Color me bad: The Get Smart coloring books

Three of the four Get Smart coloring books from 1965 and 1966.

Three of the four Get Smart coloring books from 1965 and 1966.

Coloring is all the rage at the moment – adult coloring that is. In that vein, and since I’m a bit swamped with all kinds of work and chores, the time is due for an entry on the Get Smart coloring books.

A colored in Agent 99 in her chauffeur's outfit from the pilot episode.

A colored in Agent 99 in her chauffeur’s outfit from the pilot episode.

Now referring to these collectibles in the plural, while technically accurate, isn’t exactly correct. Produced by Saalfield Artcraft, there were four Get Smart coloring books with publishing dates of 1965 and 1966. They each had different covers, but the guts on the inside were the same.

There was the yellow one — and the red one that looked like the yellow one except it was die cut along the top corner. There was also the blue one that didn’t look like either of the first two, but there was another red one that looked like the blue one.

Are you confused? Good. The first yellow/red cover design is Max and Fang with the dog’s leash wrapped around him. The second blue/red cover design is a photo of Max and Fang tied to chairs.

Through some resourceful ebaying, I finally managed to score three of them. All have been colored in and that is typical when finding one of these.

The art was drawn by comic book artist Sam Burlockoff. Born in 1924, his comic book work spanned the 1940s into the 1950s, primarily as an inker. In addition to illustrating other Saalfield coloring books, he also did illustration work for encyclopedias. Among the syndicated comics he worked on in the 1960s were Flash Gordon and The Saint. Burlockoff passed away in 2007.

In terms of continuity, Max is drawn to look like Don Adams – a few of the pages are take-offs on Get Smart publicity photos. Agent 99 looks cute, yet she does not quite look like Barbara Feldon. The Chief is given a full head of hair and a mustache. He looks more like Chief Quimby from Inspector Gadget rather than Ed Platt.

As for Saalfield Artcraft, its parent, the Akron, Ohio-based Saalfield Publishing Company, was once one of the largest publishers children’s materials in the world. It began publishing children’s books in 1899. Under Saalfield Artcraft, it produced the likes of coloring books, paper dolls and puzzles. The company went defunct in 1976, however, Kent State purchased the company’s library and archives in 1977.

A peekaboo into the coloring books. We've got 99 doing a new hair color, a sweet fluorescent hot air balloon and Max and 99 chasing after some sort of flying saucer.

A peekaboo into the coloring books. We’ve got 99 doing a new hair color, a sweet fluorescent hot air balloon and Max and 99 chasing after some sort of flying saucer.

As I mentioned before, if you get your hands on one of these – or any vintage coloring book for that matter – don’t expect them to be mint. I’m a bit of a research nerd, so I actually find that aspect interesting. The colored pages are a like a time capsule of a kid’s day back in the 60s. Which pages did they color? What colors did they pick? Did they stay in the lines?

I noticed some patterns. The first couple pages were usually always colored – then the coloring would peter off with the exception of a few random pages in the middle and at the end. Not that I can blame those choices – the best illustrations, in my opinion, were on the first couple pages. In two of the coloring books I found that the previous owners had colored in the pages displaying the “Captured Kaos Weapons.” Hmmm….

Two different approaches to the Kaos weapons. One young artist went with realism while the other gave the guns a more colorful look.

Two different approaches to the Kaos weapons. One young artist went with realism while the other gave the guns a more colorful look.

The coloring habit has recently proved to not just be a past time for little ones. If you walk into a store — and, at this point, one of any kind — you will likely find a shelf of adult coloring books. Inside will be pages of intricate patterns and repetitive detail ranging from paisleys and flowers to mandalas and animals.

I own several and they are a fun and relaxing way to spend time. I also have a bit of a compulsive art habit and spend all kinds of spare time drawing my own illustrations. Periodically I post my art on Instagram – feel free to take peeky-boo there (@ahaverstick86). For fun, I did my own take on a couple of the Get Smart coloring pages by adding some… enhancements.

Well, the kids got to color, so I wanted a turn too.

Well, the kids got to color, so I wanted a turn too.

 

Anatomy of a fansite

Would you believe I still need to load all this stuff?

You’ve probably visited one while surfing the web for some topic that peeked your interest and while you might have found the answer you were looking for, you may wonder what kind of person is on the other end of that information.
I’m referring to fansites and their owners.
I have been busy with extensive site maintenance since early spring – hence why writing about episodes have been pushed to the back burner. While in the midst of website housekeeping, I figured I should talk a little about what goes into maintaining this site. For those just stumbling into this blog, it’s attached to a larger site, www.ilovegetsmart.com
The site is coming upon its 17th birthday. The internet was a different world when this was built – a slower, smaller world. The site still reflects that era – well just a little.
The fansite of 20 years ago was probably one that had visually distracting wallpaper in the background — coupled with a few annoying midi files that played when a page was opened. Maybe there were frames. Maybe there were image maps and roll over text. Sure, it was gaudy but, hey, everyone has their guilty pleasures.

Media - old school. A stack of VHS taps and a few boxes of floppy disks are probably the foundation of any longtime website.

