The introductory CBS logo is gone, but the show remains in top form. Season three of HOGAN'S HEROES is the point at which the actors have become inseparable from their roles.
More Col. Crittendon, Hochstetter, but less of Hilda. This season featured larger roles for Ivan Dixon, Larry Hovis, Robert Clary, and Richard Dawson.
Some of the best shows of the series appear in this season. Included this this collection are episodes about the snowman tunnel, Schultz conveniently misplacing his rifle while under fire, and Crittendon's assignment to replace Hogan at Stalag 13.
Yes, it is still perpetual winter at Stalag 13. Despite the lush California greenry in the background we still believe that it is freezing cold outside. The actors must have been roasting in their jackets and overcoats. Additionally, you do not have to look too carefully in some of the season three episodes to spot a soundstage or studio warehouse in the background -- towering over the barracks set. Then again, after three years it was becoming difficult to find new camera angles from which to shoot.
Klink still reports to General Burkhalter. Leon Askin, as usual, is great in this role. However, throughout the series' six-year run there was always a question as to why a Luftwaffe colonel reported to a Heer general. We will just have to assume that Burkhalter, whose military duties were never fully described in the series, was the local non-combat Wehrkreis commander. From a military heraldry standpoint it is interesting to note that Burkhalter sports a ceremonial Luftwaffe dagger suspended from his leather belt.
Like the costuming of the SS in other television series, HOGAN'S HEROES SS and Gestapo personnel, who should be wearing field gray uniforms in wartime, continue to don their pre-war black attire. I suppose that it made them more readily identifiable as the bad guys. Season Three marks the first time we find Burkhalter and Hochstetter together in the same episode. According to Brenda Scott Royce's book HOGAN'S HEROES: BEHIND THE SCENES, the Hochstetter character was used almost interchangabley for Burkhalter when Leon Askin was unavailable for a show.
There are a couple additional faux pas in this season. In one episode we find Klink summoned to report to a high ranking SS general. He tries on hats trying to decide which one to wear for the visit. The peaked cap he dons for one moment is not his usual Luftwaffe hat, but is a field-green German army (Heer)cap. Additionally, the mystery is solved as to how Sergeant Schultz's cartridge belt remains level around his equitorial girth. Most German soldiers wore leather Y-suspenders to support their heavily laden belts. In one show, while Schultz is temporarily in charge of the Luft Stalag, we see that his overcoat is tailored with metal clips on each side so that his overcoat actually supports his belt.
By the way, doesn't anyone find it peculiar that the French underground is operating so deep inside Germany? Luft Stalag 13's fictional location is in the middle of Germany by Hammelburg. During World War Two, Hammelburg was actually the site of a Yugosloav and American POW camp that housed General George S. Patton's son in law after his capture in North Africa.
In Season Three there are numerous clues that it is 1944 as there is talk of an impending D-Day invasion, two episodes about rocket fuel, and General Hammerschlag's plan for the destruction of Paris prior to its capture by the Allies. In fact, the title of the Paris episode, "Is General Hammerschlag Burning?" is a direct reference to the Larry Collins and Dominique Lepierre book (and later movie of the same name) IS PARIS BURNING? However, a few episodes later, Hogan tries to persuade Klink to play his violin in a POW camp stage production of "Escape Follies of 1943." Much like M*A*S*H, the actual chronological date is not important.
Remember too that this was the year that Desilu Studios was absorbed into Paramount. Some episodes credit Desilu, while others list Paramount. The original STAR TREK likewise shared this change. Considering the fact that the Culver City 40 Acres lot, which was actually 29 acres in size, was surrounded by urban sprawl the studio did a fantastic job depicting the Luftstalag as being located in the country. Indeed, when I stumbled onto a several websites featuring photographs of Stalag 13's set in the northwest corner of the lot, I was amazed at how the narrow, grassy and tree studded berm effectively shielded the lot from the highway, homes, and businesses directly on the other side. About the only recurring clue that civilization lurks nearby are the utility lines above the trees.
As another point of trivia, the edge of the HOGAN'S HEROES set was directly on top of the site of GONE WITH THE WIND's Tara mansion. Unfortunately the dilapidated remains of Stalag 13 were bulldozed in 1976 to make way for modern sound stages and buildings built for a procession of subsequent studio lot owners.
Once again the DVD set is of exceptional quality.