Hogan's Heroes

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"I loved watching Hogan's Heroes as a kid. It taught me that war is hell--unless you're locked up in a WWII Nazi POW camp, then it's just a series of wacky misadventures!"
Frank Conniff, from his stand-up

During the European campaign in World War II, a group of multinational POWs in a small German prison camp execute daring sabotage and spying missions right under the noses of their Nazi keepers. It's just like watching The Great Escape or Stalag 17 -- every week. And the best part? It's a comedy!

Starred Bob Crane as Hogan, Werner Klemperer as the supposedly bumbling Colonel Klink, and John Banner as the lovable Sergeant Schultz.

Ironically, all the major recurring German army characters were portrayed by Jewish actors. (An old story claims that Werner Klemperer would only do the show when assured that the Nazis would never be anything close to successful or competent.) And Robert Clary (Cpl. Lebeau), born Robert Max Widerman, survived Buchenwald (12 other family members didn't).

Hogan's Heroes is one of the first American sitcoms to feature a black character as an integral member of the cast. Kinchloe is Hogan's second-in-command and the camp genius (also very unusual for the time period). The producers cast a black actor to play Kinchloe in part to prevent the network from providing Southern stations with a "black-free" cut, as was common at the time -- Kinchloe was too important to the story line for his scenes to be removed.


