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GET SMART

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Full Name: Maxwell Smart
Codename: Agent 86
Nationality: American
Organization: Control
Occupation Agent

Creator: William Johnston
Time Span: 1965 - 2008

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Maxwell Smart is an agent for CONTROL.
       In September, 1965, Buck Henry and Mel Brooks gave the world Maxwell Smart and with him a wealth of one-liners and an amusing look at a subject that could use a good ribbing. Initially it was ABC who heard the concept and okayed taking it to the pilot stage, even though it would be NBC followed by CBS that actually would air the series.
       When Brooks and Henry approached ABC, they were given the go-ahead for a pilot. Hiring Tom Poston to play Maxwell Smart, they created the pilot and took it back to the network which deemed it not funny enough and rejected it.
       Still believing in their idea, the pair next went to NBC who saw things differently and accepted the show. The only change they requested was in the starring role. Don Adams had been quite popular in the several parts he had played in NBC comedies and the network wanted him to get a shot at lead.
       The show was zany and unafraid to try the wackiest things. Agents hiding inside trees and garbage cans, a perpetually-failing 'dome of silence', shoe phones, finger guns, and a knock-out colleague with no real name. These were many of the sillinesses that please audiences for 138 regular episodes from 1965 to 1970, one feature movine ('The Nude Bomb'), and a reunion movie in 1989
       Maxwell Smart was legendary in the espionage field. Respected by his fellow agents as well as his opponents, he succeeded in assignments that would have easily foiled lesser agents. Would you believe ....
       Smart worked for an intelligence agency named CONTROL. His main job in that agency was to combat the nefarious plots by the evil organization named KAOS to take over the world. (Note that neither names were actually acronyms although both were always written as though they were.)
       He was an expert marksman, a deadly karate expert, a renowned lady's man, and a man with an uncanny nose for trouble. At least, he got close to those things. Missed by that much.
       Most importantly about Smart is the fact that he works closely with 99. Played by the delectable Barbara Feldon, this highly intelligent and extremely resourceful woman usually the reason that Agent 86 survived the loony things he attempted. Nevertheless, she adored Smart and was happy to continue to work beside him even though he invariably hogged the credit. Eventually she would even marry him and raise two children with him. Amazing patience!

BOOKS

Number of Books:9
First Appearance:1965
Last Appearance:1969

1 Get Smart! Get Smart!
Written by William Johnston
Copyright: 1965

A young woman named Rose, a checker at a local grocery, had created the world's most sophisticated computer while trying to put together one from a kit and not liking the directions. It decided to walk out on her. Now Max is in a race with agents from FLAG to find it first.

2 Sorry, Chief ... Sorry, Chief ...
Written by William Johnston
Copyright: 1966

Aided by both 99 and Fang, Maxwell Smart is sent out to locate the elusive Dr. X, inventor of an invisibility formula. Wanting to blend in on a cruise across the Atlantic, Max assumes the role of a space scientist as he competes with KAOS in locating six missing and invisible guinea pigs that prove the formula does work.

3 Get Smart Once Again Get Smart Once Again
Written by William Johnston
Copyright: 1966

There was only one copy of the KAOS Dooms Day Plan and CONTROL has it. Unfortunately, they won't know what exactly it is until Miss Twelvetrees is able to break the code. Since the KAOS master spy, I. M. Noman, is said to be after her and the Plan, Max is assigned the task of safeguarding her until the code is cracked.

4 Max Smart And The Perilous Pellets Max Smart And The Perilous Pellets
Written by William Johnston
Copyright: 1966

CONTROL is in possession of KAOS's Little Black Book containing the locations of all major bases and identities of all known agents. Unfortunately, KAOS has the same book belonging to CONTROL. Each has the ability to bring down the other but who will get there first?

5 Missed It By That Much! Missed It By That Much!
Written by William Johnston
Copyright: 1967

Max and 99 are sent on their most perilous mission to date, deep in the heart of Africa where they must find and save Dr. Livingston, inventor of the secret formula 'Brassica Oleracia-212' before KAOS can get to him, obtain the formula, and use it to take over the world.

6 And Loving It! And Loving It!
Written by William Johnston
Copyright: 1967

An Indian snake-charmer learns how to hypnotize anyone into believing anything. Both CONTROL and KAOS want him on their side. Unfortunately, he wants on neither side and has the power to keep it that way. Max and 99 must join forces with a KAOS agent but can anyone trust anyone?

