Get Smart’s 45th, 30th and 21st anniversaries

Would you believe Get Smart has three important anniversaries this year? Would you believe two significant anniversaries and a footnote? How about some minor trivia?

First, this fall is the 45th anniversary of the debut of the spy spoof created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry and starring Don Adams as the bumbling, but ever triumphant CONTROL agent Maxwell Smart.

Get Smart is often described as a James Bond parody but it also owes much to The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which featured the intrepid U.N.C.L.E. versus the mysterious Thrush. The first several episodes of Man showed agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin entering a secret headquarters and going through a series of doors. Get Smart’s title sequence seized upon that and exaggerated it.

The Brooks-Henry pilot scripted pilot established a number of bits that would be repeated throughout the series. One of the best of the best concerned the Cone of Silence:

Get Smart would run five successful seasons (four on NBC, one on CBS) and outlast other 1960s spy favorites including U.N.C.L.E. But you can’t keep a good agent down. So, in 1980, 15 years after his debut, Max made his theatrical movie debut in The Nude Bomb. Universal, which released the film, hired Arne Sultan and Leonard B. Stern, writer-producers on the original series, to help do the script. Don Adams reprised his most famous role. But the studio jettisoned Barbara Feldon as Agent 99 and other characters from the series. Don Black, a frequent 007 songwriter, collaborated with Lalo Schifrin on a title song. The results were mixed. Here are the main titles:

Despite the mixed reaction, nine years later, much of the (surviving) original cast was reunited in a 1989 television movie. This time, the producers sought to emphasize the original source material as much as possible. That’s reflected in the main titles:

A mere two years ago, Maxwell Smart returned to the big screen, courtesy of Steve Carrell. One of the tips of the hat the movie made was to the Brooks-Henry cone of silence:

1967 Emmys: The Apex of ’60s Spy Television

The 1960s were a special time for spy television. And the era may have reached its apex with the 1967 Emmy Awards. Imagine a cocktail party where Cinammon Carter, Rollin Hand, John Steed, Emma Peel, Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 attended.

Well, the Emmys that year had such a feel. Barbara Bain of Mission: Impossible beat out Diana Rigg and Barbara Stanwyck for best dramatic actress. Bain and her then-husband Martin Landau presented the comedy writing award, which was picked up by Get Smart’s Buck Henry and Leonard B. Stern. Meanwhile, M:I creator/executive producer Bruce Geller collected one for his script to the show’s pilot, beating out a Robert Culp script for I Spy. Heck, even the Monkees show up. Take a look:

Would you believe — Get Smart outtakes?

Of course you would. These days, the Internets make almost anything possible.