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.
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.
• 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