During the European campaign in World War II, a group of multinational POWs in a small German prison camp execute daring sabotage and spying missions right under the noses of their Nazi keepers. It's just like watching The Great Escape or Stalag 17 — every week. And the best part? It's a comedy!Starred Bob Crane as Hogan, Werner Klemperer as the supposedly bumbling Colonel Klink, and John Banner as the lovable Sergeant Schultz. Aired from 1965 to 1971.Ironically, all the major recurring German army characters were portrayed by Jewish actors. (An old story claims that Werner Klemperer would only do the show when assured that the Nazis would never be anything close to successful or competent.) And Robert Clary (Cpl. Lebeau), born Robert Max Widerman, survived Buchenwald (12 other family members didn't).Hogan's Heroes is one of the first American sitcoms to feature a black character as an integral member of the cast. Kinchloe is Hogan's second-in-command and the camp genius (also very unusual for the time period). The producers cast a black actor to play Kinchloe in part to prevent the network from providing Southern stations with a "black-free" cut, as was common at the time — Kinchloe was too important to the story line for his scenes to be removed.
Adolf Hitler: Never makes an actual appearance, but Carter impersonates him several times.
After Show: Averted, due to Bob Crane's death. Word of God is that Larry Hovis was working on a pilot for a "next generation" spin-off, involving the children of the original POWs, fighting in Vietnam.
All Germans Are Nazis: Conspicuously averted. Only one of the recurring German characters belongs to the Nazi party and the anti-Nazi resistance movement among German civilians is frequently featured.
Anachronic Order: The episodes tend to mention historic events of World War II and have the characters reacting to them. The plots of several episodes even rely on said events. But the events as depicted are not in order, the timeline jumps back and forth. For example one episode of season 5 ("The Big Gamble") and three episodes of season 6 ("To Russia Without Love", "That's No Lady, That's My Spy", "Kommandant Gertrude") mention the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad (August 1942- February, 1943). The characters learn of the end of this battle in a season 4 episode ("Guess Who Came to Dinner?"). An episode of season 1 ("How to Cook a German Goose by Radar") mentions the Allied invasion of Sicily (July-August, 1943) as a recent event. Two others episodes of the same season ("The Prince from the Phone Company", "Hello, Zollie") have characters mention strategic plans for the ongoing North African Campaign (June 1940-May 1943).
Anachronism Stew: Some things that aren't as obvious to viewers today, but they're there...
Hogan, Kinchloe, and Carter are in the United States (Army) Air Force; Klink and Schultz are in the Luftwaffe (WW2 German Air Force); LeBeau is in the French Air Force; and Newkirk is in the Royal Air Force... however, almost all of them refer to themselves as soldiers, rather than airmen (Hogan once even makes a remark about, "Those fliers" when an American bomb squad is shot down and sent to Stalag 13), and often comment about being in the Army. Kinch is actually a walking technical mistake: his uniform is that of a foot soldier, not a flier, bomber, or paratrooper.
In the episode "Everybody Loves a Snowman", Hogan's men block the barracks door to prevent Captain Morgan and his crew from escaping; Morgan orders them to step away from the door but they do not obey, so he points out, "There are five of us, and four of you!" Hogan steps back in and Kinch remarks, "Now it's even - five and five". It wouldn't even matter if Morgan and his crew had outnumbered Hogan's men, Morgan alone, as a captain and an officer, outranked four enlistedmen - two corporals and two sergeants.
Hochstetter's black uniform is usually worn by S.S. guards stationed at locations of particular importance to the Third Reich. In most cases, a Gestapo officer like Hochstetter would have more than likely been seen in plain clothes.
There are a few noteworthy errors with Stalag 13 altogether. First of all, none of the barracks are locked in any way or form. This more than likely would have to be chalked up to Rule of Funny, since otherwise, Hogan and his men wouldn't be able to get a lot of things done. The doors of the barracks would also have opened to the outside (not from the inside) and would have been boarded at night to lock the prisoners in. Also, each of the barracks in Stalag 13 seem to have a separate room, which, in the case of Barracks 2, serves as Hogan's office; barracks usually don't have separate rooms. Likewise, in most cases earlier in the war, each of the characters would have been detained with other prisoners of their own ethnicity and/or rank (Hogan would have bunked with other officers, LeBeau with other French enlistedmen, Newkirk with other British enlistedmen, Kinch with other African-American enlistedmen, and Carter with other American enlistedmen); however, much later into the war, as prison camps were becoming cramped for space, the Germans had pretty much stopped bothering trying to separate the prisoners by race and rank, and put them wherever there was room for them - so depending how far into the war this series takes place, it's not entirely impossible or inaccurate for Colonel Hogan to be sharing space with corporals and sergeants of different cultures.
