Would you believe...
December 16, 2013 3:43 PM   Subscribe

What do you need to be an international CONTROL super spy fighting the forces of KAOS? A Shoe-Phone. A Cone of Silence. A Bulletproof Invisible Wall and a Laser Blazer. Then, and only then, can you Get Smart.

I Asked You Not To Tell Me That!
The following classified background information is marked "Metafilter Readers Only" and can only be seen at Wikipedia:
"Get Smart was a sitcom that ran for five seasons between 1965 and 1970. A parody of secret agent/spy movies and tv shows, (such as the James Bond films,) t centers on bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart, also known as Agent 86. His female partner is Agent 99. Both work for CONTROL, a secret U.S. government counter-intelligence agency based in Washington, DC. The pair investigates and thwarts various threats to the world, though Smart's bumbling nature and demands to do things by-the-book invariably cause complications. However, Smart never fails to save the day. Looking on is the long-suffering head of CONTROL, "Chief." Agent 99 would eventually become the first woman on an American hit sitcom to keep her job after marriage and motherhood.

Mel Brooks and Buck Henry were commissioned to write a script about a bungling James Bond-like hero. Brooks described the premise for the show they created as, "I wanted to do a crazy, unreal comic-strip kind of thing about something besides a family. No one had ever done a show about an idiot before. I decided to be the first." So they proposed the show to ABC, where network officials called their show "un-American" and demanded a "lovable dog to give the show more heart" and scenes showing Maxwell Smart's mother. Brooks strongly objected to their latter suggestion: "They wanted to put a print housecoat on the show. Max was to come home to his mother and explain everything. I hate mothers on shows. Max has no mother. He never had one."
Get Smart won 7 Emmys and received another 14 nominations. Starring Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt and Bernie Kopell. Some familiar names guest starred.

Would You Believe They Made A Million Episodes? No? Okay, how about 138?
Season One (1965-1966)
1) Mr. Big
2: Diplomat's Daughter
3: School Days
4: Our Man in Toyland
5: Now You See Him, Now You Don't
6: Washington 4, Indians 3
8: The Day Smart Turned Chicken
9: Satan Place
10: Our Man in Leotards
11: Too Many Chiefs
12: My Nephew the Spy
13: Aboard the Orient Express
14: Weekend Vampire
15: Survival of the Fattest
16: Double Agent
17: Kisses for KAOS
18: The Dead Spy Scrawls
19: Back to the Old Drawing Board
20: All in the Mind
21: Dear Diary
22: Smart the Assassin
23: I'm Only Human
24: Stakeout on Blue Mist Mountain
25: The Amazing Harry Hoo
26: Hubert's Unfinished Symphony
27: Ship of Spies: Part 1
28: Ship of Spies: Part 2
29: Shipment to Beirut
30: The Last One in is a Rotten Spy

Season 2 (1966-1967)
1: Anatomy of a Lover
2: Strike While the Agent Is Hot
3: A Spy for a Spy
4: The Only Way to Die
5: Maxwell Smart, Alias Jimmy Ballantine
6: Casablanca
7: The Decoy
8: Hoo Done It
9: Rub-A-Dub-Dub... Three Spies in a Sub
10: The Greatest Spy on Earth
11: Island of the Darned
12: Bronzefinger
13: Perils in a Pet Shop
14: The Whole Tooth and…
15: Kiss of Death
16: It Takes One to Know One
17: Someone Down Here Hates Me
18: Cutback at CONTROL
19: The Mummy
20: The Girls from KAOS
21: The Man from YENTA
22: Smart Fit the Battle of Jericho
23: Where-What-How-Who Am I?
24: The Expendable Agent
25: How to Succeed in the Spy Business Without Really Trying
26: Appointment in Sahara
27: Pussycats Galore
28: A Man Called Smart: Part 1
29: A Man Called Smart: Part 2
30: A Man Called Smart: Part 3

Season 3 (1967-1968)
Playlist (Some episodes are out of order)
1: The Spy Who Met Himself
2: Viva Smart
3: Witness for the Persecution
4: The Spirit Is Willing
5: Maxwell Smart, Private Eye
6: Supersonic Boom
7: One of Our Olives Is Missing
8: When Good Fellows Get Together
9: Dr. Yes
10: That Old Gang of Mine
11: The Mild Ones
12: Classification: Dead
13: The Mysterious Dr. T
14: The King Lives? (If you watch ONE video in this whole post, make it the sword fight from this episode. Trust me.)
15: The Groovy Guru
16: The Little Black Book: Part 1
17: The Little Black Book: Part 2
18: Don't Look Back
19: 99 Loses CONTROL
20: The Wax Max
21: Operation Ridiculous
22: Spy, Spy, Birdie
23: Run, Robot, Run
24: The Hot Line
25: Die, Spy
26: The Reluctant Redhead

