Missed It By That Much

27-Jan-07 12:44 AM by
Filed under Celebrities, Television, Trailers; 9 comments.

Get Smart was the first "classic" show I stumbled across in a summer that began a love affair with Nick at Nite. The show and its brethren were sheer genius: famous actors in classic situations, presenting clean comedy my parents and I could enjoy together. My family continues to bond over this media even today: our recent Christmas gift to each other was the complete series on DVD. (not in stores until November 2007!)

The connection went beyond the screen, too. Even if I didn't yet know the word "deadpan" — a style I also admired from Johnny Carson — it was a quality I first loved, and later practiced, as a result of Don Adams' example. Though we have lost the likes of such gentlemen as Mr. Adams, Mr. Carson, and Ed Platt, I am relieved that we can still count among us Barbara Feldon, in whose recent book, Living Alone and Loving It, I was delighted to empathize with this belief:

The emotional excess of music felt more real than the muted emotion and soft demeanor I expressed in daily life. When I was this passionately engaged I didn't need anything else to "complete" me; not a man, not a career affirmation. I only had to give in to the music to live an immense life that I could experience any time I chose.

Now, as I am reminded by this news story, that heritage is to be passed on to a silver screen adaptation… and I find myself stricken with trepidation. Get Smart has been revived often enough, IMHO: the 1980 film The Nude Bomb, the 1989 film Get Smart, Again!, and Andy Dick/Elaine Hendrix's failed Fox TV revival, the eponymous Get Smart. These four entries have alternated between hit and miss, so technically, we are due a successful effort. But I've fallen victim to that flawed statistical logic before, and I'm hesitant to allow my childhood icons to again be disrespected in this manner.

Television shows have best transitioned to modern cinema when the script and director do not take the source material too seriously; only The Brady Bunch Movie has successfully at once lampooned and paid homage to its origin. But Get Smart is already a parody; it can't be further satirized. Though I think Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway could do the roles well, they aren't Don Adams and Barbara Feldon any more than Andy Dick and Elaine Hendrix were.

In my overprotectiveness of my childhood memories, am I the one taking the source material too seriously? Or is this adaptation indeed doomed to fail?

9 Responses to “Missed It By That Much”

  1. a2history adds:

    Ah, yes; Get Smart is the source of many of my favorite cliches. I am rather certain many of my compatriots at work, who have the misfortune to have been born way too late, don't understand the connotation of saying, "Sorry about that, Chief!", or "Would you believe … ?"

  2. Ken Gagne adds:

    http://www.wouldyoubelieve.com/ is my favorite Get Smart site. Click on its "Catchphrases" link to read about some of the more famous one-liners, including usage statistics and .WAV samples.

  3. RainbowDespair (Robert Boyd) adds:

    Add the Complete Collection of Get Smart to my to-get list of anime/TV/videogames.

    Just found out about this site today. Enjoying it highly. Plan on visiting regularly. Oh and I plan on emailing you tomorrow and letting you know how things are going. :)

  4. Ken Gagne adds:

    The Web site TVShowsonDVD.com lets you mark television shows that interest you for three purposes: DVDs you own; DVDs you want to own: and DVDs that don't exist yet but of which you'd like to be notified when news or releases pertaining to them are announced. Very handy!

    It was a pleasant surprise to see a fellow former CompuServe sysop pop in. Thanks, Rob! I'm looking forward to hearing from you. :)

  5. Ken Gagne adds:

    Film-Releases.com has Get Smart scheduled for release on June 20th, 2008.

  6. Ken Gagne adds:

    The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on the origin and impact of the original Get Smart series. Hat tip to Mitch Betts!

  7. Ken Gagne adds:

    According to the Los Angeles Times' interview with Mel Brooks, it seems the creator of Get Smart had more input into the film than I originally thought. (Hat tip to ComingSoon.net)

  8. Ken Gagne adds:

    A seven-minute clip from Get Smart is now available via iTunes. (Hat tip to ComingSoon.net)

    The intro was right: this clip makes Anne Hathaway look much better than Steve Carell. He's no Don Adams.

  9. Ron Enderland adds:

    Nice Read. I would dub thee an honorary Boomer, had I the power. BTW, looks like the streak got snapped, two GS duds in a row. :-(