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HOGAN'S HEROES

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Full Name: Hogan's Heroes
Nationality: American,British,French
Organization: Military Intelligence
Occupation Agency

Creator: Bernard, Fein, Albert S. Ruddy
Time Span: 1965 - 1971

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Hogan's Heroes is a team of agents working for Allied Military Intelligence.
       The group operates inside Germany during the Second World War, using as their headquarters a most unusual locale, namely a Luftwaffe Stalag prisoner of war camp. Their covert operations of espionage and sabotage and prisoner rescue starts in 1942 sometime after the American entrance into the conflict and continues well past the D-Day landing. The exact location of the camp is open to argument since numerous clues left place it near the North Sea (one statement putting it 60 miles away and another less than 10) while others have it near the cities of Dusseldorf and Hammelburg, both of which are quite inland,
       The troupe was founded by American bomber pilot Colonel Robert Hogan who, after getting shot down during a raid over Germany was sent to Stalag 13, run by the officious and incredibly inept Colonel Wilhelm Klink. Hogan quickly saw how easy it was going to be to escape and likely take many of his fellow prisoners with them when an outrageous idea occurred to him. Since the prisoner of war camp was so poorly run that it was virtually a leaking sieve just waiting, why not use the facility as a staging base for undercover activity. The concept of housing a trained espionage team inside a Luft Stalag was so ridiculous, it just might work.
       The primary mission of the team was to rescue fellow downed pilots and facilitate their return to England, using an impressive system of tunnels beneath the camp to get the men into the camp and then, when ready, back out again, all the while making it seem as though no 'official' prisoner actually escaped. This gave the camp a perfect record, something no other camp could claim, and making sure that the General Staff did not shake up such a perfectly run organization.
     Robert Hogan was not only a skilled pilot, he was a tactician genius who routinely showed a phenomenal ability to think on his feet which enabled him to ad lib plans when situations changed. He was a glib talker and a natural conman who could be insulant at times, insouciant at others, and obsequious if need be. He was also a connoisseur of beauty women and seemed able to find such delicacies everywhere, despite being housed inside a POW prison.
       Hogan has a trained team assisting him:
Corporal Louis LeBeau, a French citizen who is not only a trained gourmet chef but is also an excellent dog trainer. That results in the team eating particularly well and having the ferocious German Shepherd guard dogs far friendlier to the team than to the soldiers guarding them.
Corporal Peter Newkirk, an Englishman with a decidedly blue collar background. Newkirk is the team's chief tailor and makes sure all needed clothing is made to order whether it be uniforms or civilian clothing. He is also a highly skilled pickpocket, card sharp, safe cracker, lock picker, etc. If something the least bit illegal is called for, so is Newkirk.
Staff Sergeant James Kinchloe, an African-American communications specialist who not only makes sure that the wireless work with which Hogan routinely communicates with headquarters and often with a submarine, he has also wired all the major buildings in the camp allowing eavesdropping on the Commandant's office and quarters.
Tech Sergeant Andrew Carter, an American chemistry expert who can be relied upon to concoct any liquid tool be it knockout drops, truth serum, and high explosives.
       From time to time other men are used as needed but for the most part, the rest of the men being help prisoner in the camp are just waiting for their turn to be rotated out back to base making room for newcomers. Just how much these others know is never stated but the team seldom worry about betrayal.
       One other key person to mention is Sergeant Schultz, a large, rotund, cheerful non-com who is the senior enlisted man on the German staff and therefore in charge of all the guards. Schultz does not know about the actual activity of the team but he is sharp enough to know strange things are always happening and it is usually best to, as he routinely puts it, "I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!" putting extra emphasis on the 'nothing' and meaning it.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:168
First Appearance:1965
Last Appearance:1971
Network:CBS

REGULAR CAST
Bob CraneRobert Hogan [ 1-6 ]
Werner KlempererColonel Klink [ 1-6 ]
John BannerSgt. Schultz [ 1-6 ]
Robert ClaryCorporal LeBeau [ 1-6 ]
Richard DawsonCorporal Newkirk [ 1-6 ]
Ivan DixonSgt. Kinchloe [ 1-5 ]
Larry HovisSgt. Carter [ 1-6 ]
Kenneth WashingtonSgt. Baker [ 6 ]

     In 1965, CBS launched a situation comedy with an incredibly unusual concept of having POW's inside a WWII German Stalag operating a spy ring under the noses of the Germans running the camp.