None of the characters apparently wear any dogtags, or even prison tags; in fact, dogtags are only used strictly as plot devices, such as "The Great Impersonation," where LeBeau, Newkirk, and Carter are captured by the Gestapo, and their forged papers and dogtags are confiscated.
Klink: When I looked out that window, I could swear I saw a chimpanzee raking in the garden.
Hogan: Well, if it'll make you feel any better, there is a chimpanzee raking in the garden.
Klink: That's what I thought. Well, that's it, I need to see a psychiatrist. (Beat) WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!
Bilingual Bonus: Some in German (Klink, Schultz, etc.), and some in French (LeBeau).
Blatant Lies: "Stalag 13 has never had an escape!" (bonus points if someone's sneaking out in the background while Klink's saying it). Hogan arranges it so that the escaping guest stars are blamed on others, so that Stalag 13's perfect record stays intact: if Klink starts losing prisoners, the Luftwaffe, Gestapo or SS would replace Klink with someone competent. It's lampshaded by LeBeau at one point:
LeBeau: Oh yeah, not one escape. Maybe a hundred, but not one!
Hogan finds out that one of the new prisoners of war is actually a German spy, so they pretend to trust him and tell him they're going to take him to their secret hideout blindfolded. They then let some false information slip out while talking and make noises that imply their hideout is under the watertower.
In another episode the Heroes discover Klink has bugged Hogan's office and decide to use it to their advantage.
Turned against them by Hochstetter once. It almost got them all killed.
Bluff the Impostor: One of Hogan's mole-digging methods: Ask the new guy what outfit he was with. Inquire about several (nonexistent) members of that outfit. Act very concerned when he doesn't know who they are.
Bond One-Liner: Hogan fires one off after the Heroes blow up a fuel truck in "Drums Along the Dusseldorf".
Breakout Character: Hilda to only a certain extent. Originally, the producers were going to give Klink a new secretary each season (hence why Helga was replaced by Hilda to begin with), a similar practice on The Bob Cummings Show, however the producers were pleased enough with Sigrid Valdis/Patti Olson's performance that they kept Hilda for the remainder of the show's run.
But Not Too Evil: None of the main German cast, and only one of the recurring guest characters (Wolfgang Hochstetter, of the SS and later the Gestapo) is a member of the Nazi party. Truth in Television - according to The Other Wiki, officers of the regular German armed forces were forbidden from joining any political party, which at that time was pretty much the Nazi Party.
Butt Monkey: Klink, at least to some extent Schultz. Among the good guys, it's usually Carter.
California Doubling: Made the "perpetual winter" continuity of the series unrealistic, with full green foliage in the surroundings, and the actors sweating in their caps and coats and acting like it's freezing outside when in actuality it was well over 90 degrees outside.
Cassandra Truth: Carter once had to get caught with a microfilm so they could give fake information to the Germans. He outright told everybody he met, and they thought he was a Gestapo agent with fake American papers. He got very frustrated. He finally gave up, asked a (real) Gestapo agent who was in the room checking papers for a ride back to camp, and was found out on the way.
Werner Klemperer was an accomplished violinist (naturally, as his father, Otto Klemperer, was one of Germany's great conductors); Colonel Klink, not so much.
Bob Crane was a highly skilled drummer. In the episode "Look at the Pretty Snowflakes", Colonel Hogan played an impressive drum solo for the song Cherokee in an attempt to cause an avalanche. Bob Crane actually supplies all of the drumming for the show's music, including the timpanis heard in the theme tune, or whenever a German officer, like Burkhalter, enters camp.
Barracks 2 (where Hogan and his men are kept) has far more bunks in it in the pilot episode than it does the rest of the series, not to mention the door opened to the other side.
Klink's office was given an overhaul starting in Season Three, which made more sense and consistency with the exterior of the Kommandantur (for example, in the first two seasons, there is a window to the outside next to the door, however, that window would actually be looking into Helga's office). That said, Klink's private quarters◊ never look the same◊ twice◊.
Hogan standing around nonchalantly, and smirking. He also puts his hands on his men's shoulders a lot.
Klink swinging his clinched fist, and letting out a loud mutter.
Kinch raising his eyebrow.
Chaste Hero: Carter. Unlike the other characters, who are gaga for anything with two X chromosomes and a tight shirt, Carter is alternately confused and scared by female sexuality. The weird part is that in "Request Permission to Escape" his fiancée sends him a "Dear John" Letter. One wonders how he even got a fiancée in the first place. Ironically, in one of the last episodes, Carter becomes increasingly aroused at the prospect of visiting a beautiful dancer who happens to be with the Dutch Underground as a part of their latest mission.
