From the bookshelf: The Get Smart Handbook

The Get Smart Handbook. This one is a little rough around the edges.

There’s a lot of stuff going on this summer – and it’s leaving me with limited TV time.

That’s OK. In less than five months my surroundings could go back into polar vortex mode so it’s best to live up da Region’s few tolerable months of the year.

This brings me to another look at a Get Smart collectible. It could be considered more Get Smart in print, but I’m throwing all the books, paperbacks and comics in the collectibles category.

The Get Smart Handbook by Joey Green could be considered a “newer” collectible, though it’s been more than 20 years since it was in print. Published in 1993 by Collier Books, The Get Smart Handbook features historical information about the show, an episode guide, character bios and lists of Control agents, Kaos agents and gadgets.

How to use the Cone of Silence. One of the many illustrations in The Get Smart Handbook

Comments from Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Dick Gautier, Dave Ketchem, Bernie Kopell, King Moody, William Schallert, Stacy Keach Sr., Leonard Stern, Mel Brooks and Buck Henry can be found throughout the book.

However… it has been noted that there are few boo-boos in this book. Over the years, thanks to repeated fan viewing, it was discovered that a number of the gadgets and Control and Kaos agents in the series weren’t listed in the book.

For a complete list of all those wonderful things, visit Carl’s wonderful site at www.wouldyoubelieve.com

Since the book came out during Nick at Nite’s run of Get Smart, I tend to wonder if that network’s edits of the show may have influenced what’s in this book versus what’s not.

Still, I think the book tried to capture Get Smart’s sense of fun and makes a nice viewer’s guide. It’s written in a humorous style and includes few amusing graphics, like the content of 99’s purse and, my personal favorite, Cone of Silence operating instructions.

The Get Smart Handbook has long been out of print, but copies are available for purchase through Amazon’s book sellers.

The book’s author, Joey Green, was a former contributing editor to National Lampoon. He went on to write 50 some books, including his Magic Brands series. You’ll likely find one of those on the shelf where your mom keeps her library of household hint books.

There are two other Get Smart books published prior to this one – The Life and Times of Maxwell Smart and the Get Smart Files, but I’ll discuss those in another post.

This appears to be some sort of promotional material sent to book sellers. There's an order form on the back.

Now I’m going to wax nostalgic.

Every summer in the 1990s we would make a pilgrimage back to the East Coast. It was a 12 hour drive and back then we didn’t have hand held devices that could contain all forms of entertainment. I usually made due with my Walkman and a handful of cassettes — and maybe I could re-read an issue of Seventeen or YM during the course of the journey.

July 1993 was no different -except it was wretchedly hot. I remember two things about that vacation. One, we took a side trip into the mountains in northern Pennsylvania where it actually cooled off at night. Two, it was on this particular vacation that I purchased the GS Handbook.

Since it had just come out, I found it readily available in a Walden Books in south central Pennsylvania. I hadn’t been specifically seeking it – I just got lucky on that trip to the mall.

Needless to say, this kept me out of everyone’s hair for the rest of the trip. Maybe that’s why my mom was willing to plunk down the 12 bucks for it. I still remember paging through this book while we were staying in our cabin-esque motel room in the mountains. *sigh* In recent years my copy has become a bit dog-eared and I’ve had to tape the pages back inside.

This clipping came from an issue of USA Weekend. But here's what's weird – the book pictured is different than the actual Get Smart Handbook. I've wasted time with silly nitpicking on this matter before. Check out Smartian Controversy 7 at www.ilovegetsmart.com/debate.html