Double Agent: Going to seed for the spy business

Max goes to the dark side. 99 tries to talk him out of it.

Max goes to the dark side. 99 tries to talk him out of it.

Episode 16
Double Agent (original air date: 1-8-66)
Cast:  Alex- Robert Ellenstein, Kaos Agent 1 – Arthur Batanides, Parker – Milton Selzer, Texan – Gregg Palmer, Kaos Agent 2 – Dave Barry, Kaos Agent 3 – Clay Tanner, bartender – Fabian Dean, drunk – Jack Orrison, Fang – Red, casino dealer – Robert Karvelas, gambler – Rose Michtom
Director:  Frank McDonald
Writers:  Joseph C. Cavella and Carol Cavella
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis:
A group of Kaos agents plan to attack the Pentagon and need to recruit someone that has access to it. They decide on Maxwell Smart. Max has to convince them that he’s the man for the job by going bad — as in blowing his money, becoming a drunk and killing 99.

Nano technology: Parker shows off his new fly transmitter.

Nano technology: Parker shows off his new fly transmitter.

My Thoughts:
The episode opens and concludes with Professor Parker’s super small spy devices, so let’s get that out of the way first.

Max and 99 are first seen listening to the Kaos boys via an ice cube transmitter. The device is soon discovered and destroyed when a Kaos agent realizes the “ice cube” hasn’t melted. Parker apparently spent six months testing the ice cube transmitter in every known fluid — which is how he got his reputation as a drunk.

Meanwhile back at Control, Parker is presenting his latest minuscule device to the Chief — a fly transmitter. According to Parker, it took two and a half years of nerve wracking micro miniature fabrication and $400,000 worth of research and equipment to make the fly. The fly’s antennae are each a transmitter and receiver and the eye is the world’s smallest radar tracking dish.

Sadly, the fly would never make its spying debut. All the time, labor and tax payer dollars put into the fly met the end of a newspaper lobbed by Agent 86.

By the end of the episode Parker has managed to work through his grief over the loss of the fly. He replaces it with a new device that is again destroyed by Max — a light bulb. Perhaps he should have gone to work for Apple.

With no way to mechanically spy on Kaos, the Chief assigns Max to do it the hard way. Since the Kaos boys already had their eye on Max as a potential weak link, Max is given instructions to tarnish his reputation.

Max has a bad day at the casino - because he's too lucky.

Max has a bad day at the casino – because he’s too lucky.

Phase one of the effort involves Max gambling away his six-month’s salary at an illegal gambling den — conveniently frequented by Kaos agents and apparently Aunt Rose. The idea sounds good on paper. After all, the house always wins, right? Wrong.

Upon walking into the casino, Max turns out to be a “bonafide angel of luck” for an over-zealous cowboy playing the roulette wheel. After giving the cowboy the brush off, Max hopes for bad luck at a table game with the Kaos guys. Again, he fails — even a nearby slot machine likes him.

It’s unknown what happened to Max’s winnings, but after returning to Control, he voices his frustrations to the Chief.

Max: No one from Kaos is going to approach me. I’ve got too good a reputation to live down.

Never mind that — it’s on to phase two. Max is less than pleased that phase two – physical degradation – involves him becoming an alcoholic. Thanks to a bottle of Absorbo pills and ratty coat that resembles something from Kanye West’s clothing line, all he has to do is act the part.

With orders to go to seed, Max first has to blow off 99 — starting with their plans to attend a concert. The Chief has left 99 out of the loop on this mission, which appears to be a sore spot with Max.

Chief: Until your mission is a success, she’ll learn to live without you.
Max: Yeah Chief, but what if my mission is a failure?
Chief: Then we’ll all learn to live without you.

Max makes for a particularly gnarly bar-fly. Dirty, unshaven and surly, everything is going according to plan — until the bartender chews him out for letting a dog in the place. Max attempts to send Fang on his way with a weak insult about doggy breath. 99, however, arrives and tries to stage an intervention with Max.

Max’s response is to tell 99 that he doesn’t like her because she’s too statuesque. At this rate, he’d better hope Kaos isn’t grading him on his insults.

