9 ways the Hogan's Heroes pilot differs from the rest of the series

Their ranks and uniforms changed — and an entire Hero went missing!

Hogan's Heroes made its debut on September 17, 1965. The World War II sitcom introduced itself with "The Informer," a pilot set in early 1944. Robert Butler directed the episode. He was the studios' go-to man for pilot episodes at the time — he was behind the camera for the pilots of Star Trek, Batman, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare and many more. No wonder Hogan's Heroes worked.

Hogan's Heroes would go on to run for six seasons. But the rest of the episodes were different in certain ways. Let's take a look.

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1. It's in black-and-white, obviously.

The first difference is immediately apparent. Hogan's Heroes was a vividly colorful sitcom — for the most part. "The Informer," however, was filmed in black-and-white. One day later, Get Smart would air its pilot in black-and-white — and similarly make the shift to full-color!

2. It's called "Camp 13" not "Stalag 13."

Throughout the episode, the location is referred to as "Camp 13." Of course, the setting would quickly switch to its familiar name, Stalag 13, in subsequent episodes. (Episode four, "The Inspector General," also uses the name Camp 13, suggesting it was filmed after the pilot.)

3. Hogan and his men live in Barracks 7.

Staying on the subject of familiar settings — Hogan and his heroes are typically housed in Barracks 2 throughout the series. However, from the first scene in the pilot, we see that they are instead living in Barracks 7 in this tale.

4. There's an extra Hero.

Russian-born Leonid Kinskey, perhaps best known as Sascha in Casablanca, has a major, credited role in "The Informer." The St. Petersburg native plays Vladimir Minsk, a Soviet Air Force sergeant living in Hogan's barracks. He also practices his family's trade and serves as the tailor for the heroes. Minsk, however, grew quickly uncomfortable with the role and opted to not sign a contract when the pilot was picked up as a series. Thus, his character vanishes.

5. Larry Hovis did not hide his wedding ring.

Keep a close eye on the left hand of Carter (Larry Hovis). Throughout the episode, a wedding band can be spotted on his ring finger. Hovis was proudly married — but his character, Andrew Carter, was not. The actor refused to take off the ring to honor his bond. So, for the rest of the series, Carter typically wears gloves to cover up the ring. (Though, it can still be rarely spotted on.) Oh, speaking of Carter — in "The Informer," he carries the rank of Lieutenant Carter. Throughout the rest of the series, he is Technical Sergeant Carter.

6. Burkhalter had a different rank.

Staying on the subject of rank changes, Burkhalter (Leon Askin) appears late in the episode as "Colonel Burkhalter." In the rest of the series, the commanding officer is General Burkhalter.

7. Kinchloe wore a different hat.

Ivan Dixon sports a traditional baseball cap in the pilot episode. Throughout the rest of the series, he typically sports a wool cap akin to what Radar wears in M*A*S*H.

8. Helga helped out in the tunnels.

Cynthia Lynn played the first blond German sympathetic to Hogan. Her dedication to the Allies is a little more pronounced in the pilot. Helga appears in the tunnels with the Heroes, serving as their manicurist. This never happens again.

9. Newkirk wore a different uniform.

Richard Dawson had a slightly different look. His cap was a little different, but you will primarily note that Newkirk is not wearing his trademark turtleneck.

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bigbill1961 11 days ago
The article claims that the pilot was set in early 1944, but the opening scene clearly reads Germany 1942.
LisaSelby 13 days ago
Did you know that the actors that portrayed Colonel Klink and Sergent Schultzm were Jewish> I thought it funny that they portrayed Nazis. But then I realized they were trying to make the Nazis look like the fools and idiots they were.
ll675i 17 days ago
Lebeau wore a blue shirt in the first few episodes, then changes to a red shirt.
daywayne 20 days ago
Carter was a leutenant and switched to a Sargeant. Many of the tunnel amenities disappeared..steam room, barber shop. The pilot was the best.
Klink 25 days ago
Start of the best sitcom in history
EmBee 26 days ago
Lt Carter was not a 'Hero' in the pilot. He was one of several allies being sent back to England. When Kinskey bowed out, they decided to keep Hovis but demoted him. My guess is since Carter wasn't the brightest bulb on the strand, having him be an officer and therefore issuing orders, would be problematic. Now he STILL outranked the other Heroes, but Kinch was XNCO. Quite a tribute to Dixon as a black actor in the mid 60s!
ll675i EmBee 17 days ago
Also, the actor that played Olsen didn't want to be a regular, so another reason Carter was kept.
crissrudd4554 26 days ago
Additionally Richard Dawson used a Liverpool accent for Newkirk in the pilot as opposed to the Cockney accent Newkirk has in the series.
Corey 26 days ago
Carter was a Lieutenant and escaped. I believe they called Stalag 13 Camp 13 because of the movie Stalag 17 which Hogan's Heroes was based on.
Wiseguy 26 days ago
#2: Indeed, "The Late Inspector General" was the second episode filmed. The production number in the closing credits says so: #5784-02. (Most series that display production numbers start over each season, but on Hogan's Heroes the number continues upward until the final episode filmed: #168.)
Wiseguy 26 days ago
It is stated in the article that the pilot was set in 1944. As soon as I read that I knew it was wrong. Sure enough, in #1 they show a shot of that scene in the pilot and it clearly shows "1942." Also, in the closing credits of the rest of the series they show a shot of Colonel Klink's World War I helmet which he keeps on his desk with Colonel Hogan's cap hanging off of it. In the pilot they show stills from the episode.
Tarakian10 26 days ago
Kinchloe was not only wearing a different hat, Ivan Dixon was not the first Black Character. Look at your pictures closely not same black man.
Pnut67 26 days ago
And no one has mentioned that Major Hochshtetler (sp?) was a General in the pilot, a major in the series, & wasnt even the same actor? I only know this because its coincidental that,last night they started all over, & then this story.
Wiseguy Pnut67 26 days ago
If you're talking about Major Hochstetter (portrayed by Howard Caine) that character wasn't in the pilot. The second aired episode had a Major Hofstader, but that was a different character and actor. If you're talking about Colonel/General Burkhalter, that was mentioned in the article.
StrayCat Wiseguy 20 days ago
You are correct, two different characters. Also Howard Cain first appeared as a different character before settling in on Major Hochstetter.
F5Twitster 27 days ago
"Russian-born Leonid Kinskey, perhaps best known as Sascha in Casablanca, has a major, credited role in "The Informer.'...Minsk, however, grew quickly uncomfortable with the role and opted to not sign a contract when the pilot was picked up as a series. Thus, his character vanishes."

