Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This month's guilty pleasure


"Col. Hogan, what's the meaning of this??!!" 

Yes, this month's guilty pleasure is "Hogan's Heroes." I loved the show as a kid. Used to watch it in daily and late-night reruns back in the day. It didn't dawn on me that nothing could possibly be amusing about a real-life German POW camp, but that doesn't enter into an adolescent's mind.

I bought (for a steal) the complete series Kommandant's Kollection, which costs about what my friend Dean paid for one season during the  original release. One thing I've learned about buying TV series on DVD: if you are patient, you will eventually find a complete series release, cheaper than the single-season releases, that also contains extras. I got burned on both "M*A*S*H" and "The Fugitive" and vowed I'd never do it again. This time, patience paid off.

Where to begin? Bob Crane as the charming and cool Col. Hogan, leader of the Allies "trapped" (which really means anything but trapped) in Stalag 13. Werner Klemperer as the kooky Col. Klink. John Banner as the buffoonish Sgt. Schultz ("I know nothing!"). The amusing cast of secondary characters: Robert Clary, Richard Dawson, Ivan Dixon and Larry Hovis.

Intellectual it's not. Silly? Sure. But keep in mind that "Hogan's Heroes" aired in the same decade that gave us flying nuns, "My Mother The Car," a pig named Arnold who was smarter than everyone on "Green Acres," and other gentle insanity.

It's very much a product of its time, but "Hogan's Heroes" is leaps and bounds better than, oh, say, "Two Broke Girls."

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