September 26, 2005

Don Adams, 1923-2005

Well, there goes another bit of my childhood. Don Adams, best known as Agent Maxwell Smart on the classic comedy Get Smart, died yesterday of a lung infection at the age of 83. He missed the ripe old age of 86 by that much.

Ironically, my favourite zinger from the program was one in which KAOS had captured Smart and a KAOS agent tells Smart, "Look, I'm a sportsman. I'll let you choose the way you want to die." Smart replies, "All right. How about old age?"

I saw a few episodes of Get Smart as a child and thought it was a hoot, but it was later, in my teens and early 20s, when I had become a fan of the spy genre (particularly James Bond) that I really began to get the satire. Austin Powers has his moments, but Agent 86 was right in the thick of the spy craze on television and was satirizing something that was a current reality instead of a decade we look back on as incredibly silly. It is a crime that this fabulous comedy is not yet available on DVD.

My favourite character on the program was actually Smart's nemesis, Siegfried, the leader of KAOS. I still use his catchphrase, "Zis is KAOS, ve don't do zat here" (substituting appropriate locations and actions for "KAOS" and "zat") fairly regularly. Bernie Kopell is still with us. It looks like KAOS ultimately triumphed over Control. Sorry about that, chief.