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Created by: Bernard Fein & Albert S. Ruddy
Stars: Bob Crane, Werner Klemperer, John Banner, Robert Clary, Richard Dawson, Ivan Dixon, Sigrid Valdis, Cynthia Lynn, Larry Hovis, Kenneth Washington, Leon Askin
Number of Seasons: 6
Number of Epsiodes: 168
Original Run: September 17, 1965 to July 4, 1971
Hogan's Heros is about a POW camp for captured airmen located near the town of Hammelburg and run by the Luftwaffe.
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. Colonel Klink, an incompetent commandant unwittingly helped them, with the further help of 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.
Colonel Robert E. Hogan
He is an American Airforce Colonel, played by actor Bob Crane. He is the senior POW officer and the leader of the group. He was shot down while on a raid on Hamburg.
Staff Sergeant Kinchloe
He is an American Staff Sergeant. His full name is James (aka Ivan) "Kinch" Kinchloe, played by actor Ivon Dixon. He is responsible for radio transmission and other electronic communication. He is capable of imitating German officers and uses the talent over the radio or telephone.
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.
Technical Sergeant Carter
His full name is Andrew J. Carter and is an American Technical Sergeant, played by Larry Hovis. He is in charge of ordnance and bomb-making. He is talented in chemistry. He is capable of impersonating German officers. His best voice is that of Adolf Hitler. He is good at his specialties but lacks common sense otherwise.
Corporal Louis LeBeau is from the French Army. He is a chef, played by Robert Clary. He is a master of covert operations and is good at working with dogs, especially the camp's guard dogs. He can get into their compound through a secret entrance under a doghouse without the dogs bothering him or getting him in trouble. He uses food, especially apple strudel to keep the dogs calm. He has been known to make outfits and uniforms too.
Peter Newkirk is a Royal Air Force Corporal played by British actor Richard Dawson. He is the conman, magician, pick-pocket, forger, and impersonator of German officers. He also makes uniforms and helps distract the Germans to perform other sabotage. Hogan't Heros is Dawson's American debut. He auditioned for the role of Hogan but was told he didn't sound American enough.
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 Prussian bureaucrat rather than someone evil. He is seen reading Mein Kampf, Hitler’s manifesto at times.
Feldwebel (Sergeant) Hans Schultz (John Banner) is Klink’s bumbling, highly unmilitary sergeant of the guard. Schultz is a basically good-hearted man who, when confronted by the shenanigans of the prisoners, will simply look away, 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 toy & novelty company.
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.
General der Infantrie Albert Burkhalter (Leon Askin), 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 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 “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. 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 believes that a POW’s only focus should be escape and spy-type work should be carried out by professional spies. Therefore, he promises more than once that he would report any spy-type work he might observe to the Nazis. Also known for developing and attempting to execute various forms of prison camp escapes that never worked. Also developed 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), a 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), 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.
Hogan's Heros Series 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.
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