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Until I got the Fan Favorites DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment, out March 6th, I had never seen an episode of Hogan’s Heroes. I always thought it was a sort of comedic army show, like Sgt. Bilko, and that everyone would be sort of cartoonish.
And I was (sort of) right. Everyone IS sort of cartoonish, except for Hogan himself. Ben Crane played Hogan as a serious, faintly bemused prisoner of war in the centre of a bonkers world. HE is pretty well normal. Colonel Klink is a cartoon, the pompous, vain and stupid overseer of the Nazi war camp. Even more of a cartoon is Sgt. Schulz, the totally moronic captain of the guard who has very little to offer outside his catchphrase, “I see nothing!”
What really surprised me, though, is that (at least in the eight episodes chosen for this DVD) the prisoners were actually DOING stuff. Smuggling a high value spy out of the country. Helping distract the German high command on the eve of the D-Day invasion. And in one episode, they actually KILL a whole bunch of Nazis themselves when they replace their fake ammunition with live stuff for their war games.
At its heart though, Hogan’s Heroes is really another cartoonish war sitcom, showcasing the hilarious side of being captured and kept prisoner by the Nazis. And after all, if you can`t laugh about a camp set up by Nazis, then what CAN you find funny!