Hogan's Heroes

This article is about the TV show. For other uses, see Hogan's Heroes (disambiguation).
"Hans Schultz" redirects here. For the Danish sport shooter, see Hans Schultz (sport shooter).
Hogan's Heroes

Title card
Created by
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 168 (Pilot episode-B/W; 167-color) (list of episodes)
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network CBS
Picture format
Original release September 17, 1965 (1965-09-17) – March 28, 1971 (1971-03-28)

Hogan's Heroes is an American television sitcom set in a German prisoner of war (POW) camp during World War II. It ran for 168 episodes from September 17, 1965 to April 4, 1971 on the CBS network. Bob Crane starred as Colonel Robert E. Hogan, coordinating an international crew of Allied prisoners running a Special Operations group from the camp. Werner Klemperer played Colonel Wilhelm Klink, the incompetent commandant of the camp, and John Banner played the bungling sergeant-of-the-guard, Hans Schultz.



The setting is a fictional version of Luft Stalag 13 (Camp 13 in early episodes), a prisoner-of-war camp for captured Allied airmen located north of the town of Hammelburg in the Bad Kissingen woods. It was on the Hammelburg Road (now known as E45), on the way to Hofburgstraße and eventually Düsseldorf. "Anchors Aweigh, Men of Stalag 13" (S1E16) reveals the camp is 60 miles from the North Sea. Another episode places the camp 106 kilometres (66 mi) from Heidelberg in flying miles; it is 199 km (124 mi) by car. The camp has 103 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) during the first season, but becomes larger by the end of the series.

Though the series spans several seasons, it always appears to be winter at Stalag 13; there are ever-present patches of snow on the ground and on buildings, and prisoners regularly gather around a barrel fire or shiver through roll call. However, some episodes do in fact take place in spring or summer (such as the episode dealing with the D-Day invasions).


Hogan tries to influence visiting Italian Major Bonacelli (Hans Conried) into helping him.

The premise of the show is that the prisoners of war (POWs) are actually using the camp as a base of operations for Allied espionage and sabotage against Nazi Germany as well as to help Allied POWs from other camps and defectors to escape Germany (including supplying them with civilian clothes and false identification). The prisoners work in cooperation with an assortment of resistance groups (collectively called "the Underground"), defectors, spies, counterspies, disloyal officers, and others. The mastermind behind the whole operation is the senior ranking prisoner US Army Air Forces Colonel Robert Hogan. His staff of experts in covert operations comprises two Americans, one British serviceman, and one Frenchman. They are able to accomplish schemes such as having a prisoner visit the camp as a phony Adolf Hitler[1] or rescuing a French Underground agent from Gestapo headquarters in Paris.[2][3] The show is thus a combination of several writing styles that were popular in the 60s: the "wartime" show, the "spy" show, and "camp comedy".

Colonel Hogan and his band are aided by the ineptitude of the camp commandant Colonel Klink and Sergeant of the Guard Schultz, both of whom are easily duped and wish to avoid trouble at any cost: the latter declaring "I know nothing" under even the slightest provocation. Hogan routinely manipulates Klink and gets Schultz to look the other way while his men conduct these covert operations. Klink and Schultz are constantly at risk of being transferred to the cold and bloody Russian Front, and Hogan helps to keep the duo in place if for no other reason than for fear of their being replaced by more competent soldiers. In general, Germans in uniform and authority are depicted as inept, dimwitted, and/or easily manipulated. Many of the German civilians are portrayed as at least indifferent towards the German war effort or even willing to help the Allies.

Klink has a perfect operational record as camp commandant in that no prisoners have escaped during his time in the job (two guards may have deserted). Hogan actually assists in maintaining this record and ensures any prisoners who need to be spirited away are transferred to another authority before their escape takes place, or replacements are provided to maintain the illusion that no one has ever escaped from Stalag 13. Because of this record, and the fact that the Allies would never bomb a prison camp, the Germans use the Stalag for high level secret meetings or to hide important persons or projects the Germans want to protect from bombing raids. Klink also has many other important visitors and is temporarily put in charge of special prisoners. This brings the prisoners in contact with many important VIPs, scientists, high-ranking officers, spies, and some of Germany's most sophisticated and secret weapons projects (Wunderwaffe), which the prisoners take advantage of in their efforts to hinder the German war effort.

