Original Get Smart holds up well

CanWest News Service
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The episode was called The Tequila Mockingbird, and I dont know that I have ever laughed as hard as I did at that one joke.

The episode was called The Tequila Mockingbird, and I dont know that I have ever laughed as hard as I did at that one joke.

The Tequila Mockingbird came late in Get Smarts TV run, in 1969, long after it had already established itself as one of TVs most prolific wellsprings of popular 60s catchphrases, from Would you believe? and Sorry about that, Chief, to Missed it by THAT much, and ... and LOVING it.

The Tequila Mockingbird followed Maxwell Smart, played with a deft combination of irrepressible energy and wide-eyed naivete by Don Adams, and Agent 99, his too-hip-for-the-room female sidekick, played with just the right amount of street smarts and tireless patience by Barbara Feldon, to Mexico, where they searched for a model sculpture of a black bird believed to contain priceless gems.

If CONTROL representing the forces of justice, truth and freedom for all got its hands on the tequila mockingbird and its valuable gems before KAOS representing the forces of chaos, disorder and Commie pinkos everywhere all would be well with the world.

Get Smart was always smart, despite its surface sitcom trappings of an ever-present laugh track and deliberately sophomoric humour, based on bad puns and slapstick comedy.

But clever, and skewed, aptly describes Get Smarts co-creators, Buck Henry and Mel Brooks. Get Smart was no witless dumbcom: Its writing staff included writers from The Honeymooners, The Ernie Kovacs Show and That Was the Week That Was.

They came up with titles like Satan Place, Survival of the Fattest, Our Man in Leotards, and If Maxwell is So Smart, Why Doesn't He Tell Us Where He Is?

Even now, the shows gadgets the Cone of Silence, the trapdoor entrance in a phone booth, the shoe phone have a kind of innocuous charm to them.

What really stands out, though, is the way Get Smart reflected the paranoia of its day.

It was a sophomoric but successful spoof of the secret-agent genre spawned by James Bond. Its goofs played out against a backdrop of war in Vietnam and street protests around the world.

No matter how good, or not so good, the Steve Carell movie turns out to be, TVs Get Smart will endure. It has already stood the test of time.

Geographic location: Mexico, Vietnam

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