2002 October 06 Sunday
Get Smart popularized airborne biowarfare
Just found this on the Scientific American site. The author argues that Get Smart co-creator Mel Brooks is secretly spreading dangerous subversive ideas:
But in July I happened on an episode of Get Smart, the late-1960s sitcom about bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart. The plotline concerned a plague sweeping the nation's potato crop-- potatoes look fine on the outside but, like Lay and his cronies, are empty inside their jackets. Smart discovers that Siegfried, head of the evil enemy agency Kaos, is using a bioengineered bacterium to attack our potatoes [see "Biological Warfare against Crops," by Paul Rogers, Simon Whitby and Malcolm Dando; Scientific American, June 1999]. Siegfried explains that the bacterium enters the potato, eats the insides, burps and dies, leaving no trace. Now for the really frightening part-- Siegfried is spreading the potato-destroying bacteria using crop dusters.
In fact, "Get Smart" predicted everything (although the implementation of cell phones was different in detail). Maxwell Smart fought KAOS, a terrorist organization bound to no particular nation. Smart and his organization, CONTROL, were a crew of incompetents, laboring under the burden of irrational rules and regulations. They implemented security measures that were burdensome and ineffective (the Cone of Silence). There was pervasive surveillance (the agent who was always hiding in mailboxes, sofas, etc.). Advanced technology was rushed into use before all the bugs were worked out (Hymie the robot).
Instead of hiring the "Die Hard" director to come up with imaginative terrorist scenarios, Ashcroft should just rent old "Get Smart" tapes.
Bob, you are so totally right. John Ashcroft and Norm Mineta should be forced to have daily security meetings in the Cone Of Silence.
Of course with how well the FBI & CIA are performing these days they each could lay claim to the slogan:
"Missed them by THAT much!"
I often think of Max's what-if:
``If only he had used his genius for niceness instead of evil.''
And I can just imagine this dialogue:
Max: "Don't tell me the French have vetoed our resolution."
Agent 99: "Max, the French HAVE vetoed our resolution."
Max: "I asked you not to tell me that."
Mel Brooks is secretly spreading dangerous subversive ideas: And ... loving it.
This gives me the creeps. There was also an episode where KAOS smuggled multiple small parts for a nuclear bomb that was assembled in a ski lodge--foiled by accident at the last minute by Max catching his tie in the device. Alert the ski lodges!
Lines I've used for decades from "Get Smart":
* Sorry about that chief.
* Would you believe...
Before I married my roommate was the son of the late actor Victor French, the actor who played agent 36 (not sure about the number), the guy always stuck in the mailbox, locker, or whatever.
A bit of trivia. The script had called for him to be killed. He was supposed to be a one shot character. However, Mr. French improvised some very funny stuff about the rising cost of "secret note paper", impressing them enough that they decided to keep him. They modified the script to have him wounded instead of killed.
The old bomb-in-the-shoe trick-- and I almost fell for it!
would you believe these 6 men from lackawanna are masterminds who completed pilgramages to al qaeda to learn how to overthrow america and the west?
no, max, i wouldn't.
would you believe they are disciples of osama bin laden who studied the implementation of terror in afghanistan training camps?
uh, how about tourists with disentary who took the wrong train to kabul?
Victor French was Agent 44.
Hymie is alive and well and living as a Gov't contract generating system. :-)
Don't forget Buck Henry. He wrote many of the scripts and was Brooks' partner in crime for the show.
Agent 99 didn't have a first name until she married Max. Then they used "Barbara."
I love that show. "Sorry 'bout that, Chief" was a standard line my brothers and I used throughout our childhood and beyond.
Hey, even after agent 99 married Max she didn't have a name.
"Did you just call her 99?"
Max: Because I don't know her real name.
Did you know that during the cold war the CIA actually copyed seom devises from Get Smart and made real ones? Interesting...
Speaking of old tricks, one that Max admited as a good one was the old-gun-in-the-hand trick pulled on him by a guy selling newspapers who was secretly working for Kaos.
Get Smart is the best. :D