The main five Allied prisoners (Hogan and his staff) bunk in "Barracke 2". The prisoners are able to leave and return almost at will via a secret network of tunnels and have tunnels to nearly every barracks and building in the camp, so much so that Hogan, in a third-season episode ("Everybody Loves a Snowman"), has difficulty finding a spot in the camp without a tunnel under it.[4] The stove in Klink's private quarters, a tree stump right outside the camp (known as the emergency tunnel), and a doghouse in the guard dog compound serve as trapdoors. A bunk in their barracks serves as an elaborate trapdoor and the main entrance to the tunnels. The tunnels include access to the camp's Cooler, a name used by Allied prisoners for solitary confinement, where prisoners are routinely sent for punishment and to hold special prisoners temporarily entrusted to Klink. Just inside the "emergency tunnel" is a submarine-style periscope, which the prisoners use to check conditions outside the tree stump trapdoor. There is also a periscope in their barracks with one end hidden in a water barrel outside the barracks and the other disguised as a sink faucet inside the barracks that allows them to see events in the compound.

The prisoners' infiltration of the camp is so extensive it includes control of the camp telephone switchboard, allowing them to listen in on all conversations and to make phony phone calls. They have radio contact with Allied command. Their radio antenna is hidden in the camp flagpole on top of Klink's headquarters, and the prisoners are able to make phony radio broadcasts including some by a prisoner impersonating Adolf Hitler. A microphone hidden in Klink's office allows the prisoners to hear what is being said in the office. The guard dogs are friendly to the prisoners, thanks to the town veterinarian Oscar Schnitzer (played by Walter Janowitz), who supports the prisoners. He routinely replaces the dogs on the premise that they could become too friendly with the prisoners, but he also uses his truck to smuggle people and items in and out of the camp, where the German guards are too afraid of the dogs to open the truck. Prisoners work in the camp's motor pool and "borrow" vehicles, including Klink's staff car, as needed to carry out their schemes. Sections of the barbed wire fence are in a frame which the prisoners can easily lift when they need to get out of the camp. When required, Allied airplanes land near the camp, or make airdrops. Allied submarines pick up escapees and defectors Hogan and his men are helping flee Germany.



Colonel Hogan
LeBeau and Fräulein Helga (Cynthia Lynn)
Richard Dawson as Newkirk


Bernard Fox as Col. Crittendon (left) and Werner Klemperer as Col. Klink

John Banner as Schultz with Bob Crane as Colonel Hogan

Recurring characters

Sigrid Valdis as "Fräulein Hilda" with co-star and eventual husband, Bob Crane

Other notable actors to appear on Hogan's Heroes included the following:

Broadcast history


Further information: List of Hogan's Heroes episodes

Pilot episode

The pilot episode, "The Informer", filmed in early 1965, aired on September 17 that year. The episode's plot centered on two new prisoners entering Stalag 13 (in this episode, referred to as Camp 13), Lieutenant Carter (played by Hovis), who escapes into the camp, and Wagner (played by Noam Pitlik), who is actually a German spy posing as an Allied prisoner. Wagner attempts to expose Hogan's operation to General Burkhalter (here known as Colonel Burkhalter), but Hogan and his men are able to discredit the spy. As punishment for his outlandish claims, the spy is sent to the Russian front.[14]

Although the series remained true to the pilot in most respects, there were some changes. Some of the prisoners' luxuries, such as an underground steam room, were eliminated to make the situation marginally more plausible. The character of Colonel Klink was made more of a fool than a villain, while his sharp accent was toned down. Klink did not affect the monocle seen in all later episodes, and his walk had less of the distinctive stoop. He also does not carry the swagger stick he often affected during prisoner roll calls in other episodes.[14]

The major difference was that only the pilot was shot in black-and-white. After the series was sold to CBS, the network announced a major push in color programming for the 1965–66 season, and so the rest of the season (and the series) was filmed in color.

