Hogan's Heroes

Hogan's Heroes
Hogan's Heroes
Hogan's Heroes Title Card.png
Format Military sitcom
Created by Bernard Fein
Albert S. Ruddy
Starring Bob Crane
Werner Klemperer
John Banner
Robert Clary
Richard Dawson
Ivan Dixon
Larry Hovis
Kenneth Washington
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 168 (List of episodes)
Running time 23 minutes
Production company(s) Alfran Productions
Bob Crane Enterprises (1970-1971)
Bing Crosby Productions
CBS Productions
Distributor CBS Films (before 1971)
Viacom Enterprises (1971-95)
Paramount Domestic Television (1995-2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006-07)
CBS Television Distribution (2007-present)
Original channel CBS
Picture format 4:3 SDTV
16:9 HDTV
Original run September 17, 1965 (1965-09-17) – March 28, 1971 (1971-03-28)

Hogan's Heroes is an American television sitcom that ran for 168 episodes from September 17, 1965, to March 28, 1971, on the CBS network. The show was set in a German prisoner of war (POW) camp during the Second World War. Bob Crane had the starring role as Colonel Robert E. Hogan, who coordinated an international crew of Allied prisoners running a Special Operations group from the camp. The program also featured Werner Klemperer as Colonel Wilhelm Klink, the commandant of the camp, and John Banner as the inept sergeant-of-the-guard, Schultz.



Hogan tries to influence a visiting Italian officer (Hans Conried) to help him.

The setting was a fictional version of Stalag 13 (Camp 13 in early episodes), a POW camp for captured Allied airmen located north of the town of Hammelburg in the Bad Kissingen woods and run by the Luftwaffe. Its location was on the Hammelburg Road (now known as E45), on the way to Hofburgstraße and eventually Düsseldorf. One episode mentions they are 106 kilometers from Heidelberg, but that measurement is actually aviation miles; it would have taken 199 km (124 mi) by car.

Stalag 13 bore no resemblance to its real-life counterparts, Oflag XIII-B and Stalag XIII-C, which were prison camps for Allied ground troops. It had rather more similarities to the real-life Stalag Luft III, which was the scene of a famous mass prisoner escape involving an elaborate tunnel system. The show's premise was that the POWs were actually active war participants, using the camp as a base of operations for Allied espionage and sabotage against the Germans or the German Armed Forces. The prisoners could leave and return almost at will via a secret network of tunnels and had radio contact with Allied command. They were aided by the incompetence of the camp commandant, Colonel Klink, and the rather more complex motivations of Sergeant of The Guard Sergeant Schultz.

Colonel Hogan would routinely manipulate the incompetent Klink and get Schultz to look the other way while Hogan's men conducted secret operations. Klink and Schultz were in constant terror of being transferred to the Russian Front, and Hogan took pains to keep the hapless German duo firmly in place. Schultz was quite aware that the prisoners were carrying out some sort of mischief, but deliberately ignored it in order to maintain the status quo.

Klink had a perfect record of no escapes while he commanded the camp. Hogan actually assisted in maintaining this record, and made sure any prisoners who needed to be spirited away had been transferred to someone else's authority before their escape was enacted or replacements were provided to maintain the illusion that no one had escaped.



Colonel Hogan

United States Army Air Corps Colonel Robert E. Hogan (Bob Crane), senior ranking POW officer, was the leader of the group. He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but considers Cleveland, Ohio, his home, though it was mentioned in episode 33 "Hogan Throws a Birthday Party" that Hogan was from Indianapolis. He was shot down while on a raid on Hamburg in an operation masterminded by Luftwaffe Colonel Biedenbender, who was promoted to general for this achievement (though Hogan gets even by framing Biedenbender for bombing a German refinery, thereby ruining his military career in the episode Hogan Throws a Birthday Party). In contrast to Colonel Klink, Hogan graduated third in his military class. The character was named by series creator Bernard Fein after his friend, the American soap opera and character actor Robert J. Hogan, who appeared in two episodes of Hogan's Heroes.

Staff Sergeant Kinchloe

United States Army Staff Sergeant James (a.k.a. Ivan) "Kinch" Kinchloe (Ivan Dixon) was primarily responsible for radio, telegraph, and other forms of electronic communications. In the series pilot, Kinchloe was introduced as Hogan's chief of staff, and, in addition to his communications expertise, was observed speaking fluent French to Corporal LeBeau. This was a large step for a 1960s TV show, to have a black actor identified in such a manner. In the fifth episode of the first season, when it looks like Colonel Crittendon (Bernard Fox) was going to be the new senior Prisoner of War officer, Hogan introduces his men, with Kinchloe cited as Chief of Operations. A talented mimic, Kinchloe easily imitates German officers speaking over the radio or telephone. When Hogan needed a strictly audio impression of Adolf Hitler, the men generally agreed that Kinchloe was the better choice for the job over Technical Sergeant Carter.[1]

Kinch was from Detroit and had worked for the telephone company. In one episode, he mentions that before the war he fought in the Golden Gloves. In an episode that had General Burkhalter (Leon Askin) making reference to the Jesse Owens victories during the 1936 Olympics and Adolf Hitler not being happy that a Black American won events over German athletes, Kinchloe knocks out the heavyweight champ of Stalag 13 (Battling Bruno) while Burkhalter was in the camp. Kinchloe winds up fighting Bruno again, drawing out the fight in a delaying action while Hogan and the others accomplish their usual sabotage. Upon completion of the mission, Hogan yells to Kinch to end the fight, and Kinch lays the German out with one punch whereupon Hogan throws in the towel and surrenders the fight to prevent the obvious disaster of a Black POW defeating the "master race's finest boxer." At the end of the episode, Kinch says to Klink that he'd like to tell Bruno he was still the champion of Stalag 13 "as soon as he wakes up."

