Tales from inside the bass drum

Max, 99 and this episode's special guest star, The Bass Drum.

Episode 10
Our Man In Leotards (original air date:11-20-65)
Cast: Emilio Naharana – Michael Pate, Windish – Robert Cornthwaite, Julio – Robert Carricart, Doorman – Nestor Paiva, Parkerson – John Stephenson, Don Hernando – Edward Colmans, Dancer – Fernando Roca, Haskell (credited as Guard) – Robert J. Stevenson, Saunders – Robert Karvelas
Director:  Richard Donner
Writers: Mel Brooks and Gary Belkin
Producer:  Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: After ballet troupe leader Emilio Naharana (the last of the world’s great leapers) steals Control’s new paralyzing drug Immobilo, Max and 99 attempt to retrieve it by infiltrating the Pinerovian embassy.

Max sticks it to evil ballet dancer Emilio Naharana.

My Thoughts:
This episode “kind of” starts where the previous episode, “Satan Place,” left off. The Chief is showing Max his “new” car, the ZFB600. Yes, this is the second appearance of the storied “Z the Zebra Car.” If you recall, at the end of “Satan Place,” it was revealed Max won the car in a raffle of all the Chief’s stuff.

Now, if you’ve watched this episode during a heavily edited syndication cycle that shuffled Get Smart into a different order, *coughNickatNitecough* then you would just assume the Chief is assigning Max a new car for the heck of it.

Z the Zebra Car makes a cameo appearance in "Our Man in Leotards."

Max, by the way, would have preferred “Z the Zebra Car” had come in the color tan. Special to this episode, the car’s horn mechanism operates two 52-caliber machine guns mounted in the radiator. It’s also equipped with a radar tracking device and can transmit an emergency signal. Sticker price: $32,000.

We observe two other details at the beginning of this episode after the Immobilo is stolen from Control’s lab. One, Robert Karvelas appears and is given a line and a name – Saunders. Later in season one he’ll have a new identity: Larabee. Secondly, we get to watch Max try to leap Control’s security fence in a single bound. He claims to have been the three-time winner of the spy school gold medal for high jumping.

In the process of foiling Naharana’s plot to stop the Pinerovian and U.S. ambassadors from signing a trade pact, this episode provides multiple comedic bits:

• The lab scene. Max makes a few messes – one was picking up the wrong test tubes when the Chief’s test tube phone rang and the other involved injecting the Chief with Immobilo

Always concerned with keeping conversations secure, Max advises they have their discussion in a foreign language. After rejecting French and arguing over Swahili, they settle on English.

Chief: How about English?
Max: OK, but don’t go too fast.

The discussion is finally held in a firing range.

• The bass drum. Naharana and Julio go into the instrument room to have a private chat while Max slices open the back of a bass drum and hides in it. What results is Naharana detailing his motives – not that we’re paying attention to that. I mean, how can we when Max is making all those ridiculous faces. As mentioned in a past blog, Don Adams has been described as a facial actor. He takes this to the next level in this scene.

99: Max, what did you find out?
Max: I found out something very important, 99. A human being can’t live in a bass drum.

• That is a dancer! Max jabs a member of Naharana’s troupe with Immobilo and swipes his clothes. Unfortunately he fails to perform when tested. He finds himself crashing into into a door and blows his cover.

In the end Max saves the day during Naharana’s temper tantrum about “decadent democracies” by sticking him with the Immobilo laced pen meant for Don Hernando. For his good work he’s awarded the “Legion of Honor” — well, at least temporarily. Somehow he manages to inject everyone in the room with Immobilo — including 99.

Yes, now we get to that scene!

Seeing that 99’s paralyzed with Immobilo, Max plants a kiss on her check, but it really doesn’t count since she not conscious and can’t feel it. He then takes it one step further. He tilts her head, kisses her again and jabs himself with Immobilo. All that’s left is speculation on what happened next.