The character of Vladimir Minsk, a Soviet POW played by Leonid Kinskey, was intended to be a series regular. However, Kinskey declined to continue with the series. Stewart Moss, who played an American POW named Olson in the pilot, also declined an offer to become a series regular. Larry Hovis was intended to be a guest star in the pilot only. However, producer Ed Feldman was impressed by his performance and, after Kinskey and Moss declined to take part in the series, was offered a regular role. Hovis's character was changed from a Lieutenant to a Sergeant. According to Hovis, Feldman chose to do this because "sergeants are more sympathetic." Although Hovis's character had escaped at the end of the pilot, Feldman did not see this as a problem because he believed "no one will care".[14]


Outdoor scenes were filmed on the 40 Acres Backlot in Culver City, California.[14] The set was destroyed in 1974 while the final scene of Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS was filmed.[61]

View of the 40 Acres backlot in 1965 looking west. The Stalag 13 set occupies the northeast corner.

Theme music

The theme music for Hogan's Heroes was composed by Jerry Fielding. Fielding added lyrics to the theme for Hogan's Heroes Sing The Best of World War II – an album featuring Dixon, Clary, Dawson, and Hovis singing World War II songs. The song also appeared on the album Bob Crane, His Drums and Orchestra, Play the Funny Side of TV.[14]

Jewish actors

The actors who played the four major German roles—Werner Klemperer (Klink),[62] 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 killed during the war. Leon Askin was also in a pre-war French internment camp and his parents were killed at Treblinka. Howard Caine, who was also Jewish (his birth name was Cohen), was American, and Jewish actors Harold Gould and Harold J. Stone made multiple appearances playing German generals.

As a teenager, Werner Klemperer (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 or else he would not take the part of Klink. 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?" Klemperer, Banner, Caine, Gould, and Askin play stereotypical World War II Germans, and all had served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II — Banner[63] and Askin in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Caine in the U.S. Navy, Gould with the U.S. Army, and Klemperer in a U.S. Army Entertainment Unit.


During broadcast

Hogan's Heroes won two Emmy Awards out of 12 nominations. Both wins were for Werner Klemperer as outstanding supporting actor in a comedy, in 1968 and 1969. Klemperer received nominations in the same category in 1966, 1967 and 1970. The series' other nominations were for comedy series in 1966, 1967 and 1968; Bob Crane for actor in a comedy series in 1966 and 1967; Nita Talbot for supporting actress in a comedy in 1968; and Gordon Avil for cinematography in 1968.[64]

Nielsen ratings

Note: The highest average rating for the series is in bold text.

Season Rank Rating
1) 1965–1966 #9 24.9
2) 1966–1967 #17 21.8 (Tied with The CBS Friday Night Movies)
3) 1967–1968 Not in the Top 30
4) 1968–1969
5) 1969–1970
6) 1970–1971

Modern criticism

In 2002, TV Guide named Hogan's Heroes the fifth worst TV show of all time in an article titled, TV Guide's 50 Worst TV Shows Ever. The entry 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.[65] Some critical pieces, such as The Great TV Sitcom Book, did concede that, although the premise was ludicrous, the writing and acting were good.

German-language version

German film distributor KirchGruppe acquired the rights to Hogan's Heroes, but did not broadcast it for many years due to fears that it would offend viewers. It was first broadcast on German television in 1992, but the program failed to connect with viewers. However, after the dialogue was rewritten to make the characters look even more foolish (which ensured that the viewers understood the characters were caricatures), the show became successful. The German version also introduced new unseen character, "Kalinke", who is Klink's cleaning lady and perennial mistress. Colonel Klink describes her as performing most of her cleaning duties in the nude.[66]

Infringement lawsuit

Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski, the writers of the 1951 play Stalag 17, a World War II prisoner of war story turned into a 1953 feature film by Paramount Pictures, sued Bing Crosby Productions, the show's producer, for infringement. Their lawsuit was unsuccessful. While the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs, the federal judge overruled them. The judge found "striking difference in the dramatic mood of the two works."[14][67]

Rights dispute

In 2012, an arbitration hearing was scheduled to determine whether Bernard Fein and Albert S. Ruddy, the creators of the show, had transferred the right to make a movie of Hogan's Heroes to Bing Crosby Productions along with the television rights or had retained the derivative movie rights.[67] In 2013, Fein (through his estate) and Ruddy acquired the sequel and other separate rights to Hogan's Heroes from Mark Cuban via arbitration, and a movie based on the show was planned.[68]

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.

