I hadn't seen "Get Smart" since the 1960s but I must say it hasn't lost any of its' humour or inventiveness.Sprung from the fertile minds of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry this award winning series still packs a humourous punch.
The series quickly put into the /60s pop culture dictionary four main catch-phrases:
"Would you believe?","Sorry about that Chief","Missed it by that much(with the accompanying index finger over the thumb) and ".....and loving it".Fact is I find myself to this day periodically saying one of these phrases.I'm not sure what that says about me OR the show(:-)) but that is the impact it had,and it still does.
The show is a huge send up of the then popular spy genre/Cold War theme then front and center, courtesy of Sean Connery and the Bond pictures.
It involves the exploits of one Maxwell Smart,Agent 86,played absolutely brilliantly by Don Adams and his fellow agent,Agent 99,done by Barbara Feldon.Somehow Max in the end manages to solve the cases he is assigned to but more often than not,it is usually in spite of himself.In the process he often sends his beloved chief,played by Edward Platt,into fits of apoplexy,or in the very least supplies him with numerous and recurring headaches!
It is not very hard also to spot alot of Stan Laurel-like facial expressions and reactions in Adam's character,along with many similar gags used throughout the series;which helps explains why the material over all has stood the test of time.And not too surprising to see Laurel and Hardys' influence there as they were hugely popular on TV at that time.
The series won an Emmy Award in its' very first year with the two part ep "The Ship of Spies";a take off on the 15th Century book/allegorical story "A Ship of Fools".
For those that think this show is a continuous running series of gags and other comedy routines,will be shocked to realize that there are many serious or semi-serious moments that occur throughout.However we know,as the creators remind us subtly and not so subtly,that it is all done tongue in cheek so there is no mistaking what you are watching.
One very funny and recurring set of gags to watch out for throughout this series is Max's dealings with the various devices and paraphernalia he is given to thwart his evil CHAOS opponents with and the many items he talks into which are subbing as phones.The humour is very visual,it can be subtle,but it's always hilarious.
These shows have all been digitally remastered and the transfers are well done.Each ep has an introductory blurb spoken by actress Barbara Feldon(Agent 99) herself(with the option of listening or going right to the ep);like Robert Conrad in the first season of "The Wild,Wild West".However I hope,unlike the "Wild,Wild West",that Ms. Feldon will continue her spoken intros throughout the series to come.It was so nice to hear her voice.
The original b&w 1/2 hour pilot is also included here;with the rest of the eps all in colour.This is another first for me as I had never seen any of these shows in colour until I viewed them in this set.And the contrast and the colour itself are like they were shot just yesterday.Wonderful.
For anyone of you who have read some of my reviews you will have noticed that since the beginning I have stressed and made special mention of any show that pertains to being of a"family" nature;that is those that are suitable for family viewing,a rare commodity these days.Well lo and behold for the first time anywhere that I have seen,the back jacket blurb to this set mentions this show as one perfect for "families".Are the companies finally catching up? I fervently hope so.I also hope it continues to be a trend.As there are no shows anymore that an entire family can sit down and watch together without fear of a sexual reference or bad language,a show like "Get Smart" is the perfect tonic for our times.Universal humour that the whole family can watch,laugh and enjoy TOGETHER.What a concept!