Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Would You Believe... Season 1 of Get Smart on DVD?

Now that the first season of Get Smart is available on DVD, ardent fans of the 1965-70 series will be watching the first 30 of the series' 138 newly restored, remastered, full-length episodes. And… loving it.

The spy spoof ran on NBC for seventy-two seasons (would you believe four?) before switching to CBS for fifty more (would you believe one?), and was the first and still to date the most successful satiric series in the history of television. Chronicling the battle between good-guy government agency CONTROL and evil organization KAOS, Get Smart starred Don Adams as CONTROL Agent 86 Maxwell Smart – who was anything but – and Barbara Feldon as his beautiful, resourceful and loyal partner, and later wife, known throughout the series only as Agent 99.

Adams, who died in 2005, attributed the success of the show, with its unique combination of borscht belt and surrealist humor, to perfect timing – and not just of the comedic variety. In captivating TV audiences just before the ultimately turbulent 1960s got into full swing, “I feel like we led the way in TV back in ’65, when everyone was stirring the oatmeal and sending the kids to school,” he speculated in a previously unpublished 2001 interview. “When I read the Get Smart pilot I thought it was too satirical and ahead of its time, and that it would never go on TV. But it went, and led the way for shows like All in the Family. It was the ‘60s, and with everything that was going on – the drug culture, Charles Manson, Woodstock – there was a whole cultural revolution and I guess Get Smart was part of it.”

Co-star Feldon, who now resides in Manhattan, recalls having been taken by surprise by the passion audiences immediately felt for Smart. “Doing a series is very time-consuming,” she explains. “And in L.A., you’re in your car, and go to some local restaurant where they don’t pay attention to you. So it wasn’t until a few years into the show that I went out into the country on a tour and saw the fervor people were feeling that I got the idea that this was a big show.”

Although Get Smart exited TV Land’s lineup in 2003 and has not aired in the U.S. since, its famous comic catchphrases -- like "Sorry about that, Chief" and "Missed it by that much," which Adams first ad-libbed in a Season 1 episode -- still thrive in our pop culture lexicon. Now, with the series debuting on DVD, a new generation will be able to tune in and turn on to the show’s groovy gadgets, like the constantly malfunctioning "cone of silence." And that's just fine by Feldon. “To this day, almost every day, somebody smiles at me because of 99,” she says. “It has been such a pleasure in my life.”

Get Smart Season 1
Release Date: August 5, 2008
4-disc DVD set; approx. 750 minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $24.98

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