Friday, June 3, 2022

TV Quote of the Day (‘Get Smart,’ As Max Tries a Stock Phrase for the First Time)

Maxwell Smart [played by Don Adams]: “You see, the moment I suspected there was something wrong with this old scow, I immediately telephoned headquarters, and I happen to know that at this very minute, seven coastguard cutters are converging on this boat. Wouldya believe it? Seven.”

Mr. Big [played by Michael Dunn]: “I find that pretty hard to believe.”

Smart [slightly hesitating]: “Wouldya believe six?”

Mr. Big: “I don't think so.”

Smart: “How about two cops in a rowboat?”— Get Smart, Season 1, Episode 1, “Mr. Big,” original air date Sept. 18, 1965, teleplay by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, directed by Howard Morris

For the first time the other night, I watched the pilot—the only episode shot in black and white—of the classic Sixties comedy, Get Smart. I was convulsed with laughter from the opening minutes to the last, but especially by this scene involving the clueless spy who, co-creators Brooks and Henry said over the years, was a cross between James Bond and Inspector Clouseau.

The “wouldya believe” line, I learned from the Season 1 DVD of the series, was one that Don Adams came up with. It turned into one of the great running gags of the show.

In the image accompanying this post, Smart’s colleague, Agent 99 (played by Barbara Feldon), has taken off her cap and let her hair down. Her partner is astonished to discover that she’s a woman.

A friend of mine (AND HE KNOWS WHO HE IS!!!), quite a Feldon fan, would be astonished that Smart is astonished. As a mere youngster in the 1960s, I am sure he would not mind telling you, even he would have been able to see that Feldon was a woman from 10 miles away. It was one of the first indications that the spy's surname was ironic.

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