83. GET SMART 

"Pilot," Written by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry  

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Aired: NBC, 1965-1970

Not having seen Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove – or Woody Allen in What’s Up, Tiger Lily, for that matter – I didn’t read Get Smart as a take-off on Cold War-esque, mutually assured destruction; I’m just now realizing the CONTROL vs. KAOS dichotomy. Discovering it in syndication, I more intuited the show as the B-side to the comic book machismo of superheroes, and I liked the old Jewish humor that lurked behind the show’s Bond-like exterior. Buck Henry, who wrote the pilot with Mel Brooks, told the Los Angeles Times that it was executive producer Leonard Stern who came up with the opening title sequence in which Maxwell Smart so memorably arrives at the office, passing through a series of automatic doors before finally dropping through the bottom of a telephone booth. Rare, too, is the sitcom that can claim to have given guest starring roles to both Johnny Carson and Second City founder Del Close.

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