When seeing is believing

The old gun on the wire trick.

Episode Five
Now You See Him – Now You Don’t (original air date: 10-16-65)
Cast: Ehrlich – Joseph Ruskin, Dr. Carl Haskell – Gregory Morton, Kaos Agent 1 – Val Avery, Kaos Agent 2 – John Sebastian, Sophie – Donna Walsh
Director: Paul Bogart
Writers: Arne Sultan and Marvin Worth
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Kaos allegedly abducts Invisibility Ray inventor Dr. Carl Haskell and tries to convince Max that the device is real -and the U.S. government should pay $10 million for it. Max is almost duped into believing he’s been made invisible – until 99 shows up and hints otherwise.

Max and 99 succumb to the effects of the Sleeping-Gas Chair.

My Thoughts: This episode initially comes off as absurd. It’s usually one I skip. When this one’s number came up, my thought was “Do I have to?” Maybe I just don’t like Max being scammed by Kaos. After all, the poor guy can make a fool out of himself easy enough on his own. This won’t be the last time Max falls for a hoax — just wait until we get to “The Day Smart Turned Chicken.”

There are a quite a few “firsts” in this episode. This is the first time we get to see the inside Max’s apartment, the first time we get to see him in his “86” embellished bathrobe and the first time the Chief pinches the bridge of his nose in frustration.

Chief: Max, do you have something for a headache?
Max: You know Chief, you ought to go to the doctor. You’ve been getting these headaches quite often lately.
Chief: Only on occasions, Max.
Max: You’ve had one every time I’ve been with you.
Chief: Those are the occasions.

Through the use of wires, joy sticks and a speaker system, Kaos dupes Max into thinking he’s dealing with a real invisibility ray and invisible people. It’s a bit hokey, but this is par for the course with first season GS. At least our friendly neighborhood Kaos agents take the time to explain the hoax -and how the floating gun in the episode’s tag was supposed to have worked.

The scenes involving Max’s booby trapped apartment are the episode’s better moments. With the exception of the ever malfunctioning Invisible Wall (that was Control’s doing), Max created every hidden defense mechanism in the apartment.

The devices work well during their trial run for the Chief. However, not all of them operate as needed when Max is trying to dispose of Ehrlich. *Sigh* I think Max still deserves props for his ingenuity.

The Sleeping-Gas Chair is the gag saved for last. In the process of demonstrating the device, Max manages to gas himself and 99. What happened afterward is up to the imagination.

Max: I think we can make it to the door. I think we can make it to the door.

Watch for: How Max’s signaling at the window fails: The Zippo won’t light so Haskell lights Max’s cigarette with his own, leaving Max to hope his smoke will suffice a a signal.

What net?

Footnotes:
• Character actor Joseph Ruskin appeared in Star Trek and all of its spin-offs. In Star Trek TOS he appears as Galt the Master Thrall in “The Gamsters of Triskelion.” Also appearing in that episode is Angelique Pettyjohn who will play Control Agent Charlie Watkins. And for all the spy fans, he appeared in several Mission Impossible episodes.
• Gregory Morton appeared in numerous TV series. He also appeared in the movie Bye Bye Birdie which starred Dick Gautier who would later play Hymie the Robot in Get Smart.
• Val Avery appeared in more than 100 movies and more than 300 TV series including The Magnificent Seven and several episodes of Mission Impossible.

Glick meter:  The. Whole. Episode.

Oh Max meter: We get a sympathetic “Oh Max” when 99 watches 86 slam his face into the Invisible Wall. And then there’s the Sleeping-Gas Chair…

Control Agents: No additional agents in this one

Kaos Agents: Ehrlich, Haskell, Sophie and the other two hoods

Gadgets: All found in Max’s apartment – Invisible Wall, Swinging Lamp, Rigged Desk Drawer, the “Man Trap” (net that drops from the ceiling), Rigged Fire Place (a fan sucks objects into the chimney) and the Sleeping-Gas Chair.

Episode Locations: Max’s apartment, Ehrlich’s hideout

Pay no attention to the Kaos agents behind the curtain.

School Days: Lessons on security

99 utters a futile scream for help in “School Days”

Episode Three
School Days (original air date: 10-2-65)
Cast: Hillary Gainesborough – Ben Wright, Grillak – Leo Gordon, Dimitri – Phil Roth, Zukor – Henry Brandon, Dean Watson – Byron Morrow, Mrs. Green – Kitty Kelly, Fang – Red, uncredited – Robert Karvelas
Director: Paul Bogart
Writers: Stan Burns and Mike Marmer
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Max, 99 and Fang infiltrate Control’s spy school to flush out a Kaos agent. Max uses the alias of new recruit Alexander Loomis while 99 works undercover as an instructor. Even Fang, aka Morris in this episode, shows up for a refresher course. In the process, Max almost gets killed and nearly flunks his weapons class.

