When seeing is believing

The old gun on the wire trick.

Episode Five
Now You See Him – Now You Don’t (original air date: 10-16-65)
Cast: Ehrlich – Joseph Ruskin, Dr. Carl Haskell – Gregory Morton, Kaos Agent 1 – Val Avery, Kaos Agent 2 – John Sebastian, Sophie – Donna Walsh
Director: Paul Bogart
Writers: Arne Sultan and Marvin Worth
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Kaos allegedly abducts Invisibility Ray inventor Dr. Carl Haskell and tries to convince Max that the device is real -and the U.S. government should pay $10 million for it. Max is almost duped into believing he’s been made invisible – until 99 shows up and hints otherwise.

Max and 99 succumb to the effects of the Sleeping-Gas Chair.

My Thoughts: This episode initially comes off as absurd. It’s usually one I skip. When this one’s number came up, my thought was “Do I have to?” Maybe I just don’t like Max being scammed by Kaos. After all, the poor guy can make a fool out of himself easy enough on his own. This won’t be the last time Max falls for a hoax — just wait until we get to “The Day Smart Turned Chicken.”

There are a quite a few “firsts” in this episode. This is the first time we get to see the inside Max’s apartment, the first time we get to see him in his “86” embellished bathrobe and the first time the Chief pinches the bridge of his nose in frustration.

Chief: Max, do you have something for a headache?
Max: You know Chief, you ought to go to the doctor. You’ve been getting these headaches quite often lately.
Chief: Only on occasions, Max.
Max: You’ve had one every time I’ve been with you.
Chief: Those are the occasions.

Through the use of wires, joy sticks and a speaker system, Kaos dupes Max into thinking he’s dealing with a real invisibility ray and invisible people. It’s a bit hokey, but this is par for the course with first season GS. At least our friendly neighborhood Kaos agents take the time to explain the hoax -and how the floating gun in the episode’s tag was supposed to have worked.

The scenes involving Max’s booby trapped apartment are the episode’s better moments. With the exception of the ever malfunctioning Invisible Wall (that was Control’s doing), Max created every hidden defense mechanism in the apartment.

The devices work well during their trial run for the Chief. However, not all of them operate as needed when Max is trying to dispose of Ehrlich. *Sigh* I think Max still deserves props for his ingenuity.

The Sleeping-Gas Chair is the gag saved for last. In the process of demonstrating the device, Max manages to gas himself and 99. What happened afterward is up to the imagination.

Max: I think we can make it to the door. I think we can make it to the door.

Watch for: How Max’s signaling at the window fails: The Zippo won’t light so Haskell lights Max’s cigarette with his own, leaving Max to hope his smoke will suffice a a signal.

What net?

Footnotes:
• Character actor Joseph Ruskin appeared in Star Trek and all of its spin-offs. In Star Trek TOS he appears as Galt the Master Thrall in “The Gamsters of Triskelion.” Also appearing in that episode is Angelique Pettyjohn who will play Control Agent Charlie Watkins. And for all the spy fans, he appeared in several Mission Impossible episodes.
• Gregory Morton appeared in numerous TV series. He also appeared in the movie Bye Bye Birdie which starred Dick Gautier who would later play Hymie the Robot in Get Smart.
• Val Avery appeared in more than 100 movies and more than 300 TV series including The Magnificent Seven and several episodes of Mission Impossible.

Glick meter:  The. Whole. Episode.

Oh Max meter: We get a sympathetic “Oh Max” when 99 watches 86 slam his face into the Invisible Wall. And then there’s the Sleeping-Gas Chair…

Control Agents: No additional agents in this one

Kaos Agents: Ehrlich, Haskell, Sophie and the other two hoods

Gadgets: All found in Max’s apartment – Invisible Wall, Swinging Lamp, Rigged Desk Drawer, the “Man Trap” (net that drops from the ceiling), Rigged Fire Place (a fan sucks objects into the chimney) and the Sleeping-Gas Chair.

Episode Locations: Max’s apartment, Ehrlich’s hideout

Pay no attention to the Kaos agents behind the curtain.

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