Hogan’s Heroes was a beloved sitcom that ran from 1965 to 1971. The show followed a group of Allied prisoners of war as they tried to sabotage the efforts of their German captors. While the show was popular among audiences, there were many behind-the-scenes details that viewers were not aware of. Here are 12 secrets about Hogan’s Heroes that you didn’t know:
- The show was inspired by a real-life POW camp. Hogan’s Heroes was loosely based on a real-life World War II POW camp called Stalag Luft III, which was the site of the famous “Great Escape.” While the show was fictional, its creators drew inspiration from the real-life experiences of POWs.
- The show was controversial in Germany. Hogan’s Heroes was criticized in Germany for making light of the Holocaust and portraying Germans as bumbling idiots. It was not broadcast in Germany until 1992, more than 20 years after it had gone off the air.
- The show was almost cancelled after its first season. Hogan’s Heroes struggled in the ratings during its first season, and it was almost cancelled. However, a letter-writing campaign from fans saved the show.
- The actors were not always happy with their roles. Werner Klemperer (Colonel Klink) and John Banner (Sergeant Schultz) initially had reservations about their roles. Klemperer was concerned about being typecast as a Nazi officer, while Banner was uncomfortable playing a character who was so friendly with the prisoners.
- The outdoor scenes were filmed in California. While the show was set in Germany, most of the outdoor scenes were filmed in California. The producers used various techniques to make the California landscape look like Germany.
- The show’s theme song had lyrics. The show’s iconic theme song was instrumental, but it actually had lyrics written by Bob Crane, who played Colonel Hogan. The lyrics were never used in the opening credits.
- The show was popular with the military. Hogan’s Heroes was a favorite among members of the military, who appreciated its lighthearted take on life in a POW camp. It was reportedly a favorite of General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the coalition forces in the first Gulf War.
- The creators also made The Andy Griffith Show. Hogan’s Heroes was created by Bernard Fein and Albert S. Ruddy, who also created The Andy Griffith Show. The two shows were vastly different in tone and subject matter, but both became popular staples of American television.
- The actors were not allowed to perform in other war-related productions. As part of their contracts, the actors were not allowed to perform in other war-related productions. This prevented them from appearing in movies or TV shows that portrayed Germans or Nazis in a negative light.
- The set was destroyed after the series ended. The show’s set was destroyed after it ended to prevent it from being used in other productions. However, the facade of the Stalag 13 compound was saved and is now on display at a museum.
- The show’s creator was a former POW. Bernard Fein, one of the show’s creators, was a former POW who had been held in Stalag Luft III, the same camp that inspired Hogan’s Heroes.
- The show’s characters were named after the writers’ friends. The characters in Hogan’s Heroes were named after the writers’ friends and acquaintances. For example, Colonel Hogan was named after a friend of Bernard Fein’s, and Sergeant Schultz was named after a childhood friend of Albert S. Ruddy’s.
These are just a few of the many secrets and behind-the-scenes details about Hogan’s Heroes that you may not have known. Despite its controversies, the show remains a beloved classic and a testament to the enduring appeal of clever and entertaining sitcoms.