Part of me feels that if this episode had occurred later in the series, Don Adams would have pulled out his Bogart impression.

With 99 out of the way, Max moved on to phase three, which involved the Chief coming into the bar and Max cracking him over the head with a bottle of booze. This is the episode’s big slapstick moment and includes Max busting up the bar. After he and the Chief complete their pantomime, Max manages to swallow his Absorbo pill and pass out.
Max wakes up in a Kaos office where he’s given his first assignment: He must kill 99. Max first attempts to stall and then convinces the Kaos agents to leave the room so he can work.

After the bad guys leave, 99 declares that she knew Max’s behavior was an act. They then work on an escape plan and we get to see the best gadgets of the episode. Max uses his Phonowatch along with 99’s charm bracelet record as a distraction. One side of the record produces a woman’s laughter and the other a woman’s screams.

In something of a classically confusing conclusion, we learn that the group of Kaos agents are actually double agents with the CIA, FBI, Naval Intelligence and Scotland Yard. This discovery is made, unfortunately, after Max wounds each of them. It’s later revealed that the real Kaos agent who started the group died several years prior and was never replaced.

Busted equipment, wounded agents … this episode gives us a nice little life lesson: Don’t keep people out of the loop.

In other matters, there are some issues with this episode:

• 99’s not so good with the maths. She offers to help pay off the $400,000 fly that Max swatted with a $10 a-week loan, which she determines would take 900 years. Would you believe it would just take 769 years… unless she was factoring in interest.
•While in the bar, Max makes a phone call to the Chief. After he hangs up, the phone rings in the phone booth, but that comes off as a bit that goes nowhere.
•For this episode, Absorbo pills were supposed to “absorb” all the alcohol Max was drinking. That’s a cute idea – unless you swallow the pill like Max did. So my question is, after that, how did he not wind up with alcohol poisoning or at least with his head on the toilet seat?

Max is less than pleased with his wardrobe for this assignment. He should know Control paid a lot of money to have all those nice holes ripped into that coat.

Max is less than pleased with his wardrobe for this assignment. He should know Control paid a lot of money to have all those nice holes ripped into that coat.

Watch for: Look for cameo appearances by both Robert Karvelas and Aunt Rose. Robert Karvelas is wheeling and dealing and Aunt Rose can be seen playing cards.

Footnotes:

IPod - the Cold War version. Max's Phonowatch plays 99's Charm Bracelet Record.

IPod – the Cold War version. Max’s Phonowatch plays 99’s Charm Bracelet Record.

• Early on in his acting career, Robert Ellenstein was featured as one of James Mason’s henchmen in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. He made multiple appearances in various TV series including Perry Mason, Ironside, The Wild Wild West and Mission Impossible. He also played the Federation President in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
• Arthur Batanides appeared in four of the Police Academy films as Mr. Kirkland. He made multiple appearances in Happy Days, Lou Grant, The Odd Couple, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., The Wild Wild West, I Spy and The Dick Van Dyke Show. He appeared in six Mission Impossible episodes and the Star Trek episode, “That Which Survives.”
• Gregg Palmer was known for his roles in TV westerns including Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Death Valley Days, Bonanza, The Wild Wild West, Have Gun – Will Travel and Wagon Train. He made another Get Smart appearance in the first season episode, “I’m Only Human.” He appeared in The Rebel Set along side Ed Platt and, you guessed it, Star Trek and Mission Impossible.
• Stand-up comedian and voice over artist Dave Barry provided the opening act for Wayne Newton for eight years.
•Fellow Hoosier Clay Tanner appeared in multiple episodes of Bonanza, McHale’s Navy, The Virginian and had an uncredited role as the devil in Rosemary’s Baby. He also appeared in an episode of Mr. Terrific, which co-starred Dick Gautier a.k.a. Hymie the Robot.
• Fabian Dean appeared in two other Get Smart episodes, the second season episode “Island of the Darned” and the fifth season episode, “Witness for the Execution.” Also, he too appeared in an episode of Mr. Terrific.
• Jack Orrison appeared in a variety of 1960s TV series, including Petticoat Junction, The Wild Wild West and Gunsmoke.

