Would the real shark please stand up?

Maxwell Smart takes to the pool table in "The Dead Spy Scrawls." Squint and you can see Mr. Spock over his shoulder.

Maxwell Smart takes to the pool table in “The Dead Spy Scrawls.” Squint and you can see Mr. Spock over his shoulder.

Episode 18
The Dead Spy Scrawls (original air date: 1-22-66)
Cast:  Shark – Jack Lambert, Stryker – Leonard Nimoy, Professor Parker – Milton Selzer, Informer – Don Brodie, Willie Marconi – Harry Bartell, Vendor – Roy Engel, Agent 46 – Clive Wayne, woman in bus terminal – Rose Michtom, pool parlor groupie/bus terminal guy – Robert Karvelas, man at pool parlor – Hans Moebus
Director:  Gary Nelson
Writers: Stan Burns and Mike Marmer
Producer:  Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Max and 99 are tasked with finding an “Electronic Brain” Kaos is using to intercept Control’s secret messages. The device is operated by The Shark, expert pool player and proprietor of Mother’s Family Pool Hall.

The one moment we see Leonard Nimoy in the same frame as Don Adams and Barbara Feldon.

The one moment we see Leonard Nimoy in the same frame as Don Adams and Barbara Feldon.

My thoughts:
The Dead Spy Scrawls is a “what’s not to love” episode.

This is the episode where Leonard Nimoy has a part as a Kaos agent. That’s about all you need to know. Well, actually there’s more to it than that. We’ll get to Nimoy in a bit. Something more important must be discussed first.

The crux of this episode is pool — a plot device many a TV show finds itself revolving

Leonard Nimoy as a Kaos assassin? This seems illogical.

Leonard Nimoy as a Kaos assassin? This seems illogical.

around. Given this is Get Smart, we would certainly expect our star character, the all-thumbs Maxwell Smart, to be a disaster at this game — and he is. He destroys pool cues, tears the felt on the pool table and injures his instructor. It’s painful to watch – especially if you’ve ever had to re-felt a pool table.

Here’s the catch, Don Adams was actually an expert pool player. This is evident in Max’s pool game with the Shark. Be sure to look for the trick shot Adams makes at the end before the table opens to reveal the electronic brain. The scene also gives a nice homage to Adams with the “Three Fingers Yarmy” reference. Adams would go on to make a guest appearance on Celebrity Billiards with Minnesota Fats.

Now back to Leonard Nimoy. He makes a not-exactly-pre-Spock appearance as Stryker, an assassin that eliminates his targets with a bullet-firing briefcase. He’s in a handful of scenes in this episode, but other than killing Agent 46, whacking the informer, shooting at Max and being berated by the Shark, that’s about all we get. There’s one scene in the whole episode where we get to see Adams, Feldon and Nimoy in the same frame. While Star Trek wouldn’t air until the fall of 1966, Nimoy had already donned his Vulcan ears for The Cage — the first Star Trek pilot which was filmed in late 1964 and early 1965.

Agent 46's dying declaration.

Agent 46’s dying declaration.

The episode opens with Max and 99 seeking out Agent 46 in a bus station – they need to provide him with $2,000. He initially communicates via the silent signal system. Max confuses the signals for ones in the spy baseball handbook. By the time they determine that 46 is signaling a blue alert (extreme emergency condition) he ends up shot by Stryker. He then leaves his dying declaration scrawled in wet cement.

Stryker returns to the Shark’s Kaos front – Mother’s Family Pool Hall. Its marketing phrase is “The family that plays together, stays together.” After being chastised for interrupting the Shark’s game, Stryker proceeds to report that he eliminated 46 and plans to do the same to 86. The two then intercept a message from Control using Kaos’ electronic brain. The device is neatly tucked inside the Shark’s pool table and can only be opened when the proper sequence of balls land in the correct pockets.

Back at Control, Parker explains 46’s markings in cement are code from The Dead Spy Scrawls, a message system used by dying Control agents. The scrawl in question translates to PI for “Paid Informer” as well as a Washington, D.C. phone number, which Max traces back to to the informer 46 was supposed to meet. The Informer agrees to sell his information to the tune of $2,000.