Watch for: Max’s bit in the bass drum and the infamous Immobilo kiss.

Max plants a kiss on 99. She's not moved - because she can't move.

Footnotes:
• Aside from the pilot episode, this is the only other episode written by Get Smart creator Mel Brooks.
• Australian actor Michael Pate played many a villain. His credits include Hondo with John Wayne, a number of TV westerns and an episode of Mission Impossible.
• French-born character actor Robert Carricart played Pepe Cordoza in the TV series T.H.E. Cat. He appeared in many other TV shows including in an episode of Mission Impossible.
• Nestor Paiva’s acting career goes back to the late 1930s. He was best known for his role as innkeeper Teo Gonzales in Disney’s Zorro series.
• John Stephenson’s voice is probably familiar to many a child of the 1970s and 1980s. He may be most well-known as the voice of Mr. Slate on The Flintstones. His other credits include: Scooby-Doo, The Transformers, The Jetsons, InHumanoids, G.I. Joe and The Littles. And he was in an episode of Mission Impossible.
• Edward Colmans appeared in all kinds of TV westerns. He made another appearance in Get Smart in the second season episode “Viva Smart.” He also appeared in Mission Impossible.
• Robert J. Stevenson made repeated appearances on Have Gun-Will Travel, Bonanza and Rawhide.
• There may be an inconsistency. Naharana calls the pact a mutual trade pact and later in the episode Don Hernando calls it mutual aid pact.

Glick meter: When 99 suggests a hiding place in the bass drum, Max insists on handling the matter himself.

Oh Max meter: After a handful of episodes with pursed lips and purrs, 99 finally gets a kiss from Max. Too bad she probably didn’t remember it.

Control Agents: Windish, Saunders and Hodgkins is referred to

Kaos Agents: The episode doesn’t really indicate that Emilio Naharana and Julio are Kaos guys. Instead they represent a faction that is not favorable to the U.S. government. Naharana reveals his goal is to overthrow the Pinerovian government by keeping the people poor, tired and hungry.

Gadgets: Test Tube Phone, Hypodermic Ring (contains a few doses of Immobilo), Immobilo, Thermos Phone, Mustache Kit, Compact Phone and the ZFB600

Episode Locations: Pinerovian Embassy

Don Adams shows us why human beings can't live in bass drums.

The Old Jealous Spy Trick

The generals and the admiral react to Red Cloud's threat of war.

Episode Six
Washington 4, Indians 3 (original air date: 10-23-65)
Cast: Red Cloud – Anthony Caruso, White Cloud – Adele Palacios, Air Force General (Fred) -Willis Bouchey, Admiral (Harry) – William Zuckert, Army General Custer – Donald Curtis, Agent 43 – Monroe Arnold, Bridegroom – Armand Alzamora, Green Meadows – Barry Russo, Blue Skies – Roberto Contreras, Indian Chief – Robert Karvelas
Director: Richard Donner
Writers: Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso
Producer: Jay Sandrich
Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood

Synopsis: Chief Red Cloud issues an ultimatum to the United States: return all the land to his tribe or a state of war will exist. Max is assigned to infiltrate the tribe and winds up being mistaken for Red Cloud’s future son-in-law.

Max reluctantly follows 99's instructions. White Cloud was not impressed.

My Thoughts: There are a couple themes in this episode to note. The obvious one is this business involving Red Cloud and the “second biggest arrow” Max has ever seen. The idea of this episode seems ridiculous, but in the end it tries to make a point.

Max is wiling away the night shift at Control, his nose in a book on torture, when Agent 43 phones in with Red Cloud’s threat of war.

Ignoring that it’s the wee hours of the morning, Max takes command and calls a Maximum Mobilization Alert. In the process, he manages to wake up the Joint Chiefs of Staff -except for the Marine Corps general who has three weeks of leave.