On March 8, 2016, CBS Home Entertainment re-released a repackaged version of the complete series set, at a lower price.[69]

DVD Name Episodes 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 Complete Sixth and Final Season 24 June 5, 2007 September 30, 2009
The Complete Series (The Kommandant's Collection) 168 November 10, 2009 December 3, 2009




See also


  1. "Will the Real Adolf Please Stand Up". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 12. December 2, 1966.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "A Tiger Hunt in Paris: Part 1". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 10. November 18, 1966.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "A Tiger Hunt in Paris: Part 2". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 11. November 18, 1966.
  4. 1 2 "Everybody Loves a Snowman". Hogan's Heroes. Season 3. Episode 14. December 9, 1967.
  5. 1 2 3 "Hogan Gives a Birthday Party". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 1. September 16, 1966.
  6. "Who Stole My Copy of Mein Kampf". Hogan's Heroes. Season 4. Episode 16. January 11, 1969.
  7. "Reservations Are Required". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 15. Dec 24, 1965.
  8. "Crittendon's Commandos". Hogan's Heroes. Season 5. Episode 25. March 20, 1970.
  9. "The Flight of the Valkyrie". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 5. October 15, 1965.
  10. 1 2 "D-Day at Stalag 13". Hogan's Heroes. Season 3. Episode 3. September 23, 1967.
  11. "The Softer They Fall". Hogan's Heroes. Season 5. Episode 18. January 23, 1970.
  12. "Is General Hammerschlag Burning". Hogan's Heroes. Season 3. Episode 11. November 18, 1967.
  13. "The Prince from the Phone Company". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 26. March 18, 1966.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Royce, Brenda Scott (October 15, 1998). Hogan's Heroes: Behind the Scenes at Stalag 13. Renaissance Books. p. 22. ISBN 978-1580630313. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  15. "The Scientist". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 12. December 3, 1965.
  16. "Will the Real Adolf Please Stand Up?". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 12. December 2, 1966.
  17. "Request Permission to Escape". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 32. April 29, 1966.
  18. 1 2 3 4 "The Informer". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 1. September 17, 1965.
  19. "Gowns by Yvette". Hogan's Heroes. Season 5. Episode 19. January 30, 1970.
  20. Dawson interview re: Newkirk Accent
  21. "Go Fit of Go Fight". Hogan's Heroes. Season 5. Episode 16. January 9, 1970.
  22. 1 2 "Commander of the Year". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 3. October 1, 1965.
  23. "The Schultz Brigade". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 2. September 23, 1966.
  24. 1 2 "Will the Blue Baron Strike Again?"". Hogan's Heroes. Season 4. Episode 12. December 14, 1968.
  25. "Operation Briefcase". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 4. October 7, 1966.
  26. Woo, Elaine (8 December 2008). "Werner Klemperer; Played Col. Klink in 'Hogan's Heroes'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  27. "Cupid Comes to Stalag 13". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 30. April 15, 1966.
  28. 1 2 3 4 "War Takes a Holiday". Hogan's Heroes. Season 3. Episode 21. January 27, 1968.
  29. 1 2 "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to London". Hogan's Heroes. Season 3. Episode 5. October 7, 1967.
  30. "Sergeant Schultz Meets Mata Hari". Hogan's Heroes. Season 3. Episode 4. September 30, 1967.
  31. "The Rise and Fall of Sergeant Schultz". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 6. October 21, 1966.
  32. Ibid
  33. "Happy Birthday Adolf". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 17. January 7, 1966.
  34. "The Battle of Stalag 13". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 5. October 14, 1966.
  35. "Hogan, Go Home". Hogan's Heroes. Season 3. Episode 19. January 13, 1968.
  36. "The Crittendon Plan". Hogan's Heroes. Season 3. Episode 1. September 9, 1967.
  37. 1 2 "The Assassin". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 29. April 8, 1966.
