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GET SMART

About The Production (Continued)
Swiss Army Knife with a flamethrower attachment.

…What, you don't have one of these?

"It wouldn't be a spy story without gadgets,” says Roven.

"The show was famous for its gadgets and we have a lot of them,” Segal avows, noting that the film pays homage to certain old-school props while introducing a number of equally improbable gizmos to help our heroes meet the modern challenges of surveillance, communication and destruction—although not necessarily in that order.

"The shoe phone will make an appearance and the Cone of Silence is back in a new 2008 design, as well as cutting-edge equipment that spies like Max and 99 would need,” he says. "As hard as it is to believe in this day and age when every kid has a cell phone, the shoe phone was an amazing concept in the 1960s; the very idea of mobile communication then was really ahead of its time. Taking off your shoe and putting it to your ear to take a call doesn't seem so innovative now but, c'mon, how can you make a ‘Get Smart' movie without it? It's such a definitive image, we figured out a fun way to work it in.”

Also, several distinctive sports cars from the series will make drive-on cameos. Fans will spot the red Sunbeam Tiger, the gold Opel GT and the blue Karmann Ghia. Property master Tim Wiles met with renowned Hollywood memorabilia collector Danny Biederman to examine some of the show's original props, including the shoe phone, that have become icons of American pop culture and were recently on display as part of the Treasures of Hollywood exhibit at Washington, DC's International Spy Museum.

Like kids with toys, there is always an undercurrent of rivalry among the field agents when it comes to the gadgets they employ, each trying to one-up his colleagues with the latest-and-greatest and a casually dropped, "What? You don't have this?” Soon after Max demonstrates his radiation-detector wristwatch, 99 coolly reveals a roll of explosive dental floss; later, following 99's introduction of a molar-mounted radio, Max breaks out the cufflink bombs.

Other debuting items from CONTROL's fantastic crime-fighting arsenal are a pocket compact smokescreen and Max's specially equipped Swiss Army knife that includes, beyond its standard attachments, a flame thrower, a blow gun and a miniature titanium-threaded grappling hook.

With all this state-of-the-art equipment being tossed around, veteran producer Leonard Stern wouldn't be surprised if the Feds came calling…again. With a trace of decades-old incredulity, he recalls how he and his production team were actually approached by the FBI in the series' heyday with questions about how they happened to come up with some of the devices featured on the show. "Apparently some of our creations were close enough to reality, and it was unnerving to them at the time to think that comedy writers could just dream this stuff up.”

Finally, new and dedicated fans alike will be glad to see that some things never change. Says Wiles, "The Cone of Silence is now completely digital, with a sophisticated hand-held activation system and multiple ports.” Still, even after 40 years of Research & Development, fans would probably be disappointed if it actually worked.

Incorporating familiar favorites while propelling spy-tech gadgetry into a new century exemplifies the kind of balance Segal and the filmmaking team sought overall in bringing "Get Smart” to the big screen.

"As a filmmaker, you want to present something fresh,” he says. "With a property this revered the question was, how much do you embrace the source material and how much do you make it your own? I tried to keep the audience in mind every step of the way so that first time viewers as well as longtime fans would simply find it funny and that those like us who loved the show would also feel that it wa

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