Hogan Gives a Birthday Party
Series: Hogan's Heroes
Episode: Hogan Gives a Birthday Party
Original Airdate: September 16, 1966
Production Number: 5784-36
Written by: Richard M. Powell
Directed by: Gene Reynolds
Produced by: Edward H. Feldman & William A. Calihan

Regular Edit

Prisoners Edit

Camp Personnel Edit

Semi-Regulars Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Synopsis Edit

Hogan hijacks a German bomber, and plans to use it to destroy an oil refinery and foil a German general who knows about the Heroes' operation.

Plot Details Edit

The episode opens inside Barracks 2. Both the Unsung Heroes and the Barracks 3 gang are helping fit out a pair of downed American pilots. Their bomber was shot down just short of the oil refinery at Stuttheim. There is too much fighter cover and the anti-aircraft defenses are too heavy for the Allies to penetrate. As Hogan mulls over the problem with the airmen, Carter alerts him that one of the guards is coming. Learning that it is "only Schultz," Hogan tells his men to resume their work. A few minutes later, Schultz trundles into the barracks - apparently oblivious to what's going on around him, even though he makes quite a show of spying on the prisoners. Hogan is of course aware of what's going on. "Don't be too tough on him, men," he says aloud. "Klink just had a meeting of the guards, right?" Schultz confirms his suspicions. "I'm pleased to announce," Schultz adds cheerily, "that everything here is in order. By my count, all are present ... even two over!" His smile quickly disappears as he realizes what he just said. "Two over?!" he squeals, pointing to the two airmen. "Who are those two men?!" "Your side shot them down, Schultz," Hogan responds nonchalantly. When Schultz threatens to report their presence, Hogan threatens to tell Schultz the truth. "Do you really want to know what this is?" he says menacingly, pointing at the airmen's map. "No!" Schultz exclaims hurriedly, and after more harrassment from Hogan beats a hasty exit. Unwittingly, though, the fat German sergeant has given Hogan the germ of an idea to deal with the Stuttheim refinery. If an American plane can't broach its defenses, then why not a German one?

In his usual manner (the promotion-to-general ploy), Hogan plants the idea into Klink's head to publically test the supposed incompetence of Allied pilots against the superior skills of the Luftwaffe. Within a few days, the camp's rec hall has been converted into an impromptu testing center - complete with a Heinkel bomber flight simulator. Hogan complains loudly that it isn't fair to test Allied pilots on German equipment, on which they were never trained, but Klink smugly ignores him. The protests are for show, though - the simulator is what Hogan really wanted. From a concealed side panel in one of the walls, Kinch takes a number of pictures of it. Shortly thereafter, a crude but serviceable mockup has been built down in the tunnels. Hogan tells the two pilots to familiarize themselves with it as much as possible in the time they have. The Germans are flying in a real Heinkel bomber crew for the demonstration, and their plane will be convienently parked at the nearby airfield. Hogan's plan is for his men to overpower the guards, the two airmen to fly away in the plane, and then bomb the refinery. When they ask about bombs, Hogan has Carter wheel in one of his "specials" - fashioned from an dairy milk can. Carter has built four of them for the mission, and they are the equivalent of standard German 500-pound bombs. Carter's only regret is that he can't be there to see them go off.

The time for the demonstration soon arrives. Hogan's men are lined up opposite the four-man German bomber crew. Everything is set and seems to be going to plan ... and that is when things begin to go wrong. An unexpected visitor in the form of a Luftwaffe general shows up to oversee the demonstration. As Hogan quickly learns, and much to his dismay, the man invited himself. His name is General Biedenbender, and he is the officer in charge of the air defenses of the area. As it turns out, he is quite familar with Hogan's record - even pointing out to the surprised American that it is Hogan's birthday. Biedenbender had been the general in charge of the Luftwaffe squadrons that had shot Hogan's plane down over Hamburg the year before. He claims to have familiarized himself with Hogan's tactics, and recognized the mark of his old foe when Klink's request for a flight simulator came to his attention. Biedenbender then informs Hogan and his men that there will be a 24-hour armed guard of 50 men on the actual Heinkel. He even has the gall to invite Hogan to dinner with Klink and himself following the demonstration, before grinning at him and leaving. Both formations are dismissed, and Hogan's men mill about him, looking both confused and worried at the same time. They have just watched Hogan get outfoxed for the first time ever in their experiences together. Hogan is not so easily overcome, however. While conceding that Biedenbender has effectively wrecked his original plan, the wily colonel quickly begins work on another. Biedenbender's bragging about predicting Hogan's moves is the key. The man believes himself superior, and has the ego to go with it. Hogan plots to use Biedenbender's own massive ego against him in a new plan - but this time, he will be using the general's own plane to bomb Stuttheim.