Cloudcuckoolander: Carter again, and an argument could be made about Klink and Schultz to some extent.
Kinchloe - Yellow (without his field jacket, his uniform is olive drab, which is similar to mustard, which is a shade of yellow)
Carter - Green (also without his leather flying jacket)
Comforting Comforter: In "Klink's Secret Weapon", Hogan drapes blankets over Kinch and LeBeau, who are so exhausted they just (like everyone else) collapsed into bed. It's a nice, quiet, and very sweet scene.
Con Artist: Hogan, naturally. The other heroes as well.
Continuity Nod: And only in the fifth episode, Klink brings up some of the bizarre events that have taken place in previous episodes, such as the Tiger Tank crashing out of the Rec Hall, and the train bearing the Inspector General blowing up.
"Dear John" Letter: The first-season finale ("Request Permission to Escape") focuses on Carter, of all people, getting one of these. The fact that it's from MaryJane ("Gee, we've been going together since we were kids!") makes their trying to cheer him up even funnier.
Depending on the Writer: Most of the time, Schultz will find out about what the Heroes are up to, or perhaps witness parts of their missions, and in many of these cases, Hogan and his men will flat-out tell Schultz exactly what they're doing (especially in the first season), knowing Schultz will simply turn the other way, and know NOTHING!!! However, on some occasions, the Heroes will actually try to keep Schultz from finding out what they're doing, and if he does find out, he actually will go to Klink to rat them out, putting them in the spot of having to cover up their current mission.
Dropped After the Pilot: The show had Leonid Kinskey as a Russian tailor named Vladimir Minsk in the pilot. Carter was a prisoner making his way through. Vladimir's actor decided the show wasn't taking the Nazis seriously enough and quit, and Carter became the fifth main character for the series proper.
The pilot episode is in black-and-white, Klink is actually a rather strict and stern camp commandant (though still a bit of a push-over), Carter is a one-shot character passing through Stalag 13 in his journey back to England as an escaping prisoner, a Russian POW named Vladimir is the camp tailor, all of the prisoners are part of Hogan's team and have access to the tunnels, the tunnels are quite a vast underground network with various different departments (printing press, machinery shop, steam room, and a barber shop), Helga moonlights as part of Hogan's team behind Klink's back, and Burkhalter is a colonel instead of a general.
Although the show was known for its broad, slapstick humor, the first couple of seasons (particularly the earliest episodes from the first season) had a lot more wacky, off-the-wall, and at times cartoonish humor.
The first season in general could have easily been called "Hogan and the Germans", as two-thirds of each episode was essentially nothing more than the bantering that went on between Hogan and Klink (with Schultz often times caught up in the middle).
The P.O.W.s had so many tunnels carved out that it's surprising the whole camp didn't sink into the ground. Occasionally holes did pop up, and it would be up to the gang to convince Klink that there were natural caverns or hot springs under the camp.
Interestingly the base actually came to be a bit less elaborate as the show went on. While the tunnels in the series proper never came to resemble the pilot's, there was still mention of the printing press and the metal shop (and the fact that prisoners other than the core group worked down there regularly). In later seasons the radio room is the only room shown, and forged papers seem to be solely Newkirk's job.
Expy: Stalag 13 is this, actually. There actually was a genuine Stalag XIII-C and Oflag XIII-B note During the Second World War, prison camps for officers were called Oflags and camps for enlisted men were called Stalags. The number in the name was for the district — thus, there could be more than one Stalag or Oflag (number) in a district, distinguished by the letter. in Hammelberg, Bavaria. The Oflag was famous as the scene of a failed raid by Patton's troops in the closing days of the war, intent on rescuing the general's son-in-law, who had been captured in 1943. Other than the name, the real Stalag XIII-C bore no resemblance to the fictional Stalag 13.
Fake in the Hole: The POWs create a distraction by tossing a live grenade into Klink's office but without pulling the trigger cord (the equivalent of the pin on a potato masher grenade). This gives them time to pull off their Zany Scheme while the Germans are diving for cover.
Klink: This parachutist is an idiot! He didn't even pull the pin!
Hogan: That's the idea, Kommandant! The Allies are trying to win the war without violence!
For Science!: In one episode, a Russian scientist invents a tracking device for the Nazis, just to test a theory. Fortunately he has an attack of conscience and sabotages it. The same for a man working on the atomic bomb.