As a black man in the middle of wartime Germany, Kinchloe's ability to participate in some undercover activities outside of the camp was limited. In one operation that took the protagonists outside of Germany, Kinchloe plays the role of a doorman at a nightclub in Paris in order to get close to the owner. He also impersonated an African prince (also played by Ivan Dixon).

Sergeant Baker

Following Dixon's departure from the show, the producers replaced his character in the sixth season with another black man, Sergeant Richard Baker (Kenneth Washington). The tasks assigned to Sergeant Baker are identical to those of Staff Sergeant Kinchloe, aside from impersonating German voices. However, Newkirk was elevated to the Chief of Operations role (despite being subordinate to both SGT Baker and TSGT Carter). The details of Kinch's departure were never explained on the show. As with Kinchloe, Baker's race prevents him from having active field duties outside the camp, but he is able to assist the group on sabotage missions while managing communications.

Technical Sergeant Carter

United States Army Air Forces Technical Sergeant Andrew J. Carter [Lieutenant in the pilot episode] (Larry Hovis) is in charge of ordnance and bomb-making. He also shows talent in chemistry and can produce formulas as needed. Carter is often called on to impersonate German officers and, most convincingly, Adolf Hitler. Carter, as Hitler, responds to a group of German officers saying "Heil Hitler" with "Heil Me."

While bright and enthusiastic at his specialties, Carter often shows a lack of common sense otherwise. He formerly worked at a drug store in Muncie, Indiana; in one episode, he bragged that he had won a snowman-building contest in Bullfrog, North Dakota. His awards include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Commendation Medal and Good Conduct Medal. Carter is a Native American; his Sioux name is Little Deer Who Goes Swift and Sure Through Forest. Hovis was married, and refused to remove his wedding ring while filming the show as the bachelor Sergeant Carter. Thus, Carter is usually shown wearing gloves, and his left hand is rarely shown in the show.

As a technical sergeant, Carter is the senior non-commissioned officer and, after Colonel Hogan, the senior prisoner, regularly depicted on the program. Despite this, he is never shown to exercise authority over the other prisoners, and Corporals Newkirk and LeBeau are routinely insubordinate toward him.

Corporal LeBeau

Free French Air Force Corporal Louis LeBeau (Robert Clary) was a chef and notoriously patriotic Frenchman, often referring to Nazis and Germans generally as "pigs". LeBeau was also a master of covert operations, and has taken the precaution of befriending the camp's guard dogs. As a result, he was able to enter their compound through a secret entrance under a doghouse without the dogs raising the alarm. The opening credits show him opening the secret entrance under the doghouse - with a dog in it. He also could hide in small spaces, such as the safe in Colonel Klink's office and crates. In many episodes, LeBeau bribes Schultz with food, especially LeBeau's apple strudel. Schultz and Klink (but mainly Klink) refer to LeBeau as "Cockroach." In the first two seasons (excluding the pilot), LeBeau made the uniforms and suits, although this job increasingly went to Newkirk. In fact, by the fifth season episode "Gowns by Yvette," it is suggested that LeBeau cannot even sew a stitch, though he claims creative responsibility for the dress Newkirk eventually sews; but later, he once again began to sew and mend the clothing alongside Newkirk. In the show, LeBeau suffered from hemophobia, possibly from claustrophobia, and is seldom seen without his scarf. He also may have been the first POW at Stalag 13.

Corporal Newkirk

Royal Air Force Corporal Peter Newkirk (British-American actor Richard Dawson) is the group's conman, magician, pick-pocket, card shark, forger, bookie, tailor, lock picker, safe cracker and impersonator of German officers (and on one occasion, Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister during the war); on numerous occasions Newkirk also impersonates women to fool the Germans and help the underground movement. He also is in charge of making uniforms and assisting in distracting the Germans to perform other sabotage. This series marked Dawson's second appearance on American television (he had earlier appeared on an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1963). Dawson auditioned for the role of Hogan, but was told he did not sound American enough. In the version translated for broadcast in Germany, Newkirk's pronounced British accent was replaced by a simulation of stuttering. Newkirk is also a skilled tailor, often called upon to make or alter uniforms and other disguises. Newkirk was also teamed with Carter and his irritation at Carter's bumbling antics and lack of common sense was often used for comedic effect. Newkirk is called "the Englander" by Schultz and sometimes even Klink in some of the episodes. It can be argued that he was the first POW at Stalag 13.


