Friday, January 25, 2019

ROBOTS IN FILM BLOGATHON: Hymie in Anatomy of a Lover, Get Smart


The Robots in Film Blogathon runs from January 25th to 27th. It is hosted by our esteemed friends at The Midnight Drive-In and Hamlette's Soliloquy. Click HERE or HERE to enjoy these imaginative characters in movies and television.


Get Smart (1965-1970) is the genius television sitcom created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry that is a perfect send-up of the popular spy films of the 1960s. The series doled out consistent laughs during five seasons of classic television and received numerous Emmy Awards and nominations. To this day, folks repeat Agent 86's catchphrases ("Sorry about that, Chief.") without even knowing their source.

Don Adams, Edward Platt

Maxwell Smart aka Agent 86 was played by comic Don Adams. The source of this superspy's humour comes from the fact that he is a dimwit who inadvertently enjoys success without realizing he is a dimwit. Max is adored and more than ably assisted by the lovely Agent 99 played by Barbara Feldon. Max is the bane of the existence of the Chief of their agency CONTROL played by Edward Platt.

Don Adams, Barbara Feldon

CONTROL has at its disposal a laboratory that creates all sorts of gadgets necessary to the battle against their opposite number, the international organization of evil in the form of KAOS. Phones were famously concealed in shoes, in make-up compacts, and fingernails. Agents were concealed in everything from sofas to refrigerators. 

Dick Gautier

KAOS got the jump on CONTROL when evil Dr. Ratton created HYMIE the robot played by Dick Gautier. KAOS used Hymie to kidnap a scientist and during the operation, Hymie also captured Agents 86 and 99. Hymie had a screw loose somewhere and refused to do Dr. Ratton's bidding when he was ordered to kill Max. Max, you see, had treated Hymie like a real person. A kink in Hymie's circuitry gave him a sense of self and independence and, unwittingly, Max played up that side of the robot and became his friend.

Gary Clarke/C.F. L'Amoreaux

Back to the Old Drawing Board in Season One was Hymie's origin story in Get Smart. It was written by Gary Clarke (Steve on The Virginian) as C.F. L'Amoreaux and directed by Bruce Bilson. Clarke /L'Amoreaux wrote all but the last of the six episodes featuring Hymie the robot.

Don Adams, Dick Gautier

Anatomy of a Lover opened Season Two in 1966 with Hymie a member of CONTROL in good standing. However, those sneaky guys from KAOS have planted an agent who tinkers with Hymie. His new wiring causes Hymie to attempt to kill the Chief. The Chief, visibly perturbed, orders Max to disassemble the cybernaut. "What's his religion got to do with it?".

Laurel Goodwin

Certain that someone has messed with Hymie's circuitry, Max hides the robot at his apartment until they can discover who is behind the dastardly deed. While incognito as Max's cousin, Hymie meets the chief's niece Phoebe played by Laurel Goodwin. Phoebe is quite taken with the handsome neighbour. "I wouldn't care if he came from a junkyard.".

The double agent turns out to be Kirsch played by King Moody (KAOS second banana Starker in later episodes). Max fooled no one when he brought the remains of a disassembled washing machine into the office as Hymie. Kirsch again works on the robot, this time programming him to kill the first person he hears say the phrase "Waiter, the cheque." 


Dick Gautier

First Hymie must convince Max to take him to a restaurant. This isn't too difficult since Max has been made to feel guilty for his over-the-top sloppiness. After all, the programmed-for-neatness Hymie has been slaving all day to keep the apartment nice. He's lonely and wants to get out. It is a double date for Max and 99 with Hymie and Phoebe.

King Moody

When the polite mechanical man asks for the cheque himself and then tries to blow his brains out, Max clues in that someone has tinkered with his friend yet again. It is easy enough to determine that  Kirsch was the only other person to come to the apartment that day, ostensibly to deliver a message to Max. Kirsch confirms all this when he attempts to destroy Max, 99 and Hymie. Stupid Kirsch! He let ashes fall on the carpet!

"Hymie's programming for neatness was stronger than his programming for evil!"


Dick Gautier
1931-2017

Good looks, impeccable comic timing, and spot-on deadpan delivery. What more could be asked of a sit-com robot? Dick Gautier is perfect as Hymie, speaking in a monotone and taking every command or utterance literally. Hymie's abilities, in the grand tradition of sci-fi, seem to know no bounds. He can judge distances accurately, perform feats of prodigious strength, and deflect bullets. Hymie understands his place in the scheme of things; being a cybernaut and all, but his loyalty is touching. Always a welcome character in the series, in the minds of fans it seems he must have appeared in more than seven episodes. The laughs are worthy of double or triple that number. Thus are legends born in our minds.