Tropes used in Hogan's Heroes include:
  • Adolf Hitler: Never makes an actual appearance, but Carter impersonates him several times.
  • Anachronism Stew: Some things that aren't as obvious to viewers today, but they're there...
    • Like in "Psychic Kommandant", when Hogan says "By George, I think he's...not got it!"--but My Fair Lady didn't hit Broadway till 1956 (and the movie not till 1964, only a few years before the show aired).
    • In "The Assassin", Hogan says "This might be the most important operation we run during the war, and we're not gonna run it like...like a high-school production of Arsenic and Old Lace!" (While the play first showed in 1939, and the film in 1944, sure high schools probably didn't start putting it on for a while after that.)
  • Angry Guard Dog: Inverted -- the dogs are always angry to the Germans, but the prisoners have them trained to a T.
  • Anti-Advice: A bomb lands in Stalag 13. Hogan asks Col. Klink which wire to cut to disarm it, then cuts the other one.
  • Ascended Extra: Carter. In the pilot he was one of several escaped prisoners passing through Stalag 13, but become a major cast member during the rest of the show.
    • And Baker, who replaced Kinchloe as radio specialist after Ivan Dixon left the show. Before that he was just a background prisoner.
  • Band of Brothers: The five Allied mains.
  • Batman Cold Open: They do it occasionally, with Hogan & co. out on sabotage missions.
  • Batman Gambit: The show is fueled by them.
    • Little wonder. Desilu Studios also produced Batman (1966), and Col. Klink appeared there in a window gag (though that series is set in the modern day, over two decades later).
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: In at least half the episodes, Hogan and his crew use this to complete their missions.
    • In one case, the crew actually impersonated a German fire brigade to do it!
  • Big Eater: Schultz.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Some in German (Klink, Schultz, etc.), and some in French (LeBeau).
  • Blatant Lies: "Stalag 13 has never had an escape!" (bonus points if someone's sneaking out in the background while Klink's saying it).
    • They don't really escape: they keep coming back (for the Strudel probably...).
    • Hogan arranges it so that the escaping guest stars are blamed on others, so that Stalag 13's perfect record stays intact: if Klink starts losing prisoners, the Luftwaffe, Gestapo or SS would replace Klink with someone competent.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: Hogan finds out that one of the new prisoners of war is actually a German spy, so they pretend to trust him and tell him they're going to take him to their secret hideout blindfolded. They then let some false information slip out while talking and make noises that imply their hideout is under the watertower.
    • In another episode the Heroes discover Klink has bugged Hogan's office and decide to use it to their advantage.
  • Bluff the Impostor: One of Hogan's mole-digging methods: Ask the new guy what outfit he was with. Inquire about several (nonexistent) members of that outfit. Act very concerned when he doesn't know who they are.
  • Bond One-Liner: Hogan fires one off after the Heroes blow up a fuel truck in "Drums Along the Dusseldorf".
  • The Boxing Episode: "The Softer They Fall".
  • But Not Too Evil: None of the main German cast, and only one of the recurring quest characters (the SS guy) is a member of the Nazi party.
    • Given the real-life histories of much of the cast (Both Werner Klemperer and John Banner had had to flee for their lives from Hitler's Germany, and Robert Clary is a genuine Holocaust survivor, having survived Buchenwald[1]), this is not surprising. not to mention that Nazi almost rightfully equals Complete Monster, and so having characters who were sympathetic such as Klink or Schultz also be card-carrying Nazis could not work.
      • John Banner made a point of this in an interview, stating that he felt Schultz represented a bit of good found in every generation.
    • Also, apparently Truth in Television. According to The Other Wiki, Officers of the regular German armed forces were forbidden from joining any political party, which at that time was pretty much the Nazi Party.
  • Butt Monkey: Klink, at least to some extent Schultz. Among the good guys, it's usually Carter.
  • The Captain: Colonel Hogan.
  • Cardboard Prison: Good thing, too, or else the POWs would never have gotten so much done.
  • Casanova: Hogan always gets the girl(s), although occasionally Newkirk or Kinchloe (if she's black) get a kiss in.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Klink.
  • Cassandra Truth: Carter once had to get caught with a microfilm so they could give fake information to the Germans. He outright told everybody he met, and they thought he was a Gestapo agent with fake American papers. He got very frustrated.
  • The Cast Showoff: Werner Klemperer was an accomplished violinist (naturally, as his father, Otto Klemperer, was one of Germany's great conductors); Colonel Klink, not so much.
  • Catch Phrase: Schultz's "I know nussink!", Hochstetter's "Vhat is zis man doing here!", Klink's "Hooooo-GANNNN!"
  • Character Development: Colonel Crittendon started off as a completely incompetent and oblivious Miles Gloriosus; in his last episode he successfully helps Hogan and co. carry out a mission by impersonating an English traitor.
  • Chaste Hero: Carter. Unlike the other characters, who are gaga for anything with two X chromosomes and a tight shirt, Carter is alternately confused and scared by female sexuality. The weird part is that in "Request Permission to Escape", his fiancée sends him a "Dear John" Letter. One wonders how he even got a fiancée in the first place.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Carter again, and an argument could made about Klink and Schultz to some extent.
  • Con Artist: Hogan, naturally. The other heroes as well.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Virtually all the schemes.
  • "Dear John" Letter: The first-season finale ("Request Permission to Escape") focuses on Carter, of all people, getting one of these.
    • The fact that it's from Mary Jane ("Gee, we've been going together since we were kids!") makes their trying to cheer him up even funnier.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Directed at some critics of the show, who resolutely asserted early on that the show was set in a concentration camp, instead of a POW camp. If it had been, there would have been a number of cast members who would NOT have set foot on the set.
    • Also, Hogan would not have been at Stalag 13, he would have been at an "Oflag", or officer's camp. Most militaries, to avoid situations similar if not quite as exaggerated as depicted on the show, tried to break the chain of command by segregating officers from enlisted men/non-commissioned officers.
    • Similar to the above, there wouldn't have been so much interaction between American, British, and French prisoners (at least not in the same barracks).
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Klink tends to do this in the worst possible ways around his superiors.
  • Disguised in Drag: Several times, often with Newkirk pretending to be an old woman.
  • Duck Season! Rabbit Season!
  • Dueling Scar: General Burkhalter has a dueling scar. Leon Askin, who played General Burkhalter, actually got the scar while being beaten by members of the SS for being Jewish.
  • During the War
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The POWs had so many tunnels carved out that it's surprising the whole camp didn't sink into the ground.
    • Occasionally holes did pop up, and it would be up to the gang to convince Klink that there were natural caverns or hot springs under the camp.
  • Expy: Stalag 13 is this, actually. There actually was a genuine Stalag XIII-C and Oflag XIII-B in Hammelberg, Bavaria. The Oflag was famous as the scene of a failed raid by Patton's troops in the closing days of the war, intent on rescuing the general's son-in-law, who had been captured in 1943. Other than the name, the real Stalag XIII-C bore no resemblance to the fictional Stalag 13.
  • Fake in the Hole: The POWs create a distraction by tossing a live grenade into Klink's office but without pulling the trigger cord (the equivalent of the pin on a potato masher grenade). This gives them time to pull off their Zany Scheme while the Germans are diving for cover.
  • A Father to His Men: Hogan. Also, his code-name on the radio is 'Papa Bear'.
    • Although in most of the first season, Stalag 13 is 'Goldilocks', and their submarine-contact is 'Mama Bear'.
  • Finagle's Law
  • Foreign Cuss Word: LeBeau. Considering that French isn't usually translated the way German is in the show, he could be saying practically anything. He certainly calls them pigs repeatedly.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics:

