It was on this day in 1965 that the hit spy comedy TV series, Get Smart, premiered on NBC. Created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, Get Smart starred Don Adams as an inept spy Agent 86 who was aided by the much smarter Agent 99 (played by Barbara Feldon) who always gave the credit of their success to Max. The two were under the leadership of “Chief” played by Edward Platt and were always at tasking stopping the evil organization, KAOS. It is said that Brooks and Henry were asked to create a show based on two of the most popular things in the entertainment world at the time: James Bond and Inspector Clouseau. The show ran for five years with the fifth airing on CBS and won seven Emmy Awards including Outstanding Comedy Series (1968 and 1969) and Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Comedy (Don Adams in 1967, 1968 and 1969) along with two Golden Globes. Despite its success, it wasn’t a huge ratings winner as it only broke into the top 30 TV shows twice. Years later, Adams reprised the role (sans Agent 99) for the theatrical movie, The Nude Bomb in 1980. ABC created a made-for-TV movie, Get Smart, Again! (with Feldon) In 1989. In 1995, the show became a revival series on FOX that starred Adams, Feldon and Andy Dick as their son, Zack, but the fun didn’t last long. In 2008, Get Smart was re-imagined with a new theatrical release that starred Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway. A sequel was planned but never materialized.
In 1964, Bewitched which starred Elizabeth Montgomery on ABC was the #2 TV show. Wanting a similar piece of the pie, NBC offered I Dream of Jeannie the following year. The show was inspired by the movie The Brass Bottle which starred Barbara Eden as a mortal (Burl Ives played the genie!) Creator Sidney Sheldon didn’t want a blond to play the role of Jeannie since Montgomery was a blond, but nobody read the role as he intended except for Eden. Sheldon wanted the first season to be filmed in color, but NBC didn’t want to pay for the extra expense as they didn’t have much hope that the show would last very long. Though never a ratings winner, the show stayed on the air for five years.