Thursday, April 20, 2023

From the archives: Diplomat’s Daughter


Agents 86 and 99 ponder how to do their jobs without looking conspicuous.

(It’s been a super hectic week so here’s another post from the archives)

Episode Two

Multi-tasking: Max gets his shoes shined
and gets scolded by the Chief.

Diplomat’s Daughter
(original air date: 9-25-65)

Cast: The Claw – Leonard Strong, Princess Ingrid Swenson – Inger Stratton, Carleton – Frank De Vol, Toto – Bill Saito, Bobo – Lee Kolima, Club Patron – Jerry Rush, Doorman – Bernard Sell

Director: Paul Bogart

Writers: Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso

Producer: Jay Sandrich

Filming Location: Paramount Studios, Hollywood


After eight random blondes are abducted in the same area of the District of Columbia by the Claw and the "Oriental Arm of Kaos," Control decides to beef up security for visiting Princess Ingrid of Scandinavia. Max, having five years earlier saved the life of the princess's father, is assigned to the case. He soon finds out that the freckle-faced teenager he remembers is now a partying blonde bombshell.

How Princess Ingrid greats old friends. 99 disapproves.

My Thoughts

The Claw, so named for his large magnetic appendage, strikes me as an overburdened middle manager that really doesn't want to be bothered with the minor details that it takes to execute his assignment. As much as he'd like to score a victory with Kaos by getting Maxwell Smart out of the way, his patience wears thin in the process.

The Claw admits to detesting violence and instructs his henchman, who suggests torture by forcing air bubbles into the bloodstream, to "…do your fiendish work, but don't tell me about it." However, he's not above attempting to place bamboo shoots under Max's fingers or using a KAOS branding iron as a torture tool.

The Claw also apologizes for kidnapping the wrong girls.

Claw: "Unfortunately Mr. Smart, all Americans look alike to us. We may be diabolical, but we're not perfect," he admits.

Also amusing in this episode is 99's jealousy. This is a trait that will appear in other first season episodes and this early in the series tends to come off as a bit cartoonish. Still, it has its moments — like in one scene where Max asks 99 for advice on how to handle the princess. 99's response is nothing but snark.

Max: Well, 99, you're a woman, aren't you? What can we do to stop her?

99: How about a tranquilizer?

99 also goes as far as to forge Max's report at the end of the mission and makes arrangements so that he won't be escorting the princess back to Scandinavia. Those honors were given to Fang.

As for Max, he displays the usual flubs – like being oblivious to a kidnapping that occurs just feet from him. He also manages to destroy his smoke pellet before even heading out on assignment.

Nevertheless, Smart always works best under pressure. He puts an end to the Claw by chucking a container of silverware at his magnetic arm.

This episode also tends to make much of '60s dancing. 99 appears to be having a great time at the club. Max, however, isn't up on the Pony, the Frug or the Watutsi – and seems bothered by it all.

Max: The poor devils! What have they done to them?

Watch for: Max's obsession with the photos of the missing blondes, the Claw's George Washington painting, the Old Picture in the Keyhole Trick, the banter between Max and the Claw and when 99 gives the Chief dancing lessons.

Max mistakes a bug in a bouquet for a bomb in a box.


• Frank De Vol had a storied career as an orchestra leader, having written the scores for many movies. He also had a handful of roles in old TV shows.

Don't be fooled by the size of 99's gun.

• Leonard Strong specialized in Asian characters and became best known for the Claw and the title character in the Twilight Zone episode, "The Hitchhiker." Strong appears two more times in Get Smart — he gets a second round as The Claw in "The Amazing Harry Hoo" and plays Lin Chan in "The Laser Blazer."

• Bill Saito appeared in numerous TV shows from the 1960s through the 1990s.

• The play Get Smart by Christopher Sergel merges this episode with "Mr. Big." That play, by the way, is still being used in high school theatres across the U.S.

• Buck Henry is asked to collect his poodle during the airport scene

• Some Gen Xers and Millennials may recall in the Inspector Gadget cartoon Gadget (voiced by Don Adams) faced an adversary also named Claw.

Glick meter: A nice collection of catchphrases are used, but Don Adams backs off a bit from "The Voice."

Oh Max meter: A first season 99 is a jealous 99.

Control Agents: Carleton of the lab. Also mentioned: Saltzman, Saxon and Schwartz who is described as a real go-getter but is being held prisoner in Rangoon.

Kaos Agents: The Claw (not the Craw), Toto and Bobo.

Gadgets: Shoe Phone, 27F Cigarette lighter - it's supposed to fire a .22 caliber bullet. Key word: supposed. Wrist communicator T37, 99's mini gun — fires a poison pin that kills instantly. Max also gets new shoes that feature steel enforced toes for kicking and compartments that contain three pellets: a suicide pellet, a concussion pellet and a smoke pellet.

Episode Locations: Washington, D.C. — The Hotel Cramley and Shanghai à Gogo

How 99 works her way into a Kaos dance club. Max disapproves.

From the Archives: School Days

Helllllpppp! Max and 99 get tied up in "School Days". (I'm back in the saddle after a few hectic work weeks. Here's anothe...