Genius Ditz: Sgt. Carter is clueless about most things, but with either explosives or German disguises he's brilliant — his Hitler is especially lifelike. Also he's apparently very good at running businesses. If he wasn't such a Cloudcuckoolander, he'd be a very dangerous man.
Gentlemen Rankers: Before the war Sgt. Schultz was the owner of Germany's largest and most successful toy manufacturing company. The company got taken over by the German military to make munitions. Col. Klink asks him for a bookkeeping job when everyone thinks the war might be ending.
Germanic Efficiency: Constantly undermined. Although occasionally we do see an efficient German (very memorably in "Hogan Gives a Birthday Party", when General Biedenbender gives Hogan a run for his money).
[Sound of bell ringing]
LeBeau: Roll call, colonel.
Hogan: [checking his watch] Thirty-one seconds early! Why can't these Germans learn to be methodical?
Lady Chitterley (falsely) implies very heavily that she spent a summer ménage à trois with Hogan and her husband. It's never specifically said, but everyone else gets what they mean — and are disturbed by it. LeBeau comments "We're French! We can all be friends!", referring to a (somewhat) love triangle that's sprung up with him, Hogan, and another Girl of the Week. Apparently this show likes its threesomes.
In "Everyone loves a Snowman" Hogan and his men are trying to hide a recently downed bomber crew and the Gestapo finds and needs to fill a false tunnel in the barracks. Hogan tells the airmen not to worry, "There are 20 barracks on this base and we have tunnels to all but one, barracks 4." Cut to the men standing in front of Barracks #4.
In "Six Lessons From Madame Lagrange", Hochstetter has LeBeau arrested and put in the cooler to teach Hochstetter to dance. Hogan goes to Klink and Burkhalter to protest, saying "Who knows what kind of torture he's giving him?" Cue LeBeau yelping in pain because Hochstetter is stomping on his foot.
Good News, Bad News: Lampshaded in the episode "Look at the Pretty Snowflakes", when Klink announces he has good news, and bad news, and the Heroes, to stall for time, argue over which of the two they want to hear first.
Schultz falls more under the Brilliant, but Lazy label. In one episode the heroes contrive to put Schultz in charge of the camp, but when he proves frighteningly competent at the job Hogan worked to return everything to the status quo... which Schultz preferred anyway.
It's just as likely Schultz and Klink know about pretty much everything and are secretly letting it all go as a Take That against their Nazi superiors.
Schultz: Colonel Hogan, if you ever do try to escape...? Hogan: Yeah? Schultz: Be a good fellow and take me with you.
Also this beauty from Schultz when the crew tries to push him too far on a bargain: "Sometimes I have to work for OUR side!!!"
Then there's also the time they tried to kidnap Field Marshal Rommel.
Honey Trap: Besides the many, many women, Hogan occasionally operates as a male one.
Hollywood Darkness: Gets especially funny when an officer uses a flashlight to read a map and it's dimmer than the light around him.
Hollywood Natives: Inverted and averted at the same time in the episode "Drums Along the Dusseldorf", which reveals Carter is a member of the Sioux tribe (his tribal name is Little Deer Who Goes Swift And Sure Through Forest), despite being fair-skinned and fair-haired. Many of the others razz him throughout the episode with stereotypical war cries, and peppering him with silly questions - not only is Carter clearly annoyed by all of this, but also uncharacteristically slips into Sarcasm Mode. He does, however, take the time to build a bow and arrow set, which he shows little skills with, despite claiming winning a lot of trophies for his archery skills back home.
Homage: The episode where Hogan & Co. trick a visitor into thinking he's flying in an airplane was a Shout-Out to Batman: The Movie, where the United Underworld tricks the kidnapped Commodore Schmidlapp into thinking he's still aboard his yacht.
Indy Ploy: Because nothing ever, ever goes exactly as planned.
Hogan: We like to play these things out like Eliza on the ice—we sort of figure things out as we go.
Russian Spy Marya takes this to the next level by becoming an Indy Chessmaster. Her plans often center around purposefully getting Hogan and company into an unpleasant situation and then trusting that whatever wacky scheme they come up with to get out of the situation will benefit her cause as well, despite having no idea what they're specifically going to do.
Idiot Ball: Carter occasionally puts it down and becomes competent. In one episode he can barely manage speaking German, in another he can impersonate Hitler and fool someone who'd actually met him. In at least one episode Hogan draws attention to the fact that he's been spending some time on a ruse for Klink and decides to use it for the heist of the week. It's very possible that Hogan has several stunts going at any one time for fun as well as profit.
Insistent Terminology: In one episode where Newkirk banters with LeBeau over his cooking (Newkirk is just about the only one in the barracks who doesn't like LeBeau's culinary masterpieces):
Newkirk: That's ruddy fish stew!
