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- This article refers to Maxwell Smart as portrayed by Don Adams in the original series and associated productions. For the character portrayed by Steve Carell see Maxwell Smart (2008 film) .
Agent 86 with his shoephone.
|First Get Smart Appearance||Mr. Big|
|Family||Agent 99 (wife)|
99's Mother (mother-in-law)
|Famous Quote||"Would you believe...?"|
"Sorry about that Chief."
- -Maxwell Smart
As a spy, much of his personal information must be considered classified, which is why there's so little of it. Physically, Max is 5'9" and weighs 150 pounds [Episode #49: "The Mummy].
Max was born in 1930 [Episode #130: "The Mess of Adrian Listenger"] and delivered by a Dr. Linquist. The exact date is unclear, but since his Zodiac sign is Scorpio, it must be between October 22nd and November 22nd. Max says he was "raised in the city" [Episode #88: "Snoopy Smart Vs. The Red Baron"] but which city is uncertain; he considers Washington, D.C. his home town [Episode #57: "Pussycats Galore"] but claims to be from Minnesota - although he gets the state motto wrong; the "show-me" state is Missouri [Episode #5: "Now You See Him, Now You Don't"] (To complicate matters further, in the first Get Smart novel he claims to be a "native New Yorker").
He went into the Army and served in the Korean War, where he reached the rank of corporal. His best friend from the Army is Sid Krimm [Episode #76: "The Little Black Book, Part 1"]. He is also a Ensign in the US Navy reserve [Epsiode #98: "Temporarily Out of CONTROL"].
Career in CONTROLEdit
Max has never done anything other than spy, as CONTROL recruited him right out of college as a "bonus baby spy." [Episode #65: "Maxwell Smart, Private Eye"]. He joined CONTROL to "fight the forces of evil and serve on the side of niceness." Besides, he needed the money [Episode #63: "The Spy Who Met Himself"]. He wasn't a big success at spy school, failing Torture three straight years. He also flunked out of Spy Music School. An instructor while Max was at spy school was the man who would one day be his chief (aka Thaddeus). Within two weeks of knowing Max, the future Chief became bald [Episode #60: "A Man Called Smart, Part 3]. Somehow, Max graduated and became a full-fledged agent. (Max and the Chief are the only survivors of the CONTROL Spy School Baseball team -the rest were killed by Adrian Listenger [Episode #130: "The Mess of Adrian Listenger".)
As a spy, Max was an unqualified success and by 1965 had worked on over a hundred cases [Episode #8: "The Day Smart Turned Chicken"]. He won the Spy of the Year Award in two straight years (1965 & 1966). He also was voted "one of the ten best dressed spies". That probably led to the picture and article in Popular Espionage Magazine. He also was hired to endorse the Handy-Dandy Pocket Decoder in an ad which appeared in True Impossible Spy Stories Monthly [Episode #49: "The Mummy"]. Max is also in charge of CONTROL's Medical Security Division [Episode #47: "Someone Down Here Hates Me"]. Max's idol was Herb Gaffer, the legendary Agent 4. Like his idol, Max keeps a diary with accounts of all of his exploits [Episode #21: "Dear Diary"]. For hobbies, Max plays poker every Saturday night, or he did when he was a bachelor. He also enjoys chess with the Chief, plays the bongos, and likes scuba diving [Episode #69: "Dr. Yes"]. He is usually an excellent swimmer - except for one unfortunate occasion [in Episode #28 "Ship of Spies, Part 2"] when Agent 99 had to rescue Agent 86 after 99 reminded 86 that according to his personnel file, Agent 86 had not passed his swimming test!. Max played on CONTROL's baseball (see above) and bowling teams and also organizes the Spy Frolics every year. He smokes cigarettes (but gives them up in his older years) and enjoys liquor. He likes to have a Gibson before dinner every night [Episode #83: "Run, Robot, Run"]. Max has an impressive knowledge of languages, speaking French, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Swahili (at least, sometimes he can speak these. On some occasions he seems to be ignorant of any language other then English and 99 is forced to translate). He is a trained karate expert and holds the CONTROL Spy School's gold medal in the high jump.
