Sunday, April 24, 2016

Twenty Things You Didn’t Know about 'Hogan's Heroes' Star Bob Crane

Everybody has a history to his or her life.
Let’s not paint Bob’s life by—what shall we say?—the moments in his life.
I say these things that are the flaws are like specks on the Parthenon.
Let’s look at the Parthenon and let’s not look at the specks.
Let’s lift our eyes up to the man’s eyes and soul and life, and not look
down on the gutter.
—Joe Cosgrove, former staff announcer, KPOL, Los Angeles, and owner, KTHL, Lake Tahoe, CA; the first person to greet Bob when he arrived in Hollywood in August 1956.
©2015 Carol M. Ford

When you spend thirty-some years researching something or somebody, you are going to learn a lot.

Such is the case with Bob Crane. After decades of research, my colleagues and I uncovered so much new and noteworthy information about Bob, we were, in a word, amazed. Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is more than 600 pages in length because there was just so much to tell. And there was also so much to fix. Over the years, the facts about Bob's life have been twisted around and exaggerated, or worse, fabricated. These inaccuracies had to be corrected and then retold properly or debunked completely.

I've compiled a list of important facts about Bob here, with details contained in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. Some people are afraid of what they might find in the book because Bob's reputation precedes him. But rest assured, the general public has not been given the whole story or even the true story. After reading through this chiseled-down list of facts, please check out Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. It will change the way you think about Bob Crane, and I think you will be happily surprised.

1. Bob Crane was born in Waterbury, CT, on July 13, 1928. He grew up in Stamford, CT, and graduated from Stamford High School in 1946. He was one of the most popular kids in school.

2. Bob was inspired to play drums by watching Gene Krupa at the 1939 World’s Fair. From that time on, he was never without his drumsticks. He played drums throughout his life.

3. Bob’s older brother Alfred served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Al was badly injured during the war but survived. Al’s wartime experiences had a dramatic and lasting impact on Bob.

4. Following high school graduation, Bob served in the U.S. National Guard in Stamford, CT, and worked in a jewelry store.

5. Bob played with many name bands on the East Coast while working in radio. He was eventually able to sit in and play with his idols, including The Stan Kenton Orchestra, the New Tommy Dorsey Band, and the Harry James Orchestra. He performed a drum battle with Gene Krupa over KNX-CBS Radio. He was a good friend of Buddy Rich, and he would occasionally perform with Rich in various venues, such as at Disneyland.

6. Bob spent fifteen consecutive years in radio, transforming the industry, and was considered a radio genius by his broadcasting colleagues. His radio show was so successful that by the time he was working at KNX in Hollywood, there was a premium for advertisers to buy time during his program, and they had to buy other time slots in addition to Bob's. In addition to doing things in radio that had rarely, if ever, been done before, Bob was also a gifted voice impersonator. KNX dubbed him radio’s Man of a Thousand Voices.

7. Bob interviewed thousands of celebrities on his KNX radio show, including Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Ronald Reagan, Jonathan Winters, Dick Clark, Jayne Mansfield, Ron Howard, Jerry Lewis, Richard Dawson, Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, and more. Because he wanted to act, he turned down countless offers to transition his radio show to television, including to take over as host for The Tonight Show. It then went to Johnny Carson.

8. In 1964, Bob took an acting course taught by Stella Adler. He also took acting advice from Donna Reed during at least the first season of Hogan’s Heroes.

9. Bob left The Donna Reed Show because he was bored with the premise. He remained friends with Donna Reed and her producer/husband Tony Owen following his departure from her series.

10. Bob was a great supporter of U.S. veterans and active duty service personnel. Before accepting the role of Colonel Hogan on Hogan’s Heroes, Bob insisted that a trailer of the series be shown to veterans and former POWs. He wanted to be sure they approved of the premise before signing because he didn’t want to offend them. They loved Hogan’s Heroes, claiming without humor, they never would have made it through the war. Bob was sold, and the rest was history.

