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The Swing Shift

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The Swing Shift
Series: Hogan's Heroes
Episode: The Swing Shift
Original Airdate: February 3, 1967
Production Number: 5784-54
Written by: Ben Joelson & Art Baer
Directed by: Edward H. Feldman
Produced by: Edward H. Feldman & William A. Calihan

Regular Edit

Prisoners Edit

Camp Personnel Edit

Semi-Regulars Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Synopsis Edit

Newkirk gets drafted into the German Army while working on Hogan's plan to sabotage an ammunition factory.

Plot Details Edit

It is blanket distribution day at Stalag 13, when all of the POWs incarcerated there get new blankets for their bunks. As Schultz escorts the men of Barracks 2 back with their new blankets, LeBeau entertains them with one tale of his past romantic escapades. Schultz is as excited as the others at LeBeau's tale - and just as upset when the tale ends with the girl making off with LeBeau "not getting any" - she had spiked his drink, then stolen his wallet. "You twister," Newkirk growls. Just then Kinch spots a car approaching the main gate, and points it out to the others. It is allowed in and pulls up in front of the kommandantur, where an eager Klink greets its occupants - General Burkhalter and a portly civilian in wearing both a nice hat and an expensive, fur-lined coat. The civilian is obviously of some importance, as both Klink and Burkhalter defer to him. "Could be Michelle, coming to return your wallet," Newkirk quips - prompting a laugh from Schultz and the others, and an angry glare from Lebeau. "Jealous," he shoots back.

Kinch reports the matter to Hogan, who promptly instructs him to break out the coffeepot. It is quickly set up, and all of the Heroes gather around to hear the meeting taking place inside Klink's office at that moment. The man turns out to be Herr Hans Speer, one of the most important industrial barons in all of Germany. His specialty is converting pre-war civilian plants into armament works. He has his eye on the old Volkswagen factory (not named in episode - see Background Trivia) located about a mile-and-a-half outside of nearby Hammelburg. Speer is having the place converted into an anti-aircraft cannon production plant. Speer is impressed with Klink's no-escape record at Stalag 13, and feels that he might be able to help his efforts at making his new Hammelburg plant one of the most efficient in all of Germany. His new factory will be running day and night - and since the guard complement that the German military has promised him has not yet arrived, he wants some of Klink's "efficient guards" to protect his works. Klink starts to protest (since he's already short-handed) but Burkhalter promptly overrules him. As Burkhalter and Speer toast to the success of the new factory (with a glum Klink sitting it out), the Heroes put up the coffeepot to ponder what they've just heard. Kinch asks what they should do next. Hogan tells him to radio London for an air strike, assuring them that the Allies will turn Herr Speer's new factory into "an acre of scrap iron."

To Hogan's dismay, London tables his request for an air strike. Kinch notes that other higher-priority German targets are ahead of them - most notably the new submarine pens (ref Hello, Zolle), the ball-bearing plant at Schwinefurt, the tank factory at Hamburg, a Messerschmitt assembly plant in Wiesbaden, and "a drugstore in Dusseldorf." Hogan's eyebrows rise at this last listed target. "Maybe somebody made a reservation?" Kinch suggests. In short, Hogan's request for an air strike can't be acted on for at least six weeks. Hogan decides, since an immediate air strike is out of the question, to take matters into his own hands. The Heroes will have to take out the factory themselves. When the other Heroes express doubts, Hogan smiles at them. "Haven't any of you ever worked a swing shift before?" he asks.

