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Color the Luftwaffe Red

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Color The Luftwaffe Red
Series: Hogan's Heroes
Episode: Color the Luftwaffe Red
Original Airdate: November 16, 1968
Production Number: 5784-99
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: Marc Daniels
Produced by: Edward H. Feldman & William A. Calihan

Regular Edit

Prisoners Edit

Camp Personnel Edit

Semi-Regulars Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Synopsis Edit

Hogan and his men volunteer to paint the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in order to plant a bug for London intelligence. Plans are complicated when Hogan decides to also steal an important map.

Plot Details Edit

Hammelburg at night. Two Luftwaffe ground troopers are posted outside a large building across from the city park. It has snowed recently, and both the guards and the occasional passerbys are dressed warmly. As the guards maintain their posts, a young man shows up at the park, escorting his elderly mother. They are actually Carter and Newkirk in disguise, and the building has been recently taken over by Luftwaffe Intelligence. The pair surreptitiously snap some pictures of the outside, then approach the door on the pretense of "Mama" needing a rest. The guards are efficient and adamant - no one is to be admitted admittance, not even a tired and elderly gnädige Frau (rough translation - lady). Carter and Newkirk have no choice but turn back, rather than arouse suspicion.

"This is all you got?!" Hogan asks incredulously, after the pair return to the camp. He continues to examine the pictures while the two describe what happened. Hogan concedes, but reminds them and the rest of the Unsung Heroes of the importance of their current assignment. Their mission is to get an inside line on the Luftwaffe's plans, and to do that they need to put a bug inside that building. Unfortunately, and even Hogan admits this, the Germans have the place bottled up tight. Not even the resourceful Unsung Heroes have been able to find a way, and Hogan does not know what to do next.

Fortunately, an opportunity to break that security soon presents itself. The renovation of the building is not yet complete. The Luftwaffe has moved in anyway out of necessity, but one major work item remains unresolved - repainting the walls. Burkhalter, the senior German military officer in the area, has been assigned the task of making sure that Luftwaffe Intelligence is settled in properly. He balks at the painting bill supplied by a local contractor and presents it to Klink. "Why me?" Klink protests. "This is a Luftwaffe matter," Burkhalter responds evenly. "You are Luftwaffe." The funds for the paint job - 450 reichsmarks and 12 pfennigs - are to come out of Stalag 13's "generous" camp budget. Klink is appalled, and tries to protest vigorously, but Burkhalter cuts him off. The only other option, he tells Klink, is a one-way trip to the Russian front. Of course, none of this exchange has escaped the attentive ears of our Unsung Heroes, and Hogan's mind instantly seizes on the opportunity.

Not long after, as Klink mopes in his office, Hogan lets himself in and asks what is the problem. After some initial verbal sparring and a little prodding, Klink tells him. Hogan claims that his men could do the job a lot cheaper and that two of his men - Carter and LeBeau - used to be interior decorators. Klink doesn't buy it, and turns him down - but reconsiders once Hogan submits a bid of 350 reichsmarks, and no escapes by his men upon his word as an officer and a gentleman. The two haggle over the price and the work involved, but finally agree. Hogan and his men will paint all of the new Luftwaffe Intelligence headquarters interiors for 350 reichsmarks, and in addition will also repaint Klink's office at the camp. To make sure there is no funny business while the POWs are away from camp, or that they break their word about escapes, "killer" Schultz will go with them to guard them. Hogan tells Klink that he drives a hard bargain and appears to begrudge Schultz's presence, but agrees to the job.

The following day, a small truck from Stalag 13 pulls up in front of the Luftwaffe building. Inside are Hogan and the Unsung Heroes, a full load of paints and painting gear, and Klink - along with a rifle-toting Schultz. Klink makes the necessary official arrangements, and soon the Unsung Heroes are hard at work. Major Vogel, the officer in charge at the building, protests but is outranked by Klink, who also has Burkhalter's authority to back him up. An obviously irritated Vogel returns to his desk as Hogan and his men work around him. Satisfied that all is going well, Klink leaves ... and the Unsung Heroes get to work.

