Too Many Chiefs: The Old Doppelganger Trick

Victor French finds out how Maxwell Smart feels about insurance.

Episode 11
Too Many Chiefs (original air date: 11-27-65)
Cast: Tanya Lupescu – Susanne Cramer, Hodgkins – Bryan O’Byrne, Kaos Leader – Harry Basch, Insurance Man – Victor French, Cashier – Robert Karvelas, Aunt Rose – Rose Michtom, Fang – Red
Director:  Bruce Bilson
Writers:  Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Control is charged with protecting witness Tayna Lupescu who is set to testify against Kaos – unfortunately that matter has been blasted in the newspapers. The Chief decides to put Ms. Lupescu under a more direct form of surveillance: in Max’s apartment. In the meantime, Kaos sends in master of disguise Alexi Sebastian to impersonate the Chief.

The real Chief chokes while the impostor makes a dash.

My Thoughts:
Classic television is probably the only universe where any one person can find themselves in a face-off with their exact double. This episode is the first of several in the series that uses this device. Others include: “The Spy Who Met Himself,” “And Only Two 99,” “The King Lives?” and the two-parter “To Sire, With Love.”

This episode’s villain, Alexi Sebastian, has never failed an assignment. He’s got away with impersonating a senator, a tennis champion, Johnny Carson, Max’s Aunt Rose and we still don’t know which of the Huntley & Brinkley news duo is really Sebastian. He does have one notable characteristic: Weak eyes. When exposed to bright light, he blinks excessively.

Sebastian eventually makes his way to Max’s apartment and manages to dupe 99 and the Chief – though not without an unwanted glass of buttermilk. The pantomime comes to a head when our duplicates have their face-off.

Max ends it all with his ah-ha moment. Remembering Sebastian has weak eyes, Max flashes a reading lamp in the air and shoots the man blinking at him.

Much of this episode centers around the silliness between Max and blonde bombshell Tayna Lupescu. Initially Ms. Lupescu rides the hard German stereotype, claiming Americans are soft due to their love of… well…. love.
In reality, Tayna’s a tease. After Tayna “shows” Max how little love and affection mean to her, he’s pretty much useless for the rest of the episode. In fact, he gets so distracted when she borrows his pajamas that he nearly shoots her.

As to be expected, 99 and her jealousy get thrown into the mix.

Max (who has Tayna’s lipstick smeared on his face): It’s really nothing 99. I was just showing Tayna a little Judo.
99 (sarcastically): It must have been pretty rough. I think she broke your lip.

We learn a few tidbits in this episode:

• Max has an Aunt Rose and an Uncle Harry.

• Also, of note, the painting of 99 that appeared in “The Day Smart Turned Chicken” is not in Max’s bedroom. It will reappear in “All in the Mind.”

• The Chief has an ulcer and only buttermilk can ease the misery.

• The Chief is married and his wife authored the rules on interrogating female agents.

• Tanya had been taken prisoner by Kaos for a week. At one point she was left alone in one of their offices where she managed to memorize a Kaos code book. She reveals proper names and countries equal the word marmalade. Control, however, had been working on jelly for the last two years.

Watch for: Our favorite Where’s Waldo Characters: Robert Karvelas and Aunt Rose.

Footnotes: 

Tayna shows Max how little love and affection mean to her.

• This episode marks the first appearance of Victor French, who would eventually play Agent 44 – the first reoccurring Control agent hidden in tight spots. TV viewers of the 1980s will best remember French as grizzled Mr. Edwards on Little House on the Prairie and Mark Gordon on Highway to Heaven. French appeared in a number of westerns as bad guys, including Rio Lobo with John Wayne.
• German actress Susanne Cramer appeared in a handful of American TV shows including The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Hogans Heroes and Bonanza.
• Harry Basch had reoccurring roles on Falcon Crest and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. He also appeared in two other Get Smart episodes, “The Only Way to Die” and “Age Before Duty.” Oh yeah, he was in two episodes of Mission Impossible and an episode of Star Trek.

Glick meter: Meet Max the womanizer. Don’t worry, we’ll see this act again throughout the series.

Oh Max meter: 99 makes a point of telling Max that he forgets she’s a woman.

Control Agents: Hodgkins, Fang, Cashier, Agent 48 (disguised as an elevator operator) and Agent 41 (the chamber maid that Max doesn’t trust).

Kaos Agents: Alexi Sebastian, Kaos Leader with four minions, the hotel desk clerk and the bell boy.

Gadgets: Telephone Gun, Fire Extinguisher Projector and the Cone of Silence returns. The chamber maid is also in possession of a broom gun.

Episode Locations: Unnamed hotel and Max’s apartment – which we learn is two minutes from the courthouse.

The Cone of Silence also offered a nice performance in this episode.

Satan Place: Phones, a freezer and a failed fundraiser

Max tries to play doctor with Harvey Satan while Len Lesser skulks in the background.