It is the following evening. A crowd of newly hired factory workers are filling themselves at the Hofbrau - a place that the Heroes know all too well. Four of them are there in civilian clothes, spotting the crowd. They are Hogan, Newkirk, Carter, and LeBeau. Kinch, for obvious reasons, cannot join them, and has remained behind to oversee things back at Stalag 13.They settle on their marks and set their plan in motion. Lebeau walks up to four men at a table close to the door and asks for help with getting his car unstuck. The men relucantly oblige - and are jumped by both the Heroes and underground agents as soon as they leave the Hofbrau. A short time later, the four Heroes re-enter the Hofbrau - now sporting the identification badges of the men they jumped - have a round of drinks, and head to the factory with the others when the whistle blows. They follow Newkirk - even Hogan - because Newkirk is the lucky man wearing the line foreman's badge. There is a brief moment of anxiety at the gate, where Schultz is checking name badges, but the fat German sergeant is so busy trying to impress Herr Speer that all he does is glance at their badges. He doesn't even look at their faces - which is fortunate, for if he had, then Hogan's plan would have been stopped before it could even get started. The four mill into the vast factory with the other workers, and are soon lost amid the noise and seeming confusion of men at work.

It only takes a few days, working "the swing shift" between factory and camp, for Hogan and his men to determine what to do. They are part of the final assembly stage for the flak cannon barrels, and it is their job to make sure that none are defective. Hogan and LeBeau promptly reset the machines (while Carter keeps the real inspector occupied) so that they will turn out plugged barrels - thus making them useless. Another moment of consternation ensues when Schultz happens across them and recognizes them for who they are. Hogan manages to talk him out of turning them in by threatening to expose the fact that Schultz is responsible for letting them both escape from camp and sneak into a top-secret armaments factory. He also says, truthfully, that they'll only be at the factory for "a couple of days" and they'll leave once they're done. "You have my word," he says to Schultz - who is understandably confused and fearful, but who in the end goes along with them.

The biggest snafu to Hogan's plans, though, happens the day on which they plan to blow up the factory. Carter has just found the perfect place to plant their bomb. "This place is loaded with gunpowder!" he excitedly tells Hogan, for the basement storerooms are full of it for the ammunition casings. It wouldn't take much to set the whole store off. Herr Speer calls a temporary halt to work to make a special announcement. One of his best workers has been called up for duty with the Wehrmacht - and it is Muller (Newkirk)! The flabberghasted Newkirk has no choice but to leave with the guards. Hogan, Carter, LeBeau, and Schultz can but watch helplessly as Newkirk goes to his new job as an infantry private. Newkirk pulls every stunt he can think of during his physical, but it does no good - the medic just looks at him, then says that since he's breathing, he's physically fit. Newkirk's roller-coaster impressement into the Luftwaffe takes him for quite a ride, especially when Colonel Klink visits the induction center to draft new guards for Stalag 13. Newkirk barely manages to avoid a face-to-face confrontation, but doesn't avoid the guard assignment. He is already in uniform, ready to march back to Stalag 13 as a guard (!) when orders come from on high for him to be separated out. He is to be discharged and returned to the factory at once. Herr Speer has apparently intervened on his behalf. The amazed Newkirk returns to find the other Heroes waiting for him, and they fill him in even as they finish up their bombwork. Hogan, risking the exposure of their sabotage work, had shown Herr Speer one of the flak cannon barrels that had not been cast deep enough for firing. He had repeatedly asserted that such a thing would have never happened had Muller remained as foreman. Herr Speer, realizing that where there was one bad barrel there would be more, had moved heaven and earth to get Mueller (Newkirk) back so his factory would be back at top efficiency. Newkirk thanks the others for saving him ... and Carter wires his bomb to the factory whistle before they leave it for the last time. On the way out, though, they hand Schultz their time cards to punch out for them, while they hurry back to camp lest this night's absence be discovered.

Early the next morning, Klink treats Herr Speer to breakfast in his office. Speer thanks him for the use of his guards. Now that he has some of his own, he won't need Klink's anymore. As Klink escorts his guest to his car, Speer notes that when the next whistle blows, his factory will have produced 1000 cannons for the Reich. The whistle blows ... and a tremendous explosion rocks the landscape. "Congratulations on a job well done," Hogan tells Carter, as the Heroes watch the smoke billow in the distance.

