Don Adams, a.k.a. agent Maxwell Smart, just died. He was 82.
I discovered recently that my wife had never seen “Get Smart.” What a shame. The series easily ranks as one the best comedies on TV. Adams’ grasp of physical humor was second only to Peter Sellers. He won three Emmy awards — rivaling Kelsey Grammer and Carroll O’Connor.
I tried to explain to the wifey the bit with the “Cone of Silence,” but I fear I had little success. When discussing an important case at CONTROL headquarters, Maxwell Smart would always insist, “Chief, I think we better use the Cone of Silence.” The chief never wanted to use it, but he’d always relent. Then this giant plastic cone would drop down from the ceiling, but no one under the cone could hear each other. Smart would try to keep talking and the chief would get outraged.
On face value, it’s not that funny, but week after week the Cone of Silence would reappear. After a while, the bit was hilarious. It’s proof of one fundamental comedy rule: repetition can always produce big laughs.
We’ll miss you, Don Adams. Thanks for making us laugh.