Back by not quite popular demand:
The Smartian Controversies
Part Two: The Controversies of Mystery
That's right, loyal net surfers, the controversies have returned! Below are some of the most impossible situations ever to challenge common sense and 99.9% of them have no reasonable solution whatsoever. In other words, this is the graduate level portion of the controversies. The controversies that are unresolved are branded with a * -Remember kids, this is a "fun page" so don't take it all too seriously.
Controversy Nine: Leftist or right?
To be a southpaw or not to be a southpaw? That is probably not a good question, but it is a dilemma Don Adams faced when smoking. One of the recent entanglements between Get Smart fans is whether Max/Don is a righty or lefty. Aside from rooting through J. Edgar's files on where he donates his political bucks to, there are a few clues to drive the viewer nuts.
- Max's shooting position in "Washington 4, Indians 3" The oddball thing about this is that he switches hands. Did one hand tire of holding Mr. Gun?
- Max fences with his left hand (as well as his right) at one point in "A Man Called Smart," but he fences with his right hand in the Prisoner of Zenda spoofs.
- Max does wear his watch on his left hand. This usually signifies that the person is right handed, but I, however, have aptly violated that norm as I wear my watch on the same hand that I write and draw with.
- Mr. Adams can't decide which hand should hold his cigarette. Look at the pictures and watch the show, because the cancer-stick will play musical hands.
- The ultimate clue: Don Adams autographs with his right hand (as per the 1998 issue of Autograph Collector). He also, if you look at the pic above, writes with his right hand!
However, if you'd like to continue this debate go pay a homage to the Famous Left-Handers website where Don Adams is on top of the lefty list.
Controversy Ten: *The question of the ages
How old is Max? How old is 99? Is this a Gallup poll or a random recruitment for the AARP? This is most likely the second biggest unsolved TV mystery of all time and, in the following waste of cyberspace, I will attempt to complicate this issue and prove why it is an unresolved controversy.
Maxwell Smart, according to his tombstone, was born in 1930. This is a viable scenario and, for all points and purpose, his age will be left at that since it was literally carved in stone. 99's exact birth year occurred somewhere between 1939-41. From the information (and scrounged up clues) divulged in various episodes of the series, that is all that can be determined.
The reason 99's exact age cannot be determined is because it is not exactly clear when Max and 99 first met. Furthermore, the exact date Max joined Control has not been clarified. What, though, does any of that have to do with this? A lot. The only clue to 99's age is a statement made by Max: "I've known 99 since she was 24." If twenty-four was subtracted from the year the two met, then we would easily have 99's age, but that year is not here!
What 99 did before Control and how much time she spent doing it also needs to be taken into consideration. That activity, according to "Shipment to Beirut," was modeling, so in that case some age requirements may apply (like if she was a high fashion model during this period, I doubt she was twelve or something). Added to this is the fact that Max did not know 99 before the time of the pilot episode -or else he would have known she was a girl! Keeping these notations in mind, there are three ways to deal with this controversy:
1. The 1963 Theory
The Fuel: In the 1969 episode "The Day They Raided the Knights," it is said that the Control computer, commissioned six years earlier (1963), hired Max at some point and gave him an A1 rating. According to another episode where 86 and 99 were discussing the Chief's lack of hair, it is disclosed that 99 was hired two weeks after Max. If this squares away, it may also mean that both 86 and 99 could have met in 1963.
The Fire: When utilizing this theory, it also means that Max's 1956 arrest of a certain Kaos agent was unfounded... not just because he was not a member of Control at that time, but also because Kaos was not founded until '57!
2. Treating it as a TV series.
The Fuel: Get Smart had a slew of different and unique writers -none of which adjusted the timeline of their character's personal history to meet the persnickety needs of an unheard-of internet fan-base.
The Fire: Ouch! Didn't I just vaporize all the fun? Seriously though, if we treat this like the unresolved Korean War issue (Controversy 3) and go by the air date of the episode where Max claimed that he knew 99 since she was 24 (which was October 5, 1968's "Closely Watched Planes").... we'd still be very very wrong, but it wouldn't matter 'cause it's just a show guys!
3. Leave 99's age alone!
The Fuel: I say that with all seriousness, because maybe, just maybe, we ladies don't want the world knowing how old we are! Added to that, the controversy has too many variables weighing in it to find one solid answer!
The Fire: Be it noted that various sources have given a variety of different birth dates for Ms. Feldon and for Mr. Adams. Be it also noted that, historically, Mr. Adams was known for fudging around with his age -which fooled everyone but his secretary. (OK, so guys are sensitive too.)
Controversy Eleven: *Romancing the Chief
Probably one of the greatest inconsistencies of Get Smart (even far greater than that wacky age ordeal) is whether or not Chief Thaddeus was married. Even so, poor Thaddeus had a tortured love life. His sweetheart Mary Jack Armstrong shattered his heart when she defected to Kaos. Furthermore, the Chief admits to 99's mother that he has a fear of commitment. By far, however, the most crushing flaw in this man is that he does not know if he is married or not!
There is ample evidence that the Chief is married. In "Too Many Chiefs" 99 alludes to the fact that the Chief's wife created a rule stating that a female should not be interrogated without another female present. In The " Spy Who Met Himself " it is noted that the Chief always wears a ring (see picture above left). Could this be a ring ring or is it just circumstantial evidence? He does go as far as to wear it on the correct married finger! If that's not enough back up, in "The Mild Ones" Max forbids the Chief from shaking lip-locking Kaos-chick Babydoll's hand because as Max says, the Chief's wife would never forgive him! Max again alludes to the Chief's wife in "The Man From Yenta" when he has doubts about Mrs. Chief wearing 99's harem costume. Max could certainly be fooled if the Chief's alleged marriage were a ruse, but could 99 be duped?
There is also strong enough evidence against the notion that the Chief is married -or for the claim that he is at least a great big louse! In "With Love and Twitches" 99's mother proceeds to chastise Max for bailing on the wedding due to his map-rash. The Chief, however, goes to bat for Max by admitting that he was once in a position of bad wedding nerves. He also goes on to say, much to 99's mother's pleasure, that he never married. The Chief actually dates gorgeous Gina Paponickolini in "Absorb the Greek" so he can obtain a fountain of youth formula. After the whole rule about female interrogation, the Chief's wife, if he were married, would not go for this ruse for all the wrinkle cream in the world!
Was Thaddeus's supposed marriage in the early years of Get Smart a clandestine cover of some sort that enabled the free world to stay intact? Was it a marriage he, at some point, refused to acknowledge because it went bad? Was it simply just a big fat mistake that was birthed from the realms of creativity?
In that respect... I leave this topic (hopefully forever) with a little tally of the Chief's affairs (of state, that is) just so it's all set down and neat:
Controversy Twelve: The 99.44% purity problem
This controversy is probably not for the faint at heart or for people who take everything literally. Therefore, if you think you can't maturely handle the material involved you have two choices:
I would like to thank (as well as accuse) the members of the Get Smart Mailing list and the regular Friday night chatters for the many inspiring controversies on this page. The content of this page is entirely my own creation except where cited.
If you have a controversy you would like to see addressed, then email me.
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