|Episode:||The Most Escape-Proof Camp I've Ever Escaped From|
|Original Airdate:||March 10, 1967|
|Written by:||Bill Davenport|
|Directed by:||Edward H. Feldman|
|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
- Colonel Stieffer - Edward Knight
- OSS Agent Max Huebler - Karl Bruck
- Sergeant Schmidt - Bard Stevens
- Sgt. Malcolm Flood - Mickey Manners
Plot Details Edit
It is early in the evening, and Carter and LeBeau are preparing to leave the tunnels on a mission to blow up a train. Just as they are about to leave, Kinch comes running from the radio shack with a bulletin from London. An undercover OSS agent is making his way towards Stalag 13 as fast as he can with news about the new submarine pens that the German Navy is finishing. London considers this intelligence so important that they have ordered the Unsung Heroes to suspend all normal operations until he makes contact. This infuriates Carter and LeBeau to no end, but there is nothing they can do about it. Orders are orders.
The next day, as the prisoners conduct their daily exercises in the camp yard, General Burkhalter visits with Colonel Klink in his office. Burkhalter begrudges Klink his excellent record as camp commandant, but adds that something has come up that will allow him to put that record to the test. Burkhalter has recommended Klink to the Gestapo as the one person in all of Germany that might be able to detain a particularly difficult Allied prisoner for them. The man in question has escaped from every other camp in which he has been placed, and even from Gestapo custody a few times. Klink doesn't know exactly what to make of this, but hides his worries with his usual pompous Prussian arrogance about his nonexistent talents. Burkhalter isn't fooled but limits himself to his usual sarcasms. He will let events prove the merits of Klink's boasts.
Shortly thereafter, two vehicles enter camp and park in front of the kommandantur. One is a Gestapo car, while the other is a camp truck full of armed guards. An SS officer and two SS guards get out, dragging a bedraggled looking RAF sergeant in chains between them. They make it about halfway to the porch when the man suddenly collapses, refusing to go any farther. While Hogan and his men watch with interest, the SS men try to drag the man back to his feet. The other camp guards close in, and even Schultz rushes in to lend a hand. Everyone suddenly pulls back. The RAF prisoner is nowhere to be seen, and it is now Schultz who is sitting on the ground in chains. "What happened?" the befuddled German sergeant says in amazement. Just then the sound of someone trying to start a car catches their attention. The SS officer, Colonel Stiefer, rushes to the front and yanks the door open. The RAF sergeant is sitting in the driver's seat, grinning at him. "I think I've found your problem, sir," he says in a prominent Cockney accent. "Your starter's broken." Stiefer half-yanks, half drags the man out of the car, hurling insults and threatening to shoot him if he ever pulls such a stunt again. "That's Malcolm Flood!" Hogan says in amazement, suddenly connecting the man with the reputation. "Looks like Stalag 13's about to have its first escape," Klinch adds with a smile. The idea does not sit well with Hogan, especially with the OSS agent already on his way. He takes it upon himself to have a little chat with Flood as soon as possible, and hopefully talk him out of pulling any more escapes or stunts before they can make their rendevous.
Klink is insistent that Hogan is not to visit Flood. He fears Flood's reputation as much as Hogan is impressed by it, and is keeping him in solitary in the cooler for the duration of his stay. At first Hogan claims regulations, noting that he has a right as senior POW officer to visit any other prisoner in the camp. When that fails, he uses a combination of charm and psychology on Klink, claiming that Flood is really a confused man who's just looking for a home and "someone to look up to" -- someone like Klink. With the wool firmly over his eyes, Klink relents and Hogan is given three minutes alone with Flood. It is just enough time for Hogan to discover that Flood has already escaped. He continues talking as if Flood were still there, so the eavesdropping Schultz will remain unaware, stays for his full three minutes, then allows himself to be escorted back out of the cooler.