Colonel Klink

Kommandant Oberst (Colonel) Wilhelm Klink (Werner Klemperer) is an old-line Luftwaffe officer of aristocratic (Junker) Prussian descent, and a social climber. He was born in Leipzig in the 1890s, though he refers to Düsseldorf, where he attended the Gymnasium (high school) (graduating 43rd in his class), as his home town.[2] After failing the entrance exams to study law or medicine,[2] he received an appointment from Kaiser Wilhelm II to a military academy, through the influence of his uncle, the Bürgermeister's barber, and graduated 95th in his class – the only one who has not risen to the rank of general. However, when questioned by Colonel Hogan, Colonel Klink admits that many of his higher-ranking classmates have been killed in action or shot by Hitler.

He has fencing armor in his dining room and wears a monocle. In one episode it shows him sleeping with the monocle in, but in another, he wakes up and puts it on. One episode has a brief shot of his office showing that Klink has a pompous coat of arms on his wall. In another episode when he thinks he is going to be rich, he claims his 500-year-old name will finally have some money as well. A veteran aviator of the First World War, Klink happily lives out the end of his military career in the relative comfort and safety of a prison camp commandant's billet - although in one episode he wished he was piloting a Heinkel bomber again. He has been stuck at the rank of colonel for 20 years with an efficiency rating a few points above "miserable". On a few episodes Klink is seen wearing the Pour le Mérite (or The Blue Max); Iron Cross and the Parachutist Badge.

In one episode, Klink tried to flatter Schultz, a businessman in civilian life, hoping to be hired as a bookkeeper with Schultz's toy company after the end of the war. Klink is portrayed as a vain, bumbling, self-serving bureaucrat, rather than as an evil Nazi. Indeed, officers of the German military (as opposed to the Nazi party's SS forces) were prohibited from joining any political party, including the Nazis. With his innate skills as a hustler, Hogan is able to manipulate Klink (which Klink doesn't even notice, though occasionally he wonders who is really in command of Stalag 13) through a combination of appealing to his vanity through a lot of flattery, and playing with Klink's fears of being sent to the frigid and bloody Eastern Front war with the Soviet Union, or of being hauled off by the Gestapo.

In one episode, Klink is told by General Burkhalter that to climb higher socially, he would need to marry into an important family. Burkhalter next tells him that his niece and widowed sister will be arriving at Stalag 13 soon. Klink initially thinks that Burkhalter's lovely niece is the one to whom Burkhalter is referring, but Klink finds out that it is actually Burkhalter's homely and gruff sister, Frau Linkmeyer, whom Burkhalter is trying to marry off - and this becomes Klink's worst nightmare. Klink narrowly escapes from this fate with the help of Colonel Hogan. In a later episode, it is revealed that the two other Stalag commandants under Burkhalter's command also narrowly escaped marriage to Frau Linkmeyer. In the episode "The Missing Klink", Klink is nearly shot by both the Underground {because he isn't high enough rank to trade for an Underground leader prisoner} and the Gestapo (because they think he is allied super-spy "Nimrod" (né Stefan Rosenberg, alias Stephen Rigby, alias Stéphane Dubillier).

Colonel Klink had received the Citation of Merit-Second Class (fictitious) from General Stauffen during World War I. The general had visited Stalag 13 to get a briefcase from Hogan filled with explosives and a 30-minute timer in a plot to murder Adolf Hitler, all under the unsuspecting eyes of Klink. This is typical of the scenarios in which Hogan would entangle Colonel Klink, where Klink's ego is used against him. A running gag in Hogan's Heroes is that Klink gets doused in the face with water at times for comedic effect. Another running gag is that Klink is an inept violinist, too, and is only able to play the U.S. Army Air Forces Song (in real life, Werner Klemperer was a skilled violinist, and son of the famous orchestra conductor Otto Klemperer). The World War I Pickelhaube that sits on his desk is frequently played with by Hogan and his fellow prisoners to the constant annoyance of Colonel Klink.

Sergeant Schultz

Oberfeldwebel (Master Sergeant) Hans Georg Schultz, serial number 23781 (John Banner) is Klink's bumbling, highly unmilitary 300-pound Sergeant of the Guard. Schultz is a basically good-hearted man who, when confronted by evidence of the prisoners' covert activities, will simply look the other way, repeating "I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!" (or, more commonly as the series went on, simply "I see nothing–NOTHING!") to avoid being blamed for allowing things to have gotten as far as they already had—which might see him given a one-way trip to the Eastern Front. This eventually became a catchphrase of the series. Though generally shown as being borderline incompetent, he has (on occasion) proven his mettle, as can be seen in episodes such as "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to London", where he catches Hogan assisting another man attempting to escape; he even goes so far as to stand up to Hogan, moving him along at gunpoint.

Schultz, in the sixth season, receives a temporary promotion to Kommandant of Stalag 13. In the episode "Kommandant Schultz", Burkhalter brings an order from Berlin to all Luft Stalags to begin officer training for their most senior non-commissioned officers. Schultz does so well in the job that Hogan and Klink have to join forces to discredit Schultz and get him reduced back to sergeant-of-the-guard.

