As the world mourns the passing of Don Adams, famous
for his portrayal of the bumblingly inept Maxwell Smart on 60s spy spoof
Get Smart, one of his biggest Australian fans, Treasurer Peter
Costello, will be quietly mourning Adams’s death away from Canberra’s cold corridors of power. A dedicated Get Smart
aficionado, Costello is currently travelling the US, and hasn’t made public how he’s holding up.

It’s perhaps apt that Costello was in Washington – the presumed
setting for the fictional spy agency CONTROL at the centre of the Get Smart
series – talking up Aussie interest with the youthful exuberance of a
young and naive Maxwell Smart when Adams passed away yesterday.

Known for his almost text-book knowledge of the series, and his uncanny
impersonation of Agent 86, the Treasurer has, in the past, used
his love of the show to highlight his softer side. “There was a lot
that was deep about that program,” Costello told The Age’s Peter
Wilmoth in a soft profile piece back in 2003. “The never-ending war between
KAOS and CONTROL. It was sort of ahead of its time.”

With the Liberal leadership bubbling below the surface, Crikey’s
surprised Cossie hasn’t broken his cone of silence and exploited
Adams’s death already, choosing not to mention it when he spoke
to Nine’s Today Show this morning.

Famous for catch-phrases “would you believe…” and “sorry about that,
chief,” it’s easy to see why Maxwell Smart could be an appropriate muse
for any budding politician – especially a treasurer. And maybe Costello and his mates in
Washington can take something away from this classic
exchange between Max and Agent 99.

99: Oh, Max what a terrible weapon of destruction.
Smart: Yes. You know, China, Russia, and France should outlaw all nuclear weapons. We should insist upon it.
99: What if they don’t, Max?
Smart: Then we may have to blast them. That’s the only way to keep peace in the world.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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