11. Before agreeing to star on Hogan’s Heroes, Bob was inundated with offers for the lead in many other series, including Please Don’t Eat the Daisies and My Mother the Car.

12. Bob got his acting start in 1959 in a community theatre production of Tunnel of Love. He performed in theatre throughout his entire life, even during the height of his career on Hogan’s Heroes. He received rave critical reviews for nearly every one of his theatre productions. 

13. After being cast as the lead in The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz, Bob urged director George Marshall to hire as many cast members from Hogan’s Heroes as he could so they would have work during their hiatus. Those who accepted roles in the film included Werner Klemperer, John Banner, and Leon Askin.

14. Bob wrote an ending to Hogan’s Heroes, entitled Hogan’s Heroes Revue, which was a variety act to have been performed in Las Vegas. Robert Clary and Werner Klemperer were signed on to star with him in the live show, as well as John Thompson, Bob’s close friend and a magician who today is the magic consultant to Penn & Teller and Criss Angel, among others. Hogan’s Heroes Revue was never produced because Bob did not agree with what he considered a dishonest business contract with the casino.

15. During the 1970s, Bob turned down many offers to star in television shows and emcee game shows and talk shows. Instead, he accepted the leading role in Second Start, which was retitled The Bob Crane Show. He also co-wrote Mobile Two, the pilot movie for the series Mobile One, starring Jackie Cooper. 

16. When Bob breaks down in tears on his episode of The Love Boat, he is acting. It was not an indication of his state of mind at the time. In between takes, he was friendly, affable, and got along well with the cast. This performance shows how Bob was evolving as an actor, not as someone who couldn't hold it together at work. He was planning on taking on more serious roles such as his character on The Love Boat, but he didn't have the chance because he was murdered.

17. Bob Crane did not exhibit any inappropriate behavior on Celebrity Cooks. That he did is completely false, a story fabricated for ratings and profit. Celebrity Cooks has officially gone on record to dispute any claims that Bob behaved inappropriately in the episode. They state Bob was one of their best guests, and the way his episode is depicted in Auto Focus is totally incorrect and never happened.

18. Bob was a selfless philanthropist who gave generously of his time and money to many different charities, and he receives very little recognition for it. These included: U.S. Armed Forces Radio Network, United Cerebral Palsy, the Arthritis Foundation, and Operation Entertainment, to name a few. He also met regularly with U.S. veterans groups and entertained at military bases across the country.

19. At the time of his murder on June 29, 1978, Bob had a new television series in the works and was focused on bettering his life and overcoming his addiction.

20. Bob loved and adored his family and friends, and especially his children. His legacy lives on through all of them. In 2013, his grandson, Max William Crane, made his acting debut in Fast & Furious 6 as little baby Jack.


Friday, April 15, 2016

The Wise and Beautiful Arlene Martel (Tiger, 'Hogan's Heroes')

Arlene Martel's birthday was yesterday (April 14), and she passed away a couple of years ago, on August 12, 2014. Arlene, who played Tiger regularly on Hogan's Heroes, was a tremendous supporter of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography and telling Bob Crane's true story.

Arlene Martel, right, with Carol Ford,
author of Bob Crane: The Definitive
, at the ICON Convention,
Stony Brook, NY (2007).
I had the honor of meeting Arlene in March 2007 at the ICON Convention in Stony Brook, New York. She was a beautiful soul, inside and out. Happy Birthday and rest in peace, Arlene. You are missed.

