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13 Top-Secret Facts About Get Smart

Get Smart was the comedic brainchild of the legendary Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. It took a satirical look at the spy vs. spy style secret agent genre that was popular for its time. The television series air from 1965 to 1970 during the height of the Cold War. It strikes a chord with audiences, not only for being timely but also for being pure comedic gold.

Don Adams draws upon characters like Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther series. James Bond to become Agent 86 AKA Max Smart. He’s a bit of a bumbling mess at times but his heart is in the right place. He always manages to save the day.

Barbara Feldon plays Agent 99, Max’s level-headed partner who proves time and time again to be more competent than him. The two still make a great team, though. The show focuses on the duo taking down bad guys and defending the world from various threats.

Agent 86 and 99 both work for CONTROL, a secretive counterintelligence agency ran by the United States Government. The malevolent KAOS is described as an “international organization of evil” and is the main adversarial group of CONTROL.

Two recurring KAOS agents, Herr Siegfried and his sniveling sidekick Shtarker are 86 and 99’s archenemies.

Facts Verse Presents: 13 Top-Secret Facts about Get Smart

Let’s take a closer look at the TV show that made us all wish our shoe was also a phone. We’re going to reveal several facts you never knew about the beloved classic Get Smart. So get ready to get smarter, and don’t forget to like this video and subscribe to our channel. It doesn’t take a secret agent to tap the bell icon and turn on notifications.

Max drove several stellar cars for the show

If you’ve ever seen a James Bond film then you know that any respectable secret agent needs to have a fancy car – or an entire fleet of them. Max didn’t deviate from that trend.

If you watch the opening credits, you can catch him cruising around in a bright red Sunbeam convertible. In the opening pilot, he can be spotted in a Ferrari 250 GT PF Spider Cabriolet. That particular car has been sold at auctions for well over 10 million dollars in modern times.

In season three he drove a beautiful blue Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. In the following season, he’s looking mighty sleek rolling around in both a Citreon as well as a Ford Mustang.

Season five came with a Buick licensing partnership that put Max behind the wheel of an Opel GT. There is no denying the fact that Agent 86 was always driving something fast, flashy, or fancy and why wouldn’t he?

Tom Poston was almost cast as Max Smart

The tall pasty comic that you know from shows like Grace Under Fire, Mork and Mindy, and Newhart almost landed the role of Maxwell Smart. ABC is trying to purge some elements of the show. They feel somewhat ‘un-American’ but Mel Brooks didn’t see what the big deal was. He wasn’t willing to compromise. He expressed major opposition to “printing a housecoat” on the show as he put it just to appease network executives.

Tom was still in consideration for the part, however, until the show switched networks and was handed over to NBC. Poston’s career wouldn’t suffer greatly as he would go on to star in literally dozens of sitcoms and films. Still, It’s extremely difficult to imagine him as Max Smart.

Andy Warhol used Barbara Feldon’s likeness for his pop art

Andy Warhol made oodles of art other than just colorful cans of Campbell’s soup. In March 1966, Warhol commissions to do a series of fashionable pop art pieces with Barbara Feldon as the focus. The series was published in a multi-page spread in TV Guide. You see, Agent 99 was a bit of a looker and had become a cultural icon. In addition to the Warhol cover, she would be featured on the cover of TV Guides 6 times.

Mel Brooks is one of the greatest Comedic directors and screenwriters of our lifetime. He is a living legend. What would the world of cinema be without classics like Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles? Even back in the 60s before he makes his biggest contributions to TV and cinema. He is famous for his giggle-inducing hijinks and big-name comedians are pining to be on Get Smart.

A laundry list of A-List comedians ended up guest starring on the show including Carol Burnett, Bob Hope, Don Rickles, Steve Allen, Regis Philbin, and even Leonard Nimoy.

Fang the dog got fired from the show

Remember when we were talking about how network executives wanted to mellow out the show and give it a more mellow outer image? One suggestion that was heeded was the addition of a dog. Brooks chose a shaggy dog that had somewhat of a perma-snarl kind of thing going on.

Dogs and other animal actors are notoriously expensive to direct because you need specialized trainers and staff available at all times. Despite looking cute as a button next to Agent 86 and Agent 99, Fang the dog was written off the show relatively abruptly. Don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe to our channel!

