Weekend Vampire: Sometimes espionage bites

The honeymooners. Max and 99 cross the threshold into Dr. Drago's house of horrors.

Episode 14
Weekend Vampire (original air date: 12-18-65)
Cast:  Dr. Drago – Martin Kosleck, Professor Sontag – Ford Rainey, Arrick – Roger Price, Hugo – William Baskin, Agent 52 – Don Ross, Control agent – Robert Karvelas
Director:  Bruce Bilson
Writers:  Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso
Producer:  Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Three Control agents have been murdered – all with suspicious puncture wounds on their neck. Could it be… a vampire?

Max and 99 are fine tuning their eavesdropping skills.

My Thoughts:

The episode opens with Max and Agent 52 involved in a game of chess while stationed in Professor Sontag’s laboratory. In the midst of the game, a shadow descends across the room and a strange tune fills the air. Agent 52 slumps over dead — his only visible sign of injury being two puncture wounds to the neck.

Two previous agents, 23 and 49, also succumbed to what they used to refer to as “neck rupture” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the meantime, the newspapers are having a field day reporting on a “Weekend Vampire” because the incidents only occur on the weekend. Is a weekend vampire anything like a weekend smoker?

Scratching for some sort of clue, Max and the Chief set out to decipher the tune heard before 52 is murdered. They are assisted in this with Dr. Arrick and the Detecto-Tune. This is probably the best bit in the whole episode – and it was included among the tracks on the Get Smart LP from 1965 (and later re-released on CD in 1996). Max and Arrick’s attempt to sound out the mystery tune devolves in to a rendition of Heart of My Heart – which gives us a nice sample of Ed Platt’s vocal talents. It also earns the Chief the lead in the annual Spy Frolics.

After trying to get the autopsy results from the lab, Max and 99 find Sontag having a phone conversation with Dr. Drago, Sontag’s predecessor. Drago, it’s revealed, was released from his employment at Control after being caught performing unauthorized experiments.

Max and 99 eventually follow Sontag to Drago’s house. For added creep factor, this all transpires during a storm and the car Max is driving conveniently dies right outside of Drago’s house. This leaves 86 and 99 to come up with the idea of approaching Drago as stranded travelers.

When Max advises that they use one of the cover kits stored in the car’s trunk, 99 is quite eager to use the newlywed cover. Regardless, Max also grabs the Commando Kit. They could have also selected the Diplomat Kit, the Publisher Kit, the Dr. and Nurse Kit or the Lion Tamer Kit. For what it’s worth, the Commando Kit comes with a throwing knife, knockout drops, a revolver and brass knuckles. The Newlywed Kit includes all that plus a bouquet of flowers, Expando-Rice, a “Just Married” sign, Ignito-Paste and two sets of bulletproof pajamas.

Upon arrival at Drago’s house, they are greeted by Drago himself, the grunting Hugo and a coffin set out in the front room. Drago tries to scare Max and 99 off, but later decides to keep them for the night – locked tight in a bedroom.

After some detective work, and going to the effort of breaking out of their room, Max and 99 find that Drago’s coffin leads to his basement laboratory.
Drago reveals that he murdered the Control agents who testified against him with a twin-chambered flute that fires two poison ice pellets. Then Drago decides to demonstrate the flute on 99.

In a perfect chain of events, Max tackles 99 and knocks her out of Hugo’s grasp. Sontag, who has just arrived for his own confrontation with Drago, shoots his mentor. Drago then hits the note on his flute, leaving the poison pellets to land in Hugo’s neck.

Gotcha! In this quick scene you can see the back of the sound stage.

There are a couple of other issues to note:

• In terms of character consistency, in the previous episode, “Aboard the Orient Express,” Max didn’t know the difference between checkers and chess. In this episode he knows what he’s doing and beats Agent 52.

• One thing I find odd is Drago’s coffin/secret staircase. He clearly climbs into it and lies down, which just doesn’t fit with it being a staircase.

• When Max exits the car during the storm, you can see the top of the backdrop as well as the stage. For whatever reason, they’re also not using the Sunbeam Tiger in this episode.

This is one of a number of episodes in the series that plays on the absurd. I don’t know what it is, but I find the rhythm of this one predictable. Sure, what’s a TV series without a vampire episode – you get one every now and then. However, I’m left with this feeling that everyone was just kind of going through the motions in this episode. Compared to some of the other episodes in the first season, like “Mr Big” and “Aboard the Orient Express” to name a couple, this episode comes off as weak.

Maybe I’m just not buying the superstitious nonsense.

Max: (as he moves to walk under a ladder) It’s a good thing we’re all sensible civilized men who don’t believe in a lot of superstitious nonsense.
Chief: Max! Don’t walk under that!

Watch for: The Dectecto-Tune bit.

Footnotes:

Max and 99 decide it's time to break out of their bedroom.

• Martin Kosleck primarily played Nazis and appeared in a number of horror flicks. On the tube he appeared in several episodes of The Man from Uncle as well as a Mission Impossible two-parter.
• Ford Rainey has a storied career in television, appearing repeatedly in the likes of The Virginian, Bonanza, Alias Smith and Jones, Search, The F.B.I., Mannix, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Ned and Stacey and The King of Queens.
• Humorist Roger Price was best known for “Droodles,” a syndicated cartoon feature that was a combination of a doodle and a riddle. Price, along with Leonard Stern, also invented Mad Libs. They later partnered with Larry Sloan to create the Price-Stern-Sloan publishing company. Price appeared on a number of TV shows, with his final role as Hottentot in Get Smart, Again!
• William Baskin had a few roles here and there – including in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.
• Don Ross appeared in two other episodes of Get Smart: The third season episode, “Maxwell Smart, Private Eye” and the fourth season episode, “Hurray for Hollywood.” He appeared regularly on Sea Hunt, The Fugitive, The F.B.I., Dragnet 1967 and Adam-12.

Glick meter: Max closes out the episode by nearly beaming the Chief with a poison ice pellet from Drago’s flute. Sorry about that.

Oh Max meter: 99 gives Max more of a scolding in this episode – though it’s unwarranted. Initially 99 appears more than happy to be carried over the threshold of Drago’s house by Max. However, she’s not exactly up to pulling out all the stops in the role of “Mrs. Smart.”
Max: We’ve got to do everything honeymooners do. These pajamas are our best bet. Get in them 99.
99: (scandalized) Max!
Max: (annoyed) They’re bulletproof 99!

Control Agents: Professor Sontag, Arrick, Agent 52 and Larabee – although he isn’t actually named as such. Mentioned were Agent 23 and Agent 49 – both murdered by Drago.

Kaos Agents: None really. Drago was just a disgruntled former Control scientist that got the boot for unauthorized experiments.

Gadgets: DetectoTune, Expando-Rice, Ignito-Paste, bulletproof pajamas and, if you count the villain’s toys, the Flute Gun.

Episode Locations: Control headquarters, Drago’s creepy 200 year old house

Heart of My Heart: The Chief brings it home.

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