All the toys, toys, toys

99 explains to Max how Kaos is sending secret messages through talking Polly Dolly dolls.

Episode Four
Our Man in Toyland (original air date: 10-9-65)
Cast: Conrad Bunny – John Hoyt, Hodgkins – Bryan O’Byrne, Leopold – Buck Kartalian, Gorcheck – Lou Nova, Frieda – Helen Kleeb, Fang – Red, Larabee – Robert Karvelas, Aunt Rose – Rose Michtom
Director: Don Richardson
Writers: Stan Burns and Mike Marmer
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Control fills Bowers Department Store to the brim with agents to uncover how Kaos is sending secret information. This preferably needs to happen before Kaos makes its next transmission, which the Chief fears is on Project Skyblast, the army’s new anti missile defense system.

Bunny, Gorcheck and Frieda plot on how to properly "liquidate" 86 and 99.

My Thoughts: Entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes is credited with saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” That proverb didn’t come into play for Kaos in this episode.

This episode’s head villain is Bowers Department Store boss Conrad Bunny, the first in a long line of stereotypical TV Germans to rear their heads as Kaos agents. Referred to as Herr Bunny (see what they did there?), he mainly skulks around the store with Gorcheck on his side and a stuffed bunny in his arms. His concern isn’t that his employees are providing customer service -their first job is to rid the store of Control agents.

While minions Gorcheck and Frieda fear his wrath, Bunny isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. Villains tend to have a tipping point – and Bunny’s is his lost monocle.

The most noteworthy part of the episode is Max and 99’s epic toy battle. Apparently Bowers offers a wide array of toy fire arms from ball shooting bazookas to a flying toy bomb that belches out a stash of trinkets when it explodes.

The battle royale does have a bit of a cartoony flair to it — like when the ball from the toy bazooka winds up in Frieda’s mouth. At the end of the fight, the charred and singed Herr Bunny bears more of resemblance to Wile E. Coyote.

In the midst of defending themselves with the toys, 86 and 99 seem to be having fun with it – or are Adams and Feldon? After Max sprays Bunny with a water pistol, they both run off hiding the smirks forming on their faces.
Max’s commentary at the end the fire fight is fitting:

99: Max, you were wonderful!
Max: No 99, the real credit belongs to these toys. After all, we had at our disposal every fiendish and destructive play thing ever devised for the pleasure of little children. These poor devils, all they had were real guns and bullets.

While the toy war may get the most attention, there are a number of other funny moments in the episode. My personal favorite is in the episode’s tag. Max goes to investigate a package that was delivered at 121 Linden St. only to open the door and fall into an alley way.

We get an apt portrayal of Max’s cheapness with his obsession over few cents the Chief owes him from a phone call.

99, of course, solves the whole mission by discovering that Kaos is using talking Polly Dolly Dolls to transmit their messages.

In unrelated matters, I’d like to know where I can get one of those Pocket Watch Transmitters…

Watch for: 121 Linden St. – it’s a front, Max trying to get Fang to go into the vent and Herr Bunny’s search for his monocle.

Sorry, 99. No kissing in the toy department.

Footnotes:
• Uncredited, Robert Karvelas, a.k.a. Larabee in the later seasons, shows up. You can see him at the end of the episode when he tags along with the Chief to apprehend Bunny, Gorcheck and Frieda.
• John Hoyt played  Principal Warneke in Blackboard Jungle. Children of the 80s will remember him as Grandpa in Gimme a Break! He had an uncredited role as the narrator in the third season Get Smart episode “Don’t Look Back.”
• Bryan O’Byrne appeared in numerous TV series and movies including Spaceballs, Zapped! and Gus (I had to throw that one in). In addition to several shots at Hodgkins, he played Jason Van Hooten in the fifth season Get Smart episode “Rebecca of Funny-Folk Farm.”
• Buck Kartalian appeared in Planet of the Apes, Cool Hand Luke and numerous TV shows.
• Lou Nova may have been better known for his boxing career. In 1939 he defeated Max Baer in the first televised prize fight.
• Helen Kleeb is best known for her role as Mamie Baldwin in The Waltons. She also appeared in the movie Fitzwillly which starred Barbara Feldon.