The dinner in Klink's quarters goes as one might expect. Biedenbender dominates the event, with Klink fawning like a puppy every chance he gets. The disgusted Hogan has no choice but to play along, using every little opportunity he gets to mislead the overconfident German general. He manages to trick Biedenbender into ordering his plane prepped for takeoff that night instead of the following night - which means reducing the guard to its normal numbers, since Biedenbender will be leaving soon. Even Hilda gets into the act, pretending to be interested in the general and staying by his side all night - much to Biedenbender's delight. Hogan excuses himself as the general prepares to leave, but Hilda agrees to accompany him to the airfield. This too is part of Hogan's plan. He does not know that while Hilda is distracting and delaying him, Hogan and the Unsung Heroes, along with the two airmen, have sped to the field ahead of him, overpowered the remaining guards along with the ground and air crew, and taken over the plane. He bids a fond farewell to Hilda and walks up to his plane - and is promptly yanked inside by LeBeau and Newkirk, both in full Luftwaffe uniform. To his shock and horror, the German fox discovers that he himself has been neatly outfoxed. Before he can so much as put up a fight his bomber is in the air and away, crewed by Hogan's men and headed for the Stuttheim refinery with Carter's bombs ... well, actually, only three of them. They had to leave one behind in order to save weight for Sergeant Schultz - who HAD to come with them in order to keep him from spoiling their plans.

The next day, both Schultz and the Unsung Heroes are safely back at camp - having parachuted out near the camp after a successful bomb run. The two airmen have taken Biedenbender with them as a prisoner back to England, since he's now a wanted man in Germany for supposedly bombing the refinery he was supposed to be protecting. Klink has called Hogan and Schultz into his office to discuss the affair. "Maybe he heard something," Hogan suggests. Klink is suddenly all ears. "What? What?!" he eagerly demands. Hogan gives him a knowing look. "AFTER the Gestapo goes," Hogan suggests. Klink is confused. "You know they have ways of getting things out of a man," Hogan adds, looking straight at Klink. The fearful camp commandant slowly nods, then sinks back into his chair, hands clasped in front of him.

Story Notes Edit

  • This is both the thirty-sixth produced episode of the series and the thirty-third episode to be shown on television, and is the first episode of the Second Season.
  • This episode is the first appearance of Hilda in the series.
  • It is implied, although never explicitly stated, that Hilda is helping the Unsung Heroes. She keeps Biedenbender distracted both during the dinner and at the plane, allowing them to carry out their plan without him noticing what they're doing. Hogan notes Biedenbender's weakness for women during the episode. There apparently wasn't enough time available to properly develop this part of the story.
  • In addition to his regular duties as Stalag 13's sergeant of the guard, Schultz also serves as Klink's personal aide. He is identified as such by Biedenbender in this episode.
  • The original form of the orders given to our heroes is quoted by Hogan in this episode: "To assist all escaping prisoners, cooperate with all friendly forces, and use every means to injure and harass the enemy."
  • BARRACKS 3 GANG WATCH - Both Walters and Addison can be seen in the background of Barracks 2, during the scene where Karras and Hardy are being photographed. They are moving around on the right, close to the bunk that Addison and Broughton share.

Background Trivia Edit

  • With this episode, Sigrid Valdis (Patricia Crane) begins her five season run as Hilda, the secretary to Kommandant Klink. The original intention of the producers was to replace the secretary each season, ala The Bob Cummings Show. Since Sigrid did such a great job as Hilda, the producers abandoned the idea and kept her on for the duration of the show.
  • Veteran character actor James Gregory is known as the reactionary Senator John 'Johnnie' Iselin from the classic movie The Manchurian Candidate but is perhaps most beloved as Inspector Frank D. Lugar NYPD from Barney Miller.
  • "Jerry" was Allied slang for "German." From this comes the modern term jerrican (i.e. "Jerry can"), originally used to describe the five-gallon gasoline cans carried on German military vehicles.
  • Hogan makes an sidewise allusion to a particular type of torture: stringing a person up by their thumbs. He claims that another stalag commandant, Colonel Linkenfelter, was "measuring" his prisoner's thumbs as "experimental work" in order to prove that German thumbs were longer. This is the first subtle reference in the series to some of the real-life tortures and atrocities conducted on both POWs and concentration camp inmates - and all in the name of furthering "German science." It is also worthy of note that series actor Werner Klemperer (Klink) appeared in the Academy Award winning feature film Judgement at Nuremberg - a movie that is highly recommended for series fans. Klemperer's character, Emil Hahn, is forced to confront visual evidence of thousands of such atrocities that he helped to bring about in part by his own actions, even though he claims he had no responsibility.
  • It should be noted, with regards to the "thumbs" reference, that the series writers couldn't make overt references to Nazi atrocities at the time. This was most likely due to both the sitcom nature of the show and its intended "family time" viewing slot. There are more such hidden hints in other episodes.
  • One of the odd coincidences of the series, after fan timeline analysis, is that Hogan, Klink, and Adolf Hitler all have birthdays in the same month (April).
  • One goof is that the exterior shot of Biedenbender plane is that it is a Avro Lancaster-an ENGLISH BOMBER!