Max lives in Apartment #86 in the Cherry Arms apartment building in Washington, D.C. [Episode #47: "Someone Down Here Hates Me]. His landlady is Mrs. Macklin [Episode #62: "Witness for the Persecution"]. A Mrs. Harriet Doodeley Dawson was his neighbor for "ten years too long" [Episode #8: "The Day Smart Turned Chicken"] while later neighbors Naomi and Emil Farkas turned out to be KAOS agents [Episode #97: "The Farkas Fracas"]. His apartment is extremely neat, with every personal item in its own drawer [Episode #11: "Too Many Chiefs"]. Max's big weakness occurs during the night. He has to sleep with the light on because he's scared of gollywoggles. In fact, the only thing that scares him more than gollywoggles is lightning. [Episode #62: "Witness for the Persecution"]. To help him sleep, Max has a teddy bear [Episode #108: "Shock It To Me"]. His dentist is Harold Feinberg [Episode #127: "House of Max"]. As of 1968 his salary as a CONTROL agent is $35,000 [Episode #78: "Don't Look Back"].
Little is known about Max's family. He has an Aunt Bertha and Uncle Abner, who are the only relatives of his that have ever been shown [Episode #12: "My Nephew the Spy"]. Other relatives that are mentioned are Uncle Harry and Aunt Rose [Episode #11: "Too Many Chiefs"], cousin Harvey the cab driver [Episode #108: "Shock It To Me"], and another cousin who sells used cars. His father has apparently passed away but as of 1968 his mother is still alive because he sends her $15 a week [Episode #91: "Diamonds Are a Spy's Best Friend"]. Max also has a brother who once locked Max in a closet for three hours [Episode #129: "Rebecca of Funny-Folk Farm"] - or had, since he doesn't seem to exist in the present [Episode #108: "Shock It To Me"].
Though Max fancies himself a ladies man, he is rarely seen playing the field. A major turning point in Max's life was when he met Agent 99 when they were both assigned to investigate the kidnapping of Professor Hugo Dante and the theft of his Inthermo device. There was an attraction between them which began, if not quite instantly, at least from the moment he realized that she was a girl [Episode #1: "Mr. Big"]. From that point on they work almost exclusively together, becoming, in the Chief's words, "the best working team I've got" [Episode #56: "Appointment in Sahara"]. But it took three years and a near-death experience for Max to realize the depths of his feelings and propose to 99 [Episode #87: "The Impossible Mission"]. Once married [Episode #95: "With Love and Twitches"], Max is a typical jealous husband who would never entertain the thought of cheating on 99. On their honeymoon 86 and 99 go sailing - until 86 accidently blows up their boat! [Episode #99: "Schwartz's Island".] A year later 99 gives birth to twins - a boy (whose name was eventually revealed to be Zachary (Zach) ["Get Smart 1995 series"]) and a girl (whose name, like her mother's, is never revealed) [Episode #120: "And Baby Makes Four, conclusion"].
The Later YearsEdit
The only recorded case from this period takes place in 1980 when Max is moving out of his old apartment and into a new condo at Lafayette Park Towers (from which can be inferred an otherwise unexplained separation from 99). He and new partner Agent 22, with whom he shares a brief flirtation, are assigned to thwart a KAOS threat to destroy all fabric thereby rendering the world nude [Movie: "The Nude Bomb"].
[There is disagreement about the context of the preceding events with some arguing that The Nude Bomb takes place in a separate continuity.]
By 1989 Max and 99 are reunited, living in a house in the suburbs, and the twins are in college. Max has taken a job as a protocol officer with the State Department filling in for dignitaries who are unable or unwilling to attend ceremonial functions. But he never gives up wearing his shoephone and one day the call he had been hoping for finally comes: he is being recalled to active duty. KAOS is back and Maxwell Smart is the only one left with enough experience to combat their latest dastardly scheme.
Rounding up as many of his old colleagues as he can muster, Max is able to reactivate CONTROL - at first on an ad hoc basis [TV Movie: "Get Smart, Again!"] and later more permanently as chief ["Get Smart 1995 series"].
In 1995, with funding now assured due to 99's position as a congresswoman, Max is able to promote Zach, previously in the research department, to full agent [GS95 Episode #1: "Pilot"] - thus fulfilling his dream of having his son follow in his footsteps [Episode #113: "Pheasant Under Glass"]. Only weeks later [in GS95 Episode #6: "Wurst Enemies"] Max must rescue Zach whose girlfriend Jessica (actually Gretchen, daughter of now former KAOS agent Siegfried) has trapped Zach in a old lighthouse/missile. In a cliffhanger ending Siegfried is just leaving the lighthouse when Max accidentally activates the missile and a teaser shows the lighthouse blowing up! The fact that Max appears hale and heart the following week [in GS95 Episode #7: "Liver Let Die"] may indicate that the heroes escaped before the explosion. You could say the explosion... "missed them by that much."