Out from underneath my three year old National Enquirer are:

The Smartian Controversies

Part Four:  Controversies of Rumor

Howdy and welcome to another afternoon of "Amanda Overthinks Things" Oh... right... we're doing Smartian Controversies.  My bad. Most of the following controversies as, General Dreedle would say in Catch 22, are a load of bunk -only Dreedle wouldn't use a nice word like "bunk." Yes, my friends, these are the urban legends of Get Smart!  Think of this installment as the day www.snopes.com went to Control. 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 Nineteen: Haven't I seen that scenery before?

(L-R Schwartz's Island when it was Gilligan's Island and Gilligan's Island when it was Schwartz's Island)


If you've ever had a sense of deja vu while watching Get Smart, that's understandable.  In the vein of conservation and economics, different sets were often recycled through out the run of the series.  Two notable scenery repeats are:

    1. The Reusable Staircase.  In both "That Old Gang of Mine" and "The King Lives," the same stone staircase is used.

    2. The Movable Tunnel.  Max wanders around in the same underground tunnel in "Shock it to Me" that appeared earlier in part two of  "To Sire With Love."

Scenery recycling was not limited to just Get Smart.  Another spy show, The Wild Wild West, shared sets with Get Smart quite a few times.  Most notably, the set of Gilligan's Island was used in the "Schwartz's Island" episode of Get Smart.

Controversy Twenty: Were 86 and 99 an item in real life?

Sorry about that wishful thinkers and romantics, but Don Adams and Barbara Feldon did not date in real life. 

 Now that that bombshell has been dropped, let's look at the back story:

During the run of Get Smart, Don was married to Dorothy Bracken Adams, his second wife.  Don was quite in love with Dorothy and would give her presents such as an engraved watch, a jewelry box carved out of silver that plays a recording of Don reciting "their" song and a bracelet with a wedding bell charm that is also engraved with the phrase: "I'm yours till time bids both farewell." Dorothy did the choreography for the Baby Buggy Switch scene in "Ironhand" and appeared as 99's bridesmaid in "With Love and Twitches" because Don would never think of marrying off his character without his wife present.  Unfortunately Don and Dorothy divorced in the 1970s -one of the high prices of a life in show biz.  The two, however, remained friendly with each other.

Barbara Feldon, during her stint on Get Smart, was married to Lucien Verdoux Feldon until they divorced in 1968.  After that, her romantic attentions were focused on Get Smart producer, Burt Nodella.  Currently Ms. Feldon is living the single life, which she feels isn't as bad as folks claim it is.

Now for the speculation --Would Don and Barbara have made a good love match?

Considering that I can't distinguish romantic love from a hole in the wall,  I decided to consult the stars in this matter.  According to Goldschneider and Elffers' The Secret Language of Relationships Don (born on April 13) falls under Aries III and Barbara (born on March 12) falls under Pisces III.  Individuals under these two signs would have a better work relationship rather than a love relationship.  "Productive, lasting marriages and love affairs are rare in this combination since these two often lack emotional, spiritual, or physical maturity" (306).  For those under the belief that Don was really born on April 19, Goldschneider and Elffers' conclusions are pretty much the same:  good coworkers, but bad marriage partners.  Pieces III will drive Aries-Taurus bonkers with their idealism while Aries-Taurus will want more immediate attention from Pieces III.  What may be all too much for Aries-Taurus to handle is Pieces III's hankering for foolish plans. Interestingly enough, Don and Barbara also have their picture on page 328 of this book.

For those that think astrology is a bunch of hooey, consider the excellent working chemistry that Don and Barbara had on the set of Get Smart.  Don Adams was notorious for getting under people's skin, but he never got under Barbara's.  Also consider that Barbara Feldon admitted affection for her coworker, but claimed that they were from two different worlds.  The Vulcan in me concludes that a love match between the two would not be logical in this instance and could possibly destroy the existing relationship.

Controversy Twenty-one: Why wasn't 99 in the Nude Bomb?

