August 17, 2013

Get Smart Shoe Phones: the Original Mobiles

Get Smart made a big impression on me as a kid. I loved the urgency of the surf-spy theme tune, the "scccchhhhwick!" of the slamming doors as Max Smart strode down the corridor in the title sequence, and how coolly deadpan Agent 99 was (and the fact that her actual name was "99").

But most of all, I loved the shoe phones. What a kooky idea: a portable telephone that you carried on your very person, allowing you to chat on the blower anywhere you went! Oh, the fun we had as children, pressing the soiled soles of our shoes to our cheeks as we pretended to be Max and 99.

Let's see the shoe phone in action:

Get Smart was not only 100% accurate about the future annoyance of public cell phone use, it also anticipated laptop computers. Dig the proto Apple wielded by the Groovy Guru in this illustration of not-so-subliminal manipulation through pop culture:

It's official: Get Smart creators Mel Brooks and Buck Henry were oracles of personal technology.


  1. Those shoe phones have just reminded me of those Clarks tracker shoes (for boys, sadly) with pawprints on the soles and a concealed compass!

    1. Wow, those Tracker shoes sound like a passport to adventure if ever there was! It's a funny idea that the shoes were for "boys only", when it was only a matter of a parent buying a pair for their little girl.

  2. Eerily prescient, indeed!

    Um, was that the Bee Gees appearing as the Sacred Cows? The other two were hard to get a good look at, but the guy on the left looked like Robin Gibb in the paint, down to the wee hippie specs.

    1. I just did a quick scroll through the YouTube comments on the clip, and found this:

      The "Sacred Cows" were session musicians: Jerry Scheff (bass) John Greek (guitar) & Ben Benay (guitar) They played the band and recorded the music.