Below is an excerpt from our interview with Arlene, which was conducted on September 8, 2006, and published in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography

“I never heard Bob Crane say anything that was shoddy, shabby, or rude. I never saw him throw a little hissy fit, or start doing a diva kind of act. I never saw him fling his ego around that way. He seemed very patient. Like, ‘Okay,’—like a shrug. You’d see him kind of shrugging, like, ‘Well, we gotta wait till they set up the lights some more,’ or whatever. I never saw him throw any kind of tantrum. He didn’t use the show, I think, as an opportunity to demonstrate his power in any way. If you had walked on the set, you wouldn’t think that he was the star necessarily. It was ensemble acting. I think everyone liked that idea. It seemed that there was good will among everyone. Everyone sort of rooted for everyone else. That’s why I always celebrated when they said, ‘You’re gonna work on Hogan’s this week.’ That was a big celebration to me. That it was so pleasant on the set. And so warm and friendly and family. And I loved the character I played, too. I loved playing Tiger because it was so opposite of other roles I played, like Mr. Spock’s wife [on Star Trek].” 
© 2015 Carol M. Ford

In 2015, Shine on Hollywood Magazine published a special tribute issue to Arlene. It is an open access publication that does not require a subscription to view. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bob Crane in the News: WICC Articles from 1955

Bob Crane loved being in the limelight, and throughout most of his life, he was a friend to the press, enjoying being interviewed and talking with reporters. Ever since his growing-up years in Stamford, Connecticut, Bob kept meticulous records of everything he did. As a kid, he organized parades with his music pals, and played football, baseball, and basketball games with his sports buddies. When they marched or played a scrimmage game, he made sure to notify the local press (in this case, The Stamford Advocate). When his articles showed up in print, Bob would be elated.

He would also become quite miffed if a reporter got something wrong, often pointing out the error in future articles. I can understand this completely. The last thing anybody wants is to be misrepresented. In 1965, a TV Guide reporter mistakenly wrote that he quit The Donna Reed Show over money and that Donna Reed's husband and producer Tony Owen was furious over it and glad he was gone, stating they wouldn't even miss him. Bob was hurt by the article. In fact, he was so upset that in another TV Guide article published shortly after Hogan's Heroes premiered, Bob made sure to correct the information, claiming it was completely inaccurate, and that he and Donna Reed and Tony Owen had remained friends since his departure (which, incidentally, was not over money, but rather, Bob's boredom with the role). And this is proven to be true. Donna Reed and Tony Own sent Bob a Western Union Telegram right after the premiere of Hogan's Heroes congratulating him, signing it "Love, Donna and Tony." And throughout at least the first year of Hogan's Heroes, Donna talked with Bob immediately following the airing of each episode to discuss his acting technique. (For more about this, read Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography).

After becoming a popular disc jockey/radio personality (and Bob preferred the term radio personality), newspaper articles and advertisements started appearing in news outlets locally and across the country praising Bob for his broadcasting accomplishments. Here are a few from 1955, concerning his work at WICC in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Note that in the first article from The Bridgeport Post, the the mistake in the TV Radio Mirror article is mentioned. (Double click on each for easier reading.)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

'It Belongs in a Museum!' An Open Letter to Private Collectors of 'Hogan's Heroes' Props, Artifacts

I admit, there is nothing quite like holding, let alone actually owning, a piece of your favorite television show or movie. There's something magical about it. First you find it, then bid on it, and if you're lucky and have the financial means, you can win that iconic treasure. 

I know. I've done it. 

Your prize arrives, and you experience that moment of joy and elation. No matter what the item is, it was used on screen in your favorite show or movie, and now, it's in your hands and soon to be proudly displayed in your living room or den or office. You vow to take care of it, treating it like gold, knowing how important it is, not only to you, but to fans and collectors worldwide.

The official Hogan's Heroes display at the
Liberty Aviation Museum, Port Clinton, Ohio.
And there it sits. For awhile, you'll walk past it, and you can't help but grin. Yes, it's a valuable momento that represents your youth or a certain time in your life. The show means something to you, and now, you own a piece of it.

And there it sits. Maybe you'll showcase it when friends or relatives who visit. And it's truly awesome and cool!

And there it sits. In a private home. With only a handful of people able to enjoy it. Eventually, like all materialistic things, its novelty wears off. But it's still important, so it's really difficult to part with it.

So there it sits.