Glick meter: We get an “And Loving it” out of this episode.

Oh Max meter: So… neatly tucked into this episode is the fact that Max and 99 have a date lined up. It’s not so neat to see poor 99’s disappointment when Max tells her he’s not going.

Control Agents: Fang, Professor Parker

Kaos Agents: That’s debatable. See above.

Gadgets: Ice Cube transmitter, Fly transmitter, Absorbo Pills, Phonowatch, Charm Bracelet Record, Light Bulb transmitter

Episode Locations: Seedy illegal casino Kaos agents frequent and Chez Charles, a skid row bar

Nothing to see here - just a meeting between Kaos agents that are not really Kaos agents.

Nothing to see here – just a meeting between Kaos agents that are not really Kaos agents.

Survival of the Fattest: A weighty mission

Boy versus girls: Max has a little trouble with the ladies in this episode.

Episode 15
Survival of the Fattest (original air date: 12-25-65)
Cast: Mary Jack Armstrong- Karen Steele, Parker – Milton Selzer, The Prince – Dan Seymour, Carla – Tanya Lemani (credited as Tania Lemoni), Rhonda – Patti Gilbert, Control Agent 1 – Arthur Adams, Control Agent 2 – Ned Romero, Control Agent – Robert Karvelas
Director:  Frank McDonald
Writers: Mel Brooks and Ronny Pearlman
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Max has to rescue the prince of a Middle Eastern country from a trio of athletic Kaos agents bent on making the ruler lose weight. If Max fails and the prince doesn’t make his 300 pound goal, he loses his throne and the U.S. loses an oil supplier.

Cocktails for two: Max tries to slip Mary a Mickey.

My Thoughts:
Max is charged with keeping tabs on the well-fed Prince Sully of Ramat. The prince’s main concern is eating up because if he doesn’t make it to 300 lbs., another faction will take over his country – one that has already demonstrated that it’s unfriendly to the U.S. And, yep, Ramat’s oil supply to the U.S. will be cut off.

The episode opens with Max checking up on the prince, using the alias of a bespectacled oil exec named Bill Banford. There’s just one problem – the prince is abducted while Max is on the phone telling the Chief not to worry about how the mission is going.

Max is left with 48 hours to find the prince so he can be fattened up – only he can’t remember anything significant about the abduction.

Out of desperation – and probably because only he would think of this — Max submits himself to Control’s Grill Team. Apparently Control has two agents charged with slapping enemy spies until they talk. After taking enough of a beating that one the agents complains of his hand hurting, Max finally recalls how the maid was able to carry a refrigerator.

The Chief concludes that they are dealing with Mary Jack Armstrong – the world’s strongest female counterspy. The Chief goes on to warn Max about how dangerous Mary Jack is -only he leaves a detail or so out.

Parker shows Max some new gadgets. Max, however, is more concerned about being knocked off the best dressed spies list.

After a visit with Professor Parker, Max is outfitted with a handy homing device sewn into the shoulder of his jacket. He also gets a tie that serves as a flask and includes a spigot in the clasp. However, he’s not pleased that the pairing of a gray suit and an avocado tie will drop him out of the top 10 best dressed spy rankings. Picky, picky.

The episode’s humorous banter continues when Max goes back to the hotel to face off with Mary – she’s been expecting him.

Initially he introduces himself as Bill Banford, president of the Ramid American Oil Company. The prince may have bought that, but Mary was not going to be played. Other used and mostly rejected aliases included: Fred Lamister, munitions supplier; Harry Schlerts, toy manufacturer and Mervin Gribbs, calling card manufacturer.

After his attempt to get Mary to take truth serum backfires, Max wakes up shackled to a wall in Mary’s massage parlor and reducing salon on the top floor of the hotel. He finds he’s not alone: The prince is tied to an exercise bike and Mary’s assistants Rhonda and Carla have joined her.

Max tries to signal Control via the homing device built into his jacket, however, Rhonda seems to find his shoulder slapping habit odd.