Heroes, heroes, husky men of war,
Sons of all the heroes of the war before.
We're all heroes, up to our ear-os.
You ask the questions, we make suggestions,

That's what we're heroes for...
— Listen to it on YouTube
  • For Science!: In one episode, a Russian scientist invents a tracking device for the Nazis, just to test a theory. Fortunately he has an attack of conscience and sabotages it. The same for a man working on the atomic bomb.
  • Genius Ditz: Sgt. Carter is clueless about most things, but with either explosives or German disguises he's brilliant -- his Hitler is especially lifelike. Also he's apparently very good at running businesses. If he wasn't such a Cloudcuckoolander he'd be a very dangerous man.
  • Germanic Efficiency: Constantly undermined. Although occasionally we do see an efficient German (very memorably in "Hogan Gives a Birthday Party", when General Biedenbender gives Hogan a run for his money).

[Sound of bell ringing]
LeBeau: Roll call, colonel.
Hogan: [checking his watch] Thirty-one seconds early! Why can't these Germans learn to be methodical?

  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Lady Chitterley (falsely) implies very heavily that she spent a summer ménage à trois with Hogan and her husband. It's never specifically said, but everyone else gets what they mean -- and are disturbed by it. LeBeau comments "We're French! We can all be friends!", referring to a (somewhat) love triangle that's sprung up with him, Hogan, and another Girl of the Week. Apparently this show likes its threesomes.
    • Marya. Just...Marya.
    • In "To The Gestapo, With Love", while Klink is hopelessly trying to flatter the female Gestapo interrogators and give them his phone number (while none of them write down), he says:

"It's amazing how you never write down those facts. But of course--you ladies were chosen for your fantastic mammaries..." (Okay, maybe he did say 'memories'. Maybe.)

  • Gilligan Cut: In "Everyone loves a Snowman" Hogan and his men are trying to hide a recently downed bomber crew and the Gestapo finds and needs to fill a false tunnel in the barracks. Hogan tells the airmen not to worry, "There are 20 barracks on this base and we have tunnels to all but one, barracks 4." Cut to the men standing in front of Barracks #4.
  • Girl of the Week
  • Glad I Thought of It: Colonel Klink -- Colonel Hogan uses this to manipulate him.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • Schultz falls more under the Brilliant but Lazy label. In one episode the heroes contrive to put Schultz in charge of the camp, but when he proves frighteningly competent at the job Hogan worked to return everything to the status quo... which Schultz preferred anyway.
    • It's just as likely Schultz and Klink know about pretty much everything and are secretly letting it all go as a Take That against their Nazi superiors.

Schultz: Colonel Hogan, if you ever do try to escape...?
Hogan: Yeah?
Schultz: Be a good fellow and take me with you.