     While several sources list as contributing basis for the show being the 1953 movie Stalag 17 and even more so the 1963 epic The Great Escape, neither of these was in any way a comedy and neither had the idea of a spy ring purposely sticking around.
     The show was most decidedly not Politically Correct (it was the 60's, you know) and though there was the inevitable cry of foul about making fun of a regime that did in truth murder 6 million Jews (and numerous millions of other non-desirables), the show proved incredibly popular. The fact that the two key German characters, Klink and Schultz, were portrayed by men of Jewish descent probably helped.


Note: the data for the times, people, and plots are taken from the excellent Wikipedia entry for Hogan's Heroes.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:9
First Appearance:1966
Last Appearance:1967

     During the first couple of years of its regular run, Hogan's Heroes was successful enough to interest Dell Comics, a legend in the television and movie tie-in comic market.

     Its stable of gifted writers and artists came up with a series of entertaining comics over the next couple of years. As was common with Dell, the regularity of releases was nowhere to be found. Several months might separate issues and several months in a row with issues might comes next.
     The first four issues contained single adventures, although the first three were in the form of 3 parts each. Issue #5 had two separate stories in it. The next 3 had three stories each.
     Two years after #8 came out, a #9 was released but it was simply a reprint of #1, albeit with 3ยข increase.

1 The Big Break-In The Big Break-In
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1966

Printed in Hogan's Heroes #1, June 1966 - 32 pages.
Colonel Hogan has one day to get 20 prisoners out of Stalag 13. Unfortunately, civilian clothing is going to be a problem.

2 Operation Double Klink Operation Double Klink
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1966

Printed in Hogan's Heroes #2, September 1966 - 31 pages.
Hogan's Heroes must get hold of new bombsights which are being transported on a train. To hijack it, they decide to use a double of Colonel Klink.

3 Operation Goat Operation Goat
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

Printed in Hogan's Heroes #4, March 1967 - 31 pages.
Germany's most famous spy is coming to Stalag 13 for the quiet to work on the plans for the invasion of England. Hogan's Heroes are determined to get a good look at those plans.

4 Operation Flick Flak Operation Flick Flak
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

Printed in Hogan's Heroes #4, March 1967. - 31 pages.
The plan is for Hogan's Heroes to make Stalag 13 the staging base for a commando team coming in to conduct a raid on a missile base.

5 Fly Now ... Crash Later Fly Now ... Crash Later
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

1st of 2 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #5, April 1967. - 10 pages.
Klink has an airplane sent to him to once again become the ace he thought he once was. He insists on Hogan giving him lessons. Meanwhile, the Heroes has a mission of getting a downed colonel back to London within 72 hours for a meeting.

6 Cheese It Cheese It
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

2nd of 2 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #5, April 1967. - 20 pages.
Hogan's Heroes must put together a series of time bombs and then find a way of smuggling them to various underground saboteur groups.

7 Klink Must Go Klink Must Go
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

1st of 3 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #6, May 1967 - 12 pages.
While digging a new escape tunnel as a backup, Hogan's Heroes discover a previously unknown underground supply vault. Meanwhile they have been ordered to get plans currently in Klink's safe in his office. Hogan decides to use the first to achieve the second.

8 Driving Klink Kookoo Driving Klink Kookoo
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

2nd of 3 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #6, May 1967 - 10 pages.
Using Klink's staff car to smuggle a vital prisoner out of camp, Hogan's Heroes are in a pickle when they accidentally crash the car. Meanwhile parts are needed to repair the radio and their black market supplier demands real money, not counterfeit. Hogan again uses the first situation to help the second.