Max and 99 try to sneak a kiss before embarking on a dangerous part of the mission.

My Thoughts: Some people tend to enjoy their school years — they’re more than happy to peruse their high school yearbooks and are probably on their class reunion planning committee.

Others have nightmares about their Alma mater — like The Old I Forgot My Locker Combination Nightmare or The Old I Have to Re-take This Class or I Can’t Go On With Life Nightmare.

Max is probably living the nightmare in this episode. He breaks his Wrist Watch Strangling wire, lands one of Control’s razor sharp hats in the neighbor lady’s yard and can’t put together an automatic weapon designed for easy assembly.

He he also fails at his attempts to expose which new Control recruit is the impostor. Spy students Grillak, Dimitri and Zukor all come off as completely shady creepers. This episode, by the way, is a character actor carnival – and a few of these guys will show up in other roles later in the series.

Outside of class Max gets caught digging through the school’s files, has knives chucked at him and is shot at. To cap it off, he and 99 find themselves tied to a bunch of dynamite with only Fang as their savior.

It’s worth noting that the spy training school is in a pretty nice looking neighborhood and tries to disguise itself as something of an old person’s rest home. It’s also worth wondering if they had to apply for a variance to be located in a residential neighborhood.

Control makes a concerted effort to keep the school’s activities secure from Kaos — hence 86 an 99’s assignment. However, the school’s neighbors know what’s up.

Max’s notion that the location is a great front comes in question when he gives Mrs. Green the password and she directs him to the house next door.

The episode’s final conversation sums up Control’s security habits:

Max (to 99): There’s nothing more important than security. Nothing. Without security, none of us would be safe.
Man: Is this Mrs. Green’s house?
Max: No, this is the spy school. Mrs. Green’s house is over there.

Watch for: Mrs. Green telling the spies in training they don’t get their hat back and Fang “blowing” out the candle.

Footnotes:

Fang debates whether or not he should blow out the candle.


• Ed Platt does not appear in this episode

• Uncredited, Robert Karvelas, a.k.a. Larabee in the later seasons, appears as one of the pool-side disguised agents

• English actor Ben Wright provided the voice of Sherlock Holmes in the American radio show of the same name. He was also known for portraying Herr Zeller in The Sound of Music and made the rounds of various TV shows.
• Character actor Leo Gordon was known for playing brutes, but was also a screenwriter and novelist. He had roles in many TV shows and movies, including McLintock! where John Wayne sends him down the mudslide and utters “Somebody oughta belt you but I won’t! I won’t! The hell I won’t.” (Would you believe I’m also a John Wayne fan?) Oh, and if you’d like to play Six Degrees of Get Smart, the score to that move was composed by Frank De Vol aka Professor Carleton.
• Character actor Phil Roth also appeared in the third season episode “Maxwell Smart, Private Eye” as the Peter Lorre type character, Mr. Peter. In addition to TV work, his movie credits include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Catch-22.
• German-American actor Henry Brandon was known for playing ethnic roles ranging from Arab and Native American characters to Asians, including Dr. Fu Manchu in Drums of Fu Manchu. He also appears in the fifth season episode “Pheasant Under Glass” as Belasco.
• Byron Morrow typically played authority figures — including in two Star Trek episodes. He played Admiral Komak in “Amok Time” (that would be the episode where Spock returns to Vulcan to engage in a mating ritual) and Admiral Westervliet in “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.” He also appeared in two third season GS episodes as Dr. Harris in “When Good Fellows Get Together” and as Agent 37 in “The Spirit is Willing.” (Would you believe I’m a Star Trek fan?)
• Kitty Kelly had been a member of the Ziegfeld Follies and appeared in numerous films through the 1930s and 1940s.

Glick meter: After a hiatus in episode two, Mr. Smart’s nasal tones have returned. Max’s suspect round up at the end of the episode is reminiscent of Don Adams’ “Defense Attorney” routine.

Oh Max meter: 
We get a lot of slinky body language and an “Oh Max” for our troubles. They just miss kissing twice: Once at the beginning of the episode – only to be interrupted by Fang and as Max is trying to expose the Kaos agent and put together the machine pistol -until Gainesborough starts shooting at them.

Control Agents: Milk man; Man with briefcase; Watson, dean of the training school; and Grillak, Dimitri and Zukor — if they graduated.

Kaos Agents: Hillary Gainesborough

Gadgets: Car Phone, Watch Communicator, Multi-Part Automatic Machine Pistol (it’s designed for rapid assembly – unless you’re Maxwell Smart), Wristwatch Strangling Wire, Razor Edged Hats, Plastic Impact Bomb jacket with carbon paper lining, High Powered Binoculars,

Episode Locations: Control’s training school

Max and 99 join spy students Zukor, Dimitri and Grillak for their special weapons class.