Season 4 (1968-1969)
Playlist (Incomplete: Missing episodes 22-26, which are linked individually below.)
1: The Impossible Mission
2: Snoopy Smart vs. the Red Baron
3: Closely Watched Planes
4: The Secret of Sam Vittorio
5: Diamonds Are a Spy's Best Friend
6: The Worst Best Man
7: A Tale of Two Tails
8: The Return of the Ancient Mariner
9: With Love and Twitches
10: The Laser Blazer
11: The Farkas Fracas
12: Temporarily Out of CONTROL
13: Schwartz's Island
14: One Nation Invisible
15: Hurray for Hollywood
16: The Day They Raided the Knights
17: Tequila Mockingbird
18: I Shot 86 Today
19: Absorb the Greek
20: To Sire, with Love: Part 1
21: To Sire, with Love: Part 2
22: Shock It to Me
23: Leadside
24: Greer Window
25: The Not-So-Great Escape: Part 1
26: The Not-So-Great Escape: Part 2

Season 5 (1969-1970)
1: Pheasant Under Glass
2: Ironhand
3: Valerie of the Dolls
4: Widow Often Annie
5: The Treasure of C. Errol Madre
6: Smart Fell on Alabama
7: And Baby Makes Four: Part 1
8: And Baby Makes Four: Part 2
9: Physician Impossible
10: Apes of Rath
11: Age Before Duty
12: Is This Trip Necessary?
13: Ice Station Siegfried
14: Moonlighting Becomes You
15: House of Max: Part 1
16: House of Max: Part 2
17: Rebecca of Funny-Folk Farm
18: The Mess of Adrian Listenger
19: Witness for the Execution
20: How Green Was My Valet
21: And Only Two Ninety-Nine
22: Smartacus
23: What's It All About, Algie?
24: Hello, Columbus - Goodbye, America
25: Do I Hear a Vaults?
26: I Am Curiously Yellow

....And Loving It!
* Bloopers and Outtakes
* The opening and closing themes

Other Sites:
* TV Tropes
* Wiki
* Wikipedia
* Would You Believe.com. (Quite comprehensive.)

Would You Believe, They Did Five Sequel Films? No? What About Three Films? Can't Believe That Either, Huh? Okay, Just The Two Films.
* The Nude Bomb (1980) Sorry about that Chief: it's not online, but here the second corniest trailer you've ever seen!
TV Tropes on the movie: "Executive Meddling hurt it; the producers wanted a titillating plot involving a bomb that dissolved clothing, allowing PG-appropriate nudity. The writers were so angered at the imposition that they were banned from visiting the set. Did not feature Feldon, who reportedly was not exactly crushed by the omission…"
* Get Smart, Again! (1989)

It's a shame they didn't use the power to create Revivals for niceness instead of evil.
The TV Show
Fox tried reviving the series in 1995 as Get Smart, Again!, even though that title had already been used for the aforementioned movie. The show lasted only 7 episodes, and starred Andy Dick as the son of Agents 86 and 99.
* Episode 1, Parts 1, 2
* Episode 2, Parts 1, 2
* Episode 3, Parts 1, 2
* Episode 4, Parts 1, 2
* Episode 5, Parts 1, 2
* Episode 6, Parts 1, 2
* Episode 7, Parts 1, 2

The Movie
The 2008 Get Smart movie starring Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway can be seen for $1.99 on YouTube (Scored 51% on Rotten Tomatoes and received some pretty negative reviews, including: ""Get Smart" is about as funny as a gently smiling mime. It couldn't buy a laugh in a nitrous oxide factory with a fistful of clown noses…. The first mistake was to make it at all. The second mistake was to set the movie in 2008.")

Ah, The Old Shoe-Phone Trick!
Instructables: How to Make a Wearable Shoe-Phone:
"Any sane geek would think that something as cool as Maxwell Smart's shoe-phone would be everywhere. You'd think there'd be a company or two selling them online, and the internet would be filled with hobbyists boasting about how proud they are of them. But it's only ever been done once. That's right, there has only ever been one wearable working shoe-phone made. And it was made by a guy named Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen in Adelaide (in the world's sexiest country), who hasn't yet fully documented how he did it here. He also made a shoe bluetooth-headset, and thankfully he provided plenty of details.
Would You Believe… Max Is Also Penny's Uncle?
Don Adams went on to play another bumbling secret agent in the '80's: Inspector Gadget. The cartoon was syndicated, and clocked 86 episodes in two seasons. A live-action Inspector Gadget movie was released in 1999, starring Matthew Broderick in the title role. So good, he missed being nominated for an Oscar by that much.

