Jewish Biography
 

Related Links

Biographies
Jewish Memoirs
List of Jews
List of Rabbis
Actors & Actresses
American authors
Jewish Chefs
Chess Players
Computer Scientists
Economists
Film Directors
Jewish Americans
Jewish Comedians
Jewish CEOs
Jewish Comics
Jewish Dancers
Jewish Head States
Jewish Magicians
Jewish Models
Jewish Producers
Jewish Poker Players
Jewish Philosopher
Jewish Theater
Jewish TV
Jewish Radio
Mathematicians
Motion Pictures
Music businessmen
Jewish Poets
Jewish Cartoonist
Jewish Women
Playwrights
Representatives
Senators
Singers
Songwriters
Wrestlers
Featured Jews
Harry Houdini
Hogan's Heroes
Marx Brothers
Seinfeld
The Three Stooges

-- Jewish Links --

Jewish Books
Jewish Links
Jewish Catalogs
Jewish Posters
Jewish Stories
Jewish Videos
Judaica
Judaism
Kosher Wines
Jewish Biography --> Biographies --> List of Jews --> Hogan's Heroes
Sponsored listings for Jewish Recipes and Kosher Cooking

Hogan’s Heroes is a satirical American television situation comedy that ran for 168 episodes from September 17, 1965, to July 4, 1971, on the CBS network. Starring Bob Crane as Colonel Robert E. Hogan, the show was set in a German prisoner of war (POW) camp during the Second World War. The program featured Werner Klemperer as the Commandant of the camp, Colonel Klink and John Banner as the portly inept sergeant-of-the-guard, Schultz, as well as a crew of Allied prisoners who assisted Hogan in running a Resistance group from the camp.

Hogan's Heroes was a Bing Crosby production.

Premise

The setting was a fictional version of Stalag 13, a POW camp for captured airmen located near the town of Hammelburg and run by the Luftwaffe. It bore no resemblance to its real-life counterparts, Oflag XIII-B and Stalag XIII-C.

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 Nazis. 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 his aide Sergeant Schultz. Hogan would routinely manipulate the incompetent Klink and get Schultz to look the other way while his 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. Klink had a perfect record of no escapes while he commanded the POW camp. Hogan actually assisted in maintaining this record, and made sure any prisoners that needed to be spirited away had been transferred to someone else's authority before their escape was enacted.

Cast - Allies

Colonel Robert E. Hogan

American Army Air Forces Colonel Robert E. Hogan (Bob Crane), senior ranking POW officer, is the leader of the group. He was from Bridgeport, Connecticut and born in Cleveland, Ohio. He was shot down while on a raid on Hamburg in an operation masterminded by Colonel Biedenbender, who was promoted to General for this achievement. In contrast to Colonel Klink, he 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.

Sgts. Kinchloe and Baker

African American Staff Sergeant James (aka Ivan) “Kinch” Kinchloe (Ivan Dixon) is primarily responsible for radio, telegraph, and other forms of electronic communications. 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 Sergeant Carter.

Following Dixon's departure from the show, the producers replaced his character with Sergeant Baker (Kenneth Washington). The tasks assigned to Sergeant Baker are identical to those of Staff Sergeant Kinchloe. The details of Kinch's departure were never explained on the show.

As Kinchloe and Baker were black, their ability to participate in covert activities outside of the camp were limited.

Technical Sergeant Carter

American Technical Sergeant Andrew J. Carter (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. 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. His awards include the Silver Star, Bronze Star , Purple Heart, Commendation Medal and Good Conduct Medal.

Corporal LeBeau

French Army Corporal Louis LeBeau (Robert Clary) is a chef. LeBeau is also a master of covert operations, and has taken the precaution of befriending the camp’s guard dogs. As a result, he is able to enter their compound through a secret entrance under a doghouse without the dogs raising the alarm. In many episodes, LeBeau bribes Schultz with food, especially LeBeau’s apple strudel. LeBeau also makes the occasional outfit or uniform.

Corporal Newkirk

Royal Air Force Corporal Peter Newkirk (British actor Richard Dawson) is the group’s conman, magician, pick-pocket, card shark, forger, and impersonator of German officers. He also is in charge of making uniforms and assisting in distracting the Germans to perform other sabotage. This series marked Dawson’s American debut. Dawson auditioned for the role of Hogan, but was told he didn't sound American enough. Curiously, in the version translated for broadcast in Germany, Newkirk's pronounced British accent was replaced by a simulation of stuttering.