Episode Nine
Satan Place (original air date: 11-13-65)
Cast: Dr. Harvey Satan – Joseph Sirola, Windish – Robert Cornthwaite, Hodgkins – Bryan O’Byrne, Rudolph -Len Lesser, Gregor- Jack Perkins, un-credited Kaos thug – Roy Jensen
Director: Frank McDonald
Writers: Stan Burns and Mike Marmer
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Just before the Chief can leave for vacation, he’s snatched by two Kaos hoods hiding in the trunk of his car. Kaos bad guy Harvey Satan demands $200,000 ransom and freezes the Chief for some sort of surgery that will make him work for Kaos. Max saves the day by playing doctor -and he wins the Chief’s car during Control’s fundraising efforts.

Crowdfunding for the Chief of Control was done the hard way.

My Thoughts:
This episode’s villain is a guy going by the name Harvey Satan who has his hair and beard cut like the devil. He runs his own “sanitarium,” which from what the viewer can see is frozen over.

My toddler enjoys watching GS with me, though I had to put off watching this one until I had some alone time. A guy that looks like, well, Satan locking the Chief in a freezer may have been a bit too much to explain to a three year old. Nevertheless, it’s still a great episode for us big kids.

Getting ransom money for the Chief proves to be a headache. It’s revealed that Control is so secret the State Department doesn’t know about it. Also, an appropriation through Congress would be too time consuming since it would take three months to pass. A call on the direct line to the president nets Control $12. To be noted, the hot line to the White House is kept in a red box. It’s not the horn phone of later episodes.

Control, instead, gets creative. They resort to fundraising through a raffle – with the Chief’s property as prizes; a telethon and Hodgkins’ “Take A Chance On Our Chief” punch board. The whole effort rounds up a meager $600, the Chief ends up losing his nice furniture and Max is the new owner of his car.

One note on that swank black and white car, it reappears in the beginning of “Our Man in Leotards.” The Chief in that scene is handing over the keys and demonstrating its specs.

Dipping back to my page on the cars of Get Smart, that sweet ride is a Ford Mustang dubbed “Z the Zebra Car” According to Smartian Sue, the car was created by George Barris. His resume includes creating the Munster cars and the Batmoble. The Zebra Car also appearing in “Marriage on the Rocks” with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

Special to this episode, it came with Kaos agents hiding in the trunk. 😉

Max has a fail early on when the Chief gets kidnapped. However, I think he tries to make up for that fowl-up throughout the episode.

Not only does he, along with 99, successfully switch places with Dr. Von Havok, he also has an ah-ha moment in the nick of time. He realizes if he sets the thermostat in the operating room lower, he’ll have a window of opportunity to “freeze” Harvey Satan and co. in place.

Max is even prepped for the threat of “electric grass.”

Max: Do you have a hair pin?
99: No.
Max: (pulling a Bobby pin out of his hair) I’ve got one.
99: (shooting Max a perplexed look) Max?
Max: I use it for picking locks.

Watch for: There’s some sort of phone obsession with this episode. Check out the rigmarole Max goes through to answer a call on the Chief’s private phone. Sheesh. Then there’s the bit in the park with all the hidden phones on Max’s person.

Footnotes:

A frosty Chief and a concerned 99.

• The title of this episode is a reference to 60s prime time soap, Peyton Place.
• Noted voice-over actor Joseph Sirola appeared as Van Cleff in the second season Get Smart episode, “Bronzefinger.” He also appeared in Hang ‘Em High and in an episode of Mission Impossible.
• Len Lesser was known for playing Uncle Leo on Seinfeld. Among his many roles on TV and in the movies, he appeared in Kelly’s Heroes and on an episode of The Partners. He appeared in two other Get Smart episodes: “The Decoy in season two and “The Spirit is Willing” in season three.
• The acting resume of Jack Perkins largely includes roles as drunks or bartenders – with an occasional spot as a bouncer. He appeared as Master of Games in the Star Trek episode “Bread and Circuses.”
• Roy Jensen appeared in numerous TV shows and movies including Every Which Way But Loose and The Love Bug. He also appeared in an episode each of Mission Impossible and Star Trek.

Glick meter: We get a “Sorry about That” for our troubles.
Oh Max meter: This episode finally breaks from the failed kiss routines that showed up previously. Instead, 99 gets weirded out when Max pulls a Bobby pin out of his hair.

Control Agents: Windish and Hodgkins make appearances for this episode.

Kaos Agents: Harvey Satan, Rudolph, Gregor, Dr. Laslow Von Havok, Nurse, Kaos agent in the mailbox and two Kaos agents in the Chief’s trunk.

Gadgets: Phones galore including; wallet phone, eyeglass phone, necktie phone, handkerchief phone, belt phone, garter phone; a collapsible vaulting pole and caterpillar (suction cup) shoes – just don’t get them stuck to your hand.