Inspector Gadget Episodes
(About half of them are on YouTube, uploaded by different users)
* Pilot Episode: Winter Olympics. Gadget has a mustache in the opening sequence, and is voiced not by Don Adams but Gary Owens. Mona Marshall voices Penny here, but was replaced by Cree Summer for the rest of the series.Per IMDB, "DIC received a letter from MGM that Gadget closely resembled the animated incarnation of MGM's Inspector Clouseau, and infringed on intellectual property. Ergo, DIC decided to remove Gadget's mustache." Oops.

Season One
* Gadgets in Winterland
* Monster Lake
* Down on the Farm
* Gadget at the Circus
* Amazon
* Health Spa
* The Boat
* Haunted Castle
* Race to the Finish
* A Star is Lost
* All that Glitters
* Movie Set
* The Ruby
* Volcano Island
* Infiltration
* MAD Trap
* The Pharoah
* Greenfinger
* Don't Hold Your Breath
* King Wrong
* No Flies on Us
* Prince of the Gypsies
* The Emerald Duck
* Funny Money
* Unhenged
* Weather in Tibet
* Tree Guesses
* Birds of a Feather
* So it is Written
* Fang the Wonderdog
* School for Pickpockets

Season Two
* Gadget's Gadgets
* Gadget in Minimadness
* Gadget Meets The Grapple
* Bed Dreams are Made of This
* N.S.F. Gadget
* Tyrannosaurus Gadget
* Gadget's Roma
* Gadget's Clean Sweep
* Gadget Meets the Clan
* Gadget and the Old Lace
* Gadget and the Red Rose
posted by zarq (52 comments total) 137 users marked this as a favorite
After this post, I may never get the theme songs for either Inspector Gadget or Get Smart out of my head.
posted by zarq at 3:47 PM on December 16, 2013 [13 favorites]

zarq, you spoil us. I loved this show when I was a kid. I'm going to binge on old episodes now.

Back in the day when we all had to communicate with was morse code and pigeons and pagers, my pager code -- y'all remember that? Page someone with a strange number and your code so they know it's you -- my code was 99. Because she was awesome.
posted by cmyk at 3:53 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

... aaaaaand I only just noticed, now that the post has been made... that Inspector Gadget ran for 86 episodes and he was voiced by Agent 86. :)
posted by zarq at 3:53 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

The Maxwell Smart patter in the writeup is a perfect touch. Epic post.
posted by localroger at 3:55 PM on December 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


posted by brundlefly at 3:55 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

localroger, I had SO much fun making this post. Thanks! :)
posted by zarq at 3:58 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Man, The Get Smart Remake, which should've been an easy-ass, no brainer excuse to make a goofy spy movie was nearly as bad as the Uma Thurman version of The Avengers ( slightly better because while it was bad, Get Smart wasn't ...unwatchable.)

I've often noticed how much Get Smart's attitude falls into shows I like, the scientist parts of Better Off Ted could've come straight from the original episodes "We're using science for evil, you promised we wouldn't do that so much!"
posted by The Whelk at 4:00 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

This is the most fantastic fantastic post.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:01 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Elementary school era me loved this show for the opening and closing credit sequences, with the succession of doors.
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:02 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Would you believe" I haven't heard that line in ... I don't know how long, but I can still hear the voice and the cadence when reading it here. Thanks for the post!
posted by filthy light thief at 4:02 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tiny nitpick: are you sure the 1995 reboot was called "Get Smart Again"? I thought it was just "Get Smart."
posted by roll truck roll at 4:02 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Get Smart Again was a reunion movie.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:04 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I will be favoriting this... and loving it.
posted by mhoye at 4:04 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

roll truck roll: " Tiny nitpick: are you sure the 1995 reboot was called "Get Smart Again"? I thought it was just "Get Smart.""

Missed it by THAT much!

You're absolutely right. Sorry about that, folks! (Nice catch, roll truck roll!)
posted by zarq at 4:05 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was Maxwell Smart in our high school play.

It's all been downhill from there.
posted by designbot at 4:05 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Ship of Spies 2-parter, in addition to being very funny for children and adults alike, is genuinely chilling and suspenseful.

