|Episode:||Man's Best Friend Is Not His Dog|
|Original Airdate:||November 02, 1968|
|Written by:||Phil Sharp|
|Directed by:||Bruce Bilson|
|Produced by:||Edward H. Feldman & William A. Calihan|
- Colonel Hogan - Bob Crane
- Corporal Louis LeBeau - Robert Clary
- Corporal Peter Newkirk - Richard Dawson
- Sergeant James Kinchloe - Ivan Dixon
- Sergeant Andrew Carter - Larry Hovis
Camp Personnel Edit
Guest Stars Edit
Plot Details Edit
As the episodes opens, Hogan is looking over an official letter that his men intercepted in Klink's mail. It is an order from Burkhalter to Klink to keep all prisoners confined to the barracks until 4 pm. Curious, Hogan decides that Klink will NOT receive the letter until AFTER they have seen whatever it is they aren't supposed to see. Just at that moment LeBeau comes backing into the barracks door, hiding something under his coat. It is a small, hungry mongrel dog, apparently driven to shelter in the camp during the last bombing raid on nearby Hammelburg. Hogan is quick to remind his men that camp regulations prevent the keeping of pets in the barracks, despite everyone's pleas ... and at that moment Schultz walks in. LeBeau tries to hide him in one of the bunks, but the dog's whimpering gives him away. Hogan quickly concocts a ruse that the dog belongs to one of the local German military commanders, General Brechschnieder, and that they're keeping it hidden in order to jack up the reward for its return that the general is offering. The ever-greedy Schultz quickly falls for this, and is soon on his way, sans dog, to await his share of the promised loot. As for LeBeau keeping the dog, Hogan says he'll have to go eventually ... once the general pays the promised reward, that is.
Some time later, the prisoners are outside in the camp yard doing their daily calasthenics. About that time, an armored German column passes the camp on the nearby road. This would normally be a routine thing - except that the column is fielding a new type of tank that Hogan and his men have never seen before. Hogan is impressed by what he sees - larger and more heavily armed and armored than current Allied tanks. Carter has been ready for this moment and fakes a faint from heatstroke (in the middle of winter, of all things! - but that's Carter for you). Klink and Schultz are soon on the scene, and in typical fashion Klink berates the fallen man. Then, his attention drawn to the activity on the road, he gloats over the new tanks he sees passing by. As Hogan keeps him distracted by talking to him about the tanks, Carter produces an old-fashioned dual-lens camera from under his coat. Using the ground to steady the camera, and with both Klink and Schultz distracted (thanks to Hogan, who walks away with them) Carter fills his roll of film with pictures of the new tanks.
Shortly thereafter, an angry Burkhalter puts in an appearance in Klink's office. He wants to know why Klink didn't follow his order and confine the prisoners to barracks before the armored column passes by. Hogan, who happens to be witness to this, manages to slip Burkhalter's letter back into the stack on Klink's desk before he picks it up to prove his innocence. He begins flipping through the letters, asserting he has already done so - and stops dead at Burkhalter's. Hogan, adding fuel to the fire, comments that he and his men wouldn't have noticed the new tanks had not Klink drawn their attention to them, and even quotes his remarks on the matter. He then leaves Klink's office before the humbled German colonel gets dressed-down by Burkhalter for his actions.
Hogan's next move is to visit the radio shack in the tunnels, where Kinch has just finished decoding a message from Allied High Command. They want those pictures of those new German tanks ASAP, and are sending an agent to pick them up at the camp. The agent's code name will be Rumplestilkskin, but they provide no clue as to when the agent is coming or what he will look like. Hogan surmises that the agent is either at or near the camp already - which means he has to keep the film on him until contact is made. At that moment Carter emerges from a makeshift darkroom with the developed film. He used the whole reel and got some excellent pictures; however, just as he finished, Schultz showed up and "chased us all back into the barracks" (probably on Burkhalter's orders relayed by Klink - ed.) just as Carter was getting ready to load another roll of film. In the confusion, he left the camera behind. "Of all the idiotic things!" Kinch exclaims as he rips off his headset. Hogan is just as upset. "If they find that camera before we do," he says, "we're in trouble."
Hogan's worst fears have in fact come true. Schultz found the camera and promptly turned it in to Klink. The first thing Klink notices is that it has no film. He correctly guesses that it belongs to one of the prisoners and that he was taking pictures of the new tanks. All he has to do is put the camera back where Schultz found it, and wait for the prisoner to hurry back and claim it. It's a good plan, and might have worked had not Hogan and the Unsung Heroes already been aware of the missing camera. Correctly guessing that Klink would try to determine the owner, Hogan himself picks it up, asks if it belongs to anyone, then says he's going to turn it in to the kommandantur. An enraged Klink pops of a nearby sentry hut, Schultz following behind, and grabs the camera from him. His plan to find its owner has been neatly foiled by Hogan. Klink and Schultz quickly depart to plan again, and Hogan watches them uneasily - fiddling with the roll of film he's had in his jacket the whole time. "Klink isn't going to rest easy until he gets this," he notes sardonically. The only thing in his favor is his knowledge of Klink's psyche. The last thing Klink would expect would for Hogan to be carrying the film on his person, because that would normally be the first place he'd look ... so it will be the last, when all other possibilities are exhausted. That buys Hogan and the Unsung Heroes some time - hopefully enough for Rumplestilskin to make contact before Klink finds the film.