Rhonda: There must be some reason why you keep doing this.
Max: To tell you the truth, it’s kind of a nervous habit with me.
Max slaps his shoulder, followed by Rhonda, again, slapping his shoulder.
Max: Look, it’s my nervous habit, not yours.

Rhonda tattles and Mary, having enough of Max’s behavior, instructs the girls to lock Max in the steam room. In a deft maneuver, Max manages to lock up the ladies instead. He then gets the upper-hand with Mary, thanks to the Old Finger in the Gun Trick. Mary joins her pals in the steam room, leaving Max a window to free the prince.

Steam and steal doors, however, don’t hold super strong spies. Mary breaks free, gives a classic bad-guy speech and then attempts to chuck Max out the window. Thankfully, the Chief interrupts the proceedings. It’s then revealed that the Chief and Mary Jack once had… well.. a thing.

Chief: How did a nice girl like you ever get involved in this rotten business?
Mary: Well Thaddeus, it’s a living.
Prince: They know each other?
Max: That’s the wonderful thing about the espionage business. You make friendships that last forever.

Prince Sully falls short of his goal, but it’s all good in the end. His citizens are happy with his weight loss and treat him as a matinee idol. For Max’s efforts on this mission, the prince sends him a belly dancer as a present. Due to Control’s no gift policy, the dancer was to be returned to Ramat.

There is no 99 in this episode, but we get by. Survival of the Fattest is actually a nice recovery from the previous insipid episode. This episode offers a good example of Don Adams’ storied timing skills. Thanks to that, what we end up with is something of a Christmas stocking of great comedic bits. Added bonus: We get a glimpse into the Chief’s past.

Max really takes a beating in this episode.

Watch for: The Grill Team scene, Max and Mary playing the old “drug the drink” game, the shoulder slapping bit and that nice little reunion between the Chief and Mary. This is the first episode featuring Professor Parker.

Footnotes: 

Land of a thousand aliases: Max tries the old "They Won't Guess it's Me if I Wear Glasses Trick."

• The episode title is a reference to “Survival of the Fittest,” a phrase coined by English philosopher Herbert Spencer after reading Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
• Appearing in a number of TV series throughout the 50s and 60s, Karen Steele was one of Mudd’s Women in the Star Trek episode of the same name.
• In addition to a regular part on Get Smart, Milton Selzer had quite the TV and film resume. It would probably be easier to list what TV shows he didn’t appear in.
I will note that he appeared in a handful of Mission Impossible episodes, including one, “Cocaine,” which Get Smart alum King Moody also had a part in. For what it’s worth, this episode was directed by Reza Badiyi, who directed a good number of GS episodes. This particular episode’s main guest star was William Shatner. But I digress.
• Dan Seymour appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including Key Largo and Casablanca.
• Tanya Lemani primarily played belly dancers in TV and film. She appeared in an episode of Star Trek and I Dream of Jeannie.
• Patti Gilbert will get an encore appearance in Get Smart as Miss Magruder in the third season episode, “Operation Ridiculous.”
• Arthur Adams made repeat appearances on TV shows such as Cannon, Bewitched and Ironside
• Ned Romero mostly portrayed American Indians, most notably in Hang ‘Em High. He also played Krell in the Star Trek episode “A Private Little War.”

Glick meter: Save Max’s apologetics in the opening scene, this episode largely dispenses with nasal catchphrases. Instead we get something better: Don Adams’ excellent comedic timing.

Oh Max meter: No 99 in this one, folks. However, she need not worry about Mary Jack and her cohorts – Max didn’t seem too impressed with them. The belly dancer that appeared at the end of the episode, however, would have earned him a solid eye roll and possibly the stink eye.

Control Agents: Professor Parker, Agent 1, Agent 2 and Larabee who appears in the mop up crew, although he’s not credited.

Kaos Agents: Mary Jack Armstrong, Carla, Rhonda

Gadgets: Homing Coat, truth serum, Necktie Pipette, .22-caliber Finger Gun

Episode Locations: Control HQ, the hotel where the prince is staying and where Mary Jack has her massage parlor and reducing salon.

