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.

Too Many Chiefs: The Old Doppelganger Trick

Victor French finds out how Maxwell Smart feels about insurance.

Episode 11
Too Many Chiefs (original air date: 11-27-65)
Cast: Tanya Lupescu – Susanne Cramer, Hodgkins – Bryan O’Byrne, Kaos Leader – Harry Basch, Insurance Man – Victor French, Cashier – Robert Karvelas, Aunt Rose – Rose Michtom, Fang – Red
Director:  Bruce Bilson
Writers:  Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Control is charged with protecting witness Tayna Lupescu who is set to testify against Kaos – unfortunately that matter has been blasted in the newspapers. The Chief decides to put Ms. Lupescu under a more direct form of surveillance: in Max’s apartment. In the meantime, Kaos sends in master of disguise Alexi Sebastian to impersonate the Chief.

The real Chief chokes while the impostor makes a dash.

My Thoughts:
Classic television is probably the only universe where any one person can find themselves in a face-off with their exact double. This episode is the first of several in the series that uses this device. Others include: “The Spy Who Met Himself,” “And Only Two 99,” “The King Lives?” and the two-parter “To Sire, With Love.”

This episode’s villain, Alexi Sebastian, has never failed an assignment. He’s got away with impersonating a senator, a tennis champion, Johnny Carson, Max’s Aunt Rose and we still don’t know which of the Huntley & Brinkley news duo is really Sebastian. He does have one notable characteristic: Weak eyes. When exposed to bright light, he blinks excessively.

Sebastian eventually makes his way to Max’s apartment and manages to dupe 99 and the Chief – though not without an unwanted glass of buttermilk. The pantomime comes to a head when our duplicates have their face-off.

Max ends it all with his ah-ha moment. Remembering Sebastian has weak eyes, Max flashes a reading lamp in the air and shoots the man blinking at him.

Much of this episode centers around the silliness between Max and blonde bombshell Tayna Lupescu. Initially Ms. Lupescu rides the hard German stereotype, claiming Americans are soft due to their love of… well…. love.
In reality, Tayna’s a tease. After Tayna “shows” Max how little love and affection mean to her, he’s pretty much useless for the rest of the episode. In fact, he gets so distracted when she borrows his pajamas that he nearly shoots her.

As to be expected, 99 and her jealousy get thrown into the mix.

Max (who has Tayna’s lipstick smeared on his face): It’s really nothing 99. I was just showing Tayna a little Judo.
99 (sarcastically): It must have been pretty rough. I think she broke your lip.

We learn a few tidbits in this episode:

• Max has an Aunt Rose and an Uncle Harry.

• Also, of note, the painting of 99 that appeared in “The Day Smart Turned Chicken” is not in Max’s bedroom. It will reappear in “All in the Mind.”

• The Chief has an ulcer and only buttermilk can ease the misery.

• The Chief is married and his wife authored the rules on interrogating female agents.

• Tanya had been taken prisoner by Kaos for a week. At one point she was left alone in one of their offices where she managed to memorize a Kaos code book. She reveals proper names and countries equal the word marmalade. Control, however, had been working on jelly for the last two years.

Watch for: Our favorite Where’s Waldo Characters: Robert Karvelas and Aunt Rose.

Footnotes: 

Tayna shows Max how little love and affection mean to her.

• This episode marks the first appearance of Victor French, who would eventually play Agent 44 – the first reoccurring Control agent hidden in tight spots. TV viewers of the 1980s will best remember French as grizzled Mr. Edwards on Little House on the Prairie and Mark Gordon on Highway to Heaven. French appeared in a number of westerns as bad guys, including Rio Lobo with John Wayne.
• German actress Susanne Cramer appeared in a handful of American TV shows including The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Hogans Heroes and Bonanza.
• Harry Basch had reoccurring roles on Falcon Crest and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. He also appeared in two other Get Smart episodes, “The Only Way to Die” and “Age Before Duty.” Oh yeah, he was in two episodes of Mission Impossible and an episode of Star Trek.

Glick meter: Meet Max the womanizer. Don’t worry, we’ll see this act again throughout the series.

Oh Max meter: 99 makes a point of telling Max that he forgets she’s a woman.

Control Agents: Hodgkins, Fang, Cashier, Agent 48 (disguised as an elevator operator) and Agent 41 (the chamber maid that Max doesn’t trust).

Kaos Agents: Alexi Sebastian, Kaos Leader with four minions, the hotel desk clerk and the bell boy.

Gadgets: Telephone Gun, Fire Extinguisher Projector and the Cone of Silence returns. The chamber maid is also in possession of a broom gun.

Episode Locations: Unnamed hotel and Max’s apartment – which we learn is two minutes from the courthouse.

The Cone of Silence also offered a nice performance in this episode.