As Klink and Schultz plot away in Klink's office, the commandant receives a phone call from Burkhalter. Representatives from the Swiss Prison Commission will be visiting the camp the next morning to make sure that everything is in accord with the Geneva Convention. "Get your camp in order," Burkhalter orders him. "I want a favorable report." He then curtly hangs up before Klink can gush with his usual fawning behavior. "Prussian!" Klink snaps at the phone - but only AFTER the connection is broken. Mixed in with Klink's instructions is an order to prepare a special prisoner for the Swiss representatives to interview - one that will only say good things about his confinement. He doesn't let that detract him from his current problem, however.
The next day, a surprise barracks inspection by Klink almost catches Hogan off-guard. He quickly hides the film inside one of the soup bones that LeBeau has been saving for his new dog. The dog, which Klink mistakes for a stray, promptly grabs the bone and scampers out the door. Hogan and his men are prevented from following it by the inspection ... and by the time it is done, the dog has buried the bone somewhere in the camp. They try to coax him into digging it up for them, but all they get are other bones that LeBeau has given him. Hogan might now be safe from Klink's further efforts, but he also has no film to give to the agent who is due at any moment. It is then that Burkhalter arrives with the Swiss delegation to inspect Stalag 13 -- and Hogan, much to his alarm, realizes that the agent will be one of the Swiss delegates.
Klink gives the Swiss delegation a full tour of the camp, which ends in his quarters. There are two men - Herr Kraft and Mousieur Bonner - and one woman - Frau Hanna Folge, deputy leader of the Nazi Youth Group, their German liason and escort. Hogan manages to insert himself in place of the "special prisoner" that Klink has arranged for the delegation to interview. As talks with them, he fakes sneezing several times, always saying "Rumplestilskin!" into his hankerchief as he does so. Nobody reacts to the code word. Upset by this deveopment but trying not to let it show, he goes ahead and says what is expected of him. The interview ends, and the delegates get ready to leave. Hogan is already out the door and heading back to the barracks when Frau Folge calls to him and pulls him aside. SHE is Rumplestilskin. "We don't have much time," she hurriedly whispers. "Where is the film." Hogan is in the process of admitting he lost it when he sees LeBeau's dog digging up a bone in Klink's flower garden. It is the same bone in which he hid the film earlier that morning. As the others leave Klink's quarters, intruding on the pair, Hogan makes a show of giving Frau Folge the dog AND a bone to play with as gift from his men. Thus, just in the nick of time and by the skin of his teeth, Hogan has killed two birds with one stone. The film with the pictures of the new German tanks are now safely on their way to the Allies, and he no longer has the dog to make life more vexing than it already is.
The episode ends with Hogan in Klink's office, again being asked about the camera with the missing film. Hogan states truthfully that had Klink asked him if he had the film, or he knew where it was, he would have said "No" both times. "Another question," Klink says, pouring Hogan some brandy. "Was there [ever] any film?" Hogan smiles at him and clinks his glass with own. "Sorry," he says. "I only answer two questions at a time."
Story Notes Edit
- This is the ninety-fifth produced episode of the series, but is the ninety-eighth episode to be shown on television and is the sixth episode shown for the Fourth Season.
- The title of the episode is loosely based on the old saying, "A dog is a man's best friend."
- The dog adopted by our heroes in this episode is their second informal mascot. They had their first in Monkey Business. In both instances, Hogan has to remind his men that camp rules bar the ownership of pets.
Background Trivia Edit
- Schultz quotes the first line of the song "Annatevka" - "A little bit of this, a little bit of that" - from the award-winning musical Fiddler on the Roof - whose plot, by the way, dealt with the issues of Jewish life in Czarist Russia.
- The type of tank that Hogan and Kinch describe seeing can be none other than the legendary Tiger Mark I - even though we never see it - which gave the Allies so much trouble during its debut in World War II. What clinches the description is the mention of the mounted 88mm gun. The Tiger Mark I was the first German tank to produced with an 88mm gun as a standard feature.
- Both Hogan and Klink quote a famous Latin saying by the Roman poet Juvenal: mens sana in corpore sano ("A sound mind and a sound body").
- The Swiss commissioners are played by two of the series' frequent guest stars: Dick Wilson (normally featured as camp adjutant Captain Grueber) and Chet Stratton (who does a variety of roles in different episodes).
- Frau Hanna Folge was most likely head of the Bund Deutscher Mädel, or League of German Girls. It was the female branch of the Hitler Youth. In actual history this position was occupied at this time by Gertrud Scholtz-Klink (!). Yes, Klink is a real German name, folks!