  • Guile Hero: Hogan.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: There's no time-traveling (although the idea of Hogan's Heroes...In SPACE! is just too awesome to contemplate head-on), but the numerous attempted assassinations on Hitler are all doomed to failure.
    • One episode even had Hogan provide the time bomb to Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.
      • And then have to (very quickly) scheme to get to him again and disarm it when a mook inadvertently activates one of the timers without Claus noticing.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Gets especially funny when an officer uses a flashlight to read a map and it's dimmer than the light around him.
  • Homage: The episode where Hogan & Co. trick a visitor into thinking he's flying in an airplace was a Shout-Out to Batman: The Movie, where the United Underworld tricks the kidnapped Commodore Schmidlapp into thinking he's still aboard his yacht.
  • Honey Trap: Besides the many, many women, Hogan occasionally operates as a male one.
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This
  • Idiot Ball: Carter occasionally puts it down and becomes competent. In one episode he can barely manage speaking German, in another he can impersonate Hitler and fool someone who'd actually met him. In at least one episode Hogan draws attention to the fact that he's been spending some time on a ruse for Klink and decides to use it for the heist of the week. It's very possible that Hogan has several stunts going at any one time for fun as well as profit.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: There's one episode where one of the guys says "I'm a [placeholder], not a surgeon!"
  • Impersonating an Officer: Hogan often does this, Kinchloe uses this tactic over the phone and Carter sometimes impersonates Adolf Hitler.
  • Indy Ploy: Because nothing ever, ever goes exactly as planned.

Hogan: We like to play these things out like Eliza on the ice--we sort of figure things out as we go.

    • Russian Spy Marya takes this to the next level by becoming an Indy Chessmaster. Her plans often center around purposefully getting Hogan and company into an unpleasant situation and then trusting that whatever wacky scheme they come up with to get out of the situation will benefit her cause as well, despite having no idea what they're specifically going to do.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Klink.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Very few "Germans" speak actual German on the show. In fact, because of the Translation Convention, it gets to the point that it's never quite clear who's actually speaking what at any given time. Even the characters lose track at times. Klink, Schultz, and General Burkhalter's actors weren't fakes though. They really were German born (well, at least, the latter two were Austrian)...it doesn't make it any clearer who's speaking what though. On the other hand, there are quite a few authentic German throwaway lines, mostly by Schultz. And LeBeau's actor was actually French.
  • Karmic Death
    • In "War Takes a Holiday", SS officer Wolfgang Hochstetter is tricked into letting Underground leaders go free. He is arrested by the SS at the end and it is likely he will face a firing squad.
    • In another episode, a German general arrives with his group of ruthless elite soldiers, boasting to Hogan's face that he disapproves of prison camps--since he never takes prisoners. Even Klink is horrified by him. Then Hogan dreams up the plan of replacing the general's war game supplies with something a little more realistic...
    • In "Two Nazis for the Price of One", Hogan finds out a Nazi general not only knows about their operation, but the Manhattan Project as well (Hogan and co have no idea what the Manhattan Project is at this point, but know it's a top military secret). They debate whether to kill him or not, until the general's aide, who he'd constantly treated like utter crap, does it for them. Doubles as Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work.
  • Know NUSSINK! Know-It-All: Klink, Crittendon (but, strangely enough, not Sgt. "I know NUSSINK!" Schultz).
  • La Résistance: The Underground.
  • Large Ham: Marya.

But of course, dahling!