As the hours pass, the Unsung Heroes quitely and unobtrusively snoop into everything they can. Kinch, in the meantime, is scouting the walls on the pretense of removing the electrical socket covers for the paint job. He soon finds an ideal location for the bug - right next to the building's signal room - and gets to work. Hogan and his men do their best to cover for him, distracting Vogel and the other German officers as best they can, for Vogel is getting more angry by the minute at their continued presence. As Hogan is running cover for Kinch, his attention is drawn to a top secret map on Vogel's desk. It shows the recent reployment of Luftwaffe fighter squadrons. This is critical intel for the Allied invasion plans, and Hogan soon contrives to get it in his pocket. Not long after, with the painting completed, Schultz lines up the prisoners and prepares to leave. Vogel stops them before they can go. As this is Luftwaffe Intelligence headquarters, and since the Unsung Heroes have been working around vital top secret information all day, Vogel orders them searched before they leave. Hogan sweats at this turn of events. If he is caught with the map, it could run everything for them.

Never moving from his place in the search line, Hogan glances around the room. His soon settle on an overhead light socket. He glances at LeBeau, who is up to be searched, and LeBeau gets his signal. As Schultz runs his hands over him, Lebeau pretends that he's being tickled and throws a bit of a fit. Vogel's attention, as that of the other officers present, is drawn to LeBeau for a few precious seconds - and in that time, Hogan quickly pulls out the map and flips it up in the air. It lands perfectly inside the shade of the overhead light. Vogel's head snaps back around to Hogan at the motion, but by the Hogan has already assumed a pose of straighening his cap. Vogel then looks up, but sees only the shade of the overhead light slowly swinging from above. He then walks over to the light switch and turns it on. The light comes on. Satisfied, Vogel resumes watching the search process - and he fails to notice the outline of the folded map under the bright light from the bulb. Hogan sees this instantly, as do his men, and to their alarm smoke begins to come from the shade. The bulb is too bright, and the paper on which the map is printed is too fragile to take the heat. Hogan quickly moves to turn out the light, claiming that it won't allow the paint to dry properly. Vogel is again irritated, but since he has his orders, and since all of his men have desk lamps, he is forced to conceded. The search is completed, and Schultz finds nothing. Hogan and his men are allowed to return to camp.

Hogan has put himself in a fine pickle. They escaped the search, but the map will go missing at any time. If it's found inside the lightshade, Major Vogel will know exactly who took it and how it got there. Kinch also admits that his installation of the bug in the signal room wall was a rush job and he'd feel better if he could check it. On top of that, London radios back that they'd like the map if Hogan can retrieve it. They have no choice but to go back for it, only Major Vogel probably will not cooperate with them. He barely tolerated their presence the whole time and is not likely to do so again. Hogan decides to take the chance anyway, still trying to decide how he's going to pull off such a difficult task.

The next day, the Unsung Heroes return to Luftwaffe Headquarters. They are still on their work detail, which is reason enough - but Vogel denies them entrance again to the top secret offices. They can't get back into the one area to which they need to go - and, as Hogan tells Vogel, they need to check and see how the paint is drying. Vogel slams the door in his face. Hogan, on the other side, exclaims loudly how General Burkhalter might not like this turn of events. An agitated Vogel reappears, and under the implied threat allows Hogan and his men, along with Schultz as guard, a few precious minutes to "check the paint."
As they make a cursory inspection of the walls, Hogan asks if he can turn on the light. "Why?" Vogel asks. "You told us to keep it off." Hogan smiles. "That was yesterday, this is today," he says. LeBeau moves over to the switch and pretends to turn it on. Nothing happens. Calling for a ladder, and with Vogel watching, Hogan climbs up to the light. "Just as I thought," Hogan says, "a loose wire." As his men distract Vogel, and as Schultz runs afoul of the still-wet paint, Hogan grabs the map and hides in again in his flight jacket. He climbs back down, and with his men proclaim that the paint is drying nicely. To Vogel's immense relief, they all leave the room for the last time - taking with them in tow a befuddled Schultz, trying not to get any more wet paint on himself.