Max, who is being tailed by Stryker, treks back to the bus station where he confuses a vendor for his contact and ends up with a $500 pack of gum. The informer then makes his presence known – only to be shot by Stryker. Max is at least able to get three words from the informer before he dies: Shark, pool, mother. The Chief connects the dots that the Shark is their man.

Max manages to convince the Chief to let him infiltrate the pool parlor. The Chief reluctantly agrees, but lines up pool lessons with pool expert Willie Marconi. This does not turn out well — especially for Marconi. As for Max’s buffoonery, well, at least that’s on point.

All hope for the mission, however, is not lost. Just before the Chief can pinch the bridge

The Dead Spy Scrawls - decoded.

The Dead Spy Scrawls – decoded.

of his nose in frustration, Parker and 99 arrive to save the day. Max is outfitted with a Pool Cue Gun and a Remote Control Cue Ball. 99 gets to operate a Lipstick Remote that controls the cue ball.

The episode buttons up exactly how we’d expect. Decked out in a flashy jacket Max, with 99 posing as his girlfriend, show up at the pool hall and challenges the Shark to a game — little do they know Kaos is about to intercept a Control message so the Shark has to be goaded into playing. The scene shows some absurd shots as well as a few legitimate ones. The Shark is none too happy that Max’s trick shot (or should I say Don’s) opens the up the electronic brain. A fight ensues. Stryker ends up shot and the Shark gets a knot on his head.

By the way, Max would still like that $13,000 he’s owed from the pool game.

Watch for:
• Aunt Rose appears in the bus terminal.
• Robert Karvelas is noticeable as one of the Shark’s pool groupies. He also shows up in the bus terminal, but you may have do a double take and squint to catch him.

The Shark accesses the Electronic Brain. Kaos went to a lot of effort to hack Control.

The Shark accesses the Electronic Brain. Kaos went to a lot of effort to hack Control.

Footnotes:
• The episode’s title refers to the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of manuscripts discovered in 1946-47, 1956 and 2017 in the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea.

• Three Fingers Yarmy, who Max mentions, is a nod to Don Adams’ real last name. Yarmy is also mentioned in the third season episode “Don’t Look Back” and, if you count it as Smart-lore, the name is one of the Easter eggs in the 2008 feature film.

• The character Willie Marconi is a nod to professional pool player Willie Mosconi, who, between 1941 and 1957, won the World Straight Pool Championship 15 times.

• Jack Lambert appeared in a load of westerns, usually playing a tough guy – most notably as compulsive killer Steve “The Claw” Michel in the film Dick Tracy’s Dilemma. He appeared in multiple episodes of Gunsmoke, Daniel Boone and Wagon Train

• Leonard Nimoy is best known as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock and as Paris in Mission: Impossible. Post Star Trek TOS, Nimoy hosted In Search Of. He would later go on to host other similar shows – Ancient Mysteries and History’s Mysteries. He had a reoccurring role as Dr. William Bell in the TV series Fringe. Nimoy has quite the TV résumé pre-Star Trek, having appeared in Dragnet, Sea Hunt, Wagon Train, The Virginian and Gunsmoke. He also appeared in a 1964 episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., “The Project Strigas Affair” with future Star Trek co-star William Shatner.

• Don Brodie also appeared in the first season episode “The Day Smart Turned

Be careful not to confuse the Silent Signal System for the hand gestures in the Control Baseball Handbook.

Be careful not to confuse the Silent Signal System for the hand gestures in the Control Baseball Handbook.

Chicken.” His character rented Max that creepy chicken suit. He began appearing in movies starting in the 1930s and his TV series appearances ranged from the 1950s to the 1980s.

• In addition to a career as a character actor, Harry Bartell was also a radio announcer. He made TV appearances in Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, Dragnet and The Partners. He also appeared in the second season episode “Cutback at Control” as Dietrich.

• Roy Engel had a reoccurring role in The Wild Wild West as President Ulysses S. Grant. He appeared in numerous TV shows including Maverick, Have Gun – Will Travel, My Favorite Martian, The Andy Griffith Show, Lassie, Bonanza and Mission: Impossible.

