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September 26, 2005

Don Adams, R.I.P.

Don Adams, best known as Maxwell Smart, Control's Secret Agent 86, who played opposite Barbara Feldon as Agent 99, died yesterday of a lung infection at the age of 82. I really can't believe he was 82. (Would you believe 81-3/4?)

Kaos killer: Look, I'm a sportsman. I'll let you choose the way you want to die.
Max: All right, how about old age?

A fairly lengthy AP obit is here and the tribute of a fan site ( is here. Plus obits in the NY Times, Washington Post, and LA Times.

Get Smart was always my favorite TV show. During a 1991 Nick at Nite marathon, I managed to record all 138 episodes. Even now, my 14-year-old son watches them and argues with me about which ones are good and which are only fair. We also argue with the ratings in Joey Green's Official Get Smart Handbook.

Max: We've go less than two hours before that missile center is going to blow up, and not only do we not know how it's going to be done, we don't even know who's going to do it.
99: We know when.
Max: Yes, well, knowing when isn't going to tell us who or how. I'd gladly trade my when for a who and a how.
99: Why?
Max: Why? Good question, 99. Well, you see, if we know who then we can watch how who did it and then that wil give us our who, our how, and our when.
99: That makes sense.
Max: I know it, 99. That's what worries me.

Don Adams wasn't even going to be cast as Max. The original plan was to use Tom Poston. In retrospect, it's impossible to imagine anyone else as Max. It's also impossible to imagine Don Adams as anyone but Max, and the AP obit quotes Don Adams as saying that the show made him a lot of money but basically ruined his career, because he was typecast.

Chief: Just don't get caught, Max. Capture means certain death.
Max: Suicide mission, eh, Chief? Well, you picked the right man.
Chief: I hope so.
Max: You hope what? That you picked the right man? Or that it's a suicide mission.

I had a friend in high school who was of Armenian descent, and he used to make me act out the scene in one episode, with a dying Inspector Sahokian of the Armenian Branch of International Control. The only place you can find the dialogue on the internet is on Pillage Idiot (scroll down).

Don Adams has died, but Maxwell Smart lives on.