  • Lethal Chef: At one point, Carter had to cook something. After tasting the thing, Klink ordered to Schultz to "take it away... and bury it".
  • Manipulative Bastard: Rare heroic example. Hogan has Klink and Schultz wrapped around his little finger.
  • Master of Disguise: Pretty much all the good guys.
  • Maximum Fun Chamber: The Russian Front. Not that much of an unspecified place, but since it's used as a gag, never shown, and Klink is deathly afraid of it... (actually, so is Schultz, but he gets threatened with it far less often) it probably fits. Given the casualties the Germans took on the Russian Front in real life, their fear is justified.
  • Mildly Military: When it comes to insults and snark, rank is not an issue. In particular, Corporal Newkirk gets away with calling Sergeant Carter an idiot quite often. The men have a pretty strong bond between them and Carter in particular is probably too nice to pull rank on anyone. For contrast, in one episode, Carter gets a "Dear John" letter, and starts acting more traditionally military, for example refusing to budge until saluted correctly. Hogan exasperatedly asks him if he has to act so military.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Klink, at times Schultz, Col. Crittendon.
  • Minion with an F In Evil: Schultz all the way.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Operation Briefcase" was surprisingly dark, featuring an agent actually dying (offscreen) while in Hogan's care, when most involved escapes by the skins of their teeth. Even more unpleasantly, this episode dealt with the July 20th 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler--an attempt, as everyone should know, that failed.
    • In the Batman Cold Open of another episode, the guys are meeting an Underground agent who was a female impersonator before the war. Jokes fly, then Germans crash the meeting, fire at the good guys and take off in pursuit of the Underground agent. Hogan and his men get up again, Newkirk cracks a joke at the expense of the French... and they realize that LeBeau is still on the ground and has actually been shot. Cue one of the most dramatic moments in the (usually) comedic series when Newkirk does a 180 from his usual Deadpan Snarker persona and says quietly, "Colonel, my little mate's been hit."
      • Though it turns out the bullet only grazed him, but LeBeau fainted anyway because he's Afraid of Blood.
  • Murder Arson and Jaywalking
  • Name Drop: In one season-one episode ("German Bridge is Falling Down"), a pilot says "Hogan's Heroes...I wonder how they [get away with shit like this all the time]?"
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The fictional version of Stalag 13. Their activities were slapstick, nothing compared to those of the real-life version.
  • The Neidermeyer: Major Hochstetter.
  • Nice Hat: Just about all of them... Hogan with his Class A cap, Schultz with his Kraut helmet, Le Beau's berret, Newkirk's Garrison cap, Kinchloe and Baker's wool knit caps, Carter's leather flying cap.
  • Noodle Incident: The last time Klink said "no" to a date. "The last time I missed a date with a woman, it took two policemen and a priest to talk her out of jumping."
  • No Swastikas: Sort of. Mention of the Bad Old Days on German TV is illegal, so the German dub replaces much of the discussions with talk of Klink's unseen housekeeper, and Nazi salutes become comedically contrived gestures. None of the main German characters are members of the Nazi party, Klink outright stating he doesn't like them a few times.
  • Not So Different: Klink says this one to Hogan a few times.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Marya acts the part of an oversexed materialistic flirt, but her plans often run circles around Hogan himself.
    • Schultz is supposed to be a fool, and always claims to know "noth-ink!", but he's the only German soldier aware of the heroes' activities. When he actively helps the heroes his competence occasionally jumps, even if he still sounds like a fool. In peacetime he owns and runs the biggest toy company in Germany.
    • The British agent "Nimrod", who congratulates Hogan after Hogan convinces Hochstetter that Klink is Nimrod in order to get Klink rescued from the Underground. Later the real Nimrod is revealed to have slipped plans for a new German attack fighter into a model kit in Klink's office. This may imply that Nimrod is either Bulkhalter, Schultz, Hilda, or Klink himself.
  • Odd Couple: Hogan and Klink occasionally drift into this territory.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Hogan.
  • Oh Crap: Everyone, at one time or another.
  • Once an Episode: A few of the Running Gags approach this.
    • Schultz's "I know NUSSINK!"
    • Hogan getting called into Klink's office.
    • Threatening to send someone to the Russian Front.
  • One-Man Army: In "Operation: Hannibal", there's the following exchange:

Hogan: [telling Lebeau he's needed on a mission the minute he gets out of a stay in the cooler]
LeBeau: Pour moi, again? What am I around here, a One-Man Army?
Hogan: That's right. A small, delicate, efficient little army...