Outside, Schultz wipes the paint off of his hand and grins broadly at his charges. The painting job is finished, and Hogan kept his word - no escapes. He is so happy with them that he says he's going to break regulations and treat them all to a drink at the Hofbrau. Hogan begs off, claiming that he's developed "a sudden pain" and wants to get back to camp a soon as possible. The Unsung Heroes, picking up on the hint, agree with him and ask to go back. Schultz can't understand why they're refusing his generosity, and eventually becomes so incensed that he brandishes his rifle in front of them - threatening to shoot them if they don't go to the Hofbrau with him. Hogan and his men have seen Schultz like this before and are understandably worried. They have no choice but to go to the Hofbrau for their drinks. The spectacle has also not escaped the eyes of the guards at the door, and word is soon relayed to Major Vogel of what happened ....

A short time later, at the Hofbrau, a happy Schultz has just finished buying his charges a round of drinks. Hogan still looks agitated, and understandably so - he still has the map on him. Nevertheless, he plays along with Schultz, all the while encouraging him to hurry up so they can get back to camp. Unfortuanately, it is too late. A tall, stocky man in a black fedora and trenchcoat, followed by an SS guard, approaches their table. He is a Gestapo officer, and he is there on behalf of Major Vogel. He berates Schultz not only for breaking regulations, but for letting his work detail leave Luftwaffe Headquarters without being searched. Hogan shoots a worried look at Newkirk as the prisoners rise from their table and form a search line. Behind their backs, they surreptisiously pass the map from Hogan down to Newkirk, who has moved to the end of the line farthest from the Gestapo officer. He then nonchalantly strolls over to a nearby hat tree, where the overcoats of several German officers are hanging, and makes a show of taking off his jacket and hanging it there. The Gestapo officer immediately strides up to Newkirk and demands to know what he thinks he's doing. He grabs Newkirk's jacket off the hat tree and angrily goes through its pockets. "That was stupid," he says Newkirk. "It's no wonder you British are losing the war." All he finds is a metal salt shaker that Newkirk has pocketed from off their table. He then heads back to the search line, where the SS guard has finished frisking the others. Nothing. Satisfied, the Gestapo officer again berates Schultz for breaking regulations, puts the salt shaker back on the table, and then leaves. A few seconds later, an older German officer at one of the booths rises to leave, accompanied by his date. Newkirk immediately strolls over to the hat tree and offers to help the man with his overcoat. He agrees, and Newkirk helps him put it on. "As long as you Englanders know your place," the officer declares, ase he puts on his cap and escorts his lady out. As he watches him go out the door, Newkirk smiles at him. "Auf Wiedersehen!" he says with a smile, then mutters, "And drop dead, while you're at it, while you're on the way." He then moves over to Hogan. During the search, Newkirk had slipped the map into the officer's overcoat. He has just retrieved it, and now he "has Hogan's pain." Hogan grins. "You oughta get a medal for this." At that, Newkirk presents an Iron Cross that he pocketed from "the old geezer" who was so rude to him. As for Schultz, he is eager to get them back to camp, thanks to the Gestapo's recent encouragement. He quickly pays for the round of drinks, even though they've been left half-finished, and soon everybody is on the way back to camp.

The following day, Hogan presents the bill for the paint job to Klink. The wily German colonel's response is to present Hogan with a bill for "expenses incurred" - the cost of transportation, overtime pay for Schultz, and so on. In short, Hogan and his men will not be paid at all, and have essentially worked for free. Carrying through with the ruse all the way to the end, Hogan promptly pokes his head into Klink's inner office and tells his men to stop working. "We've lost our contract," he says, pretending to be upset. The Unsung Heroes respond in kind, and stomp out of the kommandantur - leaving Klink's inner office in a fine mess of half-painted walls, scaffolding, ladders, and paint cans.

