Out From My Junk Drawer are:
The Smartian Controversies
Part Three: The Revenge of the Smartian Controversies
Coming straight to you from the bottom of the barrel is the third installment of the Smartian Controversies. Haven't I had enough with my outlandish claims and conspiracy theories? No, I'd like to point out a few more! Think of this as the "TV Land Supplement" edition. The controversies that are unresolved are branded with an * - Remember kids, this is a "fun page" so don't take it all too seriously.
Hey! Where'd that scene go?
Do you find yourself suffering from utter confusion after a Get Smart episode? Is your confusion due to something you thought you saw in your favorite episode that you are not seeing now? Are you also seeing new Get Smart scenes that you did not see before? No, you're not nuts -you're just watching Get Smart: The Edited Version -or at least one of the edited versions.
Through the years, much of Smart has been snipped. This is mainly due to the fact that stations (like our boys at Nick at Nite and TV Land) need more commercials to pay their bills. *sigh* This leaves the fate of Get Smart in the clammy hands of the almighty dollar, which means that something must give. In Get Smart's case, it was a lot of funny scenes, banter and guest star cameos.
Initially, Get Smart aired for 23 minutes. That info, by the way, came from the liner notes on the Don Adams/Get Smart CD, which was put out by Raven Records. I did not make that factoid up -it was Don Adams that did! Trust me, he said it -not me! The 23 short minutes also explains Adams' fast paced directing style. Says he:
These days, 23 minutes is a luxury -and the U.S. aired episodes can't have it! I believe the last time I watched Get Smart over the air, it was about 20 minutes.
Now, if you're watching via DVD, this is a non-issue - and if you've never watched the show in syndication, you may wonder what the fuss is about. Instead, consider yourself lucky. Fans worldwide had their complaints about how the show was edited. Some of my Australian friends used to call it "Cut Smart" when it was being shown on the Seven Network in the early 2000s. Canada's YTV had its own edits as does Chicago based METV.
The most ire, and what this controversy spun out of, was Nick at Nite and TV Land's edits. Nick aired GS in the early 90s. TV Land aired it in the early 2000s. While TV Land snipped some scenes, they replaced other scenes Nick cut. Nick was a notorious clipper of the following:
- The Arrow in the White House (Washington 4, Indians 3)
- Max destroying his ID card (With Love and Twitches)
- Max flirting with a belly button baring hippie (The Groovy Guru)
One of the scenes TV Land replaced was the hippie with the belly button. Still, those tidbits were not enough to please unhappy fans, as TV Land's edits were not exactly thought fondly of at the time. I, however, felt cut Smart was better than no Smart.
Here's a sampling of TV Land's Smartian cuts:
- No William Yarmy in the first half of "The Not So Great Escape." Mr. Yarmy was the dear old dad of Don Adams and he made a small cameo as a Kaos prisoner known as "Old Timer."
- "In the Groovy Guru," the cute kissy-face scene in between the time Max gets decked by the cabbie and he and 99 go to the Guru's temple is cut:
- The "Angle Face" scene in part 2 of "To Sire With Love." In the beginning of the episode, after the Smarts kill the tarantula, 99 comes downstairs and smooches with King Charles:
-"The Impossible Mission" was victim to many a cut. The first big snip was the scene with Jamie Farr in the record store. The cut is the beginning of this scene where 86, 99 and Farr have to holler at each other over loud music. In between their yelps, the camera gives shots of the record store's other patrons -most of whom are rather perturbed looking hippies. What TV Land leaves us with is Farr mentioning a snippet of information and then sticking himself with a poisoned record player needle. That leads one to ask: Who's this hippie supposed to be and why did Kaos do him in? The second cut is the extended Charlie Chaplin chase scene. There was more of an in and out of doors montage with Max and 99 being pursued by The Leader.