The episode ends with a night roll call. A chill breeze is blowing, and everyone is dressed warmly. Klink is delivering his standard "no escapes" lecture for the benefit of some new prisoners. "I have personally trained these guards, and they never miss a thing!" Klink exclaims proudly. Hogan and his men say nothing, not giving Klink any clue to the fact that the guard on his left is actually Private Addison in disguise. Klink continues, noting that the recent sabotage at Herr Speer's cannon factory didn't happen while "my guards" were on the job. Hogan and Schultz exchange knowing glances as Klink continues. "Those guards will be watching you, and I will be watching them!" he concludes. "No one has ever fooled me yet!" Just as Klink dismisses them, Newkirk can't resist sneezing. It was a trick he used to keep Klink from seeing him at the induction center, and it attracts the commandant's attention at once. Hogan quickly hustles Newkirk and the others back into the barracks - leaving Klink trying to remember where he had heard such a sneeze before.

Story Notes Edit

  • This is the fifty-fourth episode to be produced in the series, but is the fifty-third episode to be shown on television and is the twenty-first episode for the second season.
  • Hal Smith is better known as Otis Campbell, the town sot (drunk), on The Andy Griffith Show.
  • Herr Spear, the character played by Hal Smith, is an indirect reference to Nazi Minister of Armaments Albert Speer.
  • We see the neon sign for the Hofbrau in this episode.
  • The old automobile factory Herr Speer plans to convert is about a mile and a half outside of Hammelburg, and also about a mile from Stalag 13.
  • The German aliases assumed by Hogan, LeBeau, Carter, and Newkirk while working at the factory are Ritter, Kornhauser, Baum, and Muller.
  • This is the only episode in which Newkirk gets to have authority over Hogan - due to the fact that he is posing as the foreman for their work group.
  • Private Addison appears in German uniform as the guard standing to Klink's left during the final roll call of the episode.

Background Trivia Edit

  • Although it is not so named, the automobile factory that Herr Speer takes over is a Volkswagen plant. This can be discerned by Klink's description of the automobiles that it used to produce - "A fine little car ... for the ordinary people." Herr Speer's takeover can thus be seen as an allusion to the real-life history of the Volkswagen. Championed by the Fuhrer himself and designed by Dr. Fredrich Porsche (of sports car fame) to be "the People's Car" (hence its name in German), the intent was for every German worker to earn (via paycheck deductions) and eventually own his own car. Due to the early onset of the war, not a single Volkswagen made it to any German workers. The few that were made were requisitioned as war materials, and the plants converted for military use. The car itself would find lasting fame after the war as the VW "Beetle."
  • Judging from the size and diameter of the so-called cannons that Herr Spear is fabricating at his plant, he most likely has a contract for making anti-aircraft (AA) guns - also known as "flak cannons" (Fliegerabwehrkanone).
  • The expression "when the whistle blows" comes from the early part of the 20th century, when steam dominated as the major power source for industry. Steam whistles were installed at almost every plant and factory, and blown to signify work shift starts, stops, and changes. The sound of steam whistles dominated the industrial landscape until more efficient means of powering industrial machinery was devised; however, both the expression and the steam whistle have survived the passing of time.
  • When Hogan says "There'll be a service star in my window" with regards to Newkirk being drafted, he is refering to a American practice during World War II. Families with members in service put stars in the windows of their homes - like the ribbon campaigns of later wars and generations of Americans. This let everybody know which homes had family members fighting in the war.
  • Some fans have noted that Newkirk's tribulations with the German draft board can be interpreted as a parody of what young American men were going through with their own draft boards during the Vietnam War - which was being fought at the time Hogan's Heroes first aired.

Timeline Notes and Specuations Edit

  • This is the thirty-first episode of the series in chronological order. It follows Hello, Zollie, and is in turn followed by The Late Inspector General.
  • The date for this episode is fairly well fixed by the reference to the bombing raid on Schweinfurt (October 14, 1943). The Allies can't bomb the new munitions plant at Hammelburg for "at least six weeks" because "the ball bearing plant at Schweinfurt" has higher priority. Thus, this episode takes place no later than the end of August, 1943. The fan-derived series timeline places it several months earlier - due both to the number of other targets on London's list, and other events in other episodes that appear to take place before the Schweinfurt raid.