Story Notes Edit

  • This is the ninety-ninth episode of the series, but is the one hundredth episode to be shown on television and is the eighth episode shown for the Fourth Season.
  • The episode title is derived from the time-honored celebatory expression "paint the town red."
  • The new Luftwaffe Intelligence building is located in nearby Hammelburg. We know this because the Hofbrau, which is also in Hammelburg, features in the episode.
  • The term gnädige Frau is a German phrase for a respected older woman. Its closest English analogue is madam or the contraction ma'am. It is used in much the same way, but only with older women - say, those with visible signs of aging. Calling a younger woman a gnädige Frau is considered an insult.
  • It is a fact that in some cases Allied POWs were paid for working for the Germans as contract laborers, under the appropriate provisions of the Geneva Convention. The Germans usually contrived a way for the POWs to receive only a fraction of what they earned, or in many cases nothing at all -- just like what happens in this episode.
  • Per Hogan, Carter's current home town is Muncie, Indiana.
  • A famous person is mentioned: German actress Marlene Dietrich.

Background Trivia Edit

  • Newkirk's bad impersonation of Bette Davis comes from the 1940 movie The Letter. It is both one of her most famous movies and one of her most famous on-screen lines. The quote was a favorite with impersonators of the day.
  • It was common during the era to make jokes about Führer Adolf Hitler being nothing more than a house painter. In truth, the younger Hitler had aspired to be an artist, but was rejected due to his lack of talent in doing the human form. He was fairly good at buildings, though, and examples of his work survive. The fact that he often painted buildings as a street painter during his vagabond days in Vienna probably led to this joke. (Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich).
  • Actor John Crawford (1920-2010) shows up now and again during the course of the series, almost always playing an SS or Gestapo agent. Crawford, a veteran character actor who had over 200 movies and TV shows to his credit, is perhaps best know today for two roles: his appearance as High Commissioner Ferris in the classic Star Trek episode "The Galileo Seven," and his recurring role as Sherrif Ep Bridges on The Waltons.
  • Actor James Vickery (1918-1979), who played the agitated Major Vogel, was the late husband of TV legend Diana Muldaur. Before Muldaur, he was married to another screen legend, Colleen Dewhurst. Vickery was a familiar face to American TV viewers in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to numerous supporting roles, Vickery starred in the TV shows The FBI Story, The Secret Storm, and Fairmeadows USA. Vickery retired from screen acting in the 1970s to focus on the stage and summer stock productions. His last on-screen role before his death was an uncredted cameo in the TV movie To Kill A Cop (along with Muldar, who was featured in the cast). It was the pilot for the short-lived Eischied TV series.
  • Actor Arthur Hansen (1915-1991), who makes a brief appearance as the German colonel at the Hofbrau, was another familiar face to American television screens in the late 20th century. His resume is long and impressive, including regular roles on such shows as The Waltons, Lou Grant, and Ironside; recurring roles in Perry Mason, The Donna Reed Show, and guest spots in numerous other. His televison career even goes all the way back to such classics Ford Television Theatre and the Fireside Theater. In Hogan's Heroes, you can also see him in "The Great Brinksmeyer Robbery" as Herr Brinksmeyer and as Willy in "Klink's Old Flame."

Timeline Notes and Speculations Edit

  • This is the fourteenth episode in chronological order, per the series timeline. It follows Standing Room Only, and is in turn followed by Cuisine à la Stalag 13.
  • Chronologically, this is one of the earliest episodes in the series. The Gestapo officer asserts to Newkirk that the British are losing the war, and Newkirk claims that's news to him. That would place this around the time of the Battle of El Alamein, and automatically makes it one of the handful of 1942 episodes. Also, Burkhalter's threats to Klink about the Russian front appear to indicate that a violent winter campaign is raging there. This is most likely an indirect reference to either the failure to capture Grozny or the opening stages of the Battle of Stalingrad, given the general timeframe.
  • This takes place about the same time as The Great Brinksmeyer Robbery. In that episode, Klink listens to a BBC radio broadcast describing the British victory at El Alamein. In this episode, the Gestapo asserts that the British are losing the war, which Newkirk immediately disputes.
  • This takes place before Reverend Kommandant Klink. Schultz states that he has never seen Carter and Newkirk act. Incidentally, in that episode it was Carter who dressed in drag - not Newkirk.
  • By this time Luftwaffe Intelligence was held in low esteem both by the Fuhrer and by the German High Hommand (OKW). This was due largely to two things - its absolute failure against the British in the Battle of Britian, and its involvement in the Rote Kapelle affair. The recent relocation of one of its offices to Hammelburg may have come about from this. Another good premise is that it was relocated in anticipation of the eventual landing in France that Germany knew the Allies were planning. The incident involving the map, showing fighter squadron deployment, tends to support the latter theory.