In another episode "Hogan Goes Hollywood"—which was a satire on the movie/TV Industry—an ego-driven movie star with the US Armed Air Forces (his contract says that if captured, he must be exchanged for three Generals) is sent to Stalag XIII where he makes a propaganda movie—with Schultz as the Kommandant and Klink as a Sergeant. The movie star ordered this change, insisting that Schultz had a more commanding presence and greater charisma when pretending to be the Kommmandant than Klink did at his own job.

Like Colonel Klink, he is a veteran of World War I. His hometown is Heidelberg, and in civilian life he is the owner of Germany's biggest and most successful toy manufacturing company, The Schatzi Toy Company.[3] With the onset of war, Schultz was involuntarily recalled to military duty and lost control of his toy factory as it was converted to military use. He has a wife, Gretchen (played by Barbara Morrison in Season 2, Episode 24) and five children whom he sees only on infrequent leave. However, many times he is unfaithful to his wife, for instance in the Season 3 Episode 2 episode, "Sergeant Schultz Meets Mata Hari," in which he dates Mata Hari.[4] LeBeau once refers to Schultz as a Social Democrat, a party which the Nazis banned in 1933, and Schultz on several occasions is shown to be very disgusted by Hitler in particular and the Nazis in general.

Schultz carries a Krag-Jørgensen rifle, which he never keeps loaded and tends to misplace or even hand to the POWs when he needs to use both hands ("Give me back my gun, or I'll SHOOT!"). He wears a fictitious version of the Iron Cross (4th Grade) awarded by General Kammler, a friend from World War I, who addresses Schultz by first name, and whom Schulz addresses as Lieutenant Kammler.[5] Schultz needs glasses to read[6] and is described by Klink as being "in his forties."[7] In reality, Banner was in his late fifties.

