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.
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.
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.
Kinchloe and Baker were black, their ability to participate in covert
activities outside of the camp were limited.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 (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.
Valdis and Bob Crane were married in 1970.
- General der Infantrie Albert Burkhalter
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
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
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.
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
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.
The exact chronology of the series was never established, but references
are made in certain episodes.
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).
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)
During the original run of the program, Hogan's Heroes was three
times nominated for the Emmy for Best Comedy Series. 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".
Likewise, about 93% of respondents at tv.com rated the show as "good"
or better, as of 2008. As the results of an online polls, however,
these conclusions may or may not be representative of the general
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. The Chicago Tribune gave their top 25 "worst shows
ever" in 2007, however, and Hogan's Heroes didn't make that
list. It is unclear how either publication arrived at their findings.
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.
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!"
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.
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
 and Askin in the US Army Air Corps and Klemperer in a US Army
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).
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
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
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
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
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.
In 1965, Fleer produced a 66 trading card set for the series.
1966 and 1969, Dell Comics produced 9 issues based on the series,
all with photo covers.
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.