7 The Spy Who Went Out To The Cold The Spy Who Went Out To The Cold
Written by William Johnston
Copyright: 1968

Max and 99 are given the task of escorting Professor Wormser von BOOM to a secret lab at the North Pole but, in the interests of security, they must take a bizarre route to throw off the KAOS agents after him. This means heading into the Sahara, traveling the Nile, and even visiting Russia.

8 Max Smart Loses Control Max Smart Loses Control
Written by William Johnston
Copyright: 1968

Agent 99 and Hymie the Robot were on an assignment against two KAOS agents, Ways and Means, when Hymie is captured and brainwashed. It is Max's duty to find the errant robot and return him to CONTROL.

9 Max Smart & The Ghastly Ghost Max Smart & The Ghastly Ghost
Written by William Johnston
Copyright: 1969

When Max and 99 are assigned the job of trailing several top KAOS assassins to a secret convention, they find themselves on a train where the passengers are disappearing with great rapiditiy. KAOS is certainly at work but to what end and can Max find the answer before he vanishes himself.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:3
First Appearance:1980
Last Appearance:2008

1 The Nude Bomb The Nude Bomb
Also known as The Return of Maxwell Smart
Director: Clve Donner
Writers: Arne Sultan, Bill Dana, Leonard Stern
Actors: Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Sylvia Kristel as Agent 34, Rhonda Fleming as Edith Von Secondberg, Dana Elcar as Chief
Released: 1980

The Control team goes after a terrorist with a bomb that destroys clothing. Maxwell Smart is pulled from retirement to help. This was planned to be a tv-movie but the changed to a theatrical release and then soon was shown on tv.

2 Get Smart, Again! Get Smart, Again!
Released: 1989

Agents 86 and 99 are brought back again from retirement because KAOS is back as well, this time with a weather machine causing trouble.

3 Get Smart Get Smart
Director: Peter Segal
Writers: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember
Actors: Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart, Anne Hathaway as Agent 99, Dwayne Johnson as Agent 23, Alan Arkin as The Chief, Terence Stamp as Siegfried, Bill Murray as Agent 13
Released: 2008

Maxwell Smart is quite intelligent but hardly the dashing, sophisticated agent he would like to be. He has to learn fast to stop a terrorist attack by a Russian spy organization.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:138
First Appearance:1965
Last Appearance:1995
Network:CBS/NBC

REGULAR CAST
Don AdamsMaxwell Smart [ 1=5 ]
Barbara FeldonAgent 99 [ 1=5 ]
Edward PlattChief [ 1=5 ]
Robert KarvelasLarabee [ 1=5 ]

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:8
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1969

       Dell and Gold Key were two competing comic book publishers that loved to capitalize on popular television shows, creating comic books to tie-in with them. In the summer of 1966, a year after the viewing public was introduced to Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, Dell came out with 8 issues featuring the bombastic spy.
       To be more accurate, there were 7 original stories presented from June, 1966 to August, 1967 with the 8th issue being a reprint of the first coming two years later.

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MY COMMENTS

       If you weren't an avid fan of the television series, there is no reason to read these nine adventures and, even if you are, there really isn't that much of a reason. The writing is fun, the humor certainly there, and the characters were totally true to the small screen images. Still, without an affection for the show, they are not for most people.
       The biggest reason, I would say, is that the enjoyment of Get Smart was really watching Don Adams be Maxwell Smart. The expressions he would make. The gestures and the one-liners and the silly way he tried so hard to be as good as he thought he was. Reading about it only works if you can see him in your mind and that isn't quite the same thing.
       That and there is no way any author could do justice to the beauty and grace and indescribable quality that was the lovely Barbara Feldon, a woman who made 99 equal a 10.

GRADE

My Grade: C+

YOUR OPINIONS

Andy Boot - 5/9/2013 11:44:30 PM

Now here's an odd thing. I grew up in London in the early 1970's. I'd never seen Get Smart, but the newstand around the corner from where I lived had a hell of a lot of US paperbacks, mostly a few years old, that had been imported cheaply as ballast (not that I knew this at the time). I read them indiscrminately, picking them up on nothing other than a whim. I was seven when I read my first Get Smart, and most of them followed in quick order. I loved the humour, loved the characters, and loved the style - I'd never seen anything like the way Johnston cuts to dialogue, shifts scenes, plays with the medium. Of course, in later years I realised this was nothing new. I've read a lot of them in those later years, and stil like them, though time has not served them that well. But here's the odd thing - when I finally did see the TV show and the reunion movie, I didn't like them as much as the books simply because I'd made up my own Max Smart in my head at seven, and although Don is a brilliant comic, how could he ever match that??


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