9 Secret Weapon Secret Weapon
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

3rdd of 3 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #6, May 1967 - 10 pages.
The Germans have come up with a combination tank-submarine. Hogan's Heroes must get hold of those plans.

10 Klink, Klank, Klunk Klink, Klank, Klunk
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

1st of 3 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #7, July 1967 - 12 pages.
Klink is frustrated by repeated bombing nearby ruining his sleep. He orders an anti-aircraft gun delivered to Stalag 13 to fight back. Headquarters insists that Hogan's Heroes destroy it immediately.

11 General Nuisance General Nuisance
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

2nd of 3 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #7, July 1967 - 11 pages.
As Klink's stinginess causes living conditions to deteriorate in the camp, Hogan's Heroes come up with a plan to use a fake visiting general to force improvements.

12 Klink's Office Party Klink's Office Party
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

3rd of 3 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #7, July 1967 - 9 pages.
[plot unknown]

13 The Great Stone Klink The Great Stone Klink
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

1st of 3 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #8, September 1967 - 11 pages.
The mission for Hogan's Heroes today is to find a way to destroy a nearby oil refinery.

14 Klink's Housewarming Klink's Housewarming
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

2nd of 3 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #8, September 1967 - 10 pages.
When his request for a 2-week furlough is denied, Klink decides he will use the prisoners to build him a small cabin in a glen outside camp to relax in. It does not go like he hoped.

15 General Klink General Klink
Published by Dell

Copyright: 1967

3rd of 3 graphic adventures printed in Hogan's Heroes #8, September 1967 - 11 pages.
Wanting desperately to get promoted to General, Klink comes up with a plan to get enough signatures on a petition to present it to Field Marshal Bauschneider for approval. Hogan's Heroes, not wanting the promotion to go through, step in to 'help'.

PARODIES, SATIRES, AND PASTICHES

Number of Entries:1
First Appearance:1967
Last Appearance:1967

1 Hokum's Heroes Hokum's Heroes
Published by Mad Magazine
Contributors: Larry Siegel (writer), Jack Davis (pencils and inks)
Copyright: 1967

Published in Mad Magazine #108, January 1967.
Mad Magazine's typically wonderful mashing of Hogan's Heroes.
Click here to read the story.

COLLECTIBLES

Number of Collectibles:1
First Appearance:1968
Last Appearance:1968

1 Hogan's Heroes Sing the Best of World War II Hogan's Heroes Sing the Best of World War II
LP Album
Sunset Records
Copyright: 1966

A long-playing record album was released with songs from the WWII era, performed by several cast members from the television show. Additionally there were a couple of songs by a band under the generic Hogan's Heroes name:
"Hogan's Heroes" - Hogan's Heroes March
Ivan Dixon - Shoo Shoo Baby
Robert Clary - Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree
Ivan Dixon & The Heroes - Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition
"Hogan's Heroes" - This Is The Army Mister Jones
Richard Dawson & Larry Hovis -        Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square
Larry Hovis - Lili Marlene
Robert Clary - The Last Time I Saw Paris
Larry Hovis - Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year
Richard Dawson - This Is Worth Fighting For

MY COMMENTS

     I was a newly-minted teenager when this show came on the air and I never missed an episode if life allowed. Years later when the show had one of is many, many periods of re-runs in syndication, I watched again with all the same enjoyment I had back then. And then when the shows became available to viewing on Netflix, once again I was there. No doubt, I 'tolerated' the show repeatedly and affectionately.
     It was ludicrous, of course. Wonderfully so. The Germans were never so inept. The concept was outrageous. Still, it was tremendous fun and made glorious fun of a very not fun subject.
     This series belongs in this compendium because in addition to being a waystation for the Underground repatriation of would-be Allied prisoners, the team routinely did espionage work of all sorts as well as considerable sabotages and harassments of the German forces.
     And it did so hilariously and within 30 minutes each mission, including commercial breaks!

GRADE

My Grade: B

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