- The German practice of setting up Swiss commissioners with pre-arranged prisoners for interviews is well documented. The model concentration camp Theresienstadt (remember, Stalag 13 was a POW camp) is probably the best-known example of how far the Germans were willing to go to make it appear that life as a German prisoner could be a good thing.
- When Hogan asks Newkirk if Rumplestiltskin has arrived, he replies that there have been two Rumplemeyers and a Meyerrumple. "Rumplemeyer" is the short-lived alias Newkirk used in How to Catch a Papa Bear when he was captured by the Gestapo.
Timeline Notes and Speculations Edit
- This is the twenty-first episode in chronological order, per the series timeline. It follows The Experts, and is in turn followed by Kommandant Gertrude.
- This episode takes place in the early part of 1943, during the winter. This can be ascertained by the following: Klink remarks on the excellent skiing in the Alps "this time of year," Hogan and Kinch's description of the new tanks they see (Tiger Mark Is, which deployed in 1943), and Hogan's indirect reference to the RAF bombing campaign against Berlin, which started at the end of January 1943.
- This episode takes place before Hold That Tiger, in which the Unsung Heroes get hands-on experience with one of the new Tiger tanks.
- SPECULATION: Some fans cite this episode in support of the theory that the Stalag 13 of the series was converted to a model POW camp - a showcase for outside visitors, if you will - just as the real-life Theresienstadt was used for propaganda purposes as a model concentration camp. This theory would go a long way in explaining some of the inconsistencies between life in Stalag 13 as depicted on screen and life in actual WWII German POW camps. Among these is the fact that while Stalag 13 was designed to house 1200-1500 prisoners or more, per the map of the camp on Klink's wall, internal evidence within the series appears to suggest that Stalag 13 never held more than 100-200 prisoners at any time. While officer and enlisted grades were normally housed in separate compounds in other camps, they live together inside Stalag 13. Also, the prisoners of Stalag 13 tend to be better dressed and have access to better food and resources than did their real-life counterparts, they are generally given kid gloves treatment by the local German authorities except in unusual circumstances (such as the occasional Gestapo crackdown), and Stalag 13 is always having important visitors on a regular basis (unlike real POW camps).
Hogan tricks Schultz into thinking the dog LeBeau found is valuable.
- Hogan (pointing to the dog) - You familar with this breed?
- Schultz - That?! A little bit of this, a little bit of that,
- Hogan (matter-of-fact) - Right on the head! A lot of dogs have two or three different breeds. THAT dog has 5% of 20 different breeds. There's nothing like him in the world. He's worth a fortune.
- Schultz - Is that right? BUT - if he is so valuable, how come YOU have him?
- Hogan - Well, the dog doesn't belong to us. He's lost, and the owner has offered a reward for his return. A hundred marks!
- Schultz (excited) - A hundred marks for THAT?! What are we waiting for? Let's go get the reward!
- (Schultz moves to pick up the dog, but Hogan holds him back)
- Hogan - What's the rush? It'll go up to five hundred marks, and [then] we're partners.
- Schultz (laughing) - Oh, come on! Who would be THAT stupid to give so much money?
- Hogan - General Brechschnieder.
- Schultz (thinks a moment) - Ja. He is THAT stupid.
Klink confronts Hogan over his men watching the new tanks go by.
- Klink - What are your men doing here?
- Hogan - Just following your orders about calesthenics. You know, mens sana in corpore sano - "a sound mind in a sound body?"
- Klink (irritated) - You don't have to translate to me, I understand French.
- Hogan - That's Latin.
- Klink (pissed) - Your accent is terrible.
- Klink - I didn't like that man fainting.
- Hogan - I don't either. I think he needs a rest.
- Klink (irritated) - How about a resort in the Swiss Alps?! I understand the skiing is very good this time of year.
- Hogan - That sounds good, but it seems to me a warmer climate ... say, ummm, the French Riviera would be nice.
- Klink (irritated but playing along) - Oohhhhhh, how 'bout a real vacation? Maybe a few weeks in Berlin?!
- Hogan (smiling) - No, from what I hear it's too hot for anyone in Berlin right now.
- Newkirk - You're not going to feed that swill to that poor dog!
- LeBeau - It isn't for him. This is OUR dinner.
- Carter - What's is it?
- LeBeau - I never know 'till I finish it.
- Newkirk (sarcastically) - It'll be the finish of us!
(Hogan walks up, fidgeting with the film)
- Hogan - I don't supposed anybody named Rumplestilskin showed up?
- Newkirk - No ... we've had two Rumplemeyers, and a Meier Rumple. That's all.
- Man's Best Friend Is Not His Dog at TV.com
- Man's Best Friend Is Not His Dog at the Internet Movie Database
- Man's Best Friend Is Not His Dog episode capsule at Webstalag 13
- Hogan's Heroes Fanclub
- The Hofbrau
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Never Play Cards With Strangers