Recurring characters

  • Fräulein Helga (Cynthia Lynn, 1965 to 1966) and Fräulein Hilda (Sigrid Valdis, 1966 to 1971) served as the secretaries of Colonel Klink. Both Fräulein Helga and Fräulein Hilda were portrayed as having ongoing flirting and kissing relationships with Colonel Hogan. Both also assisted Hogan and his men in various ways, including providing either tidbits of information, or access to official papers or equipment, or service as manicurists in the underground barber shop. Sigrid Valdis and Bob Crane were married in 1970 on the show's set in Culver City, Calif., where all of the interior and some of the exterior scenes of Hogan's Heroes were filmed. Nearly all of the crewmen and women, and all the cast members of the TV series were present, and Richard Dawson served as the Best Man to the groom.
  • General der Infanterie Albert Hans "Hansy" Burkhalter (Leon Askin) is Klink's superior officer who frequently tires of Klink's babbling and incompetence, often telling him to "shut up" and threatening to send him to the Russian Front. Burkhalter was mystified by Stalag 13's perfect record, unable to make sense of it in combination with its Kommandant's frequently-evidenced incompetence. Klink's outstanding record at Stalag 13 was the primary reason for General Burkhalter never actually making good on any of his threats towards Klink. General Burkhalter's confusion over Klink's skill as a Kommandant when he appears to be an idiot in all other regards was a running gag in "Hogan's Heroes". Burkhalter affected to live a Spartan existence like a good German officer, but in reality, he loved the good life, even in war. He was scared to death of Mrs. Burkhalter, testifying to this several times during the series and after Hogan managed to get a few photos of the general with very attractive women. As the series progressed, he suspected Hogan's greater role at Stalag 13; however, in the end, Burkhalter, like the others, came to depend upon Hogan to get them out of trouble with the High Command when one scheme or the other ran off the tracks. Burkhalter is promoted from colonel to general by the High Command between the first and second episodes. His rank is equivalent to a lieutenant (three-star) general in the American forces.
  • Kriminalrat (Major) Wolfgang Hochstetter (Howard Caine) of the Gestapo. Hochstetter is an ardent Nazi who never understands why Hogan is constantly allowed to barge into Klink's office at will. Hochstetter frequently demands of Klink "Who is this man?" or "What is this man doing here?!" with increasing stridency. Klink is justifiably afraid of him, but Burkhalter, who despises Hochstetter just as Klink does, is not. In "War Takes a Holiday", Hogan tricks Hochstetter into lending his car to several underground leaders (presented by Hogan as potential captains of industry), who use it to escape just as Hochstetter's superiors arrive. Howard Caine played several other German officers in the show including Gestapo Kriminaldirektor (Colonel) Feldkamp before becoming Major Hochstetter. Throughout the series, the rank insignia on Hochstetter's collar is that of a Kriminaldirektor (or Standartenführer in the SS) which was equivalent to Oberst (colonel) in the Wehrmacht—a major in the Gestapo would be a Kriminalrat (or Sturmbannführer if he is concurrently an SS officer).
  • Group Captain (Colonel) Rodney Crittendon (Bernard Fox), DSO, CBE, MC and Bar, DFC, AFC an RAF Group Captain. Crittendon is a hopelessly incompetent British officer who crosses paths several times with Hogan and his crew. Crittendon believes that a POW's only focus should be escape. When first transferred to Stalag 13 from Stalag 18, Hogan posed a hypothetical question to Crittenden asking what he would do if he were aware the POWs were engaged in spying and sabotage. Crittendon replies that he would report them to the German authorities, thus preventing himself from being included in the official mission of the Stalag 13 POWs. In an early episode, Klink has him transferred from another camp because he is senior to Hogan, putting him in charge of the POWs. Crittendon was also known for developing and attempting to execute various forms of prison camp escapes that never worked, and for coming up with the secret "Crittendon Plan", which turned out to consist of planting geraniums along the sides of runways to cheer up returning British pilots. The rank "colonel" is inaccurate since, although the pay grades are equivalent, a group captain is never addressed as "colonel"; the inaccuracy is not even consistent within the series' continuity, as Group Captain James Roberts is referred to by his proper rank in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to London".
  • Marya (Nita Talbot) was a Soviet spy who works occasionally with Hogan, but whom he doesn't entirely trust. She often appeared as the trusted paramour of some high-ranking German officer or scientist. She, Hogan, and LeBeau met in Paris during the second season "A Tiger Hunt In Paris, Parts 1 and 2" where she learns of his Stalag 13 activities. Her mission was to either discredit or destroy her paramours, as she notes that "...Hitler can't be expected to kill all of his generals...." Her schemes often come into conflict with Hogan's plans, but she nevertheless always proves to be either faithful to the Allied cause or having compatible causes of her own. She is described as a "White Russian", but it is unclear whether this refers to her possible ethnicity as a Belarusian or her possible political allegiance to the Russian anti-communist White Movement. She is constantly flirting with Hogan, to his discomfort, and also flirts with LeBeau, who believes her to be an innocent, decent woman who won't sell out the Heroes. Her trademark line, said with an exaggerated Russian accent, is "Hogan, Dah-link".
  • Tiger (Arlene Martel), was a beautiful female French Underground contact, who has a running romance with Hogan. Hogan has noted that Tiger has saved his life at least once. Hogan describes Tiger as 'the' leader of the French Underground. He has freed her from the Gestapo twice: once on the way to Berlin via train, and once springing her from Gestapo headquarters in Paris, France.
  • Hauptmann (Captain) Fritz Gruber (Dick Wilson) is Klink's adjutant. During most of Hogan's Heroes, there is a conspicuous omission of any second-in-command to Kommandant Klink, and in fact, the omission of any junior Luftwaffe officers at all; this parallels the apparent situation among the prisoners. In reality, a Stalag like this one had more than a few officers with the ranks of Lieutnant, Hauptmann (captain), and Major (major) carrying out their duties under the command of the Kommandant. We can easily attribute the lack of such junior officers at Stalag 13 to money-spending restrictions on the producers of Hogan's Heroes. Without these characters, there were many fewer actors to hire and to pay. Captain Gruber makes a very few appearances is in charge of the camp when Klink is not available or is away on leave. In one episode, Gruber even became the new "Kommandant" of Stalag 13, when Gen. Burkhalter put him in charge of the camp instead of Klink. To ensure Klink is reinstated as Kommandant, Hogan orders three prisoners to escape and hide from Gruber's search parties. Gruber is unable to recapture them so Burkhalter turns to Klink to recapture the prisoners, which he does with the help of Hogan. General Burkhalter sees that he had made a mistake and gives Klink his old job back, and Gruber remains deputy.
  • Obergefreiter (Corporal) Karl Langenscheidt (Jon Cedar), one of Schultz's guards. Langenscheidt often informs the distraught Colonel Klink when an important guest arrives, much to Klink's displeasure. Langenscheidt often arrives at the worst of times. In one episode, Langenscheidt gets involved in one of Hogan's schemes to forge a priceless painting which General Burkhalter intends to give to Hermann Göring. Klink sends Schultz and Langenscheidt to keep Hogan from escaping while they are in Paris.
  • Frau Gertrude Linkmeyer (née Burkhalter) (Kathleen Freeman) is General Burkhalter's sister. She is usually in a one-sided relationship with Klink (who is scared to death of her), but Hogan manages to split the two one way or another. A running gag in several episodes with her is that Klink can run away with her M.I.A. husband Otto (in one episode Hogan commented "You two can start a club"); another running gag is Klink threatening to have Hogan shot for even suggesting Klink will marry Linkmeyer. She only appears in episodes with General Burkhalter.
  • Maurice Dubay (Felice Orlandi), is a French Underground contact who appeared in several episodes. (Orlandi's real-life wife, Alice Ghostley, appeared in two episodes, one time assuming the role of Frau Linkmeyer.)


Pilot episode

The pilot episode, "The Informer", was produced in black-and-white.[8] As with many pilot episodes, there are several differences from the series proper, such as Burkhalter being introduced as a colonel, instead of a general. There were many changes to Larry Hovis's character of Carter. In the pilot, he was credited as a guest star and is shown as a lieutenant, rather than a sergeant. "Lt. Carter" had recently escaped from another camp and at the end of the episode, is en route to England.

Leonid Kinskey appeared in the pilot episode as Vladimir Minsk, a Soviet POW who specializes in tailoring. Kinskey ultimately turned down a contract to become a permanent character, contending that the subject matter was being treated too lightly.[citation needed]

In the pilot, Col. Klink's secretary is actually part of Hogan's team, and she has access to the tunnels. In the actual TV series, she is merely willing to look the other way in exchange for a warm kiss from Hogan, or some other form of affectionate gesture. Eventually, during the run of the TV series, it is implied that she and Hogan have a running romance, especially when she hints at getting a diamond engagement ring in exchange for her help. Another difference is that the word "Stalag" was avoided in the pilot; it was simply referred to as "Camp 13."

