Tuesday, September 27, 2005

So Long, Agent 86

It’s not been a good month for stars of 1960’s sitcoms.

Don Adams, the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the fumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s TV spoof of James Bond movies, “Get Smart,” has died. He was 82.


As the inept Agent 86 of the super-secret federal agency CONTROL, Adams captured TV viewers with his antics in combatting the evil agents of KAOS. When his explanations failed to convince the villains or his boss, he tried another tack:

“Would you believe … ?”

It became a national catchphrase.

Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of his boss — the Chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart’s apologetic “Sorry about that, chief” also entered the American lexicon.

The pilot episode was written by Buck Henry and Mel Brooks, and the jokes and slapstick were perfect for the time when everyone was caught up in the secret agent craze. Adams was deadpan perfect in the role and didn’t mind playing a complete stooge. Oh, and as Agent 86 he drove a cool car — a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mark I (at least in the first couple of seasons). They don’t make ’em like that anymore; both the car and the actor.