LeBeau: It's bouillabaisse a la marseillaise!
Newkirk: Well, it loses something in the translation, mate!
Just a Stupid Accent: Very few "Germans" speak actual German on the show. In fact, because of the Translation Convention, it gets to the point that it's never quite clear who's actually speaking what at any given time. Even the characters lose track at times. Klink, Schultz, and General Burkhalter's actors weren't fakes though. They really were German born (well, at least, the latter two were Austrian)... it doesn't make it any clearer who's speaking what though. On the other hand, there are quite a few authentic German throwaway lines, mostly by Schultz. And LeBeau's actor was actually French.
In "War Takes a Holiday" SS officer Wolfgang Hochstetter is tricked into letting Underground leaders go free. He is arrested by the SS at the end and it is likely he will face a firing squad.
In another episode a German general arrives with his group of ruthless elite soldiers, boasting to Hogan's face that he disapproves of prison camps—since he never takes prisoners. Even Klink is horrified by him. Then Hogan dreams up the plan of replacing the general's war game supplies with something a little more realistic...
For all that LeBeau is the smallest guy of the team, when the situation calls for (over)acting he's generally the biggest ham around.
Carter when he's doing his Hitler impersonation.
Schultz (and also given that he's the largest one in camp); in fact, the rest of the cast slowly grew annoyed with John Banner's scenery chewing during filming while underplaying his lines during table readings and rehersals.
Last Name Basis: For the most part, though both LeBeau and Carter are frequently referred to by their first names throughout the series.
Laugh Track: Interestingly, this show has an odd history with its laugh track; in its earlier seasons (particularly the first), the laugh track is almost deafening, and very much abused, with loud bursts of laughter at rather mild gags. It eventually grows more conservative as the seasons progress, but then we get to the last two seasons, where the laugh track is curiously poorly edited, with many episodes (particularly from season five) having laughs no louder than whispers.
Lethal Chef: At one point, Carter had to cook something. After tasting the thing, Klink ordered to Schultz to "take it away... and bury it".
Man of a Thousand Voices: Everyone when they're impersonating Germans, but Richard Dawson gets special mention for playing Newkirk and various German and British voices that sound nothing alike. This scene in particular, gives a good impression of his vocal talents
Maximum Fun Chamber: The Russian Front. Notthatmuch of an unspecified place, but since it's used as a gag, never shown, and Klink is deathly afraid of it... (actually, so is Schultz, but he gets threatened with it far less often) it probably fits. Given the casualties the Germans took on the Russian Front in real life, their fear is justified.
When it comes to insults and snark, rank is not an issue. In particular, Corporal Newkirk gets away with calling Sergeant Carter an idiot quite often. The men have a pretty strong bond between them and Carter in particular is probably too nice to pull rank on anyone. For contrast, in one episode, Carter gets a "Dear John" letter, and starts acting more traditionally military, for example refusing to budge until saluted correctly. Hogan exasperatedly asks him if he has to act so military.
Most of the time it's obvious that the men follow Hogan's orders and instructions out of respect, not deference to military rank. The amount of times he directly orders someone to do something is in the single digits, and it's usually when someone's life is at risk. One example is when Hogan is disarming the security lock (a good-sized bomb) on a briefcase so they can find out what's inside. It comes down to a Wire Dilemma type event - turning the handle one way disarms the bomb, the other way triggers it. The men are right behind him, and only back up when he says "That's a direct order!"
"Operation Briefcase" was surprisingly dark, featuring an agent actually dying (offscreen) while in Hogan's care, when most involved escapes by the skins of their teeth. Even more unpleasantly, this episode dealt with the July 20th 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler—an attempt, as everyone should know, that failed.
In the Cold Open of another episode, the guys are meeting an Underground agent who was a female impersonator before the war. Jokes fly, then Germans crash the meeting, fire at the good guys and take off in pursuit of the Underground agent. Hogan and his men get up again, Newkirk cracks a joke at the expense of the French... and they realise that LeBeau is still on the ground and has actually been shot. Cue one of the most dramatic moments in the (usually) comedic series when Newkirk does a 180 from his usual Deadpan Snarker persona and says quietly, "Colonel, my little mate's been hit." Though it turns out the bullet only grazed him, but LeBeau fainted anyway because he's Afraid of Blood.
"The Experts" also starts out pretty dark, possibly topping the other two examples. It begins with the Gestapo arriving in the middle of the night to arrest two Stalag 13 guards for black market operations. One is on vacation, but the other is at his post, so they go after him. Hogan is watching them arrest the man through the sink. A few seconds later, a machine gun is fired and the guard is dead.
