Hogan’s Heroes’ made war seem fun, which is no easy feat. Here are the comedy classic’s 5 best and worst episodes
Hogan’s Heroes is one of the most brilliant masterpieces of television to emerge from the 1960s. This show managed to make fun of Germans and make certain situations of wartime lighthearted, which is no easy feat. The setting is in a German POW camp during World War 2, featuring the sly and smart Colonel Hogan (Bob Crane), the incompetent camp commandant Klink (Werner Klemperer) and the sweet but misguided sergeant-of-the-guard Schultz (John Banner).
The show had plenty of heroic and comedic moments, and moments that weren’t quite so beloved. Unlike Schultz, we know something about selecting the 5 best episodes–and the 5 worst.
Worst: The Late Inspector General (Season 1, Episode 4)
This episode is one of the worst because, well, it’s not the best for Hogan’s usually successful track record. Surprisingly, Hogan’s scheme backfires on him in this episode. Putting all his efforts into making Klink look good before a Nazi Inspector General, Hogan actually gets Klink promoted, complete with a transfer to Berlin.
As Hogan doesn’t want to lose the incompetent Klink, he and his men are forced to sabotage their previous efforts and do everything they can to irk the Nazi Inspector, which works and loses Klink the promotion. And to think that all this madness started simply because Hogan and his men were trying to blow up a train.
Best: What Time Does The Balloon Go Up? (Season 3, Episode 24)
As it turns out, they’re all part of an elaborate plan to avoid suspicion from Klink, Schultz or the Gestapo waiting beyond the camp’s walls with orders to shoot to kill. The spy is smuggled out in a large basket with the tent used as a parachute, right under the noses of the oblivious Germans. Another score for the Allied team.
Worst: LeBeau And The Little Old Lady (Season 3, Episode 25)
By the episode’s end, she has been replaced with another beauty that Hogan himself goes to meet. But when he tells this to the guys, they believe Hogan’s just messing with them following LeBeau’s experience. Oh, well. Their loss is Hogan’s gain.
Best: The Great Impersonation (Season 1, Episode 21)
Schultz hilariously manages to make it through, even taking his impression of Klink to the limit, until Hogan reminds him that “Sergeant Schultz” is waiting for them back at camp, which brings Schultz back to reality. As soon as he gets back in the truck, Schultz faints. Sometimes, you’ve got to have a certain gumption and perseverance to act out the truly difficult guys of the world, and Schultz gave it his all. However, he may want to follow Hogan’s suggestion and go on a diet so as not to be recognized as the impersonator.
Worst: The Scientist (Season 1, Episode 12)
From Hogan’s over the top performance in which he’s yelling and smashing everything to LeBeau’s impersonation to Carter’s lack of knowledge in chemistry (when he should know something, considering he’s an explosives expert), it’s a touch much to be believable.
Best: One Army At A Time (Season 5, Episode 20)
While Carter’s drinking and celebrating (and even cracking jokes with his new peers), Hogan and the rest of the gang fear the worst for Carter’s fate. Carter manages to escape, and once Hogan knows the story, he convinces Carter to return for the detonator and dynamite he left behind. After a lot of back and forth and German impersonations, Carter manages to steal a tank to blow up the bridge and complete their initial mission. Carter’s congratulated for a job well-done, but he’s disappointed in having missed a Betty Grable film. Priorities.
Worst: Psychic Kommandant (Season 1, Episode 25)
Hogan also tells him that all the greats, including Hitler, have ESP just as Klink seems to exhibit. It’s a little hard to grasp, and though Klink may be incompetent, we don’t think he’d be foolish enough to fall for such a gimmick.
Best: War Takes A Holiday (Season 3, Episode 21)
Perhaps the funniest incident in the episode is the fact that Hogan convinces Hochstetter to lend his car to the prisoners, essentially allowing them to escape with a free ride and everything. When a German general arrives for inspection shortly afterwards, he clears up the lie and lets everyone know the war was never over, and proceeds to heatedly lecture Klink and Hochstetter–especially the latter, who loaned his car to prisoners. If something’s too good to be true, then it simply is too good to be true.
Worst: Hogan Springs (Season 2, Episode 7)
When rusted plumbing ruins Hogan’s plans of sneaking out underground leaders through the tunnels, he creates a spa out of it to distract the Germans while making another plan of escape for them. The health spa seems like a far-fetched idea, especially considering it’s located in the middle of a POW camp in Germany. When would the Germans have time to relax? Plus, Klink in a bathtub. We’ll leave it at that.
Best: Will The Real Adolf Please Stand Up? (Season 2, Episode 12)
Carter takes his impression a little too far, to the point where Hogan asks if Carter’s aiming for the Academy Award for his convincing performance. Hey, we’d lose our heads if we were imitating Hitler too. Luckily, they fool the Nazis (also Carter basically scares the crap out of them) and Carter gets the information out of camp successfully. Everything Carter does is a surprise, even to us.
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