• Uncredited, Rose Michtom, better known as GS Executive Producer Leonard Stern’s Aunt Rose, plays a shopper in the first department store scene. Aunt Rose is Get Smart’s all-purpose extra and spotting her is as much of a game as spotting Robert Karvelas. Aunt Rose’s parents Morris and Rose Michtom invented the Teddy Bear and then founded the Ideal Toy Company to sell the popular bears.

Glick meter:  I’m again getting shades of Don Adams’ old stand up routines, specifically when he delivers his speech on the toys.

Oh Max meter: At a critical moment, 99 moves for a kiss, but Max urges complete silence. He then proceeds to make a racket by hitting a piano.

Control Agents: Hodgkins, Fang, Agent 12 (Santa), Agent 53 (hidden in mirror), Agent 25, (disguised as a mannequin), server in restaurant, agent hidden in food cart, Larabee

Kaos Agents: Conrad Bunny, Leopold, Gorcheck, Frieda, Bowers delivery truck driver

Gadgets: Cigarette Lighter Phone, Car Phone Cigarette Lighter, Pen Listening Device, Polly Dolly and the Pocket Watch Transmitter, which only shows westerns.

Episode Locations: Bowers Department Store, unnamed fancy restaurant where the Chief is dining

Max checks in with Agent 12 who is disguised as a department store Santa.

School Days: Lessons on security

99 utters a futile scream for help in “School Days”

Episode Three
School Days (original air date: 10-2-65)
Cast: Hillary Gainesborough – Ben Wright, Grillak – Leo Gordon, Dimitri – Phil Roth, Zukor – Henry Brandon, Dean Watson – Byron Morrow, Mrs. Green – Kitty Kelly, Fang – Red, uncredited – Robert Karvelas
Director: Paul Bogart
Writers: Stan Burns and Mike Marmer
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Max, 99 and Fang infiltrate Control’s spy school to flush out a Kaos agent. Max uses the alias of new recruit Alexander Loomis while 99 works undercover as an instructor. Even Fang, aka Morris in this episode, shows up for a refresher course. In the process, Max almost gets killed and nearly flunks his weapons class.

Max and 99 try to sneak a kiss before embarking on a dangerous part of the mission.

My Thoughts: Some people tend to enjoy their school years — they’re more than happy to peruse their high school yearbooks and are probably on their class reunion planning committee.

Others have nightmares about their Alma mater — like The Old I Forgot My Locker Combination Nightmare or The Old I Have to Re-take This Class or I Can’t Go On With Life Nightmare.

Max is probably living the nightmare in this episode. He breaks his Wrist Watch Strangling wire, lands one of Control’s razor sharp hats in the neighbor lady’s yard and can’t put together an automatic weapon designed for easy assembly.

He he also fails at his attempts to expose which new Control recruit is the impostor. Spy students Grillak, Dimitri and Zukor all come off as completely shady creepers. This episode, by the way, is a character actor carnival – and a few of these guys will show up in other roles later in the series.

Outside of class Max gets caught digging through the school’s files, has knives chucked at him and is shot at. To cap it off, he and 99 find themselves tied to a bunch of dynamite with only Fang as their savior.

It’s worth noting that the spy training school is in a pretty nice looking neighborhood and tries to disguise itself as something of an old person’s rest home. It’s also worth wondering if they had to apply for a variance to be located in a residential neighborhood.

Control makes a concerted effort to keep the school’s activities secure from Kaos — hence 86 an 99’s assignment. However, the school’s neighbors know what’s up.

Max’s notion that the location is a great front comes in question when he gives Mrs. Green the password and she directs him to the house next door.

The episode’s final conversation sums up Control’s security habits:

Max (to 99): There’s nothing more important than security. Nothing. Without security, none of us would be safe.
Man: Is this Mrs. Green’s house?
Max: No, this is the spy school. Mrs. Green’s house is over there.