Quotes Edit

"Mama" Newkirk and "Sonny" Carter approach the guards outside Luftwaffe HQ.

  • Newkirk (pointing to guard) - My, my! Now there's a handsome lad in his uniform!
  • Guard (smiling) - Danke, gnädige Frau! (Why thank you, ma'am!)
  • Newkirk (tapping Carter on shoulder) - It's a pity you're not in the service, sonny, or you could wear a uniform.
  • Carter (sheepishly) - They wouldn't take me, and I LOVE war. I already had my snowshoes for the Russian front.

(the guard looks at him doubfully, not believing what he's hearing)

  • Carter (continuing) - Oh, momma, if only I had--
  • Newkirk (interrupting) - Hush, hush, angel! (looks to guard, taps his forehead) He's a little scrambled upstairs. He's my own flesh and blood. I have to admit it.

(As Newkirk talks, Carter begin to carress the shoulder strap on the guard's Schmeisser submachine gun. As he finishes, Newkirk slaps Carter's hand down. The guard looks perturbed, but makes no move.)

  • Newkirk (pointing) - Ahmm, what's going on in there?
  • Carter - Having a party?
  • Newkirk - A little wingding, perhaps? (laughs) I think I'll go in and do my imitation of Marlene Detrich.

(Newkirk starts to walk past the guard, who quickly moves to block him.)

  • Guard (sternly) - Luftwaffe headquarters. Verboten! (No entry!)
  • Carter - Oh, couldn't mama go in and rest a little? She's very tired.
  • Newkirk - I'm not a well woman. (mops his brow with his shawl) I'm as weak as a cat lately. (falls back on Carter, who catches him)

(Suddenly Newkirk straightens and heads for the door again. The guard is quicker than he, and again blocks him.)

  • Guard - Nein!

(The other guard joins him, both brandishing their submachine guns)

  • Guard - Verboten! Raus! (No entry! Leave!)
  • Newkirk (to Carter, resignedly) - Not very gallant lately, is he sonny? (to guards) We're all Nazis together you know. Heil Hitler!

(Newkirk throws a Nazi salute. The tip of his shawl, which is still over his arm, flaps into one of the guard's faces. The pissed-off guard grabs him by the arm and threatens him with his gun.)

  • Guard - RAUS!

(Newkirk and Carter look at each other, then back away. The guards resume their posts, but continue watching the pair.)

  • Newkirk (mumbling, in character, as he walks away) - A few moments ago I was a gnädige Frau. How quickly they change.

Back at camp, Newkirk and Carter have just finished explaining the situation to Hogan. They are still in disguise when Schultz walks in, announcing prisoner roll call.

  • Schultz - Everybody out! (to Newkirk, politely) That means you, madam.
  • Newkirk (in character) - Oh, I'm going.
  • Schultz - Oh, and be quick about it, madam?

(Schultz does a double-take)

  • Schultz (realizing) - Madam? Madam! (stares at both Newkirk and Carter)
  • Hogan - Oh, they're rehearsing a play, Schultz.
  • Schultz (disbelieving) - Those two jokers are actors?
  • Hogan (smiling) - Show him.

(Newkirk picks up a cigarette and does a terrible Bette Davis impersonation)

  • Newkirk - Phillip! Give me the letter! I must have the letter!
  • Carter (out of character, honestly) - What letter?
  • Hogan - Good, huh?
  • Schultz - Terrible!
  • Hogan - That's the trouble with this war. Everybody's a critic.

In Klink's office ...

  • Hogan - Sir, we may be enemies, but I can tell when something's disturbing you.
  • Klink - Yes. You're disturbing me. Dismissed!

... and later ...

  • Klink - Schultz will guard you, and his orders are to shoot to kill.
  • Hogan - Not exactly union conditions, but we'll take the job.

The end of the first day painting at Luftwaffe headquarters.

  • Schultz - I came with four, I leave with four.
  • Hogan - What about me, Schultz?
  • Schultz - You are an officer, colonel. You do not count.
  • Hogan - Oh.