Timeline Notes and Speculations Edit

  • This is the thirty-third episode of the series in chronological order, per the fandom series timeline. It follows The Late Inspector General, and is in turn followed by Killer Klink.
  • The following clues were used to determine the date of this episode:
    • Hogan tells Klink he should feel terrible about "the pasting that they're [the Luftwaffe is] taking." 1943 was a very bad year for the Luftwaffe.
    • Schultz's description of the state of German affairs, while looking over the Heinkel flight simulator with Klink and Hogan, fits events as they stood in the spring of 1943.
    • The Fuhrer's birthday is imminent. Klink assumes this is what Biedenbender is talking about at first (when he means Hogan's birthday), and claims to have been preparing "for months." That pretty much pegs the date to the first two weeks of April 1943.
    • Klink comments to Biedenbender that "odd things" happen at Stalag 13 "from time to time," so the Unsung Heroes have been in operation for a while.
  • Hogan's birthday falls somewhere within the first week of April 1943. This is apparently contradicted by the first part of A Tiger Hunt in Paris, where he claims it's in December. Hogan was probably lying on the latter occasion, in order to maintain his Paris cover as "Sgt. Frank Durkin."
  • As Biedenbender inspects our heroes in formation, viewers will see him and Kinch react to each other. Neither says a word, but it appears that they recognize each other. Nothing more is ever made of this incident, and we never learn why Biedenbender and Kinch reacted to each other the way they did. It could be something as simple as racism - Kinch being one of the earliest black POWs in the world of the series. Some fans have speculated that Kinch was the radio operator aboard Hogan's plane when it was shot down (despite his having a groundpounder's uniform). Perhaps it was both; perhaps something else entirely.
  • Colonel Linkenfelter at Stalag 16 has just been promoted to brigadier general - much to Klink's irritation. "When I was a colonel, he was a sergeant!" he complains to Hogan.
  • In this episode, we learn many things about Hogan's past. He used to live in Indianapolis, Indiana at some point before the war. He was a respected tactician among his peers and potential enemies. He was also well schooled as both a pilot and commander. Hogan's last posting was as commander of the 504th Bomber Squadron. He was shot down during a major bombing raid on Hamburg by Luftwaffe fighters under the command of General Biedenbender.
  • In real life, the 504th was never posted to Europe. It was the USAAF's only atomic bomb squadron. It was assigned to the Pacific, as that was the only theater of combat where atomic bombs were used. Within the context of the series, however, this would explain why Hogan has at least a basic knowledge of atomic bomb theory.
  • There were a number of bombing raids conducted on Hamburg during the war. It was a prime target for Allied bombers, being one of Germany's largest cities and a major center of industry. The historical raid that best fits this episode is probably the one that took place on 28-29 July, 1942. A combined RAF/USAAF bombing raid on this date went sour due to bad weather, with just over 15% of the combined force being lost. This date would give Hogan plenty of time to be inserted into Stalag 13, take over command of the heroes, and have things up and running to the point that we see in The Informer. As mentioned before, the series implies that our heroes had already been in operation for a few months prior to the pilot episode. Hogan's insertion in 1942 (the year, not the exact date) is implied in Axis Annie.
  • From a chronological point-of-view, it seems most likely that Colonel Klink had two secretaries from 1942 (if not earlier) through part of 1944. Hilda (Sigrid Valdis) is the main secretary, given that she appears in the most episodes. Helga (Cynthia Lynn) most likely covers for Hilda on her days off, vacations, leaves of absence, or for whatever reason that Hilda can't make it in or has to leave early. Of course, Hogan finds it to his advantage - and the heroes, too, naturally - to win the confidence and affection of them both. Helga's departure will leave Klink without anyone to cover for Hilda, and this situation winds up getting its own episode (Casanova Klink).
  • The bombing of the Stuttheim factory (by our heroes) will be mentioned later in Reverend Kommandant Klink.

