Hogan's Heroes - The Complete 2nd Season
DVD | Box Set
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The inmates of a German World War II Prisoners of War camp conduct espionage and sabotage campaign right under the noses of their wardens. While the enemy is often gullible, easily fooled or downright incompetent - the real strength of Hogan's men are the elaborate ruses and sometimes dangerous lengths they will go to complete their mission.
A top 10 show in its first season (a top 20 show in its second), Hogan's Heroes, like Gilligan's Island, got little love from critics during its seven-year run, but it would come to be ranked among TV's guiltiest pleasures. Hogan's Heroes has gotten something of a bad rap. It is not a situation comedy set in a concentration camp. It is, instead, set in a P.O.W. camp, where Col. Hogan (Bob Crane, a former top radio jock, in his star-making role) and his men "trick the dumb Germans," to quote the late Crane's former wife, Sigrid Valdis, in her enlightening commentary on the episode, "Hogan Gives a Birthday Party." While Valdis reveals that the film Von Ryan's Express was a key inspiration for the series, the show seems to takes its cue from Billy Wilder's Stalag 17, with its blend of comedy (albeit more broad than darkly cynical) and espionage action. Though camp commandant Col. Klink (Werner Klemperer, who would win an Emmy for his career-defining role) was, in the words of one character, "a bubble-headed fool," Hogan's Heroes was not quite a burlesque of bad taste.
Seemingly in response to wide-ranging outrage over the show's misunderstood premise (a Mad magazine parody at the time was brutal), there are some bracing dramatic moments that cut through the comedy. In "Operation Briefcase," Hogan is recruited to assist an attempt to assassinate Hitler. Hogan disdainfully tells the German plotter, "It's the least you can do, considering you're the same bunch of guys who put him in business." In the episode "Will the Real Adolf Hitler Please Stand Up?" Hogan explodes at one of his men when he imitates Hitler. "Imitating that nut in Berlin," he fumes. "It's not all that funny." But somehow, Hogan's Heroes is, thanks to Crane and Klemperer ("You talk about two people born to play a part," remarks Valdis), not to mention John Banner as the jowl-cheeked buffoon, Sgt. Schultz, and the rest of the crack ensemble, including real-life concentration camp survivor Robert Clary as LeBeau, Richard Dawson as Newkirk, Ivan Dixon as "Kinch," and Valdis herself, who debuted this season as Klink's secretary, Hilda, she of the scene-stealing tight sweaters and low-cut peasant blouses, and whose chief dialogue consisted of "Col. Hogan to see the commandant." The extras are a retro blast. The most bizarre is a commercial in which Carol Channing is smuggled into the barracks to enjoy a Jello dessert with Hogan and company. --Donald Liebenson
- Rare home movies
- Audio Commentaries
- Cast appearances on TV shows, in commercials and original promos
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I too was amazed -- after not having seen the syndication of the show in over 20 years -- at how good Werner Klemperer, Bob Crane, John Banner et al really were; they were such comedic geniuses. Their timing and acting was so convincing, no matter how farcical their schemes. Moreover, the concept of Hogan's Heroes was in itself a clever premise for satirising the Nazis.
All of the shows have been digitally remastered, albeit pan and scan format. The sound is in Dolby 5.1 (mono). Only the filmlet extras, i.e. the gags, Bob Crane-Sigrid Valdis' wedding, Jello/DreamWip commercial with Carol Channing, Leslie Uggums appearance, Air Force recruitment ommercials and two promo spots with Gary Moore-John Banner and the entire cast, are in their original condition. There are also a number of radio interviews. Nevertheless, they are wonderful additions of the show for fans.
With so much jocularity going for it, I can't wait to watch the other episodes on this 5-DVD set, which incidentally is packaged in three slim DVD cases. There's also a nice synopsis of each show on all of the cases. Based on the few shows I've seen of "Hogan's Heroes: Season Two" I've already placed my order for "Hogan's Heroes: Season One", and quite possibly "Hogan's Heroes: Season Three".
The programme was, and remains, absolutely hilarious! "Hogan's Heroes: Season Two" is one hearty laugh after the after...a genuine feel-good show for the whole family.