Germans

Colonel Klink

Oberst (Colonel) Wilhelm Klink (Werner Klemperer) is an old-line Luftwaffe officer of aristocratic (Junker) Prussian descent, as well as a social climber. He has a pretentious coat of arms with the letter “K” in his living quarters. Klink is never mentioned as a member of the Nazi Party and is portrayed as a bumbling self-serving bureaucrat rather than an evil person. His vanity makes him an easy target for Hogan's flattery.

In one episode, Klink is told by General Burkhalter that to climb higher socially, he would need to get married into an important family, Burkhalter then tells him that his sister and niece would be arriving. Klink initially thinks the beautiful niece is the one to which Burkhalter is referring, but finds out that it is actually Burkhalter's sister who is looking to get married. Klink narrowly escapes with the help of Hogan. In a later episode, we find that the two other commandants under General Burkhalter also narrowly escaped marriage to the General's sister.

Sergeant Schultz

Feldwebel (Sergeant) Hans Schultz, serial number 23781 (John Banner) is Klink’s bumbling, highly unmilitary 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!”) in order to avoid becoming involved in any way. This eventually became a catch phrase of the series. In civilian life, he is the owner of a highly-successful toy & novelty company. Schultz carried a Krag-Jørgensen rifle which he never keeps loaded. He wears a fictitious version of the Iron Cross (4th Grade) which, in episode "The Rise and Fall of Sergeant Schultz", was awarded by General Kammler, a friend from World War I, who addresses Schultz by first name (Hans), and whom Schultz addresses as Lieutenant Kammler.

In the second season episode "Killer Klink", Schultz is described by Klink as being "in his forties". In reality, Banner was in his late fifties.

Helga and Hilda

Helga (Cynthia Lynn, 1965 to 1966) and Hilda (Sigrid Valdis, 1966 to 1971) served as secretaries to Colonel Klink. Both were portrayed as having an ongoing romantic relationship with Colonel Hogan. Both also assisted Hogan and his men in various ways, including providing tidbits of information or access to papers or equipment.

Sigrid Valdis and Bob Crane were married in 1970.

Recurring characters

  • General der Infantrie Albert Burkhalter (Leon Askin) is Klink’s superior officer who frequently tires of his incompetence and often threatens to send him to the Russian Front. Burkhalter was mystified by Stalag 13's perfect record, as no prisoners ever escaped under Klink's watch, and this helped assuage his taking further actions against Klink. 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.
  • Major Wolfgang Hochstetter (Howard Caine) of the Gestapo. Hochstetter is an ardent Nazi who never understands why Hogan is often 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 is not easily intimidated. 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 before becoming Major Hochstetter. Throughout the series, the rank insignia on Hochstetter's collar is that of a Standartenführer which translates to Oberst (Colonel) in the Wehrmacht.
  • Colonel Rodney Crittendon (Bernard Fox), DSO, CBE, MC and Bar, DFC, AFC an RAF Group Captain. Crittendon is a British officer who crosses paths several times with Hogan and his crew. Crittendon believes that a POW’s only focus should be escape and spying should be done by professional spies. 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.
  • Marya (Nita Talbot), is a sexy "White" Russian spy who works occasionally with Hogan, but whom he doesn't entirely trust. Her trademark line is an exaggeratedly drawled “Hogan, Dahling.”
  • Tiger (Arlene Martel), is a French Underground contact.
    Corporal Karl Langenscheidt (John Cedar), one of Klink’s men. 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.

Pilot episode

The pilot episode, “The Informer,” was produced in black-and-white. As with many pilot episodes, there are several continuity errors with the series proper, such as Burkhalter being introduced as a Colonel, instead of a general. But most continuity problems revolve around Larry Hovis' 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 his contract, contending that the subject matter was being treated too lightly.

In the pilot, Klink’s secretary is actually part of Hogan’s team and had access to the tunnels. In the series, she is merely willing to look the other way in exchange for a kiss from Hogan or some other form of affectionate gesture. Eventually, during the series run, 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.

Series timeline

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

  • The pilot gives the year as 1942.
  • One episode is set at D-Day.
  • One episode shows Hogan holding up a sign that reads, "Colonel Klink and his magic violin presents: "Great Escapes of 1943."
  • Another episode involves Hogan providing a German with an explosive intended to kill Hitler, referencing Claus von Stauffenberg’s failed July 20 Plot of 1944.
  • In one case, Hogan makes reference to a kamikaze, whose operations began in mid-to-late 1944.
  • In the episode "Monkey Business," a sign outside the barracks reads December 13, 1944.
  • 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.
  • As with some other war-related series such as M*A*S*H, the program lasted longer than the actual events. While the series ran for six seasons, U.S. involvement in the Second World War was less than four years (Dec. 1941 - September 1945).