Nice Hat: Just about all of them... Hogan with his Class A cap, Schultz with his Kraut helmet, LeBeau's beret, Newkirk's garrison (or field service in the UK) cap, Kinchloe and Baker's wool knit caps, Carter's leather flying cap, Klink's WWI leather helmet with the spike on top (which he never wears).
No Ending: The series never had a proper Grand Finale, so we will never know what happened when the Allied forces finally reached Stalag 13, thus ending Hogan's mission, at the closing of the war.
Klink: The last time I missed a date with a woman, it took two policemen and a priest to talk her out of jumping.
No Swastikas: Sort of. Mention of the Bad Old Days on German TV is illegal, so the German dub replaces much of the discussions with talk of Klink's unseen housekeeper, and Nazi salutes become comedically contrived gestures. None of the main German characters are members of the Nazi party, Klink outright stating he doesn't like them a few times.
Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In the last two seasons, Hogan puts less and less effort into a fake German accent whenever he poses as a Kraut to the point that he eventually plays this trope straight in his last several masquerades.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Sometimes Klink can be competent, or at least has the air of competence. One genuine example is in "Will the Real Adolf Please Stand Up?" where he's unfazed by Hogan's ploy, calls it out as a pack of lies, and tightens security further. Both Hogan and Schultz are caught off-guard. Another is in "A Man's Best Friend Is Not his Dog," where he and Schultz manage to keep Hogan on his toes for the majority of the episode.
Not That Kind of Doctor: Subverted most of the time with the guys helping various doctors escape from Germany with it being understood by everyone that they are scientists not medical doctors. Played straight in "The Assassin" when Klink mistakes atomic physicist Dr. Vanetti for a physician.
Marya acts the part of an oversexed materialistic flirt, but her plans often run circles around Hogan himself.
Schultz is supposed to be a fool, and always claims to know "noth-ink!", but he's the only German soldier aware of the heroes' activities. When he actively helps the heroes his competence occasionally jumps, even if he still sounds like a fool. In peacetime he owns and runs the biggest toy company in Germany.
The British agent "Nimrod", who congratulates Hogan after Hogan convinces Hochstetter that Klink is Nimrod in order to get Klink rescued from the Underground. Later the real Nimrod is revealed to have slipped plans for a new German attack fighter into a model kit in Klink's office. This may imply that Nimrod is either Burkhalter, Schultz, Hilda, or Klink himself.
Odd Couple: Hogan and Klink occasionally drift into this territory.
Hogan's telling Klink, or another German officer, that their action/s is/are against the Geneva Convention.
Once a Season: Each season, one of the actors would receive new footage during the Dramatis Personae-esque main title sequence; Ivan Dixon in Season Two, Richard Dawson in Season Three, Larry Hovis in Season Four, and Robert Clary in Season Five.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Almost anytime the Heroes pose as Germans, they basically Germanize their own names, such as Kinchloe posing as General/Admiral Kinchmeyer (on the phone, that is), or Newkirk signing Carter's phony papers as Major Newkirkheim. In fact, in one episode, where Hogan drags a reluctant Carter with him on a masquerade, not only does Hogan not even bother using a German accent (see Not Even Bothering with the Accent above), he introduces Carter as... Carter.
To maintain comedy, the show avoids mention of the more horrifying aspects of the Nazi regime.
Then there's the whole matter of Kinchloe and Baker being black, which is never commented on. Klink even refers to Kinch as "the most popular prisoner in the camp" and seems to agree with the notion. Really, the only time race is brought up is by the fact that Kinchloe can't exactly go walking around disguised as a German (and yet he makes a wonderful German over the phone) and when the German brass get upset that Kinchloe can outbox the luftstalag champion. Klink doesn't see the problem until Burkhalter brings up that other African-American who was known for athletically outperforming Nazi contestants. Possibly lampshaded when Schultz runs across several of the crew (including Kinchloe) putting on German uniforms. "I know NUSSINK!"
The one time the heroes acknowledge race is a brief gag when the crew is preparing for a sabotage mission. Passing around a can of black cammo paint to smear on their faces, Carter tries to pass it to Kinchloe...who simply looks at him with a raised eyebrow. Carter sheepishly hands it to the next person in line.
General Albert Burkhalter: Klink's overbearing superior officer.
Major Wolfgang Hochstetter: Gestapo officer always on the hunt for escaping prisoners or Underground agents.
Helga and Hilda: Klink's secretaries - Helga for Season One, Hilda for Seasons Two through Six.
