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Get Smart ran from September 1965 until September 1970 on NBC and CBS.
James Bond would have turned over in his grave. Here was secret agent Maxwell Smart, agent 86 ( played by Don Adams), willing but inept, enthusiastic but confused, somehow stumbling through to defeat the evil agents of K.A.O.S.who, led by their mastermind Siegfried ( Bernie Kopell), and his assistant Starker ( King Moody), planned to take over the world. Max worked for " the Chief" ( Edward Platt), head of the Washington based U.S. Intelligence Agency C.O.N.T.R.O.L. and had a beautiful and brilliant young partner known as Agent 99( Barbara Feldon).Love blossomed and this mismatched pair married during the 1968-1969 season. During the next season after the show had moved from NBC to CBS, 99 gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl.
Other's in the cast included Agent 13 ( Dave Ketchum); Professor Carlson( Stacy Keach, Sr.); Hymie, the C.O.N.T.R.O.L. robot ( Dick Gautier); Agent 44 ( Victor French); and Larabee ( Robert Karvelas).
Get Smart was a sophomoric, but highly successful spoof of the secret agent genre that had been spawned by James Bond movies of the 1960's, and was probably typified by Max's pet expression " Would You Believe?"-used whenever an agent of K.A.O.S. or someone on his own side didn't seem to accept one of his fabrications and he was trying to come up with a more acceptable alternative. That catchphrase became very popular with young people in the late 1960's.
One of the most frequently asked questions about the series was " What was 99's real name?" In at least one episode she was referred to as Susan Hilton. However elsewhere it was suggested that this was not her real name. Leave it to Mel Brooks ( who created this series along with Buck Henry), to keep us guessing.
An Article from Time Magazine
Friday, Oct. 15, 1965
Among television's vast lexicon of unwritten rules there are three inviolable tenets: 1) don't offend minority groups—they write letters; 2) don't tell sick jokes—they offend critics; 3) don't knock the hero—the audience identifies with him. Failure to obey these laws is punishable by death—for the show, and sometimes for the career of the creator. The result, inevitably, is a season like the present one—limp scripts and look-alike actors, the halt leading the bland.
No wonder then that the industry is confounded by the outsized success of NBC's Get Smart! Thumbing its nose at the rule book, Smart features an impossibly stupid hero, and deformed and sometimes nonwhite villains. Yet it is near the top of the ratings.
Karate Chop. Get Smart! began as a product of groupthink when Talent Associates saw The Man from U.N.C.L.E. rising on the ratings and shrewdly suspected that the Bondwagon had room for one more. They commissioned Old Pro Mel Brooks (The 2,000-Year-Old Man) and Young Pro Buck (TW3) Henry to hack out a script about a fumbling hero. Instead, Brooks and Henry decided to make him a bumbling zero. Brooks recalls, "I was sick of looking at all those nice sensible situation comedies. They were such distortions of life. If a maid ever took over my house like Hazel, I'd set her hair on fire. I wanted to do a crazy, unreal comic-strip kind of thing about something besides a family. No one had ever done a show about an idiot before. I decided to be the first." The idiot is Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, played by reformed Stand-Up Comic Don Adams. Smart has little piggy eyes, a voice that sounds like a jigsaw on slate, and a perpetual self-satisfied smirk. When challenged, he is too dumb to panic, bluffs fluently: "Would you believe that I can break eight boards with one karate chop? No? Would you believe three boards? Would you believe a loaf of bread?"
Mother Hate. His enemies—other than his left foot and his right foot—are the kind of men who are more often rubbed out by network censors than by heroes. The first episode featured a villainous dwarf, the second a one-armed Chinese (The Claw) with a magnetized prosthesis. When he asked Smart, "Do you know what they call me?" Smart thought it over, replied: "Lefty?"
Brooks and Henry originally took Smart to ABC, where network officials pronounced the script "too wild" and demanded a lovable dog to give the show more heart. Brooks and Henry went back and perversely put in a cowardly, mangy, wheezy dog that chased cars and bit strangers. "The executive who read the script, I'm told, screamed, 'It's un-American!' " recalls Henry. Adds Brooks: "They wanted to put a print housecoat on the show. Max was to come home to his mother and explain everything. I hate mothers on shows. Max has no mother. He never had one."
Everyone in the industry has his own pet theory for the show's success. Some believe that Smart is like one of his enemies, a freak, a mutation that has no ancestors and will have no descendants. Others feel that he is the first eccentric ripple in a new wave of insane, absurd television comedy. If they are right, by next season the screen will be Smarting with maimed heavies and mentally defective detectives. And so it will go, until one day someone looking for Big Money in television comes up with a new idea: "People are tired of crazy, improbable situation comedies. How about a show with a nice normal middle-class family. Only they have this maid, see? And she tries to take over . . ."
To read Edward Platt's Obituary go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=DzhgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KnANAAAAIBAJ&dq=get%20smart%20edward%20platt&pg=6142%2C1689122
Don Adam's Obituary
Updated: 8:20 p.m. ET Sept. 26, 2005
Actor Don Adams dead at 82
Played secret agent Maxwell Smart in ‘Get Smart’
LOS ANGELES - Don Adams, the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the fumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s TV spoof of James Bond movies, “Get Smart,” has died. He was 82.
