Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


GET SMART Season 3. 1967.

Don Adams and the gang are back as Maxwell Smart and associates in the third season of this popular spy comedy. Bob Kareveles as the dopey Larrabee is given a little more to do, but there seem to be too many episodes when Barbara Feldon as agent 99 shouts to Max "Do Something! Do Something!" and seems completely helpless. Taking a cue from Batman, the show started featuring celebrities in cameos [Joey Bishop, Milton Berle, Robert Kulp, Bill Dana, Danny Thomas, Buddy Hackett etc.]. Ellen Westin appeared irregularly as CONTROL chemist Dr. Steele, whose cover is as a stripper! A little old lady who appears in bit parts or as an extra in many episodes turns out to be Rose Michtom, the aunt of producer Leonard Stern [she's weird but adorable]! Ed Platt is back for another wonderful turn as the Chief.

Memorable episodes of this season include "The Spirit is Willing" with Ina Balin as the "ghost" of a woman killed by KAOS; "That Old Gang of Mine" with Max in London posing as "the Scar" to join a group of robbers and featuring the umbrella of silence [instead of the cone]; "The King Lives" with Max posing as lookalike royalty and with Michael Forest [Adonis on Star Trek] quite effective and striking in a supporting role; and "99 Loses Control," with 99 quitting the spy group to get married to KAOS agent Jacques Bergerac [The Hypnotic Eye]. The best episodes of the season were, arguably: "Classification: Dead" in which a poisoned Max has one day to live [shades of D.O.A.]; "Don't Look Back" with Max framed for murder and on the run from the police; and "The Reluctant Redhead" in which Max trains a non-agent (the excellent Julie Sommars) to impersonate the wife of KAOS man Cesar Romero.

The third season may have had fewer "A" episodes than seasons one and two, but the series was still entertaining and amusing and the writers did their best to come up with some intriguing plot lines, although there was a little too much repeating of certain jokes and gags that weren't that funny the first time around. [With all the "story editors" and "associate producers" on TV shows you would think this could be avoided!]

Verdict: Hardly for every taste but there's still some life in the misadventures of Maxwell Smart. **1/2. 

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