Controversies

There are similarities between Hogan's Heroes and 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). The producers of the film sued Bing Crosby productions for infringement; the suit was unsuccessful.

Hogan’s Heroes (book cover)

Reception

During the original run of the program, Hogan's Heroes was three times nominated for the Emmy for Best Comedy Series.[1] The television academy's faith in the show seems to be generally, if unscientifically, confirmed by some modern viewers. As of 2008, online participants overwhelmingly deemed it a show that "never jumped the shark".[2] Likewise, about 93% of respondents at tv.com rated the show as "good" or better, as of 2008.[3] As the results of an online polls, however, these conclusions may or may not be representative of the general public's views.

The modern television press has offered a mixed perspective on the show. In 2002, TV Guide named Hogan's Heroes the fifth worst TV show of all time.[4] The Chicago Tribune gave their top 25 "worst shows ever" in 2007, however, and Hogan's Heroes didn't make that list.[5] It is unclear how either publication arrived at their findings.

Comedian Tony Figueroa has offered a possible explanation for the disparate views of the program by modern audiences. He believes that some viewers look badly upon the show because they think it trivializes the atrocities of war or because they have fundamentally misapprehended the setting of the show.

These Hogan’s Heroes critics who confuse of the POW camps with a 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!"

—Tony Figueroa[6]

Jewish actors

Some of the actors, including Werner Klemperer (Klink), John Banner (Schultz), Robert Clary (LeBeau), and Leon Askin (Burkhalter), 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. Likewise John Banner was 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) was also Jewish (his birth name was Cohen), and Jewish actors Harold Gould and Harold J. Stone played German generals.

As a teenager, Werner Klemperer (Klink) (son of the great 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 Nazi 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, and Askin play typecast World War II German types, all had actually served in the US Armed Forces during World War II—Banner [1] and Askin in the US Army Air Corps and Klemperer in a US Army Entertainment Unit.

German popularity

The show was not broadcast in Germany over German TV until 1992. The original dubbed version was titled Stacheldraht und Fersengeld (Barbed Wire and Turning Tail); it was then re-dubbed and released in 1994 as Ein Käfig voller Helden (A Cage of Heroes), which gained considerable popularity (The show was broadcast over US Armed Forces Network in 1974 for about one week, but the German government strongly requested its removal, which was acted upon by the management of Armed Forces TV).

In the newer German version, the Germans speak in various different accents which makes it funnier to a German audience than Standard German would. It amplifies the contrast between Klink (who portrays the Prussian stereotype) and Schultz (who portrays the Urbayern Bavarian stereotype). Furthermore Klink’s choice of vocabulary and memorable quotes add jokes which would not be present in a direct translation of the English language original. Another major change is that Newkirk, who speaks with a British accent in the original, is changed to an exaggerated stutterer in the German version. Apart from that there are numerous deviations from the original plot, introducing elements which were not present in the original. Amongst other things it introduces a new character, Kalinke, who is Klink’s cleaning lady and permanent mistress. She is referred to, but never seen.

DVD releases

CBS DVD has released all six seasons of Hogan’s Heroes on DVD in Region 1 as full season sets. The series was previously released by Columbia House as individual discs, each with five or six consecutive episodes.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 32 March 15, 2005
The Complete Second Season 30 September 27, 2005
The Complete Third Season 30 March 7, 2006
The Complete Fourth Season 26 August 15, 2006
The Complete Fifth Season 26 December 19, 2006
The Sixth & Final Season 24 June 5, 2007

In popular culture

Colonel Klink appears on "The Simpsons" in the episode "The Last Temptation of Homer," where an angel in the form of Colonel Klink shows Homer what his life would be like without Marge.

Colonel Wilhelm Klink and Sergeant Hans 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 Robert E. 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.

Merchandise

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.

Aharon's Jewish Books and Judaica
600 South Holly Street Suite 103
Denver, Colorado 80246
303-322-7345
800-830-8660

Map to Aharon's Jewish Books and Judaica

Store Hours

Monday through Thursday 9 AM to 6 PM
Friday 9 AM to 2 PM
Sunday 9 AM to 4 PM

 

Jewish Biography | About Jewish Biography | Search

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the