Last year, the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, acquired several key items from Hogan's Heroes: Colonel Hogan's A-2 leather bomber jacket, Colonel Klink's uniform, and Sergeant Schultz's overcoat. In addition, other items have been secured to add to the display. I have personally donated authentic props from the series I had in my collection, along with several original photographs autographed by the show's stars. After all, Hogan's Heroes is not only a television show, but now, more than fifty years old, it is a piece of Americana and our television history. These props belong in a museum, where they can be properly preserved and available for the public to enjoy.

Do you have Colonel Hogan's coffee pot? The Liberty Aviation Museum would love to hear from you!

The Liberty Aviation Museum is not holding back in creating a world-class and official Hogan's Heroes display. They are currently building a large case to house the items, and for the uniforms, they have commissioned lifelike mannequins in the likeness of the actors who portrayed the characters. It will be, without a doubt, a beautiful showcase and one that does justice to the series and those who were a part of it.

Do you agree that iconic props and artifacts from nostalgic
television shows belong in a museum?
Contact us if you own a Hogan's Heroes prop!
Personally, I can't imagine a better place for Hogan's Heroes artifacts and props to call their official home. The CEO of the Liberty Aviation Museum is an honest, true-blue Hogan's Heroes fan, and he's doing right by the series by putting all of his TLC into the display. Further, events and displays such as this help raise money for the museum, and funds go directly to helping U.S. veterans and active duty service members. When I do my book signing of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography at the museum in June, I will be donating my profits from the event's sales to the museum because of the good work these folks are doing.

Here's where you come in. Are you the owner/private collector of a Hogan's Heroes prop or artifact? We'd love to hear from you. We understand how much these props mean to you. But sit back and think for a minute — wouldn't it be wonderful and amazing for your Hogan's Heroes prop to be preserved and back together with other series artifacts for the public to enjoy? Whether you loan it to the museum or decide to sell it to them, as long as you can provide accurate and official authentication documents, they are interested in hearing from you. You can contact them directly via their website, or click the link below to send a message through us that we'll pass along to them.

And yes, my last name is Ford, so I get to say in true Indiana Jones fashion, "It belongs in a museum!" as much as I want! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Signing Set for Bob Crane's Biography at Liberty Aviation Museum/Port Clinton, Ohio

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography Book Signing with author Carol Ford
Dates: June 11 & 12, 2016
Location: Liberty Aviation Museum
Times: TBA
Carol will have a Q & A in addition to the book signing covering Bob Crane’s life & his role in the TV show, Hogan's Heroes. The museum's display of Hogan's Heroes uniforms are currently on display within the museum and will be on display during the book signing.
To learn more about the book, Bob Crane, or the author Carol Ford, please visit


I am honored and delighted to announce that I will be visiting the Liberty Aviation Museum on Saturday and Sunday, June 11-12, 2016, for a book signing of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography.

You may remember that in September, the Liberty Aviation Museum acquired Colonel Hogan's leather A-2 bomber jacket,  owned by Bob Crane and worn throughout the run of Hogan's Heroes, as well as worn by Frank Sinatra in Von Ryan's Express. The museum also acquired Colonel Klink's uniform and Sergeant Schultz's overcoat. The Hogan's Heroes exhibit is growing, and as more original props and show memorabilia are acquired/donated, the goal is to make this the official Hogan's Heroes exhibit. The current display is temporary, with a much larger display being constructed in the museum.

In addition to preserving these iconic pieces of television history, the Liberty Aviation Museum has also been a loyal supporter of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography and all of our efforts to see Bob Craned recognized properly. If you are in the Port Clinton, Ohio, area or can make the trip from afar, I hope you plan to join us in June for my book signing and to view the Hogan's Heroes display. 

