Hogan’s Heroes

Hogan's Heroes

What could be funnier than a bunch of WWII prisoners of war being held by Nazis? The idea of premising a sitcom on such a concept might seem ill-advised in this day and age but back in the 60s, it provided for some memorable belly laughs in the memorable classic, Hogan’s Heroes.

Debuting in 1965 (and produced by Bing Crosby) Hogan’s Heroes followed the comic adventures of a group of prisoners of war, led by Col. Robert Hogan. And make no mistake – while these soldiers may have been imprisoned by the evil Nazis, they were the ones actually running the show.

The manacled and bumbling Colonel Wilhelm Klink and his sidekick, Sgt. Schultz certainly thought they were in charge of Stalag 13, the prisoner camp, but Hogan and his men were horribly underestimated. It turns out they had fixed the barbed wire fence to allow them to come and go whenever they pleased. They were also in control of an elaborate underground tunnel system that allowed them to create all kinds mayhem, including blowing up bridges, passing off counterfeit money, and supplying classified info to the Allied forces.

The “captured” men also enjoyed many of the luxuries of home, including a barbershop, a steamroom, and the culinary skills of a French chef. Truth be told, they could have escaped whenever they wanted but both sides enjoyed a certain amount of mutual respect. Escaping would have put an end to the Allied soldiers’ hijinks and it would have gotten Col. Klink in trouble with his Nazi superiors. No, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Starring on Hogan’s Heroes were Bob Crane as Hogan, Future Family Feud host Richard Dawson as Peter Newkirk, and Robert Clary who played prisoner LeBeau (ironically, Clary had actually been imprisoned in a Nazi camp during WWII as a small child).

Hogan’s Heroes ran for 6 seasons and a respectable 168 episodes before being cancelled. During its tenure, it was nominated three times for an Emmy for Best Comedy Series. And perhaps most surprising, it was actually televised in Germany for a short time under the name “Ein Kaefig Voller Helden” or “A Cage Full of Heroes.” A victim of bad dubbing, it never quite caught on there.

If you were a fan of Hogan’s Heroes, either when it originally ran, or through countless years of syndication, we would love to hear all of your thoughts and memories in our comments section below.

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