  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations
  • One Steve Limit: Colonel Hogan, Colonel Klink, and Colonel Crittendon (even though Crittendon should actually be a Group Captain).
    • Also Corporal Newkirk and Caporal LeBeau.
    • Sergeant Kinchloe, Sergeant Baker, Sergeant Carter, Sergeant Schultz.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In one episode Klink poses as an American officer. It's hilarious.
  • Phony Psychic: Marya.
    • Also Kinchloe's high school friend, who is a beautiful medium from Africa. If by Africa you mean Cleveland.
    • At one point Hogan convinces Klink that LeBeau is psychic. In another episode, that Schultz is psychic. In another episode, he convinces Klink that Klink is psychic!
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Colonel Klink.
  • Politically-Correct History:
    • To maintain comedy, the show avoids mention of the more horrifying aspects of the Nazi regime. In the psychic-LeBeau episode mentioned above Hogan bolsters his claim by saying that LeBeau has gypsy blood. And we all know how much the Nazis liked gypsies...
      • Not quite; Hogan says that Le Beau has Basque blood--which is a whole different ethnicity from the Romani.
    • Then there's the whole matter of Kinchloe and Baker being black, which is never commented on. Klink even refers to Kinch as "the most popular prisoner in the camp" and seems to agree with the notion. Really, the only time race is brought up is by the fact that Kinchloe can't exactly go walking around disguised as a German (and yet he makes a wonderful German over the phone).
    • Also when the German brass get upset that Kinchloe can outbox the luftstalag champion. Klink doesn't see the problem until Burkhalter brings up that other African-American who was known for athletically outperforming Nazi contestants.
      • This is the only episode where anyone actually brings up that Kinchloe is black, and it's jarring since (to maintain a comedic atmosphere) the intense race-consciousness that most of the characters would have had in real life was otherwise ignored entirely.
    • It's subtle, but in a shot used in the Opening Credits when the gang gets ready for a nighttime raid they're all putting black on their faces, passing around the pot. When it gets to Kinch he just looks at the guy handing it to him in a "What the hell am I supposed to do with this" way.
  • POW Camp: It's the primary setting of the series.
  • Punny Name: The officer constantly threatening to send Klink to the Maximum Fun Chamber Russian Front is General Burkhalter -- pronounced "Brrrr-colder".
    • Prison camp commandant Klink's name as a pun on "clink," slang for a prison.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Anyone who gets sent to the Russian Front
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The heroes.
  • Reassigned To The Russian Front: Klink is constantly being threatened with being reassigned to a much-less cushy position on the Russian Front if he screws up too much.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Hogan. Hell, the entire series in a meta-sense; it's a sitcom set in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp (although they do stay away from the war-atrocities).
  • Rock Beats Laser: In "Drums Along the Dusseldorf", a flaming arrow takes out a truck of experimental fuel.
  • Running Gag: Several, mostly regarding the lack of Nazi competency.
    • Threatening to send someone to the Russian Front.
    • Schultz walking into the middle of a Zany Scheme, then doing an about-face, while declaring "I know NUZZINK!!"
    • Hogan playing with his hat and Klink's spiked-helmet when he's in his office (season one especially).
    • Hogan not knowing what to do, then one of the guys saying something unrelated, and Hogan having a lightbulb moment.
    • There's even a drinking game based on them. You can find it here.
  • Safecracking: Newkirk's specialty.
  • Sexy Secretary: Nearly every male visitor -- and some permanent residents -- hit on Hilda and/or Helga.
  • Shown Their Work: A lot of the plots referenced actual World War II events, such as the Manhattan Project or the assassination attempt on Hitler by other Nazis.
  • A Simple Plan: Usually resolved with the ol' Indy Ploy.
  • Sitcom
  • Six-Man Band:
  • Slasher Smile: On Carter, of all people, when he pretends to be a chemical warfare specialist. If you know his usual character the result is a bit horrifying.

Carter: Nobody trusted me, just because I liked to do...certain things...to cats...and grasshoppers...and butterflies...