Watch for: Mrs. Green telling the spies in training they don’t get their hat back and Fang “blowing” out the candle.

Footnotes:

Fang debates whether or not he should blow out the candle.


• Ed Platt does not appear in this episode

• Uncredited, Robert Karvelas, a.k.a. Larabee in the later seasons, appears as one of the pool-side disguised agents

• English actor Ben Wright provided the voice of Sherlock Holmes in the American radio show of the same name. He was also known for portraying Herr Zeller in The Sound of Music and made the rounds of various TV shows.
• Character actor Leo Gordon was known for playing brutes, but was also a screenwriter and novelist. He had roles in many TV shows and movies, including McLintock! where John Wayne sends him down the mudslide and utters “Somebody oughta belt you but I won’t! I won’t! The hell I won’t.” (Would you believe I’m also a John Wayne fan?) Oh, and if you’d like to play Six Degrees of Get Smart, the score to that move was composed by Frank De Vol aka Professor Carleton.
• Character actor Phil Roth also appeared in the third season episode “Maxwell Smart, Private Eye” as the Peter Lorre type character, Mr. Peter. In addition to TV work, his movie credits include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Catch-22.
• German-American actor Henry Brandon was known for playing ethnic roles ranging from Arab and Native American characters to Asians, including Dr. Fu Manchu in Drums of Fu Manchu. He also appears in the fifth season episode “Pheasant Under Glass” as Belasco.
• Byron Morrow typically played authority figures — including in two Star Trek episodes. He played Admiral Komak in “Amok Time” (that would be the episode where Spock returns to Vulcan to engage in a mating ritual) and Admiral Westervliet in “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.” He also appeared in two third season GS episodes as Dr. Harris in “When Good Fellows Get Together” and as Agent 37 in “The Spirit is Willing.” (Would you believe I’m a Star Trek fan?)
• Kitty Kelly had been a member of the Ziegfeld Follies and appeared in numerous films through the 1930s and 1940s.

Glick meter: After a hiatus in episode two, Mr. Smart’s nasal tones have returned. Max’s suspect round up at the end of the episode is reminiscent of Don Adams’ “Defense Attorney” routine.

Oh Max meter: 
We get a lot of slinky body language and an “Oh Max” for our troubles. They just miss kissing twice: Once at the beginning of the episode – only to be interrupted by Fang and as Max is trying to expose the Kaos agent and put together the machine pistol -until Gainesborough starts shooting at them.

Control Agents: Milk man; Man with briefcase; Watson, dean of the training school; and Grillak, Dimitri and Zukor — if they graduated.

Kaos Agents: Hillary Gainesborough

Gadgets: Car Phone, Watch Communicator, Multi-Part Automatic Machine Pistol (it’s designed for rapid assembly – unless you’re Maxwell Smart), Wristwatch Strangling Wire, Razor Edged Hats, Plastic Impact Bomb jacket with carbon paper lining, High Powered Binoculars,

Episode Locations: Control’s training school

Max and 99 join spy students Zukor, Dimitri and Grillak for their special weapons class.

Just don’t call him the ‘Craw’

99 and Max share looks of concern while trying to keep Princess Ingrid from being kidnapped.

Episode Two
Diplomat’s Daughter (original air date: 9-25-65)
Cast: The Claw – Leonard Strong, Princess Ingrid Swenson – Inger Stratton, Carleton – Frank De Vol, Toto – Bill Saito, Bobo – Lee Kolima
Director: Paul Bogart
Writers: Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: After eight random blondes are abducted in the same area of the District of Columbia by the Claw and the “Oriental Arm of Kaos,” Control decides to beef up security for visiting Princess Ingrid of Scandinavia. Max, having five years earlier saved the life of the princess’s father, is assigned to the case. He soon finds out that the freckle-faced teenager he remembers is now a partying blonde bombshell.

