Colonel Hogan

I have to admit, you may not recognize this character unless you grew up when Hogan’s Heroes was playing for decades in reruns. Then, if no one recognizes this character, why would I choose him to be part of my Wednesday Warriors section on my site?

Bob Crane with Sigrid Valdis in Hogan's Heroes
Bob Crane with Sigrid Valdis in Hogan’s Heroes

The truth of the matter lies in Colonel Hogan (Bob Crane) and his genius for coming up with a plan at a moment’s notice.

If you’re not familiar with the show Hogan’s Heroes, it came out in 1965, ended in 1971 and soon after landed in syndication making a pile of money for CBS. Back then, there was a real demand for war shows, and given the show is nothing short of hilarious, I can see why. The characters are solid, the stories are simple, but overall, the cast is what makes this show unique.

Without Hogan though, the show would not have been the success it still is today in reruns.

Hogan's Heroes
Hogan’s Heroes

The show is about a Prisoner of War camp set in World War II Germany. The leader of the multinational team is an American prisoner named Colonel Hogan. Now, you might think, what’s the big deal? Sounds like an ordinary show. On paper, it does. But the originality behind the show is Hogan’s knack for coming up with a plan within moments of a problem surfacing, overcoming setbacks, and delivering end results that resolve the problem.

Oh, and as I’ve mentioned, this all takes place while slapstick and humor rules the airwaves.

Much of Hogan’s talent lies in his quick thinking, his charm and his ability to influence those around him simply by suggesting ideas that would benefit him and his team. Also, to make things even more interesting, Stalag 13, the camp where he resides as a prisoner, has never had a successful escape. That is no coincidence. He keeps it that way in order to maintain control of the camp, unbeknownst to the German commanding officer Colonel Klink (Werner Klemperer).

The most memorable moments with Hogan are not when he succeeds with his plans over his captors, but when a plan so easy to execute turns into a farce—like the time when the prisoners steal a tank and hide it in the camp. It could never happen in real life, but it does in the show, and it makes for fun TV.

I grew up with Hogan as someone I admired, not because of his way with women, or his ability to get himself out of trouble more than once, or his loyalty to his men, but for his unwillingness to surrender in the face of absolute defeat. Somehow, he manages always to come through with a plan.

That seems to me as someone anyone would want to have as a role model.

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Have you seen any of the Hogan’s Heroes episodes? If you have, what do you think of Hogan?

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9 thoughts on “Colonel Hogan

  1. I grew up on War type comics, and shows like Hogan’s Heroes. I got a great kick out of Master Sergeant Schultz (John Banner’s character) and Newkirk (Richard Dawson).
    You are right though, the part of the show where, as a young child, I received the most enjoyment, was when the Heroes outwitted the German’s in the most hilarious ways. outlandish or not. It was great fun !

    • Somehow, every time I’d hear the theme, it always felt like home. My favorite episodes are when Hogan and the boys go to the local tavern and the German accordion is playing in the background. Wonderful atmosphere!

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