Believe it or not, there were actually a bevy of Get Smart sites back in the late 90s. They focused on aspects of the show ranging from fan fic to photographs. A handful of these sits shot up in the early 2000s during TV Land’s run of Get Smart.
However, over the years a good number of those sites vanished. Many of them went by the wayside with the demise of Geocities, which closed down in 2009. Others likely remained inactive long enough that their service provider pulled the plug. Still, there are a few of us that, despite changing media trends, life, universe and everything, are still hanging around.
In the summer of 1999 I taught myself HTML and started my site over on Geocities, focusing on three different topics: Swing music, The Beatles and what would eventually over take the whole thing — Get Smart. At the time I was — and still am — part of an email-based fan group dedicated to the show. Some of the topics we discussed there and during our weekly chat made their way to my website — like that noted painting of Agent 99 we see in two episodes.
My angle has been to take those sort of topics — like Max’s cars and all of Control’s female agents — and craft fun content.
I have some photos here and there — enough to illustrate things, but this site was not photo heavy for a few reasons. When the site started years ago, there were a couple sites focused entirely photos but I didn’t want mine to look like a copy of those — I wanted maybe more unique things. Technology back then was different. There was very little space to work with and adding and acquiring photos was a process.
Since technology has improved, there is more room for that kind of media, but I still see keeping photos to what they are — except for when there is a new blog post – then I’ll add a few relating to that topic.
Over the years other sites have lifted photos from my site without asking or even referencing the site. Lately I’ve been seeing people building social media sites with images that they’ve grabbed from Google – images that I know belong to other sites. I used to have a page featuring original artwork, but because of this growing trend, I deleted it.

Required reading: Webmasters wanting to create a site with substance had to be ready to do their homework.

If you’ve found a fansite on your favorite show that’s still hanging around, keep in mind it’s a labor of love for that webmaster. There’s no monetary gain from this hobby, and in all likelihood the webmaster is probably operating on a deficit. So, while other girls are into getting blinged out nails at the salon and having fab lunch dates at the local bistro, I’m the weirdo scouring ebay for a new collectible. To each their own.
Now, my world doesn’t entirely revolve around this — as hard as that might be to believe 😉 I have a job and a family to tend to, so opportunities to work on this website can be sporadic. Thankfully my husband humors my nerdity.
Now for a fun fact!
What’s turned out to be the most popular part of my site? Interestingly, the most referenced and visited section is about a gun Max is pictured with — the AR-7. I’ve found that page linked to various message boards over the years and people still come back here to read about that topic.

The guts of a fansite or, in this case, scrapbooking for geeks.

Would you believe… it’s something new?

Don Adams, Barbara Feldon and “Red” in a scene from “I’m Only Human.”

A little more than 15 years ago I started a Get Smart website, The Unclassified Get Smart Site. Its initial home was over on the now defunct Geocities. I eventually moved the site under a domain name, www.ilovegetsmart.com

Beyond being an online Get Smart shrine, it became a library of sorts for various news articles on the show, which I had collected over the years. Other fans have also contributed to that part of the site with their own collection of GS articles.

In addition, I also added a section on all the goofy nit-picky things we would debate on the GS list serve and during our old Friday night chat sessions.

I had not gotten to the point of doing anything with episodes specifically, so that is going to be the primary focus of this blog. My personal challenge is to go through each episode and then write some sort of yarn about it here.

Other notions for this blog include a few words about some of the Get Smart collectibles out there.

This blog is going to be focused on the original series. The section on my website regarding the 2008 movie is about all the time I’m going to spend on that.

One thing of note: I’m going to go through the episodes in the order that they appear on the DVDs. The episodes on the DVDs are in order by their original air date. The show wasn’t always aired that way in syndication. For example, Diplomat’s Daughter was the second episode to air, but for those that grew up watching GS on Nick at Night or TVLand, the second episode is Our Man in Toyland.

Syndication of the series had another issue – some episodes were not shown as often as others. This matter was addressed over in The Smartian Controversies, but it largely boils down to contract. Syndicated episodes have various scenes cut out of them – which is a whole other thing depending on which network you watched your reruns on. Nick at Nite aired GS in the early ’90s and pulled it in early 1995. TVLand began airing GS in 2001. Each channel had different edits of the show and at the time caused a bit of fan confusion.

And I suppose you’re wondering where you can ‘get’ Smart? See what I did there 😉 The DVDs are easily available via the internet and are available in two versions – the Time-Life box set and the HBO release. The Time-Life version has all kinds and varieties of extras. Choose wisely.

Get Smart is being shown around the world and in the U.S. The show airs on MeTV out of Chicago. Most pay TV providers offer it. Even better, you can also get the channel over the air. Thanks to my handy dandy TV antenna, I watch an hour of the show on South Bend, Indiana Channel 57.2 during MeTV’s Sunday night Spy Block.

MeTV airs the show on Sunday at 1 and 1:30 a.m. and 11 and 11:30 p.m. CDT. If you think that’s a little too late, I will point out that there was a six year period where GS wasn’t shown at all in the U.S., so I’ll take what I can get.

Would you believe I have fond memories of staying up ‘til the crack of 2 a.m. to watch it on Nick at Nite?

This Sunbeam and cardboard Max belong to Get Smart fan Sue Kesler. She let myself (pictured) and other fans sit in her ultimate GS collectible during the Get Smart in the Park portion of the Get Smart Gathering in Beverly Hills in 2003.