Don Adams and the Sole of Wit

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Once upon a time (in the '60s) there was a television show called "Get Smart." It was a sendup of James Bond spy dramas and featured the bumbling secret agent 86, Maxwell Smart, played by Don Adams, who died Sunday at age 82.

Many of its gags entered the culture permanently, used by people who had never seen the show. For example:

Sorry about that!

The response to a colossal blunder. In 1965 one of the Gemini astronauts used it. It became a favorite of grunts in Vietnam.


And loving it!

Response to a warning of grave danger.

Would you believe . . . ?

Used to modify a spectacularly unsuccessful bluff. Adams first used it on a comedy record:

Faversham: You think you've got me, but I have you surrounded by the entire mounted 17th Bengal Lancers.

Khan: I don't believe you.

Faversham: Would you believe the First Bengal Lancers?

Khan: No.

Faversham: How about Gunga Din on a donkey?

-- Style staff

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