Back at Barracks 2, Hogan is pondering the situation with his men when they hear the sound of gargling coming from Hogan's office. They rush to the door to see Flood there, using Hogan's personal shaving kit to clean himself up. Flood promptly apologizes, saying he didn't know he was in an officer's room. Hogan accepts the apology, then motions to the others to leave him and Flood alone. It's time for the little talk they didn't get to have earlier. After Hogan expresses admiration for Flood, the RAF sergeant explains why so many escapes. Before the war and like Newkirk, he played the vaudeville circuit. Flood performed as an escape artist, and he claims to have been a good one - only he wasn't well known. He sees the war and his situation as a POW as his big chance "to earn some street cred," as a later generation might say it. He has already built up quite a reputation with his amazing, repeated escapes from the Germans, and he hopes to carry that back with him to the vaudeville circuit after the war. Hogan understands Flood's reasons; however, the man's personal goal will foul up the current mission of the Unsung Heroes. Hogan asks Flood not to escape while he's at Stalag 13. When Flood reluctantly refuses, Hogan makes it an order - and leaves Carter to watch him while he takes care of other business. After Hogan discusses with the others how to sneak Flood back into his cell, he returns to his office. Neither Flood nor Carter is anywhere to be seen, and the window is wide open. Hogan's men are confused, but one thing is obvious: Flood has again escaped. Another thing is also obvious to Hogan. "Carter's in my footlocker," he says, sinking down on his lower bunk. "Aren't you?" "Yes, sir," comes the muffled reply. Flood has tricked Carter by pretending to show him how to escape from a locked trunk, then made good his getaway.
Time is running out for everyone. Schultz comes running to Klink's office with the bad news. He has finally figured out that Flood has escaped. SS Colonel Stiefer just happens to be on hand for the announcement. He threatens Klink with the severest form of punishment and leaves with his men to search the woods. A flabbergasted Klink slinks back to his office to seek the small comfort of his desk - while he still has one - only for Hogan to come barging in. Hogan claims to know where Flood is and offers to go get him. The claim is a wild one, but at this point the desperate Klink will try anything. He agrees to let Hogan go out, so long as Schultz escorts him - and other guards will be just within machine gun range should Hogan try to pull anything.
Hogan does, of course - but not what Klink is expecting. He direct Schultz to a barn not far from camp, where they nab a middle-aged man in civilian clothes and haul him into the back of their truck. Hogan claims it's Flood in disguise. In actuality he is Hogan's incoming OSS agent. On the way back to camp, the agent tells Hogan everything he knows about the new submarine pens and when they will become operational. As soon as they get back to camp, of course, the ruse is almost immediately exposed. Klink berates Hogan for getting the wrong man. The agent, pretending to be frightened and confused, says that he is Max Huebler, an accountant with Horst Industries, and that he thought he was being captured by an American commando. He offers to show his papers to Klink, but the exasperated German colonel waves him out of his office. On the way out, Hogan thanks him for the intel and advises him to slip back out on foot the way he came in.
After a verbal tongue-lashing from Klink, Hogan steps outside the kommandtur to find Schultz escorting Flood back into camp, much to everyone's surprise. Flood explains that he had intended to leave as he had planned, but Hogan's words to him about the importance of what was going on (i.e. the Unsung Heroes' operations) finally got to him. He wanted to do the right thing, so he turned himself back in. Hogan is in the process of congratulating Flood when Stieffer and his men rush up, seize Flood, and promptly haul him away. All that is in for Flood, Stieffer assures him icily, is a trip to Berlin and and a firing squad.
Some time later, back in Barracks 2, Kinch comes up from the tunnels to report that London is thanking them for the sub pen intel. The other Unsung Heroes say nothing, looking glumly at each other, and Hogan's face is the darkest of all. He blames himself for what happened to Flood, intimating that it might have been the wrong time for Flood to do the right thing. The others wonder how Flood will escape from the Gestapo this time. Newkirk even lays odds of 100-to-1 against. "I'll have to take you up on that bet," says a familiar Cockney drawl from up and over Newkirk's shoulder. He turns about and everyone looks up to see Flood lying on the top bunk behind Newkirk. He had been hidden under a blanket all the time, listening to them talk about him. All Newkirk can do is stare in amazement, as Flood grins back at him.
Story Notes Edit
- This is the fifty-seventh episode produced in the series, but is the fifty-eighth episode to be shown on television and is the twenty-sixth episode for the second season
- This is the second time in the series that Carter has turned up inside a footlocker.
Background Trivia Edit
- This item is a historical blooper, but deserves mention here nonetheless. When Sergeant Flood apologizes for being in an officer's quarters, he being an enlisted man, he is referring to peacetime conditions. It is frequent in most of the world's armies for the commanding officer of a group of men, along with one or more of his staff officers, to have an office or sleeping quarters in their barracks. The author of this article cites his own real-life experiences in the U.S. Navy, where the commanding officer of his company had an office in the barracks where his men were quartered. There are many other such examples. In real life during World War II, officer and enlisted ranks among Allied POWs at German Luft-Stalags were kept in entirely different compounds - or, not unfrequently, at entirely different camps. Stalag 13 was an exception (it being a model camp?), not the rule.