Rough timeline

The exact chronology of the series was never established, but references are made in certain episodes.

  • The pilot program gives the month and year as February 1942. However, this is inaccurate, because there were not any American POWs in Germany in February 1942. The United States had just entered the war in the previous December, and none of the U.S. armed forces had had time to mobilize and move to England by then. That was something that was accomplished many months later on in July 1942.
  • In the episode "The Great Brinksmeyer Robbery" (Season 2, Episode 18), Colonel Klink tunes in to a live BBC news broadcast which describes the Battle of El Alamein which took place from October 23 to November 5, 1942.
  • In another episode, Hogan says to Klink, "But you know, sir, you can't believe all the rumors you hear around here. We even heard the Russians won at Stalingrad." The Battle of Stalingrad lasted from July 1942 to February 1943.
  • One episode shows Hogan holding up a sign that reads, "Colonel Klink and his magic violin presents: "Great Escapes of 1943."
  • The episode "Go Light on the Heavy Water" appears to be set in the period following the bombing of the Norwegian heavy water plant in November 1943.
  • One episode is set on the eve of D-Day, June 6, 1944, the date of the massive Allied invasion of Normandy, on the coast of France.
  • Another episode involves Hogan providing a German with a briefcase equipped with a time bomb intended to kill the German Führer, Adolf Hitler, referring to Claus von Stauffenberg's failed assassination attempt on Hitler of July 20, 1944.
  • In one episode, Hogan refers to a Japanese kamikaze plane, whose missions began in October 1944, during the first American landings in the Philippines (on the island of Leyte).
  • Another episode has Kinchloe receiving vital news that "The St. Louis Browns lead the Yankees...", which was in August and September, 1944.
  • In the episode "Monkey Business", a sign outside the barracks reads December 13, 1944.
  • In the second season episode, "General Swap", Col. Klink mentions that Col. Hogan had been in Stalag 13 for two years.
  • In the final episode of the TV series, "Rockets or Romance", Hogan states that he has been a POW for three years; Col. Klink remarks that the Allied Forces will be "stopped" before they get to Munich, which was captured on April 30, 1945.

One notable oddity is that it always appears to be winter at Stalag 13: the windows are never seen without frost, and there's always at least some "snow" (sometimes a lot) on the ground and rooftops. This may be attributable to budget restrictions, or perhaps merely to laziness or carelessness of the production staff preventing the crew from ever thoroughly redressing the outdoor set areas.

As with some other war-related series such as M*A*S*H, the TV program lasted much longer than the actual surrounding events had. While the series ran for six seasons, the American direct involvement in the World War II was less than four years (December 7, 1941 through September 2, 1945). Also, World War II in Europe ended on May 8, 1945.

In one episode, Hogan claims to be Sergeant Frank Dirkin and references that he escaped Stalag 13 last year, last year being 1942, making it 1943.

Theme music

The theme music for Hogan's Heroes was composed by Jerry Fielding. The title of the theme music is "March" or "Hogan's Heroes March". There are lyrics[9] to the title music. While they were never sung in the show, they were performed on an album titled "Hogan's Heroes Sing The Best of World War II".


The producers of the 1953 feature film Stalag 17, a World War II prisoner of war film released by Paramount Pictures (which now owns the DVD rights to Hogan's Heroes), unsuccessfully sued Bing Crosby Productions for infringement.[10][not in citation given] In his book, My War, Andy Rooney, who was a friend of Don Bevan and Ed Trzcinski—the authors of the original Stalag 17 play—relates that "...someone at CBS apparently ripped off their idea and made a television series called Hogan's Heroes of it. The television program had too many similarities in character and plot to be coincidental, and when Don and Ed sued the network they won a huge award."[11]

In 2002, TV Guide named Hogan's Heroes the fifth worst TV show of all time (p 180, Running Press, Philadelphia, 2007).[12] The listing for Hogan's Heroes in particular accuses the show of trivializing the suffering of real life POWs and the victims of the Holocaust with its comedic take on prison camps in the Third Reich.

Comedian Tony Figueroa has offered a possible explanation for the disparate views of "Hogan's Heroes" by modern audiences. He believes that some viewers look badly upon the show because they erroneously think it trivializes war atrocities, having sadly misapprehended the setting of the show.