-"Ship of Spies" has a few of the more confusing cuts. On occasion, the "Yankee Doodle Cracker" scene in Part One has been chopped only to be replaced in another showing. Also, in the end of Part One, Max is on the deck of the boat in a gun battle while 99 is leaving her cabin to join him. Max goes overboard and 99 finds that she is locked in her room. She hollers out the window to Max, at which point he asks her to look up his Control files to see if he passed the swimming test. In Part Two, the tag of the episode back tracks to Max on the deck of the boat in the gun battle. Everything goes the same until Max goes overboard. There's no scene where he asks for his files. Instead, 99 goes back into her cabin and, after a struggle with a life raft, ties a rope to the doorknob and shoots it out the other end. This of course fails, Max falls back in the drink and the show cuts to commercial. But that's not all! Smartian Amber points out that in yet another of TV's man-made miracles, Max is seen directly after the break walking on deck looking his usual dry and polished self.
Auf what: Why Seigfried did not sprechen Deutsche
If you'd like to translate Conrad "I have too many first names" Seigfried's grunts, gripes, expletives and insults, put your Langenscheidt German/English dictionary back on the shelf. Our Seigie speaks a tongue all his own. He uses standard German phrases like: Dummkoph (dumb head), Nein (no), Ja/Jawohl (yes), and Mein Fuhrer (my leader). Rants and ravings for Seigfried, however, are a different matter. Seigfried has succumbed to what most Hollywood Germans contract in a U.S. show and that is Pseudo-Deutsche, which is really nothing more than meaningless, garbled gibberish.
What does this controversy prove? That we should not have Seigfried tutor us in German? That we should not have him tutor us in Pennsylvania Dutch? That we should ask Agent 99 to tutor him? Blah! Just keep this bit 'o trivia on the back burner and remember that when you don't know what Seigfried is talking about... he doesn't either.
*Bonus German trivia: Pseudo-Deutsche is not unique to Kaos. In The Longest Day, the subtitles of what the Nazi officers were supposed to be saying did not match what they were really saying -and it had nothing to do with model verbs!
Is that you Mister Larabee?
And for more fodder for getting eye tests, we have the ever nagging question of: Is that Larabee behind that moustache? Uh-huh. Oft seen in the early episodes of Get Smart as a 'man in the street,' Larabee became not just the A-number 1 extra, but also a breakout member of the show's cast. Now, even more exciting than a game of "Where's Waldo" is the fun game of Looking For Larabee.
Larabee can be seen not being Larabee in:
That's only a small handful of Larabee spots as there's plenty more to be found. Happy Hunting!
Where's Larabee in the pics above? Can you find him?
*Bonus Sitcom Trivia: Robert Karvelas (the man behind Larabee) also made a really weird appearance on Happy Days. For some reason, he's walking around in the parking lot of Arnolds in this dazed state. The episode was "In the Name of Love." He was also in two episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. In one of them, "Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady," he played a man named Bob.
What did your daddy do in the war? (part two)
Well, that's really very classified.... Oh! we're talking Get Smart! My bad! This is a clarification controversy that is mainly geared towards confused journalists. If you're not a confused journalist, you may skip to the next controversy.
In various discussions and research I have discovered an annoying discrepancy about the military career of a certain former Marine known now to the public as Don Adams: Presswork often puts him in the wrong branch of the service. According to the liner notes in the Don Adams/Get Smart CD (didn't I mention that before?), the writer of that piece claimed he was in the Army.
I have also gained wind that he was said to be in the Navy. Ironically, in Get Smart, Max was supposed to have been in the Army (see controversy 3) and was also supposed to be in the Naval reserves as a part of his cover.
Just what branch of the military was Mr. Adams in? Would you believe he was a Marine? Don joined the Marines with his cousins, the Karvelas twins, and served in World War II where he fought in Guadalcanal. He's was also listed at www.TheFew.com as reason #160 out of 219 reasons to love The Corps.
(this controversy was brought you by reason #55 of why to love your Corps -Marine Corps Kids)
*The Great Housing Debate
This is a two tiered controversy. What it's about... I am not certain, because my brains have just poured onto my lap. The brunt of the debate, though, is about housing and how Max and 99 managed to live in such swank joints in the original series and in the 1989 movie without having to deal with a rat problem.
Tier One: The Original Series.
Maxwell Smart's hometown is Washington, D.C. -he proudly admits it! That's wonderful. Mr. Smart also has a super-swank spy pad that is not only a furnished apartment, but is an apartment with a fireplace, a bar and a second floor! That's wonderful. Mr. Smart also lives in this apartment, which is, by the way, in Washington, D.C. That doesn't make too much sense.