As a random guess to this question, I'd say:  because she was darn lucky.  That answer, however, is incorrect.  The real answer is a mix between she didn't want to and she wasn't asked.  Barbara Feldon, at the time, was involved in many different projects and at a different stage in her life that did not include the adventures of 99.  Therefore, after being offered a role in a Get Smart film (that later became The Nude Bomb) she turned the idea down as she had no interest in reprising her role.  The role of 99 was not recast but was replaced by three agents that, ultimately, did not add up to 99's standards.

In considering The Nude Bomb -if you want to spend time doing that- it is important to recall the angle of the movie:  Maxwell Smart was the Austin Powers of the early 1980s.  This may not have gotten the decade off to a good start, but it does - if anything else - symbolize one thing:  innocence went the way of all those cowboys that slowly tipped their hats and rode off into the sunset.  99, being the representative of idealistic 60s virtue, joined innocence hand in hand in its endless journey.  Just one question, 99:  When will innocence return?

Controversy Twenty-two: Did Don have a fake finger in 'I Am Curiously Yellow?'

Yup, Yup and Yup.  This nifty factoid was first noticed by devout fan Jodi.  During that famous kissing scene where Max is hypnotized to be even more suave than the Bondest of James Bonds, he clasps 99's hand and kisses it.  Well.... there's just something not right about that index finger.  Watch the episode and check out the close-up in the screen cap below. Be slick, because the bit with the fake digit is quick.  In a following long shot of the Smarts, shown in the other screen cap, the phony nail is gone and Don's finger is noticeably bruised!

Awwweee... Poor Max!


Controversy Twenty-three: Are there lost episodes?

This yet another topic for confused journalists.  Just the same, I'm writing this out for those fans that have been confused by confused journalists.  A few rotten newspaper articles (some of which can be found in my reference guide) have listed either the wrong information regarding how many episodes there are or the authors have grossly padded around the issue.  Here's a sampling of such blunders:


"Madcap writing by the likes of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, and the deadpan delivery perfected by Adams and the rest of the cast kept Get Smart on the air for five seasons, or more than 160 episodes."

"I happened to catch one Get Smart episode on TV a few weeks back, laughed out loud at it, and asked NBC to send me the best of the old shows on videotape so I could keep them for my grandchildren. They sent me all 160-whatever, which was nice." (quote from Don Adams)

From The Boston Herald:

'Get Smart' is done with one film camera, on location, in sets. It is scored musically, like a movie. There's no situation comedy like that, never has been. I didn't do half-hour television shows, I did 139 mini-movies. That's a few more than John Wayne." (quote from Don Adams)


"There were 139 Get Smart episodes that ran on NBC and CBS from 1965 to 1970 and Adams demonstrated he still had the timing."

Sheesh!!!  Okay, if Don Adams is quoted saying 160 episodes in one article and 139 in another, doesn't that make just a little room for suspicion if not a raised eyebrow?  Don was either mis-quoted or the author simply made up a quote.  Just because it's in black and white doesn't make it right.  As for those fans seeking 20-odd lost episodes: STOP!  There were only 138 made and that's the bottom line.

Controversy Twenty-four: *The mysterious case of the un-shown episodes

For all you mystery buffs and former members of the Scooby Gang, here's a mystery begging for a resolution!  More often than not, various episodes of Get Smart were omitted from TV Land's line-up during its run on that channel.  This has not only caused major fan wigg-outs, but it has also forced them to question which episode guide has the correct order and why TV Land didn't air certain episodes. 

Which  episode guide does have  the correct order? 

That depends on which order you want.  The individual episode guides of Donna McCrohan, Joey Green, Carl Birkmeyer and TV Land are all correct in terms of the number of episodes.  What does differ in the episode guides is that Ms. McCrohan and Chief Carl are listing their episodes by original series air date rather than the episode order that channels such as TV Land or Nick at Nite would get.  Of course none of that information really matters and was simply a waste of cyber space as episode order has no bearing on whether TV Land will or will not show an episode of any show.

So why didn't TV Land air certain episodes?