• Both Get Smart appearances by Hans Moebus, as with a lot of the parts he had, are uncredited. In “The Dead Spy Scrawls” he’s seen in Mother’s Family Pool Hall. He also appears in “Back to the Old Drawing Board.” He can also be seen in Bonanza Gunsmoke, Ironside, Bewitched, Mission: Impossible and Batman. He is known for Psycho, Gone with the Wind and North by Northwest.

Glick meter: We get an “And Loving it” as well as a “Would You Believe” which references Steubenville, Ohio. Poor Max is kind of a disaster in this episode.

Oh Max meter: There really isn’t any flirting going on between 99 and 86. Sorry about that.

Control Agents: Agent 46, Professor Parker

Kaos Agents: Shark, Stryker

Gadgets: Remote Control Cue Ball, Lipstick Remote, Pool Cue Gun, Micro Camera, gun briefcase, Electronic Brain (hidden in a pool table).

Episode Locations: Mother’s Family Pool Hall, bus terminal.

The old trick shot in the 60s TV sitcom trick.

The old trick shot in the 60s TV sitcom trick.

Kisses for Kaos: The old jealous spy trick

On the job: 99 has a date night with a Kaos agent. Max offers his assistance - and disapproval.

On the job: 99 has a date night with a Kaos agent. Max offers his assistance – and disapproval.

Episode 17
Kisses for KAOS (original air date: 1-15-66)
Cast:  Savage — Michael Dante, Mondo — John Abbot, Parker — Milton Selzer, Policeman —  Ray Kellogg, Gallery Patron —  Rose Michtom
Director:  Gary Nelson
Writers:  Stan Burns and Mike Marmer
Producer:  Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis:
99 masquerades as a socialite and Max as her chauffeur in order to stop creepy Kaos art dealer/chemist Rex Savage from hanging his exploding paintings in the Pentagon.

This Kaos agent's gloves? They won't be coming off.

This Kaos agent’s gloves? They won’t be coming off.

My Thoughts:
The episode opens with Max posing as a gardener and 99 as a nurse watching a fake

Exploding consulates? That may require extra paperwork.

Exploding consulates? That may require extra paperwork.

baby. Max busies himself recording the activities of a foreign consulate when said consulate blows up. He manages to turn up one piece of evidence from the scene of the explosion – a portion of a painting from a gallery owned by Rex Savage. The Chief reveals that pieces of paintings from Savage’s gallery have been found at previous explosions – an embassy and a police station.

The problem is, Savage is a ghost to Control’s records – no photo or finger prints. 99, using the alias Melissa Westbrook, is tasked with posing as a wealthy society girl in order to make contact with Savage. Max tags along as her chauffeur.

In the meantime, Savage, a chemist, and his artist partner Mondo have been mulling their plan to add an exploding painting to the Pentagon.

99 manages to charm Savage during her visit to the gallery, but the gadgets she and Max are outfitted with fail. She’s supposed to gather his fingerprints with a special pencil – but Savage always wears gloves. She then decides to met with Savage alone in the local lover’s lane in hopes he will eventually take his gloves off. Max, whose jealousy is prominently on display in this episode, wholeheartedly disapproves.

The night out, however, proves unsuccessful. While cuddling, 99 complains about Savage’s gloves – his response is to put a softer glove over the other glove. Max, in the meantime gets thrown in the clink for violating 387B of the penal code – sitting in a chauffeur’s uniform next to a rubber dummy. The rubber dummy lobby, by the way, has been trying to get this law repealed.

Cop: What kind of weirdo are you?
Max: I don’t know, just a plain, normal everyday weirdo.

Forget the fax machine - Control sends memos by hurling a rock through a window.

Forget the fax machine – Control sends memos by hurling a rock through a window.

99, however, manages to score an intimate supper with Savage after finding out that he only takes his gloves off when eating or bathing. Carlson supplies Max and 99 with a few devices for the dinner: The Soup Bowl Camera, Bread Roll Print and Fruit Recorder.

With the exception of Max’s jealousy (and his use of a gong) dinner and the devices work out smoothly – until Mondo barges in the apartment and reveals to Savage that he’s been courting a Control agent.

Max and 99 are hauled off to Savage’s gallery where 99 is instructed to paint a shirtless Max (yes, shirtless) to death with exploding paint. 99, however, stops Savage and Mondo in their tracks by dumping a can of explosive paint on the floor. Of course, this also stops Max and 99 from escaping.