CONTROL and KAOS were not actually acronyms

Fans tried to figure out what the two organizations names stood for years, assuming that they were written in all caps because they were acronyms for something super secret and official. In fact, they are uppercase for stylizing purposes and had no deeper meaning other than to indicate the good-guys representing balance and ‘control’, while the bad-guys stood for ‘chaos’ and destruction.

Johnny Carson made 2 guest appearances

Everyone’s favorite talk show host showed up on two episodes of Get Smart. In the episode ‘Aboard the Orient Express” he played the train conductor and in the episode “The King Lives?” he played the King’s trusty herald.

Agent 99’s real name remains a mystery

Even though we know Agent 86’s name – Max Smart – from the get-go, we never get clued in on Agent 99’s true identity. That added layer of mystery adds to her sultry appeal. There is one episode where she goes by the name Saran Hilton, but we find out later on that it was an alias

In season 4 however, she and Max get married so it’s safe to assume we can refer to her as Mrs. Smart. Still, fan theories abound despite the fact that we’ll never get closer to knowing the truth.

In an episode titled “A Man Called Smart”, Max calls 99 “Ernestine”. She replies cheekily, “That’s the first time you’ve called me Ernestine — If only it was my name!” So, that name is out too.

Agent 99 was the very first Mother on a sitcom with a job

Back in those days, it was the norm for TV Moms to be stay-at-home housewives as their husbands went out into the world and became the breadwinners. After season 4, when Max and 99 got married and had twins, she didn’t suddenly quit her professional life as a counterintelligence agent working for CONTROL to focus on domestic life. She continued working and thus made history as being the first mother on a situational comedy show to keep her career after having kids.

It might not seem like a big deal today but for the time, it was a major social statement.

Get Smart was somewhat responsible for the smartphone

No, the show didn’t specifically debut the smartphone as we know it today, but one of the recurring motifs of the show was to feature phones built into a wide range of everyday objects as a means of stealthily communicating sensitive information back to headquarters.

Numerous mundane items doubled as wireless communication devices at a time when all phones were tethered to lines and cables. Maxwell routinely used his necktie, gun, fingernail, eyeglasses watch, and most famously his shoe as a wireless phone. Although all of those double-uses couldn’t be defined as apps per se, the show certainly was ahead of its time, just like Star Trek was with their communication devices.

Don Adams was also Inspector Gadget

If you ever got around to watching the 1980’s cartoon series Inspector Gadget, you probably noticed quite a few similarities to the plot of Get Smart. Agent 99 is basically replaced by Penny and her dog, Agent 86 is the cyborg inspector himself and KAOS became the evil M.A.D. organization. Even some of the catchphrases from Get Smart were brought over to the animated classic.

One major overlap between the show that you may not have realized is that Don Adams actually used the nasal voice of Gadget and intentionally incorporated many elements of his previous work into this new adventure.

Get Smart aired on 4 major networks

So the series got its start on NBC for the first four seasons and then by the 5th season, it moved to CBS for the finale. Then in 1989, the cast got back together for a reunion film Get Smart, Again! The film was about Agent 86 and Agent 99 thwarting the sinister plans of KAOS to use weather manipulation to take over the world. It was met with mediocre reviews but it was nice to see Feldon and Adams reunited after so many years.

In 1995, there was a short-lived reboot that aired on Fox. The show bombed and was completely unable to capture the spirit of the original despite having Feldon and Adams reprise their respective roles. Maybe it failed because it featured Andy Dick, who played Agent 99 and Max’s now grown-up son. The show didn’t even attempt to explain what happened to his twin sister.

Don Adams did commercials in character as Max

He wasn’t afraid to use the persona as a side hustle to sling some merchandise. In one memorable White Castle commercial, he used one of Max’s most famous catchphrases to sell fast food.

“Would you believe – you can get a fish sandwich and a regular order of fries for only 99 cents?”

In 2019, investment firm TD Ameritrade began running a commercial entitled “Get Smarter” which featured a frame by frame recreation of Get Smart’s opening credit sequence, paying homage to the original series.

Well, that wraps up our exclusive inside look into all the secrets you never knew about Get Smart. That means it’s time to hear from you! Who was your favorite character on Get Smart? Are you into the sultry, sexy Agent 99, or are you more amused over Agent 86’s bumbling antics? Let us know what you think in the comment section. While you’re at it – if you haven’t already that is – hit the like button and subscribe to our channel! It only takes a second and is the best way for you to show us your support so we can keep bringing you amazing videos like this one!

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