Quotes Edit

Klink, on striving for excellence.

  • Klink (to Speer) - My father always said, "Whatever you do in life, do it the best - the very best."
  • Burkhalter (matter-of-fact) - You should have taken his advice.

One of Burkhalter's best rejoinders to Klink's fawning

  • Burkhalter (low) - Shut up and listen.
  • Klink (after a beat) - Yes, sir. Shut up and listen.

Klink starts to brag on his time at Stalag 13 to Herr Speer. Burkhalter (barely) tries to contain his disgust, while the Unsung Heroes grin at each other.

  • Klink (to Speer) - You may not know it, sir, but we've never had an escape here. Not one single escape!
  • Hogan (listening in, sarcastic) - Remarkable. "Never an escape from Stalag 13, not one."
  • LeBeau (also listening in, sarcastic) - No, not one. Maybe a hundred, but not one.
  • Speer - A very impressive record, colonel.
  • Klink (gushing) - Even if I say so myself, I must take full credit for the security in this camp.

(Burkhalter snorts. Klink apparently doesn't hear him)

  • Klink (continuing) - I am on top of everything, as General Burkhalter will tell you.
  • Burkhalter (snidely) - I could also tell you a few other things about him.
  • Klink (not getting the joke) - Oh, general! You're too kind. (does a double-take, then frowns)

On the job at the flak cannon factory ...

  • Newkirk (with authority, but joking) - Come on, come on! The boys at the front need these cannons, you know!
  • LeBeau - I can't wait until he's 65 and they lay him off.
  • Hogan - He's drunk with power.
  • Newkirk - Just get on with it. (walks away)

Carter discovers where to plant his bombs in the factory

  • Carter (excited) - I've just been pokin' around down in the storeroom.
  • LeBeau - Instead of up here working?!
  • Hogan (deadpan) - The foreman (Newkirk) is going to be very upset.
  • Carter - No! This is important! This joint's loaded with gunpowder!

(Both LeBeau and Hogan react to this revelation)

  • Hogan - Really? That's interesting. Enough to do any real damage?
  • Carter (excited again) - Are you kidding?! With a detonator and a timer and a fuse, we could blow this place clear to London!!
  • Hogan (smiling) - And the Air Force could bomb it there in their spare time.
  • LeBeau - What do you think, colonel
  • Hogan (now grinning) - I think the Fourth of July's going to be a little early this year.

Hogan, on Carter

  • Hogan - "[He's] one of the great pyromaniacs of our time."

The Unsung Heroes react to Newkirk (Muller) being drafted into the German Army.

  • Carter (amazed) - Wow! Can you imagine going through basic training again?
  • LeBeau - And as a private? They should at least give him his stripes back.

(An amazed Schultz enters the workroom and makes a beeline for Hogan)

  • Schultz (low worried voice) - Colonel Hogan, please tell me it isn't true what I just heard. Please! Tell me it is not true!
  • Hogan (irritated) - That what isn't true, Schultz?
  • Schultz (still worried) - That Newkirk enlisted in the German Army?
  • Hogan (upset) - He's IN the German Army! Don't worry - he'll visit you when he comes home on furlough.
  • Schultz (upset, talking fast) - I don't want him to come visit me, I don't want him in the German Army, it is against rules for ONE MAN to be in TWO ARMIES in ONE WAR!
  • Hogan (pointed) - Schultz ... we're no happier about this than you are that he's in the German Army, but it happened by accident and we don't know how to get him out.
  • Schultz (to himself) - Iiiiiiii ... I think what's going to happen to me when Commandant Klink hears about this--no, no, no, I don't want to think.
  • LeBeau (trying to be helpful) - C'mon, just tell him something. What if he doesn't pass the physical? Maybe he can fool the doctor?
  • Hogan (thinking) - Newkirk could do it. He's the kind of guy that would.
  • Carter - Well, forget it. If it's anything like my draft board physical, they took your x-ray - and if your bones showed, you were in.
  • Schultz (hopeful) - Then it is possible he might NOT pass the physical examination?
  • Hogan - Judge for yourself, Schultz. You passed.

