What’s the story behind the shoe phone gag:

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One internet source labels it as “Neil Armstrong and David Scott with their Gemini 8 shoe phone gag… the tag reads Emergency Communication earphone”. http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum29/HTML/001478.html


1 Answer 1


The opening scene of the first episode of Get Smart in 1965 was a scene where Max's shoe phone rang in a crowded opera house. Not only was it a hilarious opening scene, it was eerily prophetic.

Gemini VIII was launched on March 16, 1966, so it is quite likely that the "Emergency Communication earphone" was a joke that would almost certainly have been funny to anyone who was a fan of the Get Smart show at the time.

Shoe phone rings Phone starts ringing...

People looking annoyed Max excuses himself...

Max answering the shoe phone in a closet Max retreats to a closet and answers the phone.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree most people would have gotten the joke as Get Smart memes were very popular back then, including the phrase "Sorry about that Chief", which even made it onto the Gemini VII coms. In a reverse connection, the Get Smart final season first episode in September 1969, which aired two months after Apollo 11, started with Max, the Chief and 99 on the Moon, as the Chief says, "this is probably the last time we'll be able to have these secret meetings on the moon. Now that the astronauts have landed successfully, there'll probably be a lot more of them coming." $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 7 at 13:39
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    $\begingroup$ youtube.com/watch?v=3eik96tIjAg, youtube.com/watch?v=hHrnLOb1hTA $\endgroup$
    – Bergi
    Commented Jan 8 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ youtu.be/KcFCXtiS1Dk?si=wg6om2ypQMZIPXTJ $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ "Chief, can we give you a lift?", "No thanks, I'm not going that way". 😂 $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8 at 3:40
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    $\begingroup$ Also note how similar the circular dial on Max's shoe is to one of the circular red spots on the astronaut's shoe. $\endgroup$
    – Sotto Voce
    Commented Jan 9 at 6:10

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