Quotes Edit

Newkirk on the war ...

  • "It's a rotten war, Schultzie. The only thing that keeps us going are the beautiful human beings we meet along the way."

Schultz walks in on Hogan and his men preparing fake German ID papers for Karras and Hardy. It is a few minutes before he realizes what is going on. As he starts to protest loudly, Hogan interrupts him ...

  • Hogan (pointing at the map) - Do you want to know what this is, Schultz?
  • Schultz (exclaiming) - No!
  • Hogan - This is a map of the refinery at Stuttheim. Do you want to know how many B-17s were shot down trying to take out that refinery?
  • Schultz - Colonel Hog--!
  • Hogan (interrupting) - Sixty-two. Do you know what that represents in dollars to the American taxpayer?
  • Schultz (protesting) - But Colonel Hogan--!
  • Hogan - Do you realize what it costs us to process each of these men through here, send them back to England just so YOU can shot them down again?!
  • Schultz (almost wincing) - Colonel Hogan, I know NOTHING about the refinery! I don't CARE about the refinery! (quietly) I ride a bicycle. (louder) I would even blow up the refinery myself, but I must insist that those two men are reported--!
  • Hogan (suddenly snapping his fingers) - That's it.
  • Schultz (stops his rant, looks at Hogan) - Wha-wha-wha-wha, wha-wha-wha-wha-wha-wha, what is it?
  • Hogan (delighted look) - You've just given me the whole operation. Have the Germans blow up their own refinery!
  • Schultz (frustrated) - Oh, pleeeaaaassseee! I know NOTHING about it! I only know that these two men MUST be reported!
  • Hogan - Alright, Schultz, have it your way - but when THAT refinery is blown up (pointing at the map), and it comes out to have been YOUR idea ...

(Schultz groans, looks away from the man, squeals something unintelligble, then quickly exits the barracks.)

Hogan professes admiration for Klink's "pilot test" project.

  • Hogan - You know, sir, I might venture to assume that the name of Klink is being bandied about the dinner table at Berchestgarten.
  • Klink (false humility) - Oh! Oh no, the Fuhrer is much too busy--
  • Schultz (interrupting, fawning manner) - That's right! Single-handed he routed the whole Russian front. The Italians gave him SUCH a headache, and North Africa is NOTHING but bad news! And the Allied bombers, they are--
  • Klink (yelling, slapping a nearby instrument panel) - SCHULTZ! (calmer) Are you through?
  • Schultz (chagrined) - Boy, am I through.

Hogan complains about the fairness of testing Allied pilots on a German flight simulator.

  • Hogan - Colonel Klink, this is a German panel - it's an unfair test! Naturally the German pilots are going to look better.
  • Klink - Naturally!
  • Hogan - You mean ...
  • Klink - The aim of a research project, my dear Hogan, is not to discover new facts. We already know the Luftwaffe personnel are superior. Here we are merely furnishing scientific proof.
  • Hogan (waves at simulator) - Surely we'll have a chance to get acquainted with this?
  • Klink (smiling) - When you take the test, there'll be plenty of time.
  • Hogan - You know, every time I come face to face with this cruel German cunning, I always wonder why my side is winning.

(Klink starts to clench his fists, then composes himself)

Hogan discusses one particular problem of the plan to bomb the Stuttheim refinery with his men.

  • Newkirk - The only sticky detail is lugging the bombs.
  • Lt. Karras - Hold it. You mean we have to take our own bombs?
  • Hogan - Well, fair is fair. The Jerries are supplying the bomber.

General Biedenbender elaborates on how Hogan became a POW at Stalag 13. The conversation picks up as the general is inspecting a rather nervous Kinch ....

  • Biedenbender - ... I am the reason you are now here as a prisoner of war.
  • Hogan (somewhat snidely) - Thanks.
  • Biedenbender (confident laugh) - Oh, it's nothing. No, when the bombing raids of the squadron you commanded started to become, um, slightly annoying to the Third Reich, I was assigned to study your tactics, Colonel - to get inside your head. So, I learned everything about you. (grins) Everything ... and then I began to probe, to - ah - search for a weakness.
  • Hogan (evenly) - Loud ties.
  • Biedenbender - No ... no, your tactical planning, colonel. Brillant, yes, but at times overelaborate. So I was able to predict precisely the plan of your last bombing raid on Hamburg - in which YOU were shot down ... and (laughs) and I was shot up! To a general!

