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.