Exploding time bombs and Red Ball shoes

The Get Smart Exploding Time Bomb Game

I’ve been a busy girl here of late so I’m going to take a hiatus from episode blogs.

Instead I offer a peek at one of the older Get Smart toys – “Get Smart” The Exploding Time Bomb Game.

Fair warning: this entry is going to go off on few rabbit trails. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and grab some snacks.

The Exploding Time Bomb Game

The game was produced by Ideal in 1965. Some sources say 1966, however, my game clearly has 1965 printed on it.

Detail from inside the box.


An intact game includes a game board, a time bomb, 16 cards that assemble to form four Kaos agents, dice and four game movers in the shape of a tiny fedora wearing man. The mover is supposed to represent Maxwell Smart as up to four people can play the game, each being a competing Maxwell Smart. The Kaos agents are named Gunner Gus, Bomber Bill, Black Jack and Singapore Sam.


Scenes from the game board.

The box lid was illustrated by Ralph Pereida – except for the photograph of Max that was printed over it. Pereida authored a handful of drawing how-to books for the Grumbacher Art Library Series. I should have been familiar with those as my dad had a bunch of Grumbacher books from an art class he took.

According to Warman’s Americana & Collectibles, an intact game should fetch $75.

Now, the word “intact” is key when asking that price. Sadly my time bomb game is missing one key component – the time bomb. I’m also missing a couple of cards to the Kaos agents. I think I forked over between $30 and $40 for my game but certainly no more than that.

Yes it’s missing the time bomb, but I feel lucky to have this thing. Original Get Smart toys cost a pretty penny and when they do come up for auction on Ebay (which is ever so rarely) the bidding turns into all out war. 

I suppose I’m also lucky that when I bought the game, it arrived intact. I won this item on Ebay shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Everything was weird and awful then. Commerce was moving understandably slow. A week after Sept. 11 letters containing anthrax spores were sent to news outlets and two congressmen, killing five people and infecting 17 others. This certainly didn’t help mail delivery – or much of anything else at the time.

Don't in end up in the hospital.

The Red Ball Jolly Jets Treasure Hunt Game

Now here’s where I’m going to digress away from GS. It seems whenever I obtain a collectible game or puzzle I find some other junk in the box that doesn’t belong there.

The game board for the Red Ball Jolly Jets Treasure Hunt game.


When I opened up the Exploding Time Bomb Game, I found a small game board that resembled a treasure map and some tiny cardboard scraps with writing on them. I shrugged, threw it back in the box and left it sit for the last 14 years.

When I went to work on this blog, I found that random game board again and I took a closer look at it. My eyes zeroed in on two words at the bottom of the board: Mishawaka, Indiana. Seriously?

If you haven’t gathered, I live in Indiana and the one nearby metro area I enjoy spending time in is South Bend/Mishawaka. So this discovery merited more investigation on my part.

Called the Red Ball Jolly Jets Treasure Hunt Game, it was produced in 1964 by Ball-Band of Mishawaka. I’ve gathered, from a person that had the whole game on Ebay for about $20, that is was probably an advertising give away for Red Ball shoes.

Now let’s take a step back in time for a small history lesson. Ball-Band was formerly the Mishawaka Woolen and Rubber Company – which was incorporated in 1874. Its proper birth date is 1867 when Jacob Beiger purchased a wooden mill built in 1838.

The company’s main products over the years were rubber boots. The Ball-Band name came from the red ball added the black rubber band that ran around the top of their signature knit boot.

Among the variety of footwear produced were Red Ball Jets, a canvas rubber soled sneaker that was treated as the Air Jordan of its day. They were kind of like a pair of Chucks.

Sadly these shoes no longer exist. In 1950 Uniroyal became the parent company of Ball-Band. The company stopped making footwear and dissolved Mishawaka Woolen and Rubber Company in 1969. The plant closed in 1997.

There, now some of us have learned something new and a 50 year old GS collectible has proved to be the gift that keeps on giving. I wonder what other surprises I’ll find when I eventually go through the rest of my toys…

Here are a few more images of the Exploding Time Bomb Game:

Inside the box - some of my Kaos agents are missing.A close up of inside the box.The multi-colored game movers.

A close up of inside the box.

The multi-colored game movers.