My father's name was Hymie!
posted by infinitewindow at 4:10 PM on December 16, 2013

Get Smart was also one of the parents ( grand parents?) of Archer, and I always think about Maxwell Smart when I think about Griphus' take on Sterling Archer, a character with lots of intelligence but no wisdom.
posted by The Whelk at 4:11 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

You win December, zarq.
posted by maryr at 4:16 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much for this post! I loved Maxwell Smart enough that for my first car, I bought a used Sunbeam convertible just like Agent 86's. Well, it was an Alpine, not the Tiger, but it was the same color. Missed it by THAT much!
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 4:18 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Not the "Craw!" The "CRAW!!!"

Sorry. That line has been stuck in my head since early youth.
posted by njohnson23 at 4:20 PM on December 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

I was driving down the 5 in LA a few years ago and looked over to see a spiffy new Jaguar coupe being driven by Don Adams. He pulled ahead and I could see that his license plate read... "Agent 86". So glad he enjoyed his fame.
posted by twsf at 4:24 PM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]

Zarq-you are on FIRE this month...
posted by wittgenstein at 4:26 PM on December 16, 2013

The Get Smart stuff is great, but it's actually The Inspector Gadget theme that really takes me back--to the days when rap was young, when I could "walk through the desert and still be chill." MCs on the beat, get funky!
posted by layceepee at 5:14 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Great post, zarq! Well done. Beyond that, the only thing I have to add is that Don Adams also was the voice of the scheming cartoon penguin Tennessee Tuxedo.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:23 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

More Don Adams/Get Smart ephemera: Early '90s White Castle commercials
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:34 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


posted by brundlefly

Kneels down to listen to brudlefly's dying words: "Get your knee off my chest".
posted by 445supermag at 5:54 PM on December 16, 2013 [11 favorites]

Would you believe that I favorited this post twice? No? Okay, how about once?
posted by shoesfullofdust at 5:59 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mel Brooks AND Buck Henry? I ought to be able to favorite it twice! Thanks, zarq! Great post!
posted by shoesfullofdust at 6:06 PM on December 16, 2013

I loved this show when I was little and even went to see the Nude Bomb when it opened and only now just realized that Siegfried was also Doc from The Love Boat.
posted by cazoo at 6:50 PM on December 16, 2013

posted by littlesq at 6:54 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Inspector Gadget victory lap was really going beyond the call of duty.

But did you know that the cartoon got a sequel series, called Gadget and the Gadgetinis?
posted by JHarris at 6:57 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Tequila Mockingbird: great title? Or greatest title? You decide!
posted by SPrintF at 7:30 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I worked for about a year assisting my boss in an expert witness case, with all the associated communication walls and various legal shenanigans. Everything associated with the project became "...of Silence". Filing Cabinet of Silence. Server directory of Silence. Conference call bill of Silence. It got to the point that if he wanted to talk about the project he would walk past my office and whisper cones or email me a photo like this.

"Oh, the old file-emissions-data-by-incorrect-YEAR trick, eh?"
posted by hearthpig at 4:29 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

ZARQ! Zis is METAFILTER! Ve don't "linkdump" here.

so gledd you didn't know zat
posted by flabdablet at 4:49 AM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

WELP enjoy that iPad
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:51 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd love to make some clever Get Smart referencing comment, but I am too much in awe. Amazing post.
posted by Gelatin at 5:14 AM on December 17, 2013

The live action Gadget movie committed the cardinal sin of showing Dr. Claw's face. This is unforgivable. For the character to really work, he must remain faceless.

And I don't care what you have to say about the action figure or the iPad game... just because they agree with each other doesn't mean that they can override what we saw (or in this case didn't see) in the series itself.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:03 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gadget and the Gadgetinis probably could use a post of its own sometime. It was a direct sequel to the show. Gadget (after Don Adams death, now voiced by that second-coming-of-Mel-Blanc, Maurice LaMarche) has changed careers and is now a Lieutenant in WOMP, a world-wide crime fighting organization, but he still faces MAD and Doctor Claw in most episodes. Penny is older but is still a computer genius, and now uses a laptop to help her uncle. She's also built him two robot helpers, the "Gadgetinis" in the title, who take over from Brain, who unfortunately had a nervous episode from helping Gadget one too many times. Brain's still shown in the illustrated French end credits, where Penny comes to visit him, and he cameos in one episode, as does Chief Quimby.

The live action Gadget movie committed the cardinal sin of showing Dr. Claw's face. This is unforgivable.

