12 minor goofs you never noticed on 'Hogan's Heroes'
Calling attention to tiny mistakes from palm trees to parachutes.
Set in the 1940s, but told from the perspective of the 1960s, Hogan's Heroes had to constantly decide what was more important: being historically accurate or going for laughs with references everbody understood.
The show has been criticized for references that characters simply wouldn't make in the middle of World War II, whether it's claiming to work for the Pentagon before it was built or calling someone "Speedy Gonzales" before the cartoon raced onto screens.
Because the writers seemed to favor humor over history, there are a handful of minor mistakes you can point to throughout the series. Here, we've found a dozen tiny errors that are easy to track as you revisit the Emmy-winning, boundary-pushing series.
1. Hogan didn't work for the Pentagon in 1942, because it didn't exist yet.
Unless Colonel Hogan meant he was working on construction of The Pentagon in 1942, every time he claimed to have been stationed there, it couldn't have been true. The Pentagon didn't officially finish construction until January 1943.
2. Germans likely wouldn't mark confidential documents by writing "Top Secret" in English.
In the third season episode "How to Win Friends and Influence Nazis," General Burkhalter presents Col. Klink with documents marked "Top Secret." While surely the general could have been traveling with confidential documents, it's unlikely he'd have stamped those words in English, since that would likely attract their American prisoners' attention more than it would in Burkhalter's native German.
3. Sergeant Schultz's serial number changes.
In the episode "The Flame Grows Higher," Schultz states his serial number is 23789. Then later in "Bombsight," he says it's 34789. Get it straight, Schultz!
4. LeBeau's hat changes in a single frame.
Here's a little wardrobe malfunction from season 2. In the episode "Colonel Klink's Secret Weapon," LeBeau's got a green hat on one minute, but the next second, he's in his signature red hat. Blink and you probably would miss it!
5. It's set in the 1940s, but all the women look like they're from the 1960s.
Hogan's Heroes ran from 1965 to 1971, and it seems early on, they made the styling decision that the ladies who appeared on the show would do so sporting the trends of that time. The only trouble is the series is set in the 1940s in the middle of WWII, so it seems accuracy was less important than fashion in this one instance.
6. Whenever the courier dropped a package, it was clearly a guy jumping from the plane.
In many episodes, the prisoners receive a package dropped from a courier plane. During these scenes, Hogan would often peer through binoculars and we'd see a mysterious object drop from the plane with a parachute. The original frame nearly always showed the legs of the man who was doing the jumping, but later we'd always see the boys gathered around a box, with no delivery man in sight.
7. They accidentally showed LaBeau in sneakers.
For the fifth season episode "Standing Room Only," there a shot where LaBeau climbs a ladder, and unlike all the other guys who are wearing their military-issued boots, LaBeau's wearing high-top sneakers.
8. They reference Speedy Gonzales more than 10 years before he was created.
"The Fastest Mouse in Mexico" first appeared in the Merry Melodies cartoon Cat-Tails for Two in 1953. So that makes it a little bit of a snag when Hogan opens an envelope without anybody noticing in the episode "Axis Annie" and Newkirk calls him "Speedy Gonzales." Again, since the show was set in 1942, that reference comes more than a decade too soon.
9. You could spot L.A. palm trees in the background in many shots.
All the outdoors scenes in Hogan's Heroes were mostly shot in Culver City, California, where palm trees are everywhere. They had to do their best to shoot around them, since Germany has only a few scarcely seen species of palm tree, due to the country's cooler climate. Next time you're watching, keep your eye on the treeline!
10. Carter's jacket appeared to be new in one scene only.
In pretty much every scene where we see Carter, his jacket is intentionally dirtied up to look thoroughly worn in. The only exception was a single scene early on in the sixth season episode "Kommandant Schultz." Shot only from the side, you can see the white collar is clean and bright, where normally it's made to look soiled.
11. Close-ups reveal that Major Zolle's wearing no lenses in his glasses.
In the first season episode "Hello, Zolle," any time there's a close-up of Major Zolle, you can tell his glasses are totally fake. There's no lenses in them! The same thing happened later on in the sixth season for the episode "The Dropouts," only this time it was Professor Bauer whose glasses were missing the most important element.
12. The tiger tank was actually an American M7 tank.
The historical accuracy of Hogan's Heroes may be imperfect—it's been noted everything from the ranks of the soldiers to the medals they wear are often wrong—but the funniest historical flaw perhaps came in the second episode of season one. For the episode "Hold the Tiger," the whole plot was about a tiger tank, so you'd think they'd have secured the real deal. Instead, they settled for an American M7 tank, which was likely a lot easier to come by in Los Angeles.
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