Bobo and the Claw mull how to torture Maxwell Smart.

My Thoughts: The Claw, so named for his large magnetic appendage, strikes me as an overburdened middle manager that really doesn’t want to be bothered with the minor details that it takes to execute his assignment. As much as he’d like to score a victory with Kaos by getting Maxwell Smart out of the way, his patience wears thin in the process.
The Claw admits to detesting violence and instructs his henchman, who suggests torture by forcing air bubbles into the bloodstream, to “…do your fiendish work, but don’t tell me about it.” However, he’s not above attempting to place bamboo shoots under Max’s fingers or using a KAOS branding iron as a torture tool.
The Claw also apologizes for kidnapping the wrong girls.
Claw: “Unfortunately Mr. Smart, all Americans look alike to us. We may be diabolical, but we’re not perfect,” he admits.
Also amusing in this episode is 99’s jealousy. This is a trait that will appear in other first season episodes and this early in the series tends to come off as a bit cartoonish. Still, it has its moments — like in one scene where Max asks 99 for advice on how to handle the princess. 99’s response is nothing but snark.
Max: Well, 99, you’re a woman, aren’t you? What can we do to stop her?
99: How about a tranquilizer?
99 also goes as far as to forge Max’s report at the end of the mission and makes arrangements so that he won’t be escorting the princess back to Scandinavia. Those honors were given to Fang.
As for Max, he displays the usual flubs -like being oblivious to a kidnapping that occurs just feet from him. He also manages to destroy his smoke pellet before even heading out on assignment.
Nevertheless, Smart always works best under pressure. He puts an end to the Claw by chucking a container of silverware at his magnetic arm.
This episode also tends to make much of ’60s dancing. 99 appears to be having a great time at the club. Max, however, isn’t up on the pony, the frug or the watusi – and seems bothered by it all.
Max: The poor devils! What have they done to them?
Watch for: Max’s obsession with the photos of the missing blondes, the Claw’s George Washington painting, the Old Picture in the Key Hole Trick, the banter between Max and the Claw and when 99 gives the Chief dancing lessons.

Max raises an eyebrow (or two) at 99's mini gun.

Footnotes:
• Frank De Vol had a storied career as an orchestra leader, having written the scores for many movies. He also had a handful of roles in old TV shows.
• Leonard Strong specialized in Asian characters and became best known for the Claw and the title character in the Twilight Zone episode, “The Hitchhiker.” Strong appears two more times in Get Smart — he gets a second round as The Claw in “The Amazing Harry Hoo” and plays Lin Chan in “The Laser Blazer.”
• Bill Saito appeared in numerous TV shows from the 1960s through the 1990s.
• The play Get Smart by Christopher Sergel merges this episode with “Mr. Big.” That play, by the way, is still being used in high school theatres across the U.S.
Glick meter: A nice collection of catchphrases are used, but Don Adams backs off a bit from “The Voice.”
Oh Max meter: A first season 99 is a jealous 99.
Control Agents: Carleton of the lab. Also mentioned: Saltzman, Saxon and Schwartz who is described as a real go-getter, but is being held prisoner in Rangoon.
Kaos Agents: The Claw (not the Craw), Toto and Bobo.
Gadgets: Shoe Phone, 27F Cigarette lighter – it’s supposed to fire a .22 caliber bullet. Key word: supposed. Wrist communicator T37, 99’s mini gun — fires a poison pin that kills instantly. Max also gets new shoes that feature steel enforced toes for kicking and compartments that contain three pellets: a suicide pellet, a concussion pellet and a smoke pellet.
Episode Locations: Washington, D.C. — The Hotel Cramley and Shanghai à Gogo

Max nails a Kaos agent while trying to light Princess Ingrid's cigarette.

Mr. Big: The old black and white pilot trick

Agent 86 and the Chief attempt to discuss classified information under the Cone of Silence in “Mr. Big.”

