Don Adams has passed on. Damn.
I grew up with that curious generation just at the beginning of the Internet (i.e., the Usenet days) and near the end of UHF saturation (before I gave up television). And Adams was one of my unspoken comic heroes. If I learned anything from watching Get Smart, it was this: deadpan ardor with dollops of sincerity can get you through a lot of life’s unexpected scrapes. It didn’t help that Smart worked with a damn sexy and damn smart gal named Agent 99.
The Maxwell Smart persona was dug up somewhat with the Inspector Gadget cartoons, but Gadget was only Adams’ voice. And while Adams’ voice, in itself, was intoxicatin, you needed the expressive eyes and the benign look of confusion to get the full schtick. It was not dissimilar to John Astin’s Gomez Adams, an equally exuberant comic figure. But where Gomez invited destruction, Maxwell Smart unwittingly did so. So it’s Maxwell Smart that I remember and I mourn, wondering if there is a single comic actor (let alone an ambitious producer actually concerned with developing a comic character) who can ever fill Adams’ shoes.
© 2005, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.