Wehrmacht recruit exam c.1943, with Muller (Newkirk) as the subject

  • Doctor - Sit down on the brown chair.

(Newkirk does as he is told)

  • Doctor - Color vision excellent.

(Newkirk wonders at this, but says nothing)

  • Doctor - Name?
  • Newkirk - Uhmm, Muller - Wolfgang Muller.
  • Doctor - Memory perfect.

(The doctor picks up a pistol loaded with blanks and fires it at the floor beside Newkirk, who jumps out of his seat)

  • Doctor - Hearing perfect, reflexes excellent. Have you had any serious illnesses or major operations.
  • Newkirk (emphatically) - You name it, doctor, I've had it.
  • Doctor - In the last three days?
  • Newkirk (disbelieving) - In the last three days?!
  • Doctor - Since Tuesday noon, to be exact.
  • Newkirk (trying to play along) - What was I doing Tuesday?
  • Doctor - Obviously not. Congratulations, Muller! You are in the army.
  • Newkirk (jumps up, leans over desk) - The examination's over? That's it?!
  • Doctor (not looking at him) - Correct. Wait outside.
  • Newkirk - I'm human! I could be a very sick man!

(The doctor finally looks up)

  • Doctor - Or worse, if you don't obey orders ....
  • Newkirk (protesting) - But I've got all kinds of things wrong with me! Don't you want to look at my blood?
  • Doctor (deadpan) - Why? Are you bleeding? Outside!

Klink, on "Private Muller" (Newkirk)

  • Klink - "We are certainly scraping the bottom of the barrel these days!"

Herr Speer returns Muller (Newkirk) to his factory

  • Hogan - Well, look who's home - our boy in service!
  • LeBeau - Was army life too tough for you? Ft
  • Newkirk - I almost ended up a guard at Stalag 13!
  • Hogan (disbelieving) - What?!
  • Newkirk - That's right. Old Klink was at the induction center looking for replacements!
  • Hogan - Did he see you?
  • Newkirk - I kept sneezing all the time. I don't think he recognized me. Where's Carter?
  • Hogan - He's wiring the TNT. We'll all be out of work tomorrow.
  • Newkirk - Wouldn't you know it? Right before I get my raise.

(the end-of-shift bell rings, and Hogan looks at his watch)

  • Hogan - Well, it's home for dinner to the wife and kinder (German - children).

Bloopers Edit

  • During the dissolve from Carter and LeBeau in the tunnel to an outdoor shot of the Hofbrau, a postwar car rushes past -- possibly a post-1960 Thunderbird. Then two big station wagons speed by. One is from 1965 or near; the other may be as old as 1955.
  • Although it is said - several times - that Newkirk is being drafted into the German Army (Heer), all of the military personnel save one at the induction center are wearing Air Force (Luftwaffe) uniforms. The one exception is the Wehrmacht officer - Major Pintz - that escorts Klink into the room where the new recruits (and Newkirk) have just finished their physicals.
  • In addition to the above, a second costuming gaffe was made (although very slight). The collar insignias on the new recruits range from Flieger (Private) to Obergefreiter (Corporal), which, while not technically incorrect for a regular member of the Luftwaffe, was not appropriate for newly-inducted and untrained enlisted men to wear, to say nothing of a newly-inducted, non-commissioned recruit wearing ANY rank above Flieger. Most likely, the costume department simply grabbed the uniforms from some of the Stalag background guards in order to save time and expense, as they figured few, if any, viewers would be aware of the mistake.

External links Edit

Previous episode:
Hogan and the Lady Doctor
Next episode:
Heil Klink

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