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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 Eight:  

*You ought to be in pictures!

The set of Smart was indeed an artistic one: Adams was a commercial artist before he hit the big time and continued to work with oil pastels in his spare time, Feldon drew pictures of her friends with flowers blooming from their ears and Gautier (who painted up a storm in 1964's Ensign Pulver) produced a cartooning book series and presently sells his art online.

Who, then, in regards to this controversy, is responsible for the following artistic works found in various Get Smart episodes?

- The giant oil painting of 99 in Max's bedroom in "The Day Smart Turned Chicken" and "All In the Mind." This is obviously another sign of Max's infatuation with 99 during his bachelorhood, but how did it get there? No, I'm not asking who Max commissioned to paint it! I want to know what crafty set designer or director was responsible for it!

- The painting of Don Adams in his Ronald Coleman/King of Coronia get-up found in "The King Lives" and the first part of "To Sire With Love." This portrait of Adams in regal attire is focused on quite a bit through these episodes when dum-dum Kaos agents want to compare the likeness of Smart to the king.  Who painted it? More importantly, did they color Adams' eyes right?

- What's up with that weird painting in the Smart's apartment? Sorry, I had to throw this in cause it's been bugging me forever. Originally - before the days of digitally remastered DVD episodes - I thought it was a painting of three crosses. Now it looks like one cross, but I'm still not sure what's going on there. Or perhaps I'm cross eyed. (see pic on the right). For what it's worth, art rotated in and out of Max's apartment during the series.

- And what about that portrait of Rebecca Van Hooten in "Rebecca of Funnyfolk Farm" that looks oh-so-much like Mrs. 99 Smart? This is almost as intriguing a mystery as how Sebastian wound up in the clock.... uh... maybe.

What happened here? Did the producers of Get Smart hire an on-set artist? Did Don, Dick, and Barbara do all this during summer hiatus because they were feeling artistically repressed? Should I stop writing ridiculous controversies that will never be resolved anyway?

The world of espionage will probably never know the answers to the above questions -with the exception of the last one (and I'm not sure I want to know that answer). Therefore, this issue is officially an Unresolved Controversy. To add to it, however, is yet another picture perfect controversy:

The Infamous Lady in White Mystery!

On the Get Smart site of El Presidente, there is a picture taken off of one of the Aurora Skittle board games that features Don Adams. This particular picture shows Adams with Bernie Kopell (Seigfried) dressed in what looks like attire from the aerial dogfight in "Snoopy Smart vs The Red Baron." There is, standing between them, a woman dressed in some sort of an angel or confirmation outfit (or perhaps she's the tooth fairy). The controversy here is not why this woman is waiting around for her baptism, but, rather, who is she?

Possible IDs for the Lady in White are: 

-- Marlo Thomas  -- Barbara Feldon  --Pam Dawber  (if eye crossing is initialized)

Still, to keep this debate going and to keep my savings dwindling, I decided to purchase the game in question. I studied all the minute details in this picture -every crack, every crevasse, and every Crayola mark. I came to three conclusions: 1. This box is too big for my closet. 2. That's a really cool leather coat Mr. Adams is wearing.
3.The Lady in White is definitely Barbara Feldon!  Seriously, it is Ms. Feldon in that picture -even though she is favoring that flipped hairstyle that Marlo Thomas was noted for. If still you doubt me, then I encourage you to look at the close-up picture at right. If still you doubt me after that, then I encourage you to either move on to the next controversy or seek an optician nearest you.

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

The Time according to Smart
1930 1939-41 1953 1956 1957 1962 1963
Maxwell Smart is born 99 is born Max is in the Korean War Max arrests some Kaos agent/crook Kaos is founded The New York Mets are founded *Max meets with Joe Freebish

*86 & 99 hired by Control

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.

But Whhhhhyyyyyy?

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:

The Marriage Scoreboard for Control's chief Chief

Mr. I. M. Hitched Big Bad Bachelor Boy
4 2

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:

Read the controversial Controversy

Take Your Ball and Go Home!

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.

COPYRIGHT 1999-2016 BY AMANDA HAVERSTICK.