(Klink, who has been forced to silently listen all the while, frowns sullenly at this remark. The general notices.)

  • Biedenbender (to Klink) - It's a joke, Klink.

(Klink forces a nervous laugh)

  • Hogan (looking aside) - Well, as long as it wasn't a total loss ...

  • Biedenbender (to Carter) - Oh! You're crestfallen, eh?
  • Carter (honestly) - Oh, no sir. I just have a naturally crestfallen face.

Klink is entertaining Biedenbender in his office ....

  • Klink - I can assure you, General Biedenbender--

(The sound of knocking interrupts him. Hilda opens the door and walks in. The general eyes her with a grin.)

  • Klink - Yes, what is it?
  • Hilda - Colonel Hogan requests an audience, herr kommandant.
  • Klink - We're much too busy.
  • Biedenbender - Send him in, Hilda.
  • Klink - Send him in! You may go, Fraulein Hilda.
  • Biedenbender - Stay, Hilda.
  • Klink - Stay!

  • Klink - What is it you want, Hogan?
  • Hogan - Whatever you're drinking.

Hogan pulls off the first part of a new plan to get to the bomber right under Biedenbender's very nose.

  • Newkirk - I got to hand it to you, colonel! I'd-a said that general didn't have a single weakness.
  • Hogan - Just booze, girls, and the feeling that he's always right. Just the normal weaknesses.

... and later ...

  • Hogan - Carter, I want you to get those bombs of yours out to the end of the tunnel. We're going to have to leave one - we've got a big crew.
  • Carter (excitedly) - We're ALL going out, colonel?
  • Hogan - Look at the way we did today on those tests! We need some flying time.

After-dinner conversation in Klink's quarters ....

  • Biedenbender - Ah, you disappoint me, Colonel Hogan! Here we have dined together, a little coffee, and now some schnapps, and you've not come up with one single little plan, one scheme.
  • Hogan - You misjudge me, general. Colonel Klink will give me a character reference. (smiling) I've been a model prisoner - right, ser.
  • Klink (confused) - Well, ah, ah, there have been some strange things here from time to time, sir - but NEVER an escape!
  • Hogan - See?
  • Biedenbender - Make no mistake, Klink. You have an eagle in your cage.
  • Klink (still confused) - An eagle?

(The general continues to talk about Hogan. Hilda, standing behind him, is smiling at the American.)

  • Biedenbender - Yes ... of course, and most dangerous. When I get back to Berlin, Hogan, I shall still be keeping an eye on you.
  • Hogan - And you can do it, sir ....

Biedenbender, on Hogan

  • "I find your schemes very ... stimulating!"

As the dinner party breaks up ...

  • Hogan - Schultz, take me back to my barracks. (to the general) I'm sorry I won't be able to see you to your plane, sir.
  • Biedenbender (takes Hilda's hand) - I'm sure Fraulein Hilda will fill in for you.
  • Hogan (false defeat) - You win again.
  • Biedenbender - Oh, Hogan? I hope I haven't spoiled your birthday party.
  • Hogan - You are a devil, sir.
  • Biedenbender (soft laugh) - I try.

Later, after Hogan has turned the tables on Biedenbender and used the general's own plane to bomb the Stuttheim refinery ...

  • Hogan (before jumping from the plane) - Oh, general?
  • Biedenbender (sulking) - What?!
  • Hogan - Don't you want to wish me happy birthday?
  • Biedenbender (sulky laugh) - A-hah ... you are a devil, Hogan.
  • Hogan (evil grin) - I try.

Bloopers Edit

  • Col. Klink refers to Fräulein Hilda as Fräulein Helga.
  • The exterior stock footage of the bombing raid is littered with continuity errors. Biedenbender says his plane is a Heinkel, presumably a twin-engined Heinkel He-111, but at takeoff the plane is revealed to be a four-engine American Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. On the ground and in some aerial shots, the plane becomes a four-engined British Avro Lancaster, before again reverting into a Flying Fortress. A German plane does make an appearance in the flying stock footage montage, but it is a four-engined Focke-Wulf Fw-200 Condor recon plane. In the final stock shot, which shows the bomber turning away from the target, it is again a Flying Fortress.
  • If things weren't complicated enough, the cockpit interior and bombadier's position are those of an American B-25 Mitchell (the stock studio prop we've seen in other episodes) and the back is an open set redressed to look like an aircraft interior. That's why the back of the plane is a lot wider than the front!
  • When General Biedenbender first appears, Klink refers to him as "Colonel Beidenbender."

External links Edit

Previous episode:
Request Permission to Escape
Next episode:
The Schultz Brigade