Agent 86 Hits the Big Screen
Morphing Get Smart into a feature length production is not a new idea. In fact a Get Smart movie appears to be a repeated experiment. There have been two Get Smart movies --one a box office flop and the other a TV reunion movie. Exactly how they fit into Get Smart cannon is as debatable as their quality. For what it's worth, there have also been two Get Smart "films" that weren't. Check out the tally below:
Movie number one that wasn't:
The Mysterious Case of "A Man Called Smart"
This could have been a grave mistake for GS, but a few good producers stepped in and changed their minds. Originally intended for theatrical release, "A Man Called Smart" is the only three part episode in the entire series. Although the episode is well done, the movie idea was nixed after Munster Go Home made its dastardly debut in theaters. Fearing a big screen flop, the head honchos of Get Smart and Paramount Studios got smart and left this production in its own native habitat: the small screen.
Movie number one that was:
Was it a Nude Bomb or Just Shrapnel?
Originally intended for TV, some crafty Universal studio heads decided to latch onto this idea and make a few extra bucks in the process. The plan was easy: capitalize on the popularity of Get Smart; throw in some sex, nudity, and a few dirty words; take what you've created and film it while promoting your theme park. This is the Universal Plug.
Did Universal get away with their sneaky plan -or shall I say television blaspheme? Absolutely, positively, definitely..... not! The Nude Bomb bombed and bombed big! Let it be known that it reared its ugly head once more by using the alias "The Return of Maxwell Smart."
A Run Down of the Plot:
Maxwell Smart, now employed by PITTS, is summoned by his chief (Dana Eclar of MacGyver and the "Baby Makes Four" episode of GS) to rid the world of the Nude Bomb owned by one Nino Salvatore Sebastiani. The flaming villain's plan is to use the bomb to destroy all the world's clothes except his own fashions produced by his alter ego Norman Saint Savage. After nearly killing a character played by Bill Dana, driving around on a motorized desk, and getting into a fight with the aid of a thousand Maxwell Smart Clones, Max finally wraps up the case and gets his psyco.
This movie, among other things, lacked taste. There were a few funny moments, like Larabee's new idea in fashion, Max lambasting Sebastiani for wearing a pink nylon over his head, and the under grown Max-clone that emerged from the cloning machine, but much of the film consisted of typical comedic crutches. Smart was not the Smart of yesterday: he swore, he flirted, and was just a big jerk. For added salt to rub into this Smartian wound, Agent 99, the idol of girl-dom and the lust object of lots of little boys, was not in this picture! She was erroneously replaced by three other women (one of which a playboy bunny) who's agent numbers stood for a woman's measurements.
The concept of the Nude Bomb originally came in the form of a script written by Leonard Stern, Bill Dana, and Arne Sultan. That, however, is where the involvement of these three men ended. Neither Stern nor Don Adams had control over what went on in the film or character wise. That was the sole responsibility of director Clive Donner. Stern, for that matter, was actually banned from the set. Here's what Don Adams had to say on the subject:
Movie number two that wasn't:
Hymie Goes to the Movies
This was the film that never was and, most likely, never will be. It does, however, sound like an interesting concept. In the late 1980s, Dick Gautier granted people magazine an interview and noted that he was considering working on a Hymie the Robot TV feature. This idea was the brainchild of C.F. L'Amoreaux (writer of numerous GS episodes and a.k.a actor Gary Clarke of The Virginian) and was to feature an out-of-operation Hymie who has been recalled and refurbished by the government. What is interesting about this whole idea is that it was not meant to involve Don Adams at all. Hymie was to solve all the free world's problems through his own robotic ingenuity without the pratfalls of Maxwell Smart.
Whether this idea would have proven effective is one of TV's great unsolved mysteries. Plans for the Hymie movie never graduated from discussion stage to production stage because of messy legal red tape. According to Gautier, "Various studios in town tried to find out who indeed had the rights not only to "Get Smart" but also the character of Hymie, because there is a gray area in the Writer's Guild as far as who creates what under someone else's auspices. . ." (Magid 37). Not being able to get in touch with the Get Smart owners and all the rest of the copyright oriented legalities left the Hymie project hanging. Presently the Hymie project has been forgotten --but is still hanging.
Now this sort of a proposal opens the door to much speculation. What would Hymie have been doing before being reactivated? Would he perhaps be, as would be learned a few years later, a crash test dummy? Would Hymie get the girl in the end (preferably one that wasn't a Kaos droid or the Chief's niece)? Unfortunately the world may never know. *
*Interesting side note: The show's ownership at times tended to be a topic of debate - usually when issues like merchandise or sequals cropped up. GS was originally owned by Talent Associates and Don Adams (he owned a third of the show and was given a car). In the late 90s the rights were owned by Paramount which was owned by Viacom. Merchandise, however, popped up from Warner Bros. Confused yet?
Movie number two that was:
Get Smart Again, and Again, and Again and...
I'm going to be soft and gentle in the discussion of this made for TV reunion movie. The idea of a Get Smart reunion movie was originally tossed around as far back as 1988. Release for this movie was set for the fall of that year, however, the writer's strike of that same year threw rock into the path of production. Get Smart Again was not heard of again until February of 1989 when it aired on ABC --which ironically is the network that first contributed to Get Smart's success by tossing the pilot in the trash and calling it "Un-American."
A Run Down of the Plot:
Max, working as a protocol officer (which involves attending boring social functions in place of anti-social state department officials), is delivered from his job by the United States Intelligence Agency who reactivate him to fight Kaos. Very literary Kaos guru Nicholas Dimanti, along with the aid of Siegfried and Shtarker, blackmails the world with the usual bad guy threat: Gimmie all your money or I freeze/boil/sleet you to death with my weather machine. Dimanti's goal was to ruin the climate far enough beyond reparation so that the only form of recreation left in life would be to read the classics. However, Kaos cannot, and never will, get the best of Max, 99, and Siegfried's twin brother Helmut.
This movie gets a few definite "cute" points, but no more gold stars than that. Old jokes littered this movie bad enough for a striking Chicago janitor to have a fit. This time, though, it was 99 that cracked the infamous pentagon joke and not Max. Secondly, there was just all kinds and sorts of icky nasty direction as well as too much sentiment laced into the script (okay, that may not be good or bad -rather it just is). Still, in an un-Smart world, this was a bright spot for a Smartian viewer. Max's commentary on Tolstoy was quite amusing:
Max: (defending himself from a knife wielding Kaos agent with a copy of Tolstoy's classic volume) No one gets through War and Peace!
Odd ball side notes:
--John De Lancie, of Star Trek fame, plays a rather moody mole that feeds info on Smart's activities to Siegfried and takes his poison like a good Kaos man.
--Kenny Mars appears as Max's stressed superior. One of his early jobs was starring beside Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel in Mel Brook's The Producers. He also played Tom Orlando in part three of " A Man Called Smart."
--There is an edited and unedited version of this film. The edited version has unceremoniously cut out Hymie's declaration of the word "Sex" and the mentioning of the "mini-condom" (which is all explained in the mini-manual).
--Don Adams made the movie a family affair: Daughter Stacey is cast as secret message bearing meter maid and daughter Cecily is, according to Joey Green's book, a customer, but according to the film's credits, however, she is an undersecretary. She is a restaurant patron and walks into the restaurant arm in arm with Sledgehammer! producer Alan Spencer.
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