There are a number of reasons episodes may or may not be shown.  One of the big reasons comes under a nasty little word called "contract."  After a channel like TV Land buys the rights to Get Smart there are certain episodes that can only be shown for a specified amount of times.  Here's what TV Land has posted in emails and on its web site in regards to this question:

The answer to your question is actually quite complicated. When we purchase the rights to shows...some episodes have a set number of times we are allowed to air them within our total contract time. Others have a set number of times we can run them within a shorter period of time (ie: week or month). Sometimes, in order to be able to play holiday episodes at the appropriate time we hold an episode back. Other times we hold an episode back, so that we can put together a block of related shows in a special. I do hope that this lengthy, but thorough, explanation helps you to understand that we are trying to bring you the best TV possible.                                             

--Postmaster Steve TV Land Online


Of course, there are other reasons why episodes may be omitted from a station's lineup.  One of which is good old fashioned  technical difficulties.  Such an incident occurred during the September 11 crisis and certainly TV and cable networks cannot be faulted for going on autopilot during such an incident. Shortly after September 11,  TV Land sent out the following email to those inquiring why episodes were apparently being shown at random:

"Closely Watched Planes" just happened to be one of the random episodes in question.



 We are aware that our programming has been the same since the terrorist  attack in New York City on Tuesday. We are located in New York City and  programming is a very hands on situation which requires us to be in our offices.

 Since our buildings were evacuated for the safety of our staff, friends and co-workers- no one was here to do the work necessary to alter our programming. We are hopeful that we will be able to pick up with regularly scheduled programming sometime within the next 10-12 hours. Please be patient.

 Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected by the tragic events of the past 48 hours.

 Thank you for your thoughts and good wishes,

From all of us here in TV Land


And then there was the "other" reason.... yes, that reason.  

Shortly after September 11 certain episodes of Get Smart that had military themes or involved airplanes were not shown on TV Land.  This included "Temporarily Out of Control," (in the picture at left) which was filmed aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown.  

The alleged reason for not showing these episodes was due to the war in Afghanistan.  I tried contacting TV Land regarding this rumor, but I never received a response.  

If this had truly been the case, then what is indeed ironic in this is that Get Smart and all of its episodes were originally aired during the Vietnam war.

Controversy Twenty-five:

Brought to you in part by my urge to pad out my site, the 25th controversy is a two for the price of one deal.  Just for reading, you get one controversy and one commemorative bonus controversy.  You also get more reading and scrolling. Ooo-laa-laa.

*Does Max have a brother?

Yes, no, maybe so.

If he did or if he didn't

That's something we just don't know!

In the fourth season episode, "Shock it to Me," Max openly denies having a brother.  

Zarko:  So, Mr. Smart, we meet again!

Max:    We've never met before!

Zarko:  No?  I thought we had.  Must've been your brother.

Max:    I don't have a brother!

Zarko:  Would you like me to make you one?

Max:    No, don't bother.

In a later episode, "Rebecca of Funny Folk Farm," Max recalls how his brother locked him in a closet for three hours.  

Max:  I remember once when my brother locked me in the closet for three hours.  I was so mad at him that I didn't speak to him for a week.

Hmmm... perhaps Max is in denial about his brother in the fourth season.  He does reveal that he has a nephew in some of the earlier episodes, which would mean he has some sort of sibling.  Or maybe - just maybe - the writers threw in a brother in the fifth season just for the sake of a good joke.  Would you believe an okay joke?

*What happened in Cairo on April 3, 1963?

Whoops!  Ya got me there!  Nobody knows the answer to that question except for Maxwell Smart and Agent 63, more commonly known as Joe Froebus.  All we know is that Joe still gets letters from "the tall one."

 Don't bother prying this out of 99!  This little event is so secret that even she doesn't know what Max and Joe were up to.

Joe tells Max the most classified secret in the history of sitcom espionage.

I would like to thank (as well as accuse) the members of the Get Smart Mailing list, the regular Friday night chatters, and the people that email me 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.