Special note: My author profits from this signing will be donated to the Liberty Aviation Museum, whose mission is "to provide an adequate organization for historians, aircraft and vehicle preservationists and collectors interested in encouraging internationally the acquisition, restoration, operation, preservation, public education and display of historic aircraft, vehicles and related items." Through their efforts, the Liberty Aviation Museum is able to help and support our American veterans and active duty members serving in the United States Armed Forces. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

'I Know Nothing!' Sergeant Schultz — Sidekick to Colonel Klink

It's a cold winter day in Germany. The year, 1942. The place, Stalag 13, a prisoner of war camp located deep within Nazi territory during the height of World War II. Colonel Robert E. Hogan and his men, all Allied prisoners of war, are actually spies, working for London and the underground, and calling Stalag 13 their home base of operation. Their warden, the monocled and unsuspecting Luftwaffe Colonel Wilhelm Klink, who might be considered one of the biggest fools in all of Germany. And never far behind Klink, Sergeant Hans Schultz, holding his rifle awkwardly in one hand and a piece of chocolate in the other. Like a faithful German Shepherd, Schultz sticks to his commanding officer like glue, and while he often rolls his eyes in Klink's direction, he will also assist him in various schemes and protect him (or at least try to) should the situation call for it.

It's difficult—and sometimes impossible—to imagine our favorite characters without their trusty sidekick. From Batman and Robin, to The Lone Ranger and Tonto, to more recent pairings, such as Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter, sidekicks serve a special purpose, and that is to emphasize every nuance of their friend or colleague and to reinforce those traits to the audience.

In Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, I open the Hogan's Heroes chapter with the casting of Colonel Hogan and Colonel Klink, one of the most outlandish duos in television history. After Bob Crane and Werner Klemperer brought their characters to life for the first time, a six-year love-hate military relationship between the two was born.

But while the two comedic colonels certainly caused each other a great deal of grief and frustration during World War II, neither Klink nor Hogan can be considered the other's sidekick. A sidekick is defined as "a close companion or colleague" and usually considered subordinate to the person he accompanies. So this honor goes to Stalag 13's very own sergeant of the guard, Hans Schultz, played almost effortlessly by John Banner.

John Banner as Sergeant Hans Schultz
on Hogan's Heroes.
Sergeant Schultz is a spectacle of World War II. A befuddled, obese, and always lazy Luftwaffe serviceman, it is hard to imagine how he ever even made it into Hitler's war machine, which prided itself on physical fitness and self-proclaimed super-men strength, in the first place. He falls asleep at his post and is more interested in stopping at the Hofbrau for a beer than listening to der FΓΌhrer's latest radio broadcast. He forgets his helmet, loses his rifle, and steals Klink's food, schnapps, and Cuban cigars, and the only reason he doesn't want Corporal Louis LeBeau to escape is that he'll miss the French chef's apple strudel.

Caught between his own morality and the enforced radical ideals of the Third Reich, Schultz manages to sidestep any direct participation in Nazi crimes by choosing to look the other way, and he does this by uttering one of his trademark phrases: "I see nothing," "I hear nothing," and "I know nothing!" Some consider this an indicator of Schultz's stupidity and his somewhat neutral stance. He is, after all, lenient with the prisoners. However, John Banner disagreed, claiming that Schultz was, in fact, not neutral, but instead, loyal to himself. Nor did Banner see Schultz as stupid, arguing, "Notice he stays alive."

Decisions, decisions!
John Banner as Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes.
For reasons we do not know, Schultz is assigned to serve out his wartime duty at Stalag 13, where he is not only a guard, but remarkably, the head of all guards. And he is positioned right next to Colonel Klink, a pompous, arrogant, egotistical, self-centered Luftwaffe officer who would hide under his desk during a thunderstorm. Together, this dynamic duo became the Laurel and Hardy of Stalag 13, bumbling through the war and practically bringing the Third Reich to its knees.

Whether or not you agree with John Banner's take on Schultz as being more cunning than stupid, it is clear that on the outside at least, Schultz is a world class dummkopf. His reputation has endured through the years and even as recent as this past week. I will neither condemn nor endorse a recent political meme comparing both Schultz and Klink to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and United States Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, but its creation is a testament to the lasting cultural power these two iconic characters have from one generation to the next. Klink and Schultz were funny in 1966, and they continue to be funny, fifty years into the future.