- The expression "Gretchen Sunshine" is a Germanization of the phrase "Little Miss Sunshine," and refers to someone who is so cheerful and positive that they may be oblivious to any problems around them.
Timeline Notes and Speculations Edit
- This is the twenty-ninth episode of the series in chronological order, per the series timeline. It follows The Gold Rush, and is in turn followed by Hello, Zollie.
- The U-boat pens mentioned by Kinch are probably the ones at Toulon, France, which began operations on March 9, 1943.
LeBeau, on the joy of sabotage
- LeBeau - "At 9:55 and 10 seconds, ba-BOOM!!! No bridge, no train, and no supplies. What a magnificent disaster we are about to create!"
Just before he heads up the tunnel ladder, LeBeau explains a French phrase he has just said.
- LeBeau - That means, "Tonight we strike a blow for liberty and France!" (offers Carter his hand) Viva la France!
(Not to be outdone, Carter also utters a French phrase - badly, and with an accent.)
- Carter (determined look) - "La plume est sur la table". That means, "The pen is on the table." Viva la table!
(LeBeau stares at him for a moment, then shakes his head.)
Schultz interrupts Klink, who is busy with a mountain of camp paperwork
- Schultz (loudly) - Herr kommandant!
- Klink (quiet and angry, not looking) - What did I tell you this morning about not having any interruptions today?
- Schultz - You said, herr kommandant, that you had lots of important work to do, that you do not want any interruptions, and NO ONE is to bother you.
- Klink (turning, banshee yowl) - SchhuuuLLLLTZ!!!
- Schultz (non-plussed) - No one is going to disturb you today!
- Klink (low and angry, voice quaking) - Someone is already disturbing me.
- Schultz (quietly, confused) - No one is here but the two of us.
- Klink (still angry) - I know, Schultz. But ONE of us should be out there where he was TOLD to be!
- Schultz (genuinely shocked) - You mean ... I am the disturbance? Oh!--
- Klink (resigned, shaking his head) - Schultz ... what is it? What is so important?
- Schultz (matter-of-factly) - There is someone to see you outside.
Burkhalter brings a special guest to Klink
- Burkhalter - According to our records, you have done a remarkable job here at Stalag 13. You are an exceptional commandant, and you are an officer of superior ability
- Schultz (quickly) - Lies! All lies!
- Klink - Quiet, Schultz! (fawning) General Burkhalter, this is very flattering but honestly I don't think I deserve all this high praise.
- Burkhalter (knowing grin) - I don't think so either ... (businesslike) however, you are getting a chance to live up to your reputation. This is Colonel Stieffer of the SS. He has a special assignment for you.
- Klink (to Stieffer, false assurance) - A pleasure, colonel, a real pleasure. Whatever I can do for the SS will be a real privilege! (begins glad-handing him) And I am deeply moved by being chosen for this task! I hope this handshake will mark the beginning of a long and lasting friendship!
- Stieffer (icily) - The SS has no friends.
- Klink (immediately lets go) - Yes sir, I think you've got a good idea on that! After all, when you add up what you spend on dinner parties, luncheons, gifts - I mean, who needs the expense of friendship, when a little hatred doesn't cost you a cent?
(Stieffer just glares at him)
... and after news of Flood's escape finally gets out ...
- Klink (shaking his head sadly) - This looks bad, Schultz. Very bad.
- Schultz (trying to console him) - Jawohl, kommandant ... but, herr kommandant, I was taught no matter how bad something may be, one should always look at the good side.
- Klink - Well, the good side looks pretty bad, too! (snaps at Schultz) Please, Schultz, don't try to be little Gretchen Sunshine today. We've had a very important prisoner escape - now can you find anything GOOD about that?!
- Schultz (thinks a moment, then face lights up) - Sure, herr kommandant! Now that I have no one to guard, you could give me the 12-hour pass?
- Klink says he's been in the German Army for 20 years, but this is incorrect. He's remained a colonel for 20 years. He's been in the German Army closer to 30 years.
- The Most Escape-Proof Camp I've Ever Escaped From at TV.com
- The Most Escaped-Proof Camp I've Ever Ecaped From at the Internet Movie Database
- The Most Escaped-Proof Camp I've Ever Escaped From episode capsule at Webstalag 13
- Hogan's Heroes Fanclub
- The Hofbrau
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