Only the yanks could come up with a 1960′s family sitcom based in a WW2 Nazi Prisoner of War camp!
In it, a guy called ‘Hogan’ (played by Bob Crane) leads a motley crew of well-fed, well-clothed, healthy-looking P.O.W’s in ‘Stalag 13′.
The canned-laughtered incarserated included (are you ready for this?) one token black guy, one cockney wideboy (played by some bit-part, ’ex-pat’ actor) , a so-called Italian (who was just a yank actor doing a Chico Marx accent), a ‘sort-of’ Russian, and a vertically-challenged feller who did all the ‘prat-falls’.
All of them were up against the Nazi war machine which, in this sad-and-sorry case, comprised of the blissfully-ignorant (‘Kumun-zee-here’) Kamp Kommendant ‘Klink’ (with the emphasis all firmly on the ‘camp’) and his 25-stone sergeant (‘Shultz’) desperately clinging to one brain cell.
The desire for any P.O.W. ‘great escape’ attempt from ‘Stalag 13′ was completely quashed by the prisoners own personal desire to dodge the war, and live without fear in their wooden-hut holiday camp that included hidden radio equipment and a complex maze of undiscovered tunnels to the both the outside world and the Kommendant’s office. The latter providing a doorway to Hogan’s sexlife via Klink’s female very blonde and buxom secretaries.
So… extremely true to life, really!
Sadly, life was not so kind to Bob Crane, whom in early June 1978 was found brutally bludgeoned to death in a hotel room, sent to the ‘Pearly Gates’ via the use of his own camera tripod. (True!)
Whilst the exact identity of Crane’s murderer remains a bit of a mystery to this day, it doesn’t need Sherlock Holmes to work out the killer was obviously not a member of the Bob Crane fanclub. Some people say it was the work of the Mafia… so… I am saying no more on the subject.
As ’Sgt Shultz often said on ‘Hogan’s Heroes, ‘I zee narrr-thing!…. I zee narrrr-thing!’