These Hogan's Heroes critics who confuse the POW camps with the concentration/death camps speaks more about the quality of the general public's level of historical awareness than the quality of what William Shatner would call, "Just a TV show!"[13]


During the original run of the program, Hogan's Heroes was three times nominated for the Emmy for Best Comedy Series.[14] The television academy's faith in the show is generally confirmed by most modern viewers. As of 2008, online participants overwhelmingly deemed it a show that "never jumped the shark".[15] Likewise, about 93% of respondents at tv.com rated the show as "good" or better, as of 2008.[16]

Jewish actors

The actors who played the four major German roles—Werner Klemperer (Klink), John Banner (Schultz), Leon Askin (Burkhalter), and Howard Caine (Hochstetter)—were Jewish. Furthermore, Klemperer, Banner, Askin, and Robert Clary (LeBeau) were Jews who had fled the Nazis during World War II. Clary says in the recorded commentary on the DVD version of episode "Art for Hogan's Sake" that he spent three years in a concentration camp, that his parents and other family members were killed there, and that he has an identity tattoo from the camp on his arm ("A-5714"). Likewise John Banner had been held in a (pre-war) concentration camp and his family was exterminated during the war. Leon Askin was also in a pre-war French internment camp and his parents were killed at Treblinka. Howard Caine (Hochstetter), who was also Jewish (his birth name was Cohen), was American, and Jewish actors Harold Gould and Harold J. Stone played German generals.

As a teenager, Werner Klemperer (Klink) (son of the conductor Otto Klemperer) fled Hitler's Germany with his family in 1933. During the show's production, he insisted that Hogan always win over his Nazi captors. He defended his playing a Luftwaffe Officer by claiming, "I am an actor. If I can play Richard III, I can play a Nazi." Banner attempted to sum up the paradox of his role by saying, "Who can play Nazis better than us Jews?" Ironically, although Klemperer, Banner, Caine, Gould, and Askin play typecast World War II German types, all had actually served in the US Armed Forces during World War II — Banner[17] and Askin in the US Army Air Corps, Caine in the US Navy, Gould with the US Army, and Klemperer in a US Army Entertainment Unit.


Universal HD broadcasts Hogan's Heroes in 1080p High Definition, with the picture being mildly cropped to better fit 16:9 television screens, rather than being fully "pillarboxed" as most non-widescreen programs are when viewed on high-definition TV. The picture is cropped only slightly from the top, and more from the bottom, so that the tops of characters' heads are not usually affected. (This series was filmed in the 4:3 TV ratio; the cropping used by Universal HD leaves a narrow vertical black strip at each side of the picture, each about 1/3 the width of the black strips normally seen with unaltered 4:3 content on a 16:9 screen.) [18]

German-language version

Hogan's Heroes was not broadcast in Germany on German television until 1992. The original German-language dubbed version was titled Stacheldraht und Fersengeld ("Barbed Wire and Turning Tail"). The program was next re-dubbed and re-broadcast in 1994 as Ein Käfig voller Helden ("A Cage of Heroes"), which gained considerable popularity.[citation needed] Hogan's Heroes had been broadcast over the American Armed Forces Network in Germany in 1974 for one or two episodes, but the German government strongly requested its removal, and the management of American Armed Forces TV complied with this request and took it off the air.[citation needed]

In the newer German-language version of Hogan's Heroes, the Germans and Austrians speak in various different accents. It amplifies the contrast between Colonel Klink (who portrays the Prussian stereotype but has an accent from Saxony) and Sergeant Schultz (who portrays the Urbayern Bavarian stereotype), which gives the German version of Hogan's Heroes another slapstick element. Furthermore, Klink's choice of vocabulary and memorable quotes add more gags that would not be possible in a direct translation of the original English-language version of Hogan's Heroes.

All of the American characters in Hogan's Heroes speak High German (Standard German). General Burkhalter speaks with strong Austrian accent, especially to go along with the fact that the actor who played this role, Leon Askin, was born in Vienna, Austria.

A major change to the German version of Hogan's Heroes is that Corporal Newkirk, who speaks with a British accent in the original, has his voice changed to that of an exaggerated stutterer in the German version. Another change that was made is in Sergeant Schultz's first name. This is "Hans" in the English version, but they changed this to "Georg" in the German version, for no apparent reason.

Apart from all of the above, there are numerous departures from the original stories, which introduce factors that are not present in the English Hogan's Heroes. Among other things, the German version introduces a new character, "Kalinke", who is Klink's cleaning lady and also his perennial mistress. Of course, she is referred to, but never seen, because she was nonexistent in the films of the TV program. Colonel Klink describes her as performing most of her cleaning duties in the nude.[19]

DVD releases

CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all six seasons of Hogan's Heroes on DVD in Region 1 & 4. The series was previously released by Columbia House as individual discs, each with five or six consecutive episodes.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 4
The Complete First Season 32 March 15, 2005 July 30, 2008
The Complete Second Season 30 September 27, 2005 November 7, 2008
The Complete Third Season 30 March 7, 2006 March 5, 2009
The Complete Fourth Season 26 August 15, 2006 June 3, 2009
The Complete Fifth Season 26 December 19, 2006 August 4, 2009
The Sixth & Final Season 24 June 5, 2007 September 30, 2009
The Complete Series (The Kommandant's Collection) 168 November 10, 2009 December 3, 2009