Episode Locations: Satan Place Sanitarium, Municipal Park

Z the Zebra Car's Get Smart debut. The real problem isn't under the hood - it's the junk in the trunk.

KAOS in Control: When knowledge of TV shows pays off

Max isn't buying Alma Sutton's (Barbara Bain) claim that she watched Captain Kangaroo as a child.

Episode Seven
KAOS In Control (original air date: 10-30-65)
Cast: Professor Windish – Robert Cornthwaite, Hodgkins -Bryan O’Byrne, Alma Sutton – Barbara Bain, Henry Ratcheck – Ed Peck, Delegate 1 – Donald Lawson, Control agent – Robert Karvelas
Director: Don Richardson
Writers: Hal Goldman and Al Gordon
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Six top scientists are scheduled to meet in Control’s secure conference room, only someone in the building has been tampering with the door’s lock in an attempt to mold a key. Things get even more complicated when someone pilfers Professor Windish’s newly invented Electro-Retrogressor Gun — a device that once fired, leaves its target with the mental capacity of an 8 year old.

Max and 99 keep their eye on Agent 17. OK, I threw this one in because I like 99's coat.

My thoughts: This episode is probably known as “The one with Barbara Bain in it.” Of course, this aired before Mission Impossible graced TV screens. Really her part in this episode isn’t all too huge, yet it is amusing at the end when she goes skipping down the hallway Don Adams.

For what it’s worth, Bain’s husband at the time, and Mission Impossible co-star, Martin Landau also appears in the fifth season Get Smart episode, Pheasant Under Glass.

Now, on with the rest of the episode.

The running gag is Max’s battle with the security key chain attached to his pants. It sticks in every lock from his desk drawer to Control’s secure conference room. At one point he resorts to taking his pants off so the scientists can be let in the room. At least in the end the device serves as a weapon that prevents Alma Sutton from shooting him with the Electro-Retrogressor Gun.

The Electro-Retrogressor Gun is its own gag. It leaves Control’s authority figures pleading to go outside and play or crying for their mother. Professor Windish is quite proud of the invention – until he’s stunned by it and relives an apparently rotten childhood.

My favorite part of the episode, though, is the scene with the Magic Ear. Don Adams, in some media articles at the time, was described as a facial actor. This scene is an example of that. The bass drum scene in Our Man in Leotards is another example.

If you catch this episode, look for this scene. Once you’re done laughing at Adams’ rubber-faced depiction of pain, look at Feldon. Is she holding her hand at her mouth to act aghast or is she also trying to stifle a smirk?

The Cone of Silence gets some use in this episode – once at Max’s request and later when every device in the Chief’s office goes out of whack.

Chief: You know this thing doesn’t work. Why do you insist on using it?

Max: Well, for one thing, it’s 20 degrees cooler inside.

For his exemplary work, and knowing that Alma Sutton could not possibly have watched Captain Kangaroo as a tike because it wasn’t on TV then, Max is awarded a Certificate of Meritorious Service.

Max: Gosh Chief, I don’t know what to say.

Chief: Don’t say anything, Max. Just read it over, then destroy it.

Watch for: Don’t blink at the beginning of the episode or you’ll miss Robert Karvelas’ incognito appearance. Also, the flashing “Magenta Alert” light is used.

Footnotes:

Shhh! 86 and 99 sort out some kinks with the Magic Ear device.

• Character actor Robert Cornthwaite appeared in a number of TV series, typically playing scientists or lawyers. He appeared as Windish in two other GS episodes, “Our Man in Leotards” and “Satan Place.”
• Barbara Bain is probably best known for her role as Cinnamon Carter in Mission Impossible. She appeared in that series, with her then husband Martin Landau, from 1966 to 1969. From 1975 to 1977 Bain and Landau starred in the cult sci-fi series Space: 1999.
• Ed Peck typically played cops or military officers – such as Officer Kirk on Happy Days and Capt. Dennis McDermott on Benson. He appeared in the Star Trek episode “Tomorrow is Yesterday” and appeared in such movies as Bullitt and Heaven Can Wait.

Glick meter: Max really has problems with that stupid security key chain. Perhaps it should have come with some WD-40.

Oh Max meter: 99 just can’t get a kiss in edgewise. She and Max, as in previous episodes, try to have another moment – until duty interrupts it.

Control Agents: Hodgkins, Professor Windish, Henry Ratcheck, Agent 17 (disguised as monkey), plus two random armed Control agents – one of which is a mustachioed Robert Karvelas

Kaos Agents: Alma Sutton

Gadgets: Security key chain (a device more trouble than what it’s worth), the Cone of Silence, Electro-Retrogressor Gun, Magic Ear Listening Device, Pocket Disintegrator Pen, TV screen under the Chief’s desk blotter, golden frisking hands in the wall

Episode Locations: Control Headquarters

Professor Windish shows off his ill-fated Electro-Retrogressor Gun.

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.