Adams died of a lung infection late Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his friend and former agent Bruce Tufeld said Monday, adding that the actor broke his hip a year ago and had been in ill health since.
As the inept Agent 86 of the super-secret federal agency CONTROL, Adams captured TV viewers with his antics in combatting the evil agents of KAOS. When his explanations failed to convince the villains or his boss, he tried another tack:
“Would you believe ... ?”
It became a national catchphrase.
Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of his boss — the Chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart’s apologetic “Sorry about that, chief” also entered the American lexicon.
The spy gadgets, which aped those of the Bond movies, were a popular feature, especially the pre-cellphone telephone in a shoe.
Smart’s beautiful partner, Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon, was as brainy as he was dense, and a plot romance led to marriage and the birth of twins later in the series.
“He had this prodigious energy, so as an actor working with him it was like being plugged into an electric current,” Feldon said from New York. “He would start and a scene would just take off and you were there for the ride. It was great fun acting with him.”
Adams was very intelligent, she said, a quality that suited the satiric show that had comedy geniuses Mel Brooks and Buck Henry behind it.
“He wrote poetry, he had an interest in history ... He had that other side to him that does not come through Maxwell Smart,” she said. “Don in person was anything but bumbling.”
Adams had an “amazing memory” that allowed him to take an unusual approach to filming, Feldon said.
Instead of learning his lines ahead of time he would have a script assistant read his part to him just once or twice. He invariably got it right but that didn’t stop people from placing bets on it, she recounted.
Adams, who had been under contract to NBC, was lukewarm about doing a spy spoof. When he learned that Brooks and Henry had written the pilot script, he accepted immediately. “Get Smart” debuted on NBC in September 1965 and scored No. 12 among the season’s most-watched series and No. 22 in its second season.
“Get Smart” twice won the Emmy for best comedy series with three Emmys for Adams as comedy actor.
After four seasons on NBC, CBS picked up the show but the ratings fell off as the jokes became repetitive and it was canceled in 1970 after just one year. The show lived on in syndication and a cartoon series. In 1995 the Fox network revived the series with Smart as chief and 99 as a congresswoman. It lasted seven episodes.
Fought at Guadalcanal, voiced Inspector Gadget
Adams never had another showcase to display his comic talent.
“It was a special show that became a cult classic of sorts, and I made a lot of money for it,” he remarked of “Get Smart” in a 1995 interview. “But it also hindered me career-wise because I was typed. The character was so strong, particularly because of that distinctive voice, that nobody could picture me in any other type of role.”
He was born Donald James Yarmy in New York City on April 13, 1923, Tufeld said, although some sources say 1926 or ’27. The actor’s father was a Hungarian Jew who ran a few small restaurants in the Bronx.
In a 1959 interview Adams said he never cared about being funny as a kid: “Sometimes I wonder how I got into comedy at all. I did movie star impressions as a kid in high school. Somehow they just got out of hand.”
In 1941, he dropped out of school to join the Marines. In Guadalcanal he survived the deadly blackwater fever and was returned to the States to become a drill instructor, acquiring the clipped delivery that served him well as a comedian.
After the war he worked in New York as a commercial artist by day, doing standup comedy in clubs at night, taking the surname of his first wife, Adelaide Adams. His following grew, and soon he was appearing on the Ed Sullivan and late-night TV shows. Bill Dana, who had helped him develop comedy routines, cast him as his sidekick on Dana’s show. That led to the NBC contract and “Get Smart.”
Adams, who married and divorced three times and had seven children, served as the voice for the popular cartoon series, “Inspector Gadget” as well as the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo. In 1980, he appeared as Maxwell Smart in a feature film, “The Nude Bomb,” about a madman whose bomb destroyed people’s clothing.
Adams’ survivors include six of his children; a sister; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Tufeld said funeral arrangements were incomplete.
© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
To read some articles about Get Smart go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=CP4cAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EZsEAAAAIBAJ&dq=get%20smart%20don%20adams&pg=6119%2C2934219 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=a-NUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=cjwNAAAAIBAJ&dq=get%20smart%20don%20adams&pg=1945%2C23959 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=vWtBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=HqkMAAAAIBAJ&dq=get%20smart%20don%20adams&pg=5406%2C3777600 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=KIUiAAAAIBAJ&sjid=A6oFAAAAIBAJ&dq=get%20smart%20don%20adams&pg=4129%2C1330151
To watch some clips from Get Smart go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=get+smart+tv+show
For an episode guide go to http://ctva.biz/US/Comedy/GetSmart.htm
For a Website dedicated to Get Smart go to http://www.ilovegetsmart.com/
For two great reviews of Get Smart go to www.museum.tv/archives/etv/G/htmlG/getsmart/getsmart.htm and www.televisionheaven.co.uk/smart.htm and
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Keywords: Get Smart