Episode One
Mr. Big (original air date: 9-18-65)
Cast: Mr. Big – Michael Dunn (special guest star), Dante – Vito Scotti, Zelinka – Janine Gray, Garth – Kelton Garwood, Mother – Karen Norris, Fang – Red
Director: Howard Morris
Writers: Mel Brooks and Buck Henry
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Meet counter-espionage organization Control and its top agent Maxwell Smart –who has been specially trained never to disclose the fact that he’s a spy –except maybe when his shoe phone rings in symphony hall. Agent 86 must: find Agent 99, rescue Professor Dante and get his mitts on Dante’s Inthermo before Mr. Big uses it to blow up the Statue of Liberty.

Max and 99 try to steal a kiss after nearly being vaporized by the inthermo.

My Thoughts: I guess if I have to blame something for my Get Smart addiction, it would be the black and white pilot. I never get tired of this episode. Over on www.ilovegetsmart.com I have it listed as my number four favorite episode. In comparison to how the series progressed, Max, 99 and the Chief are a bit “raw,” yet this really is a tight little episode.

I first saw this episode in January of 1991 when Nick at Nite began airing Get Smart. Unlike the rest of my Chicagoland pals who watched the show in reruns during the ’80s on Channel 32, I had never seen it before. I lived in the Mid-Atlantic prior to the ’90s and there was no Get Smart to be found on Baltimore TV.

Being an ’80s kid, there was one thing that made me raise an eyebrow the first time I saw the pilot — the voice. I wondered, why does this guy sound like Inspector Gadget? He’s even got an inflatable coat, a dog and a brainy female sidekick like Inspector Gadget did! My 12 year old mind was impressed.

The scene in this episode I love the most is Max and 99’s near kiss. After Fang saves Max from being vaporized, 99 takes off her hat and shakes out her hair. This prompts Max to utter, “Why you’re a girl!” The two then go for a kiss, which Fang interrupts.

Logically the whole concept of this scene is absurd -especially for the fact that Mr. Smart clearly needed a stronger pair of Bino-Specs with regard to 99. Comically it takes the opportunity to mock spy movie heroes that make out with Bond girls they’ve just met.

Watch for: Mr.Big’s little cigarettes, 99’s bad driving, the humorous fight scene on the garbage scow and Max discovering that 99 is indeed a girl

Max clocks in before his assignment.

Footnotes:
• This is the only black and white episode of the series.
• The opening is slightly different. Max drives a Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet and tosses a hat into the back seat. This is the only time this car is used. In the rest of the episode 99 attempts to drive a limo and Max attempts to close the vehicle’s door.
• During filming of the pilot Don Adams learned that his wife Dorothy gave birth to their daughter Stacey Noel.
• Michael Dunn had quite a bit of experience playing the archenemy of secret agents – he had a reoccurring role as evil Miguelito Loveless on The Wild Wild West.
• “Zelinka” is an in-joke – Executive Producer Leonard Stern’s co-writer on The Honeymooners was Sydney Zelinka.
• Howard Morris worked with Mel Brooks on Your Show of Shows and he played Ernest T. Bass on the Andy Griffith Show.
• Dante’s Inthermo is a reference to Dante’s Inferno.
• Vito Scotti was probably in every old TV show known to man.
• Karen Norris had a role in the movie Fitzwilly which starred Barbara Feldon.

Glick meter: 100%

Oh Max meter: Probably the only episode 99 refers to Agent 86 as Maxwell. They haven’t quite hit their stride.

Control Agents: Hodgkins, Agent 34 (in locker), Fang. Also mentioned: Agent 57 who is in Hong Kong

Kaos Agents: Mr. Big, Zelinka, Garth, un-named Kaos agent at the airport and random Kaos Frogmen

Gadgets: Cone of Silence, Shoe Phone, Mirrored Cuff Links, Bino-Specs, Locker Key, a Beretta and the Inflato-Coat

Episode Locations: Washington, D.C., New York City, Cravehaven Laboratory, South Street Novelty

Agents 86 and 99 report that they've wrapped up their mission - only to get a wrong number.