Love and war: The Chief and Mary Jack share a moment.

The old spy in the dog suit trick

One of the individuals in this train compartment is a Kaos agent.

Episode 13
Aboard the Orient Express (original air date: 12-11-65)
Cast: Countess Rifchevsky – Carol Ohmart, Agent 44 – Victor French, Demetrios – Theo Marcuse, Ernst – Bill Glover, Dr. Minelli – Del Close, Porter – Maurice Marsac, Courier – Jack Donner and Special Guest Conductor – Johnny Carson
Director: Frank McDonald
Writers: Robert C. Dennis and Earl Barret
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Control is having a problem getting its payroll to all its freelance agents working behind the Iron Curtain: The couriers carrying the cash keep turning up dead. Max is tasked with hauling a half million dollars in a briefcase chained to his wrist -and finding the identity of Kaos agent Krochanska.

Control's special weapons adviser Dr. Minelli (Del Close) preps Agent 86 for a gas of a mission.

My Thoughts:
This episode is the one with Johnny Carson in it – well, one of a couple episodes. Carson shows up again for a brief cameo in the third season episode, “The King Lives?” On the Orient Express, he’s in a handful of scenes -namely to stamp passports and clean up carnage.

The Chief initially plans to enlist 99 as the next courier, providing her with a security briefcase containing the payroll, a handcuff and a 5,000 volt charge that would shoot through anyone trying to purse snatch. Agent B-12, stationed in the Baltics, has the only key to the handcuff and is set to intercept the briefcase when the courier gives him the password Tanganyika.

We later see that the fancy security briefcase doesn’t stand up to much of a scuffle, so all this scary build up about electrocution, deafening alarms and threats of amputation amounted to squat.

Once upon a college psych paper on the topic of how TV influences gender roles in children, I used the following exchange to illustrate how 1960s TV bosses were reluctant to give their female employees dangerous assignments:

Chief: The enemy knows we must send another courier. Our one chance is that they won’t be expecting a woman.
99: I know. I’ll do the best I can.
Chief: It will require intelligence, determination and icy nerves.
99: Will I be issued a destruct pellet?
Chief: Yes, 99.
Max: Wait a minute, Chief! You’re not thinking of sending her! She’s a woman!
99: (smiles at what he has said) Thank you!
Chief: Being a woman is the reason we chose her. Four men have failed!

After this, Max manages to accidentally handcuff himself to the briefcase. 99 calls his action bravery. Likely it was simply stupidity.

99: Max, that was the noblest, bravest, most heroic thing I’ve every seen. Thank you.

86 doesn’t give 99 much of response outside of a weak smile. He had other thoughts after she left the room.

Max: Maybe I could soak my wrist…

Tonight Show host Johnny Carson busied himself with passport stamping on the Orient Express.

In other matters, we’re introduced to Agent 44 who is hiding in the medicine cabinet in Max’s train compartment. After a bit of whining about how he hasn’t been paid in five months, 44 manages to mooch some cash off the usually cheap Agent 86. Agent 44 then proceeds to charge Max for the secret messages he’s supposed to distribute – they’re $5 a message or three for $10 and leave a bitter aftertaste if you have to eat them.

Max spends the rest of the episode trying to sniff out Krochanska from a train car full of suspects. His choices are a snotty French porter, a blind hat salesman and British spy named Ernst or the Countess Rifchevsky.

The answer was none of the above. Krochanska turned out to be Ernst’s service dog, Cyril. The pooch was given orders from Kaos agent Demetrios to chomp on a poison gas pellet that had no effect on dogs but was lethal to humans.

I’ve always liked this episode – Johnny Carson nonchalantly walking into the trashed compartment at the end gives me a giggle. However, some of the scenes seem a bit… abrupt… at times. I notice this most with 99’s appearance on the train.

The episode concludes back in the Chief’s office where the conversation trails from the fate of the double agent dog (he was adopted by a nice family) to the union benefits of overseas Control agents.

Watch for: Johnny Carson’s cameo.