The military leaders had a few ideas on the matter – namely saturation bombing of Arizona. They also mulled giving the country back to the tribe – or at least offering them New Jersey.

What I do find interesting about that scene is that while the generals are still buttoning their coats, the admiral is decked out in the uniform for a formal evening event. Perhaps the night was still young for him. Hmm…

Depending on which syndicated version you watched, parts of this episode ended up being cut — most notably the bit about the giant arrow landing in the west wing of the White House.

GS had a habit of subtly touching on social issues, hence the conversation Max had when he tried to talk Red Cloud out of launching the massive arrow:

Max: Let’s think of the past -when you ruled the great plains with your buffalo… and then came our settlers… and then our soldiers.
Red Cloud: (gives an offended look)
Max: Maybe we’d better forget about the past. The present, that’s what counts. Look what we’ve given you in the present – these nice tiny little reservations.
Red Cloud: (shoots Max another offended look)
Max: Let’s talk about the future, Red Cloud. If we take the promises of the past and join them with the polices of the present, then there’s only one thing left to say…Let ‘er rip, Red Cloud.

In other matters, this episode is considered to be the point where we see that 99 has a crush on Max. Although, every previous episode had the pair experience a failed kiss attempt. Also, there were already moments where 99 has slid up to Max and engaged in a bit of eye-batting and such.

Nevertheless, 99’s displeasure at Max being mistaken for White Cloud’s fiance is funny. Certainly 99 is not amused at the situation and when Max asks how to woo White Cloud, she instructs him to kiss the girl on the elbow.

As usual, 99 intervenes at the critical moment – well 15 minutes away from critical – and barges into Red Cloud’s tent with guns blazing. 99 orders everyone to back off. Then she glares at White Cloud.

99: You! Get furthest away!

Watch for: Check out Red Cloud’s tepees – one has all kinds of electronic do-dads and the other looks like a 1960s living room – complete with TV. This episode also gives us a New Jersey joke.

Footnotes:

A jealous 99 barks a command at Max.

• Richard Donner went on to direct the likes of Superman, The Oman and Lethal Weapon. He also directed another Get Smart episode, “Our Man in Leotards.”
• Uncredited, Robert Karvelas appears as a chief on the war council
• A fellow Hoosier, Anthony Caruso typically played villains, Italians, Indians, Arabs, Persians, Mexicans, Latinos and Native Americans. He played Bele in the Star Trek episode “A Piece of the Action” and Leonard Morgan in the Mission Impossible episode “Shape-Up.”
• Willis Bouchey appeared in numerous films and TV series. He was a favorite of director John Ford, appearing a number of his films, including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
• Character actor William Zuckert got his start in radio. He went on to have parts in such movies as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Hang ‘Em High. He also appeared as the Star Trek episode “Spectre of the Gun.”
• Donald Curtis’ acting credits include The Ten Commandments. He was also known as a writer and lecturer on Indian religions.
• Monroe Arnold appeared in the movie Fitzwilly which starred Barbara Feldon.
• Barry Russo had parts in scores of TV shows in the 60s and 70s. Yes, he was on Star Trek twice – in “The Ultimate Computer” and “The Devil in the Dark.” He was also in a handful of Mission Impossible episodes.
• Roberto Contreras, known for playing Pedro in the High Chaparral, also appeared in such films as Scarface and Topaz. And… he too was in a handful of Mission Impossible episodes.

Glick meter: Max spends a bit of time dwelling on the fact that everyone had three weeks of vacation but him.

Oh Max meter: 99 declares that 86 is worth two 43s.
Control Agents: Agent 43 and mentioned: Forsythe, Harrison and Saunders

Kaos Agents: None

Gadgets: Micro Camera, Electric Snake, Tiny Radio Receivers, Saddle Transmitter and a book on Indian Lore.

Episode Locations: Red Cloud’s remote reservation in Arizona

Yes, that's Robert Karvelas doing an uncredited photobomb behind Red Cloud.