Marya: The crazed and over sexed, yet highly annoying White Russian.
Oscar Schntizer: The town vet who lets Hogan and his men use his truck smuggle prisoners in and out of camp.
Tiger: Important Underground leader.
Recycled Plot: Only really noticeable in the pilot, which is a simplified and comedic rework of the basic plot of Stalag17.
Recycled Set: It's subtle, but if astute viewers pay really close attention, anytime the heroes are doing business in a different barrack, it's clearly the exact same set as Hogan's barrack, with the bunks and lockers and such rearranged. Even the interior of the new Rec Hall in Season Six, the front wall is the same, a bookcase is inserted in the doorway.
Reassigned To The Russian Front: Klink is constantly being threatened with being reassigned to a much-less cushy position on the Russian Front if he screws up too much.
Refuge in Audacity: Hogan. Hell, the entire series in a meta-sense; it's a sitcom set in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp. (Although they do stay away from the war-atrocities.) The best example is when he impersonates SS-General Himmelburger and goes on a rampage, threatening to send everyone within his sight to the Russian Front. The understandably rather shocked troops forget to check out his authenticity, and he spirits out a hostage right from under the Wehrmacht's nose.
Right Behind Me: While Klink is on vacation at a ski lodge, he mentions to the desk clerk what a nasty tub of lard Burkhalter is, while Burkhalter approaches him after he was sitting in the lobby waiting for Klink to come down.
Rock Beats Laser: In "Drums Along the Dusseldorf", a flaming arrow takes out a truck of experimental fuel.
Running Gag: Several, mostly regarding the lack of Nazi competency. There's even a drinking game based on them. You can find it here.
Hogan playing with his hat and Klink's spiked-helmet when he's in his office (season one especially)
Hogan not knowing what to do, then one of the guys saying something unrelated, and Hogan having a lightbulb moment.
In Hochstetter's earlier appearances, Hogan would be present when approaching Klink, prompting him to ask, "What is this man doing here?" Hochstetter would then relay information to Klink, to which Hogan would also add his comment, prompting Hochstetter to repeat, "What is this man doing here?" Klink would respond to and resume the conversation with Hochstetter, after which Hogan would slip in one more comment, causing Hochstetter to shout loudly, "WHAT IS THIS MAN DOING HERE?!!"
Some minor errors, usually regarding the characters' backgrounds, such as Carter's hometown being established as both Muncie, Indiana and Bullfrog, North Dakota (which apparently is a suburb of Crabapple Junction). Likewise, Kinch's hometown is said to be Detroit, Michigan, until in another episode he says he's from New Orleans, Louisiana.
In the pilot episode, the coffee pot in Hogan's office is actually a phone tap, allowing Hogan and his men to eavesdrop on Klink's phone conversations, though afterwards, it was strictly a bug in his office (with the mic hidden in the picture on the wall of Hitler giving a speech).
In earlier Season One episodes, LeBeau is married - he directly mentions this in one episode, and is also seen wearing a wedding ring - till by the end of that season, he's single.
Spiritual Successor: To Billy Wilder's Stalag 17. So much so, that the producers of Stalag 17 sued Bing Crosby Productions for plagarism. They lost. The pilot, in particular, has quite substantial similarities in basic plot to the film (both being based around The Mole). However, it's also a very obvious type of plot for a bunch of spies and saboteurs operating from inside an enemy POW camp. There's also Schultz who is more or less an Expy for Stalag 17's Schulz, except his friendliness with the POWs is genuine.
Staff of Authority: In addition to his monocle, carrying around a swagger stick tucked under one arm is the trademark of Colonel Klink
Tanks, But No Tanks: In "Hold That Tiger", the team steals a goddamn tank from the Third Panzer Division. The script calls it a Tiger, but it's actually an American M7 Priest self-propelled artillery vehicle dolled up in German colors. The same M7 later stood in for a German AFV in "One Army At a Time".
Temporary Substitute: This show utilized this regularly whenever one of the actors missed an episode. In one early episode LeBeau is absent, so another prisoner named Scotty takes his place; similarly, whenever Carter was absent, a pre-M*A*S*H William Christopher will appear in his place.
Theme Naming: The code-names are almost all fairy-tale-related: "Papa Bear", "Mama Bear", "Goldilocks", "Little Red Riding Hood", "The Big Bad Wolf", "Rumplestiltskin", etc.
The prisoners whistle the theme all the time ("The Gold Rush" has a great example).
Once, slowed-down, as a romantic interlude ("It Takes A Thief...")