Max and 99 work on narrowing down their suspects - and their expressions of horror.

Footnotes:
• The episode title is a reference to Agatha Christie’s novel, Murder on the Orient Express, which featured Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot.
• The incomparable Johnny Carson served as host of the Tonight Show for 30 years.
• This is Victor French’s first shot as Agent 44. He continued the role as the hidden agent until Dave Ketchem came aboard as Agent 13. Agent 44 returns in the fifth season, but the part was then played by Al Molinaro.
• Carol Ohmart, known for starring in film noir and horror films, was promoted by Paramount as the next Marilyn Monroe. She appeared in a handful of TV shows, including a few roles on 77 Sunset Strip.
• Known for playing villains, Theo Marcuse appeared in a bevy of TV shows, most frequently in The Wild Wild West and The Man From Uncle. He also appeared in an episode of Star Trek.
• Bill Glover’s credits include a number of appearances on TV shows and two soap operas – General Hospital and Santa Barbara.
• A director of Second City, Del Close was a mentor to many well known comedians. His movie credits include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and American Graffiti.
• Maurice Marsac was the all-purpose player of French parts on TV. Marsac returns to Get Smart for the third season episode, “99 Loses Control.” He also appeared in Mission Impossible.
• Jack Donner has a lengthy TV resume including a reoccurring role on General Hospital, several appearances on Mission Impossible and as Romulan Subcommander Tal on Star Trek. He even appeared on Scare Tactics.

Glick meter: Max accidentally handcuffs himself to the security briefcase – and he develops an appetite for paper.

Oh Max meter: 99 chooses to believe that 86’s screw-up with the security briefcase was simply chivalry.

Control Agents: Agent 44, Agent 85, Dr. Minelli, Agent B-12 (mentioned)
Kaos Agents: Demetrios, George Robinson (mentioned – agent in drag from the Kaos Hawaiian branch), Cyril Krochanska

Gadgets: Destruct Pellet (mentioned by 99, not actually issued), security briefcase, Bowler Gas Mask, Ladies Gas Mask hat, Straddler Shoes

Episode Locations: Would you believe Lichtenstein?

Tickets please: Mr. Conductor informs 86 and 99 that poison gas and dead bodies are no match for what's in compartment 13.

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.

Of chicken suits and courtrooms

Max is "representing" in the courtroom.

Episode Eight
The Day Smart Turned Chicken (original air date: 11-6-65)
Cast: Cowboy – Simon Oakland, Blake – Phillip E. Pine, Dr. Andrew Fish – Howard Caine, Mrs. Dawson – Iris Adrian, Bruno – Richard Karlan, Morovian Ambassador – George J. Lewis, Judge – Frank Biro, Costume Man – Don Brodie, Aunt Rose – Rose Mitchtom.
Director: Frank McDonald
Writers: Pat McCormick and Ron Friedman
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Knowing that Max has to testify at a pre-trial hearing, Kaos pulls out all the stops to make the court think he’s a nut job – including a not-so-dead cowboy and a non-assassination attempt at a formal embassy party. Being stuck in chicken suit didn’t help Max’s case much either.

Awkward. Max's attempt to save the day is an epic fail.

 

My thoughts: Sometimes there are things you have to do, but you put them off. Usually this involves doctor appointments or de-hoarding one’s home. Other times it’s writing a blog about an episode you’d just as soon skip. That having been said, I suppose I could end this entry right now. However, I won’t because I know there’s some enclave of fans that get a kick out of this one.

Here’s the run down.

Max gets woken from his much needed nappies by a man in a cowboy costume that also appears to be accessorizing with a knife in his back. There’s a bit of shtick with Max getting the guy in his bed, the cowboy’s dying declaration about an assassination attempt at an embassy costume party, a visit from a phony doctor that pronounces the man dead and appropriate scoffing from the Chief.

Not about to let the matter rest, Max rounds up the only getup available from an all night costume shop – a gaudy chicken suit. His visit to the Morovian Embassy ended about how his day in court began – bad.