  • Small Name, Big Ego: Klink.
  • Snow Means Cold
  • So, You Were Saying?: Too many to count.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Billy Wilder's Stalag 17. So much so, that the producers of Stalag 17 sued Bing Crosby Productions for plagiarism. They lost.
  • Staff of Authority - In addition to his monocle, carrying around a swagger stick tucked under one arm is the trademark of Colonel Klink.
  • Stealth Insult: Hogan often delivers these to Klink.
  • Stock Footage: The scenes of flying planes, submarines, bombs dropping, etc, were really reused WWII footage of actual military equipment in use. It's a bit obvious, but fits with the period feel of the show.
    • And played regularly with oft-used scenes like the outside of the camp, the dogs being released, and so on.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Klink to Hogan in "The Late Inspector General": "Get off my side!"
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Frequently, usually courtesy of Carter.
  • Super Multi-Purpose Room: The prisoner barracks and the tunnels underneath, with all their hidden goodies.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Baker, replacing Kinchloe, Hilda replacing Helga.
  • Theme Naming: The code-names are almost all fairy-tale-related: "Papa Bear", "Mama Bear", "Goldilocks", "Rumplestiltskin", etc.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The prisoners whistle the theme all the time ("The Gold Rush" has a great example).
    • And once, slowed-down, as a romantic interlude ("It Takes A Thief...")
  • Those Wacky Nazis: This show puts the "Wacky" in that phrase. It also goes to great lengths to establish that its German characters are not Nazis.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Marya. In one episode Hogan has to tie her up and knock her out with the butt of his gun so it looks like she wasn't involved. She's ecstatic about it and Hogan can't bring himself to do it. He gives her the gun, telling her to knock herself out, and she does it with great eagerness.

"Darling, oh, they were brutal to me -- let me tell you all about it!"

  • To the Batpole: The entrance to the tunnels.
  • True Companions: The prisoners of Stalag 13.
  • Turncoat: One in Every Crowd. There are also several episodes where they need to intercept/sabotage/unturn people who have switched sides to ally themselves with the Germans.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: When Crittendon took over.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee
  • We Need a Distraction: Usually involving strudel for Schultz, made in a prison camp barracks; mmmmm! Strudel, or beautiful women.
  • What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Probably invoked during the pitch for the show....
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kinch is replaced by Baker in the last season without any acknowledgment or explanation. Since Klink's record of no successful escapes is still mentioned during that season, the character must have either actually died, or his death (or transfer to another camp) faked as he was 'discharged' and allowed to go home through the escape tunnel.
    • The show was never big on continuity, but it was established in the pilot that the record was based on headcount. Schultz just never mentioned that they were different men every time as they rolled prisoners through.
      • Except for one episode where he comes to Hogan nearly in tears because while there are the right number of men, two of them are the wrong men, begging Hogan to fix it before he gets caught. The fact that two of the prisoners are missing from camp and there are two transient escapees in their place is a plot point.
  • ...Who Needs Enemies?: Marya, the Russian spy. Not only was she blatant about her willingness to sell out the heroes to the Germans if it meant she succeeded in her missions, at least once her mission directly hampered the heroes' mission (while still hurting the Germans). Sure, she was an ally, but...
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: We are asked to believe that the saboteur heroes are able to operate inside Nazi Germany for multiple seasons of stories and not get caught. It's classic Rule of Funny.
  • Worthy Opponent: In one episode, Klink tells Hogan (who at that point had more or less ensured that he would be shot for incompetence) that "somehow, I don't hate you. In another time, perhaps we could even have been friends." Hogan actually winces.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Hogan is a grandmaster. See also Indy Ploy.
  • Yes-Man: Klink, whenever a kissable butt of higher rank than his own is present. Subverted when an SS Major comes into camp and openly admits to never taking prisoners (earning the ire of Hogan, who responds with the "we try not to kill people we've met" rule applicable on this show). Klink instantly stops trying to suck up to him.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • About half of the one-shot German officers and Allied troops are played by the same four or five guys.
    • In the black and white pilot, Carter was to be a one time character who was helped to escape by the Heroes. When the show went to series, he was reduced in rank and made a regular.
    • Richard Dawson (Newkirk) often voiced "Goldilocks", their British radio contact, usually with a stuffy upper-class accent, old boy. Resulting in at least one instance of the actor Talking to Himself.
  1. LeBeau always wore long sleeves to cover up Clary's concentration camp tattoo