You mean that Kinskey grew uncomfortable and opted not to sign.
Barry22 27 days ago
I have read that the Russian was dropped because CBS did not want to have a Russian as a good guy character, considering that the Cold War was still going on. And Larry Hovis was just a guest star, playing a pilot who was escaping. The producers were impressed with him and offered him the role of Carter after the pilot was filmed. CBS was also nervous having Dixon in the cast. In the first season there were CBS affiliates in the South that would not show Hogans Heroes because of Dixon.
martok1 Barry22 27 days ago
Do not forget Chekov on Star Trek.
historylover martok1 27 days ago
Or Illya on The Man from UNCLE, which was airing at the same time.
My favorite Russian 😉😊
Wiseguy Barry22 26 days ago
No, the given reason is correct. Leonid Kinskey left on his own because he was uncomfortable with the series' setting. Also, Stewart Moss (Olsen) decided not to continue with the series as a regular (although he did return as that character a few times (including the second-filmed episode, broadcast fourth) and as other characters. Both Kinskey and Moss guest-starred on Perry Mason that season which probably wouldn't have happened if they had stayed with the series.
Tommygunz 27 days ago
Personally my favorite character was John Bannister’s Shultz, I think he secretly liked the prisoners. “I see nothing, I know nothing”
Wiseguy Tommygunz 26 days ago
Then you should know the character was "Schultz" and the actor was "John Banner."
Golfer81 Wiseguy 9 days ago
Banner's line of "I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing" is unquestionably one of the great television shows acting lines. It was an indictment of the German people who looked the other way in WWII while Hitler was killing millions of Jews and people who did not fit his warped mind.
Dave 27 days ago
Hey MeTv trivia folks, you should really run a story about the "secret double agent" NIMROD on the series who was never identified. Rick9G on YouTube has several theory videos on the possibility that NIMROD could be Colonel Klink, Sgt. Schultz, or General Burkhalter. It's fascinating to see the theories.
StrayCat 27 days ago
I read somewhere that the pilot was shot in late 1964 and edited in early 1965, the reason for black in white. Then the producers spent some time researching whether a comedy series about a WWII German prisoner of war camp would offend people. By the time they received the go ahead color had become the defacto norm for TV.
KirwoodDerby StrayCat 26 days ago
Despite what critics thought of the show, America loved it. Let’s face it, it’s a fun show,the good guys always win, the Nazis we’re still easy to hate and even though it’s a sitcom there’s lots of action and adventure. If it weren’t popular MeTV wouldn’t have it in prime time for all these years.
Wiseguy StrayCat 26 days ago
Yes, the pilots for Hogan's Heroes and Get Smart were in black & white because they had been filmed the season before (1964-65). However, many programs were still in b&w in 1965-66 (such as I Dream of Jeannie, also a new program). The producers were far-sighted enough to know color programs would be more popular in the future.
StrayCat Wiseguy 20 days ago
I thought the entire first season of Get Smart was in black and white, not just the pilot.
RedSamRackham 27 days ago
Helga working with the POWs indicated that she was really with under-ground! ☺
kimmer 27 days ago
It's just a show....not a commentary.....no mention about LeBeaux (ROBERT CLAREY...sorry most likely mispelled) whose real life was spent in a concentration camp during the war.
MikeCawthorn kimmer 27 days ago
Because the article is about the differences in the pilot and the rest of the series.
kimmer MikeCawthorn 27 days ago
I know....I got swept up in it...lol
Wiseguy kimmer 26 days ago
It's "LeBeau" and "Robert Clary."
kimmer Wiseguy 26 days ago
Thank you. 😊
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