Bookshelf: Get Smart #7 – The Spy Who Came Out to the Cold

Get Smart #7 – The Spy Who Went Out to the Cold
By William Johnston
First Published in 1968 by Tempo Books
152 Pages

I believe the full title to this novel is Max Smart – The Spy Who Went Out to the Cold, but that’s a bit long so I’m just going to call it The Spy Who Went Out to the Cold. It’s the seventh of nine Get Smart tie-in novels, all written by William Johnston, that were originally published between 1965 and 1969. I reviewed the third novel in the series — Sorry, Chief… — back in May, calling it “an absurd story filled with the sort of inanity and hilarity that Get Smart is known for.” If anything, The Spy Who Went Out to the Cold was even more absurd. In it, Agents 86 and 99 are charged with safely delivering one Professor Wormser von BOOM to the North Pole.

Professor von BOOM (that’s how his name is pronounced: BOOM!) is the only person in the world who can successfully complete the formula for an incredibly lightweight fuel. Obviously, if KAOS got their hands on him it could prove disastrous. The Chief orders Max and 99 to bring him to a laboratory located underneath the North Pole. Max decides the best way to outwit KAOS agents would be the old “crow-disguised-as-a-wild-goose” in which “you make your pursuer think you’re going on a wild goose chase, but, actually, you’re zeroing-in on a predetermined destination, more or less as straight as the crow flies.”

The Spy Who Came Out to the Cold Front
The Spy Who Came Out to the Cold Front – Copyright 1968 Tempo Books

With Professor von BOOM in tow, Max and 99 decide to take an ocean liner to Africa, where they’ll cross the Sahara, take the Nile to Alexandria via houseboat, catch a flight to Russia, hop the Trans Siberian Railway to the coast, board a submarine to Alaska and then make their way to the North Pole. What could possibly go wrong? First and foremost, Max sees KAOS agents everywhere (and nowhere). To make matters worse, Professor von BOOM will wander off if he hears a certain word. Hearing “tip” will send him to a restaurant while “line” will make him head for the nearest post office. Max and 99 lose the good professor time and time again.

The Spy Who Came Out to the Cold Front
The Spy Who Came Out to the Cold Front – Copyright 1968 Tempo Books

Eventually, though, they make it to the North Pole, but not before they’re all chased by bulls, Professor von BOOM becomes a movie star, Max and 99 are mistaken for mummies and Max rides a cow. Unfortunately, once they arrive at their destination Max receives a phone call from the Chief informing him that Professor von BOOM isn’t who they think he is. I won’t spoil the ending for you but it was hilariously frustrating to read.

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1 Comment

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Apparently, William Johnston’s original “GET SMART” novels were the best adaptations of a TV series he ever wrote, or there wouldn’t have been nine of them. They ended, I believe, because NBC cancelled the show in 1969, and CBS picked it up for the fall- and apparently didn’t have the same arrangement with Tempo Books/Grosset & Dunlap for the novels as producer Talent Associates did [CBS acquired the copyright on the series for its final season, even though TA still produced it]. Or perhaps Tempo realized “GET SMART” had run its course as a paperback series…

    Interesting cover- I’d be annoyed as Max if I tried to figure out WHERE to stuff the receiver back into that ice skate without it being noticed. I can hear the Chief’s explanation: “We had to economize because our budget is stretched to the limit as it is!”
    MAX: “What about that new set of golf clubs you dragged in here last week?”
    CHIEF: [trying to make him understand for the 251st time] “Those weren’t ‘golf clubs’, Max…that was our new highly sensitive satellite system!”
    MAX: [slightly embarrassed] “Oh…”
    CHIEF: [trying not to get angry] “Max- where ARE they?”
    MAX: “Well, I didn’t think you’d mind if I…borrowed them..”
    CHIEF: “WHERE ARE THEY?”
    MAX: “I think they might be transmitting from that water trap near the 15th hole at Burning Tree.”
    CHIEF: [trying to keep his cool] “They…weren’t waterproof.”
    MAX: “Well, they were pretty lousy golf clubs to start with!”

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