Saturday, April 16, 2005
Hogan's Heroes (1965 - 1971)
Critics over the years have tried to understand why Hogan's Heroes was such an influential TV series. The brilliant camera work and expert acting have long been acknowledged, but what has gone largely unmentioned was that Hogan's was the first TV series to seamlessly combine humor and drama. The horrors of the Nazi era are depicted right beside the humorous fumblings of Sgt. Schultz and Col. Klink.
A full seven years later, MASH would successfully copy this formula. MASH was widely praised, and rightfully so, but the recent release of Hogan's on DVD shows what critics have insisted over the years: Hogan's was an astonishingly innovative series whose impact is still being realized today.
Little known fact: Shakespearean actor Werner Klemperer was the son of the Jewish-German conductor Otto Klemperer and his contract specified that Colonel Klink could never be portrayed as a "good guy," and that the Nazis could never come out on top in any episode. Additionally, Robert Clary (LeBeau) had survived internment at Buchenwald.