The question is this: how did Max get such a nice neighborhood and still wind up with a D.C. address?Y Outside of Capital Hill, The District of Columbia is no place of pleasantries. In fact, at one point in recent history, D.C. had beat out Gary, Indiana for the not-so-great title of U.S. murder capital. I guess I'll leave this one for the brain pickers.
Bonus Apartment Trivia: Max's apartment '86' is on the second floor or maybe higher. How can an apartment '86' not be on the ground floor? I know this question crawled out from the same weird box the old "red stripe down the middle of the floor" question* came from, but think about it.
Tier Two: Get Smart Again
By the time 1989 rolled around, the Smarts had moved out of apartment '86' and found themselves a nice two story house. No, this was not a dingy little junker! Their new house looked like something the Cunninghams might have lived in on Happy Days. That's all very well and status quo, but was that house in D.C. or wasn't it? Did Max's job as a trained ship christener and pallbearer rake in enough money so that they could live in ritzy Georgetown? I wouldn't buy that assumption for all the "would you believes" in China! It's possible the Smarts could have found such a lovely home outside of the District in either Maryland or Virginia, but we just don't know!
Aside from this being one of the seven wonders of urban housing, there is also one more weird bit o' discrepancy:
Kaos spy Preston Waterhouse (John De Lancie) lived in a trailer park. Where in D.C's wide world of solid concrete and apartments would even a Kaos agent find a trailer park to live in?
The old jumping heights trick -Get Smart style
At the special request of Friday Night's GS Chat group, we will now discuss height.
One of the more popular pieces of trivia is the height difference between Feldon and Adams, and how that difference was played off so that the two would look the same height or that Adams would look taller.
Get Smart was not the only show that did this: In an episode of Dragnet, Fess Parker had to play an entire scene kneeling so that Jack Webb wasn't dwarfed when standing next to him. It's also well known that Humphrey Bogart wore elevator shoes in some of his films. Why? Perhaps the show's lead star is a larger than life character and directors want to keep it that way. Of course, the fact that Don Adams was the lead and Barbara was not may only be half the reasoning behind why the show's creative talents wanted Adams taller.
The old dart of excuses can also be thrown at that silly old fashioned notion that boy should be taller than girl. You'll find in interviews that Barbara Feldon is always asked about this and she will most always note that she was the only girl with calluses on her ankles.
Either way, they screwed it up. Here's how:
Minimize the 99: Barbara Feldon, since she was taller than Don Adams, tried to even things out by either wearing slippers or walking around in stocking feet. Also, 99 is shown in a lot of seated shots such as the office scenes with the Chief. Ms. Feldon also utilized the Old Slouching Trick by either leaning against something or just plain slouching when she stood next to Mr. Adams.
Maximize the Max: Don Adams was made to measure up to Barbara Feldon by standing on half of an apple crate.
- In long shots, the real difference between the two could always be determined.
- Throughout the series, the heights of the two would jump. Nick at Nite actually took the time to pull this out on one of their behind the scenes bits. In close ups either Max will be taller than 99, the two will be pretty even in height, or 99 will be taller than Max.
And two further our mystery and pad out this controversy, the actual height of Don Adams is something of a source of debate.
Popular Press Pieces will say he's 5'9"
On Inside TV Land he claimed he was 5'8 1/2"
Nick at Nite claimed he was 5'7"
Max, in "With Love and Twitches" claimed he was 5'11"
Well... gee... at least he's taller than me.
YIt was never revealed exactly what neighborhood Max lived in during the original series and in the 1989 movie, but had he lived in downtown D.C., it's likely he would have faced more vermin than a mere tarantula. The webmaster of this site, once upon a time, visited a typical D.C. neighborhood that had roaches in its townhouses and rats playing about in the backyards. Like many of the neighborhood houses, the townhouse the webmaster stayed in was blessed with a grand total of five locks on the front door.
*The "Red Stripe" question concerns the red stripe that runs down the center of the hallway Max walks through to get to Control. Why is it there? To keep Max from walking crooked?
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.