Schultz seems to have forgotten something...
(John Banner, Werner Klemperer, and Bob Crane)
Some of television's funniest moments are from Hogan's Heroes, and many can be directly attributed to Klink and Schultz. One of my favorite scenes is from the episode "The Empty Parachute." In the effort to gain access to the briefcase hidden in Klink's safe, Hogan convinces Klink that a spy has parachuted into camp to steal the briefcase. They then bury an empty parachute in the center of the camp and allow Schultz to find it. Eager to report his important discovery to his commanding officer, Schultz gathers up the massive parachute and hustles over to Klink's office, where Klink and Major Hochstetter are trying in vain to solve the mystery of the so-called spy. Proud as can be, Schultz announces to Klink, "Herr Kommandant. I found this." Klink, as though scolding a child for interrupting an adult gathering, brushes Schultz off, barking, "Good. If nobody claims it, you can keep it. Now get out."

Another favorite moment is from the episode, "The Kommandant Dies at Dawn." Hogan uses Klink's overcoat as a means to deliver information to the underground. After Klink is arrested for suspicion of treason, Hogan and his men realize they need to get the coat back, which Klink is wearing as he is hauled off to the cooler. Meanwhile, Schultz decides he will rescue Klink. He comes up with a plan that has no chance of success. He tells Hogan and Sergeant Kinchloe: "I put a little something into the dogs' food that will make them sleep. Then, when Corporal Wolfschmidt comes on guard duty, I offer him a little schnapps. He goes into my room. That will give me the chance to plant some dynamite in front of Kommandant Klink's cell and blow it up! And then I take the Kommandant Klink and put him into my brother-in-law's car outside the fence and off he goes to Switzerland!" Later that night, as the prisoners watch Klink and Schultz stumble their way through the camp, knocking over water barrels and making all kinds of noise, Hogan quips, "Here come Stan and Ollie now."

"Halt! Who goes there?"
Klink and Schultz stop Hogan and Newkirk from an attempted escape.
(John Banner, Werner Klemperer, Bob Crane, and Richard Dawson)
I also conducted a short survey on a popular Hogan's Heroes Facebook Group and other social media outlets to gather some fan-favorite moments. Here are a few of them.

One fan wrote: "There were a couple of episodes where Schultz gets to be/plays the Kommandant. At the end of Kommandant Schultz, the manner in which Klink divests Schultz of his badges of office is priceless! Another running bit is how useless Kllnk believes Schultz is, how wiling he is tho throw Schultz under a panzerbus, until he has some connection or condition (famous toy company, friend to a General, supposed to have only days to live), and how Klink turns on a dime to praise Schultz as the son he never had."

Another fan stated: "I like the one where Schultz tries to speak French. 'Enchante Mademoise-lle' to the niece of Oscar Schnitzer, the vet!"

One other fan remembered how Klink would react to various situations and Schultz: "I think my favorite Klink moment is when something happens, and he says 'Donnerwetter!' Makes me laugh all the time!"

Hogan's Heroes costars Werner Klemperer (Klink)
and John Banner (Schultz) review a scene with
producer Edward H. Feldman (left).
Several fans said the following quotes between Klink and Schultz were some of their favorite Hogan's Heroes moments:

Klink: Now Schultz, you will share your food with me, or the next lunch you have will be covered with icicles!

Burkhalter: Just 1 moment. I see no reason why Colonel Hogan shouldn't watch a demonstration of German efficiency.
Klink: But this is classified Herr General.
Burkhalter: He isn't going anywhere with the information is he?
Klink: Of course not. No one has ever escaped from Stalag 13.
Burkhalter: So you have told me.
Klink: Yes sir.
Burkhalter: And told me. And told me.
Schultz: Yes, Herr Kommandant. I remember.
Klink: Schultz!