Back at camp, after the first day's bad ending. Hogan and the Unsung Heroes are seated around the table in Barracks 2. One of the Barracks 3 gang (Slim?) watches from a upper bunk in the background.

  • Hogan - There's absolutely nothing to worry about ... (looks at his men) or is there?
  • LeBeau (smiling) - Now you're coming over to OUR side.
  • Hogan (conceding) - Why not? Let's all be scared together.

Newkirk appears to attempt to slip away from the search line in the Hofbrau, and is confronted by the Gestapo officer. Newkirk grins broadly at him.

  • Gestapo - And just what do you think you're doing?
  • Newkirk (points to hat tree) - Ah, it's a bit warm, sir.
  • Gestapo - Oh, really? That was very stupid! No wonder you British are losing the war.

(He grabs Newkirk's jacket off the hat tree and searches it)

  • Newkirk (to the others, loudly) - Oh, did you hear that, chaps? We're losing the war! (softer, somewhat sarcastically) First I've heard of it. I must write to my mum and dad. They're going to be shocked!
  • Gestapo (barks at him) - Silence! (face lights up) Ah-hah!

(The Gestapo officer pulls one of the Hofbrau's salt shakers out of the jacket. He holds it in front of Newkirk)

  • Gestapo - You stole that!
  • Newkirk (calmly) - Well, I prefer to think of it, sir, as borrowed.

After the painting job is done, and Hogan is protesting not being paid to Klink.

  • Hogan (upset) - A corporal could have guarded us!
  • Klink - We wouldn't have saved a great deal. Perhaps ten percent.
  • Hogan (irritated) - Look, we made a deal, we did a good job. We want the money.
  • Klink (smiling and slauting) - Dismissed.
  • Hogan (evenly) - I'd like the cash, sir.
  • Klink (still smiling) - I said dismissed.
  • Hogan - Is that your final word?
  • Klink (now grinning) - It is indeed.
  • Hogan - Oh-kay ...

(Hogan takes Klink's bill and slams it on the filing cabinet. Klink slams Hogan's bill on top of it. He strides over to Klink's inner office and throws open the door. His men are inside, painting. Klink's office is a mess, with every half-painted wall a different color.)

  • Hogan (loudly) - All right, hold it! Knock it off! Fellas, knock it off! (calmly) We lost the contract.

(The men pretend to protest as they put down their paint brushes and leave. Klink is incensed.)

  • Klink (loudly) - Wait! Where are you going?! Just a minute!! Where-- Hogan!!! (calmer) My office! Who's going to paint it, huh?
  • Hogan (innocently) - If I were you, I'd get someone with experience. Hey! How 'bout that little corporal with the moustache?

(Hogan puts his fingers close together under his nose, indicating the Fuhrer.)

  • Klink (yelling) - Out!!
  • Hogan - Is he busy?
  • Klink (screaming) - OUT!!!

Bloopers Edit

  • If not a blooper, then a major plot hole: Just how were the Unsung Heroes going to use a bug inside Luftwaffe Headquarters in Hammelburg, which was miles away from Stalag 13? It is more likely that they were installing a phone tap instead of a true bug, which Kinch could then access through his knowledge of the local German telephone system. The fact that he puts the "bug" in the wall of the signal room makes the phone tap theory more likely. That way, they could have picked up on any calls that were being made out of the signal room, which was arguably the most important part of the top secret area of the building.
  • Hogan charges Klink "350 (Reich)marks, 12 pfennigs" for painting the Luftwaffe signal room plus Klink's office. Nobody seems to bat an eye at this number. This is strange, as this is over half a full month's wartime salary for someone of Klink's rank - the cost of the job being the equivalent of nearly $1900 in 2013 dollars. So, while Burkhalter and Klink are both correctly shocked at the "RM450, 12pf" asked by the local company (equivalent to $2433.08 in 2013 dollars), the RM100 difference between the local company's price and Hogan's offer is still not significant enough for it to be considered reasonable.

External links Edit


Previous episode:
Never Play Cards With Strangers
Next episode:
Guess Who Came To Dinner

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