  38. "Lord Chitterly's Lover: Part 1". Hogan's Heroes. Season 6. Episode 4. October 11, 1970.
  39. "Lord Chitterly's Lover: Part 2". Hogan's Heroes. Season 6. Episode 5. October 18, 1970.
  40. Shandley, Robert (September 15, 2011). Hogan's Heroes. Wayne State University Press. p. 90. ISBN 0814336000. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  41. "Don't Forget to Write". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 13. December 9, 1966.
  42. "Art for Hogan's Sake". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 16. December 30, 1966.
  43. 1 2 3 "Watch the Trains Go By". Hogan's Heroes. Season 4. Episode 19. February 1, 1969.
  44. "Kommandant Gertrude". Hogan's Heroes. Season 6. Episode 21. February 28, 1971.
  45. "That's No Lady, That's My Spy". Hogan's Heroes. Season 6. Episode 17. January 24m 1971. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  46. "The Pizza Parlor". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 22. February 11, 1966.
  47. "The Return of Major Bonacelli". Hogan's Heroes. Season 4. Episode 25. March 15, 1969.
  48. "Clearance Sale at the Black Market". Hogan's Heroes. Season 4. Episode 1. September 28, 1969.
  49. "The Witness". Hogan's Heroes. Season 4. Episode 23. March 1, 1969.
  50. "My Favorite Prisoner". Hogan's Heroes. Season 4. Episode 18. January 25, 1969.
  51. "No Names, Please". Hogan's Heroes. Season 4. Episode 10. November 30, 1968.
  52. "The Big Broadcast". Hogan's Heroes. Season 6. Episode 12. December 6, 1970.
  53. "Will The Real Adolf Please Stand Up?". Hogan's Heroes. Season 2. Episode 12. December 2, 1966.
  54. "Klink's Old Flame". Hogan's Heroes. Season 4. Episode 20. February 8, 1969.
  55. "The Dropouts". Hogan's Heroes. Season 6. Episode 14. December 27, 1970.
  56. "The Late Inspector General". Hogan's Heroes. Season 1. Episode 4. October 8, 1965.
  57. "A Russian is Coming". Hogan's Heroes. Season 3. Episode 12. November 25, 1967.
  58. "Is There a Traitor in the House?". Hogan's Heroes. Season 5. Episode 13. December 19, 1969.
  59. Murray, Noel. "Hogan's Heroes' unceremonious finale comes from the era before TV "endgames" · A Very Special Episode · The A.V. Club". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  60. Sara Buttsworth and Maartje Abbenhuis (eds.). Monsters in the Mirror: Representations of Nazism in Post-war Popular Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 105. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  61. Weintraub, Bernard (December 8, 2000). "Werner Klemperer, Klink in 'Hogan's Heroes,' Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  62. "John Banner aka "Sergeant Schultz" query". Axis History Forum. December 20, 2007. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  63. "Nominations | Television Academy". Emmys.com. 2015-09-20. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  64. Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie (July 12, 2002). "The Worst TV Shows Ever". CBS News. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  65. Steinmetz, Greg (May 31, 1996). "In Germany Now, Col. Klink's Maid Cleans in the Nude". The Wall Street Journal. Hogan's Heroes Fan Club. p. A1. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  66. 1 2 Gardner, Eric (March 21, 2012). "WGA Fights Over Movie Rights to 'Hogan's Heroes'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  67. Fleming, Jr., Mike (March 15, 2013). "'Hogan's Heroes' Rights Won Back By Creators Al Ruddy And Bernard Fein; They're Plotting New Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  68. "'The Complete Series' is Getting a DVD Re-Release Soon! Box". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  69. "Fleer HOGANS HEROES 1965 Trading Card Set". Oldbubblegumcards.com. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  70. https://www.lambiek.net/artists/s/scarpelli_henry.htm
  71. "Hogan's Heroes Sing the Best of World War II". Hogan's Heroes Fan Club. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  72. "Pound Puppies". FilmScoreMonthly.com. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  73. Ralske, Josh (August 7, 2013). ""Better Call Saul!" The Best of Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad". TWC Central. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
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