We get a round of witnesses on the stand that pretty much deem Smart not competent to testify — including his land lady Mrs. Dawson who can only cackle at him in disbelief. Even the Chief produces a good solid nose pinch during the hearing.

In the end, the Kaos agent’s plan wasn’t so ingenious after all. Max had his ah-ha moment and pointed out that only someone who was in on the scam would know who he was and also be willing to drink a possibly poisoned beverage. Also, this episode’s bad guy didn’t consider the matter of probability when attempting to jump from a five story building onto a pile of mattresses. Missed it by that much.

There are a couple of things to make note of with this episode.

First, there’s no 99 and she is sorely missed. We do, however, see a painting of 99 in Max’s bedroom. The painting appears in another episode, “All in the Mind.” That painting was the subject of much speculation years ago during our Friday night Get Smart chat sessions. This matter was mulled over in Smartian Controversy Eight.

Secondly, the chicken suit is some sort of homage or in-joke with respect to one of the episode’s writers, Pat McCormick. Apparently McCormick had a habit of wearing chicken suits and other goofy costumes to parties. This is noted in Donna McCrohan’s The Life & Times of Maxwell Smart. McCormick wrote a few other GS episodes and he appeared briefly in part two of “Two Sire With Love.” He plays Otto, the big Kaos agent charged with mixing Rupert of Rathskeller’s molten goo. That scene always made me snicker.

Finally, there’s those eggs at the end. Outside of my personal disdain toward this episode, there really isn’t anything wrong with it. It’s got slapstick, it’s got jokes that are on beat, it has the hero beat the odds — but it also has those awkward eggs Max absentmindedly left setting in his chair. It’s implied that the Chief thinks Max laid them. The scene should at least be cartoony, but it’s not.

Watch for: Max’s business card claims he’s Arnold Kipnis, Furrier to the Stars – until you hold it up to the light. Look for Aunt Rose in the courtroom scene. We also learn that the Chief’s first name is Thaddeus. And then there’s that bit at the end with the eggs…. sheesh.

This episode provides an Ed Platt nose pinch - with extra frustration. Check out Aunt Rose giggling in the background.

Footnotes:
• Barbara Feldon does not appear in this episode.
• Pat McCormick was a writer for the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He also had a number of acting roles, most notably as Big Enos Burdette in Smokey and the Bandit. You’ll see him playing Otto in the second part of the fourth season Get Smart episode “To Sire with Love.”
• A concert violinist, Simon Oakland played tough guys and appeared in such films as Psycho, West Side Story and Bullitt. He played Kolchak’s editor in Kolchak: The Night Stalker and appeared in Mission Impossible.
• Phillip E. Pine appeared in TV shows from the early 1950s to the mid 1980s, including Star Trek and Mission Impossible.
• Howard Caine may be best remembered as Maj. Hochstetter on Hogan’s Heroes. He also appears in the second season three-part Get Smart episode, “A Man Called Smart.”
• Iris Adrian began appearing in movies at the end of the silent film era. She had roles in many TV shows and through the 1970s appeared in a bevy of those goofy Disney movies, including No Deposit No Return – which also starred Barbara Feldon.
• Richard Karlan appears in the second season Get Smart episode “Bronzefinger.” He also appeared in an episode of The Partners (Don Adams’ post-Get Smart series) and an episode of Mission Impossible.
• George J. Lewis appeared primarily in westerns, most notably as Don Alejandro in Zorro.
• Don Brodie appears again in the first season of Get Smart in “The Dead Spy Scrawls.” He began appearing in movies starting in the 1930s and his TV series appearances ranged from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Glick meter: This episode nets the first “Sorry about that.”

Oh Max meter: No “Oh Maxes” in this one folks. We do get that lovely painting of 99 in Max’s room, though.

Control Agents: No extra agents here.

Kaos Agents: Cowboy, Dr. Andrew Fish, Bruno

Gadgets: Door Zipper, Plant Phone, Headboard Phone and the unused Painting Phone.

Episode Locations: Max’s apartment, The All Night Costume Company, Morovian Embassy and the courtroom

No, Chief, Max didn't lay those. He just forgot where he put them. Don't panic.