In popular culture

  • Mad magazine #108 (January 1967) parodied the show as "Hokum's Heroes". An additional one-page parody called "Hochman's Heroes" took the show's premise to the next level by setting it in Buchenwald concentration camp.
  • In the Batman episode "It's the Way You Play the Game", Colonel Klink appears in one of the show's trademark window cameos as Batman scales the side of a building. When Batman and Robin ask why Colonel Klink is in Gotham City, Colonel Klink states that he is looking for an underground agent. Batman tells Colonel Klink to try not to get picked up as Chief O'Hara can be very tough with aliens incognito. Colonel Klink quotes "incognito in my monocle." When Robin tells Colonel Klink to say hi to Colonel Hogan for him and Batman, Colonel Klink quotes that it's a wonder Hogan hasn't borrowed one of Batman's bat-ropes for one of his escapes.
  • The television series The Simpsons has made several references to Hogan's Heroes[20] including:
    • The episode "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk" when Mr. Burns sells the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant to a German company. One of the Germans alludes to the show when he says, "The new owners have elected me to speak with you because I am the most non-threatening. Perhaps I remind you of the lovable Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes."
    • Colonel Klink (voiced by Klemperer himself) appears in the episode "The Last Temptation of Homer", as a guardian angel assuming the form of a character Homer knows, who shows Homer what his life would be like without Marge. Throughout the episode Homer tells Klink of the tunnels and radio that were hidden from him throughout Hogan's Heroes.
    • In the episode "The Great Louse Detective", Rainier Wolfcastle references Sgt. Schultz's catchphrase. When discussing a nudist Nazi exploitation film he made early in his career, he says "I Wore Nussing!"

The Family Guy episode "Emission Impossible" sees character Cleveland Brown muttering Schultz's famous "I see nothing, nothing!" as he sees Stewie exit the body of a robot built to resemble Peter. In the episode, "Fore Father" Chris is working at a golfing range, and his boss pops out of a tunnel in the ground with Chris's paycheck, and says to Chris, "Yeah it's a tunnel like Hogan's Heroes, you wanna fight about it?" And in the episode "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater" Peter asks Brian to help him be a gentleman. Brian responds, "Well, Peter, it's not really that hard. Let's start with polite conversation. For example, 'It's a pleasure to see you again. Lovely weather we're having.' "Now you try." Peter replies, "It's a pleasure to see you again. After Hogan's Heroes, Bob Crane got his skull crushed in by a friend who videotaped him having rough sex." "How's that?"

Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz appear in the Robot Chicken episode "Metal Militia", voiced by Seth Green. In a segment that parodies this show, Hulk Hogan and other wrestlers were in the place of Colonel Hogan and his inmates as they plan to make their escape at the time when Adolf Hitler pays a visit to Colonel Klink's Stalag 13 camp.


In 1965, Fleer produced a 66 trading card set for the series. Between 1966 and 1969, Dell Comics produced 9 issues based on the series, all with photo covers. In 1968, Robert Clary, Richard Dawson, Ivan Dixon, and Larry Hovis cut an LP record, Hogan's Heroes Sing the Best of World War II, which included lyrics for the theme song. The record did not sell well and as a result is today considered a collector's item.

In 1968, MPC (Model Products by Craft Master, Model Products Corp.) released a model jeep in 1/25 scale with spurious markings labeled as "Hogan's Heroes World War II Jeep". In 2003 another model (from the same mold, but with slightly different—though still spurious—decals) was released by AMT/ERTL. It cannot be built as a correct World War II military jeep, regardless of markings, without body work due to the fact it has a tailgate opening; but it includes alternate parts to build a correct CJ-2A. A decal on the model read, "If found, return to Colonel Hogan".

List of episodes

See also


  1. ^ "D-Day at Stalag 13". Hogan's Heroes. September 23, 1967. No. 3, season 3.
  2. ^ a b "Commander of the Year". Hogan's Heroes. 1 October 1965. No. 3, season 1.
  3. ^ "War Takes a Holiday". Hogan's Heroes. 27 January 1968. No. 21, season 3.
  4. ^ Sergeant Schultz Meets Mata Hari at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ "The Rise and Fall of Sergeant Schultz"
  6. ^ "To the Gestapo With Love"
  7. ^ "Killer Klink"
  8. ^ The Informer at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ http://www.headington.org.uk/adverts/themes/hi.htm
  10. ^ Christopher Null. "Stalag 17: A film review". Filmcritic.com. http://www.filmcritic.com/misc/emporium.nsf/reviews/Stalag-17. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  11. ^ Rooney, Andy. My War. New York: Random House, 1995. p. 264
  12. ^ http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/07/12/entertainment/main515057.shtml The Worst TV Shows Ever*, CBS News, July 12, 2002.
  13. ^ Figueroa, Tony. "Reflections on Hogan's Heroes". BlogCritics Magazine. 9 June 2006.
  14. ^ http://www.hogansheroesfanclub.com/awards.php Hogan's Heroes Fan Club - Awards.
  15. ^ jumptheshark.com rating for Hogan's Heroes
  16. ^ tv.com poll on Hogan's Heroes
  17. ^ Axis History Forum
  18. ^ http://www.universalhd.com/app/Schedule/?keyword=HEROES Hogan's Heroes in HD
  19. ^ Steinmetz, Greg (1996-05-31). "In Germany Now, Col. Klink’s Maid Cleans in the Nude". Wall Street Journal: pp. A1. http://www.hogansheroesfanclub.com/articleWSJ31May1996.php 
  20. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058812/movieconnections

External links

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