This Is Gonna Suck: In "Hogan's Trucking Service, We Deliver the Factory To You", this is Hogan's response when Newkirk tells him that if the Mysterious Colonel X came to harm, it would be a great blow to the Germans.
Hogan: A whole chill came over me as a name came to mind.
Those Wacky Nazis: This show puts the "Wacky" in that phrase. It also goes to great lengths to establish that its German characters are not Nazis.
Too Kinky to Torture: Marya. In one episode Hogan has to tie her up and knock her out with the butt of his gun so it looks like she wasn't involved. She's ecstatic about it and Hogan can't bring himself to do it. He gives her the gun, telling her to knock herself out, and she does it with great eagerness.
"Darling, oh, they were brutal to me — let me tell you all about it!"
Trash the Set: After the series wrapped up production, the entire Stalag 13 set was completely recycled for a porno movie (not one of Bob Crane's home movies, an actual one), about a female Nazi mad scientist running a medical camp and performing torturous experiments on prisoners: the script called for the camp to be blown up, so the Hogan producers agreed, saving them the trouble and expenses of having the set bulldozed anyway.
Tuckerization: Hogan was named after actor Robert Hogan (who also made a guest appearance in an early episode as a rock-happy escapee), who was a friend of co-creator Bernard Fein and director Gene Reynolds.
Turn Coat: "One in Every Crowd". There are also several episodes where they need to intercept/sabotage/unturn people who have switched sides to ally themselves with the Germans.
Surprisingly, Schultz, in "Kommandant Schultz". He was frighteningly efficient when put into a position of power; but in the end he was grateful for the return of the status quo.
Unintentional Period Piece: The producers of the DVDs seem to think so, the show is described as being "timeless" on DVD packages, however, with this show obviously taking place in a German prisoner of war camp in WW2, it's a period piece no matter how you look at it.
Vitriolic Best Buds: This can be said of Newkirk and Carter; the on-screen chemistry is helped by Richard Dawson and Larry Hovis being close friends off camera.
Vocal Evolution: Many of the actors spoke with higher and a lot more overly charismatic voices in the earlier seasons; Richard Dawson seemed to exaggerate Newkirk's cockney accent even moreso in the first season; likewise, Werner Klemperer seemed to exaggerate his own accent in the pilot.
We Need a Distraction: Usually involving strudel for Schultz, made in a prison camp barracks; mmmmm! Strudel, or beautiful women.
Who Needs Enemies?: Marya, the Russian spy. Not only was she blatant about her willingness to sell out the heroes to the Germans if it meant she succeeded in her missions, at least once her mission directly hampered the heroes' mission (while still hurting the Germans). Sure, she was an ally, but...
Willing Suspension of Disbelief: We are asked to believe that the saboteur heroes are able to operate inside Nazi Germany for multiple seasons of stories and not get caught. It's classic Rule of Funny. It even gets lampshaded in one episode, when it is noticed by the Gestapo that there is a group of unresolved incidents of sabotage surrounding Stalag 13. Naturally, a zany plan throws them off the track.
In one episode, Klink tells Hogan (who at that point had more or less ensured that he would be shot for incompetence) that "somehow, I don't hate you. In another time, perhaps we could even have been friends." Hogan actually winces.
Yes-Man: Klink, whenever a kissable butt of higher rank than his own is present. Subverted when an SS Major comes into camp and openly admits to never taking prisoners (earning the ire of Hogan, who responds with the "we try not to kill people we've met" rule applicable on this show). Klink instantly stops trying to suck up to him.
About half of the one-shot German officers and Allied troops are played by the same four or five guys. Noam Pitlik alone made about seven or eight guest appearances throughout the show's run, playing anything from a German spy, to downed Allied airmen on a couple of occasions, to a Kraut who the Gestapo were planning to kill (Pitlik was actually a good friend of director Gene Reynolds, hence his presence on the show).
In the black and white pilot, Carter was to be a one time character who was helped to escape by the Heroes. When the show went to series, he was reduced in rank and made a regular.
Richard Dawson (Newkirk) often voiced "Goldilocks", their British radio contact, usually with a stuffy upper-class accent, old boy. Resulting in at least one instance of the actor Talking to Himself.
After leaving the series at the beginning of the second season, Cynthia Lynn made two random guest appearances on the show much later, appearing as different characters.
Before playing Major Hochstetter, Howard Caine appeared in two early episodes, playing different Krauts.
Jon Cedar usually plays Lagenscheidt (one of the camp guards), however, on at least two or three different occasions, he plays a different character, one of which includes a Gestapo officer who blows his cork (after enduring constant, gratuitous verbal abuse from his superior officer) and opens fire on Hogan, Klink, and Schultz.