17 comments:

  1. Awwwwwwwww, I love this tribute to Hymie! I've only seen the first episode he's in, but he's so much fun there that I look forward to seeing the rest of them, including "Anatomy of a Lover." Good stuff!

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    1. Thanks. I have no doubt that you will have great fun watching "the further adventures of Hymie the robot" (something I just came up with).

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  2. Boy did I love watching Get Smart growing up. I have to admit Agent 99 Barbara Feldon was so pretty to me and well still is. I also enjoyed your tribute to Hymie, sigh they just don't make good tv anymore.

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    1. I'm glad I opened up a vein of happy memories.

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  3. I too grew up watching and loving this show. So clever, and Adams and Feldon had great chemistry. Gautier was such a versatile actor, and yes, very handsome indeed.
    - Chris

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    1. It is a testament to great work that the show makes me laugh even more now than it did in the "olden days."

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  4. Great post! I loved watching Get Smart, and Hymie was such an enjoyable character. Gautier did a wonderful job. I also loved him in the short-lived satirical Robin Hood series, When Things Were Rotten, created by Mel Brooks.

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    1. When Things Were Rotten is one of those shows that deserved a longer run. TV is littered with them!

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  5. So glad you chose Hymie for the Robot Blogathon! I loved all the Hymie episodes, though you may have chosen the best one. I had the opportunity to interview the late Dick Gautier a few years ago. He said he based Hymie''s movements on a man acting like a mannequin in a store window when he was a kid.

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    1. I can see that mannequin basis, and it works beautifully.

      I clicked a couple of clicks and reminded myself of that interview. It's grand, but then they all are.

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  6. When I first watched Get Smart, at about 14, I developed a crush on Hymie. Now, I see that he wasn't only a handsome robot, but a loyal one, and the idea of making him feel like a human because of how Max treated him was brilliant -top sci-fi material!
    Amazing post!
    Kisses!

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    1. I am so glad that such a huge Get Smart fan as you enjoyed the post. I think the show is indeed brilliant and had a lot of fun writing this piece.

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  7. Even though this page isn't about Agent 99 I want to comment on BARBARA FELDON. I always remember Barbara from a TV Movie starring PATTY DUKE. It was titled BEFORE AND AFTER. Patty played a wife and mother who is unhappy with her weight. (She is about 20 pounds overweight.) Her husband is played by BRADFORD DILLMAN. Barbara plays Pattys friend who is thin and engaged to a man played by KENNETH MARS. The movie came out in 1978. I saw her later(more than once). Barbara did over a dozen TV Movies including CHILDREN OF DIVORCE with STACY NELKIN(who I mentioned her name on a page where I said ANN BLYTH did an episode of MURDER, SHE WROTE). Do you know Barbara Feldons work in very many things?

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    1. I didn't mean to say I saw her later(more than once). I meant I saw it later, meaning the TV Movie.

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    2. I remember Barbara Feldon the most from Get Smart and the movies Fitzwilly and Smile, also some guest spots. She impressed me as a smart woman and an underrated actress.

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  8. I didn't see Fitzwilly but wasn't it a Disney movie with DICK VAN DYKE? Dick got to work with some lovely and talented ladies-on TV, MARY TYLER MOORE and HOPE LANGE got to play his wife on sitcoms. He worked with CAROL BURNETT and VICKI LAWRENCE on Carols variety show. That's not even counting DIAGNOSIS MURDER where, for example he got to work with PIPER LAURIE and as his TV sister BETTY WHITE. In movies he got to work with DEBBIE REYNOLDS and JANET LEIGH. Ive never seen all of BYE, BYE BIRDY(or is it BIRDIE?) Did he have any scenes, especially major ones, with ANN-MARGRET? I seem to recall the characters Albert and Rosie staying at the home of Kim(Ann-M). Sorry to get off topic. Thank you for your great topics,

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    1. Dick Van Dyke was the star of Fitzwilly, but it isn't a Disney movie.

      Regarding Bye, Bye Birdie, Albert writes the song that Kim (Ann-Margret) will sing, but they don't interact that much.

      I can't think of any time or anything I have seen where I wasn't thoroughly delighted with Dick Van Dyke. My special needs son is a big fan as well.

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