Schultz: I am also the German soldier of the month!
Klink: You are a big bungler who I do not trust out of my sight!

That got me thinking of Klink/Schultz quotes in general, so here are some popular ones from IMDb:

From "German Bridge Is Falling Down"
Klink: If the prisoners ask any questions about these explosions, you know nothing; you are ignorant.
Schultz: Oh, I can handle that.
Klink: I know.

Schultz [reading graffiti the prisoners painted on a building]: Hess is a mess. Himmler is a rat fink. Goering is a fat rat fink. Klink is bucking for rat fink.

From: "A Klink, a Bomb and a Short Fuse"
Klink: What are you waiting for? Cut the wire.
Hogan: That's the problem. One of these wires disconnects the fuse, the other one fires the bomb. Which one would you cut, Shultz?
Schultz: Don't ask me, this is a decision for an officer.
Hogan: All right. Which wire, Colonel Klink?
Klink: This one. [points to the white wire]
Hogan: You're sure?
Klink: Yes.
Hogan: [Cuts the black wire, the bomb stops ticking]
Klink: If you knew which wire it was, why did you ask me?
Hogan: I wasn't sure which was the right one, but I was certain you'd pick the wrong one.

"Schultz, with my bare hands...!"
Colonel Klink gives Sergeant Schultz a hard time in an episode from Hogan's Heroes.

From "One Army at a Time"
[Hochstetter wakes Klink up in the middle of the night]
Klink: Heil Hitler!
Schultz: No, no, it is Major Hochstetter.
Klink: Heil Hochstetter!

From "The Missing Klink"
Klink: Like all of us, the general has his good points as well as his faults.
Schultz: Yes.
Klink: What do you think my faults are?
Schultz: [after failure to keep a straight face] I wasn't talking about you, Herr Kommandant.
Klink: You know, Schultz, the trouble is you're afraid to say anything you think. Filled with fear, frightened to express any kind of opinion.
Schultz: Oh, no, Herr Kommandant. I talk about you all the time, when you are not around.

The original cast of Hogan's Heroes, season one.
Werner Klemperer, John Banner, Cynthia Lynn, Bob Crane
Larry Hovis, Roert Clary, Ivan Dixon, and Richard Dawson
(left to right).
Although it is seen as controversial for some viewers, Hogan's Heroes is classic television gold. The casting, writing, directing, and acting are stellar across the board, and the characters stand the test of time. The beauty of Hogan's Heroes is that its characters can be as simple or as complex as each individual viewer wishes. Schultz can be merely a simpleton in the eyes of some, a neutral in the eyes of others, or a clumsy oaf in the eyes of his kommandant. Personally, I see a measure of innocence in Schultz, a common attribute of sidekicks—usually the ones with a big heart. To John Banner, who was Jewish, Schultz stood for something quite profound. He said: "I see Schultz as the representation of some kind of good in any generation." Perhaps that is why Hogan's Heroes and Schultz remain just as popular today as they did fifty years ago. Good endures and overcomes, no matter where you are or how bad things might get. And that's something to hold on to.

This post is part of the Classic Film and TV Blog "Sidekicks Blogathon." For the full schedule, click here.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Quote of the Day: Bob Crane about His Role on 'Hogan's Heroes'

I am keeping a running page of quotes by Bob Crane (click here or on the photograph below), but I have also decided to post some of the individually as well. The following is one of my favorite statements Bob made about his role as Colonel Hogan on Hogan's Heroes. Bob was used to performing comedy, but in the case of Hogan's Heroes, he was what is considered the "straight man," or the person from which all of the comedy bounces. The early episodes of Hogan's Heroes provide a glimpse of how Bob started out as more campy and more of the comedian, but then quickly toned that down to be more serious, allowing the comedy happening around him to succeed. Comedy is about timing, and Bob's portrayal of Hogan is perfection. And as someone who has loved Hogan's Heroes from the first day I discovered it, I adore the idea of Colonel Hogan being seen as a father figure to his men!