It's like a rule that movie adaptions of treasured childhood properties have to get important aspects willfully wrong in some way. It's Hollywood showing how bloody-minded superior it thinks it is.
posted by JHarris at 6:12 AM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't think it matters if zarq wins (although this post is FULL OF WIN). What matters is that this is the BEST POST EVER! If all posts were this amazing, we'd never get anything productive done.
posted by mightshould at 6:17 AM on December 17, 2013

Would you believe that Agent 86 went undercover in the mid 80's as the CEO of a billion dollar department store chain?would you believe the CFO?would you believe as a regional manager?would you believe the manager of a crappy grocery store? Check It Out
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:25 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

JHarris: "The Inspector Gadget victory lap was really going beyond the call of duty.

Heh. Actually, the Inspector Gadget part was going to be a different post. I started working on that a month or so ago. But once this post started coming together I realized the IG content had to be folded into this one. It just fits.

But did you know that the cartoon got a sequel series, called Gadget and the Gadgetinis?"

Holy COW, NO!!!? I had no idea! Cool!

The wikipedia page you linked to shows 52 episodes produced. It looks like this channel has most of them. Thanks for pointing out that the show exists -- gonna be a lot of fun watching them. Although, I gotta say right off the bat I hate the theme song.
posted by zarq at 6:45 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I want to go home RIGHT NOW and binge-watch Get Smart. I loved that show as a kid and would watch it with my dad on Nick at Nite. I also watched Inspector Gadget but I was way more into Smart.

Oh, Max.
posted by radioamy at 11:21 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm the hundredth user to favorite this thread. "Sorry 99."

This is really awesome, thanks for all of this.
posted by Sunburnt at 1:13 PM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

Huh. More looking into it reveals there were two other spinoff series, Gadget Boy and Inspector Gadget's Field Trip. Don Adams reprises the role except in the second season of Gadget Boy.

Just watched an episode of Gadgetinis. It's better than I expected, but the animation quality is notably not up to that of the original show.
posted by JHarris at 2:01 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gadget was a mouse.
posted by maryr at 3:49 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

From above Wiki: "Gadget as she appears at the Disney theme parks.": TERRIFYING.
posted by maryr at 3:51 PM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Inspector Gadget's first episode predates Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers by six years, he's got prior art.

(Yes, he's patented. He's a robot, duh.)
posted by JHarris at 5:17 PM on December 18, 2013

Inspector Gadget is a guy. Gadget is a mouse. That's all I'm trying to say.
posted by maryr at 6:48 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

...Please don't ask who Dr. Claw was going to get next time, because then in gets confusing.
posted by maryr at 6:49 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Except he's Lieutenant Gadget in Gadgetinis, and "Gadget Boy" in that show, both cases where the specific title no longer applies so for clarity it is acceptable to go with his formal name. We don't know his first. (The mouse Gadget's last name, BTW, is Hackwrench.)

BTW, if you're wondering how much of (Lieutenant by that point) Gadget is human and how much is robot, there's an episode of Gadget and the Gadgetinis where his gadgets are malfunctioning much worse even than usual, and it's revealed that his brain must be periodically rebooted, using a special CD, for his gadgets to calm down. Dr. Claw's minions steal the disk to build themselves their own Gadget -- who's a giant killer robot, of course. We even get to see Gadget's maintenance manual, which has a silhouette of his head on the cover. The CD is kept in a safe at WOMP Headquarters.

This raises all kinds of new questions. (Insp./Lt.) Gadget now seems a lot less human. But everyone still treats him like one, and Penny still seems to have a biological relation to him. Was he once completely a human being? Did he have an accident that required medical, mechanical intervention to save his life? (The Disney film I easily discard from all consideration.) Apparently he was once a "Gadget Boy," why didn't he stay that size forever, like Dr. Slump's Arale Norimaki? Did someone build him an adult body? Is Penny an orphan, adopted by Gadget? Penny built the Gadgetinis, did she have a hand in her uncle's construction? But no, it seems like she'd be too young, and her building robots herself, as opposed to just computers, seems like a skill she picked up for the newer show.

Anyway, I think that's enough overthinking those particular biomechanical beans, for now.
posted by JHarris at 7:35 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Holy crap! Cree Summer from A Different World was on Inspector Gadget?!?

I gotta lie down....
posted by Chrysostom at 12:18 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

After this post, I may never get the theme songs for either Inspector Gadget or Get Smart out of my head.

It is quite catchy
posted by timsteil at 11:58 AM on December 23, 2013

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