill. After ending up with her pretty gown trashed, 99 finally snaps when Bertha instructs her to wax the floors. We almost get to see 99 wallop Bertha with a dust pan – until Max intervenes.

In other matters, there are a few fun moments in the Chief’s office – when Max isn’t setting the trash can on fire.

The Cone of Silence gets some exercise – even though Max has nothing to say (literally) that merits its use.

Chief: If you had nothing to report, why did you insist on lowering that?
Max: Rule 13 says –
Chief: Max, why do you always have to live by the rules?
Max: Because rule 27 says you must always live by the rules of the book.

Max also introduces his own invention: Dial-A-Fact – a device for tired agents who are always on the go. The user turns a dial on the briefcase that holds the files. Then the needed information pops up without the agent having to sift through messy files.

Oh yes, and then there are the periodic wrestling matches between Max and Victor. This all comes to and end with a battle royale of sorts in the back room of Larsen’s Shoes. Between blows Max has keep his relatives thinking he’s a store employee. Talk about multitasking.

In the end, Max leaves the bad guys in an unconscious pile, finds that top secret information is written in code on the inside of the shoes – including plans for a missile and finds a new pair of shoes for Abner.

Watch for: Check out that pile of shoes Max has tried on at the beginning of the episode. I’m surprised he didn’t request something in a tan.

Max's Dial-A-Fact invention - it's like a 1960s version of a search engine.

Footnotes:
• Conrad Janis is best known for playing Mindy’s dad in the sitcom Mork & Mindy. He appeared in The Buddy Holly Story and The Cable Guy and also had reoccurring roles on Frasier and Quark.
• Character actor Charles Lane appeared in hundreds of films, usually cast a a scowling wretch. His film credits include the likes of It’s A Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He also appeared in numerous TV shows, including two episodes of The Bill Dana Show.
• Maudie Prickett was known for playing busybodies and maids – kind of ironic considering her role in this episode. She had a reoccurring role as a maid in the series Hazel and had a role as a maid in the movie North by Northwest, in which Ed Platt also appeared. She also appeared in the fifth season Get Smart episode, “Moonlighting Becomes You.”
• Vincent Beck appeared in a number of TV shows and can be seen in the cult classic, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Glick meter: Max should not be allowed to play with matches.

Oh Max meter: 99’s purrs have no effect on Victor.

Control Agents: Hodgkins is asked to operate the Cone of Silence

Kaos Agents: Victor and the un-named Kaos agent/shoe salesman

Gadgets: Gadgets in Max’s apartment: Rigged Desk Drawer, the Man Trap, Swinging Lamp and the Roll-Up Rug.’Wrist Communicator T37 and the Cone of Silence both return in this episode. Max offers his own invention: Dial-A-Fact.

Episode Locations: Larsen’s Shoes, Max’s Apartment

Max learns how Kaos is smuggling classified information. He probably also learns that retail is a brutal business.