The episode closes with Max having repainted his apartment – only he used Savage’s paint. Well, at least he covered the furniture.

The episode is a veritable gadget toy box. Here’s a run down of some of the gadgets and other fun items:

• Inter office top secret relay – forget those pneumatic tubes of the good old days, those

Outgoing rocks from Control's Inter office top secret relay. Did one come crashing through your picture window? No worries - just plunk it in a mailbox. Control's address is on it.

Outgoing rocks from Control’s Inter office top secret relay. Did one come crashing through your picture window? No worries – just plunk it in a mailbox. Control’s address is on it.

office instant messaging systems of the last decade or two or even texting – Control sends inter office memos via a rock through the window. If you find one, don’t worry – just return it by plunking it in any mailbox. Control’s address is printed on the rock.
• Pencil Painter – A pencil scientifically treated to obtain a suspect’s finger prints – as long as that person isn’t a smooth talking man that likes wearing gloves.
• Chauffeur’s Cap Camera – Best used for still photography.
• Steering Wheel Phone – Installed in Max’s car and in need of adjustments – every time a driver turns the corner, the phone dials the operator.
• Soup Bowl Camera – A camera in the bowl takes selfies while the person eats. The flash is absorbed by the soup.
• Bread Roll Print – The rolls gather fingerprints.
• Fruit Recorder – This bowl of fruit records conversations – just don’t eat the banana.
• Inflato Girl – It’s exactly what it says it is. How they got away with it in this episode is beyond me.
• Even Kaos has its own ammunition: A painting of a camera that is actually a camera and Savage’s collection of paints that go boom.

For those that have the TimeLife DVDs, there is an audio commentary by Barbara Feldon for this episode. She talks at length about being taller than Don Adams as discusses a conflict that occurred early on with the show’s advertiser.

This episode is fine, though for some reason it never particularly wowed me. However, watching this one via the DVDs provides the opportunity to pick up on minute details that would be overlooked otherwise – specifically the facial expressions coming from Don Adams and Barbara Feldon.

There are some things you can't explain. The Inflato Girl is one of them.

There are some things you can’t explain. The Inflato Girl is one of them.

Watch for:
Aunt Rose makes an appearance.

Footnotes:
• A former pro-baseball player, Michael Dante appeared in numerous TV westerns including Cheyenne, Maverick, Bonanza and Death Valley Days. He appeared as Maab in the Star Trek episode “Friday’s Child.”

• John Abbott’s career in TV and film spanned all the way back to the 30s, with his most notable roles being in The Jungle Book and Gigi. He had an uncredited role as Mason in Jane Eyre, staring Orson Wells and Joan Fontaine. He also appeared in The Partners and Star Trek.

• Ray Kellogg appeared in a number of TV series including Perry Mason, The Real McCoys and The Dick Van Dyke Show. He was usually seen playing a bartender or a law enforcement official.

Glick meter: Max gives us a Would You Believe for our troubles in this one: 25 Control agents quickly turns into a vicious street cleaner and a toothless police dog.

Oh Max meter: When 99 suggests setting up a date to get Savage’s photo and finger prints, she’s noticeably surprised (and delighted) to detect Max’s jealousy.

99: If I could just get him alone
Max (offended): What do you mean alone? …I don’t think you should be alone with him.
99 (smiling): Max, you sound like you’re jealous.
Max: Jealous. Now that’s ridiculous 99. It’s just that, that man might turn out to be a dangerous kisser -er killer.

Control Agents: Professor Parker returns.

Kaos Agents: Savage and Mondo.

Gadgets: Secret Message Leaves, Pencil Painter, Cap Camera, Camera Painting, Steering Wheel Phone, Soup Bowl Camera, Bread Roll Print, Fruit Recorder, Explosive Paint, Vibration Explosive Paint and Nitro-Floor Paint. It’s up to you whether you consider the Inflato-Girl a gadget. *eye roll*

Episode Locations: Max’s apartment and Rex Savage’s Art Gallery. I could include that consulate, although that’s not much of a location anymore.

When you repurpose paint from a Kaos agent, make sure it's not the exploding kind before you paint your apartment.

When you repurpose paint from a Kaos agent, make sure it’s not the exploding kind before you paint your apartment.