On September 17, 1965, Hogan’s Heroes came to American households for the first time. World War II provided the backdrop for this CBS sitcom set in the fictional German POW camp, Stalag 13. Robert Crane portrayed Colonel Bob Hogan, who led Allied POWs in schemes against the camp’s Nazi commander, Colonel Klink.
The series lasted for six seasons before CBS canceled it in 1971, as a result of the television industry’s “rural purge.” But during its time on air, Hogan’s Heroes produced thousands of loyal fans who still enjoy the show today. Hogan’s Heroes also inspired some strange collectibles, including comic books, a music album, and other obscure memorabilia. And although the show became a pop culture sensation, things happened both in front of and behind the camera that will surprise even diehard fans.
Read on to find out just what went on behind-the-scenes of Hogan’s Heroes…
1. Hogan’s Heroes Originally Took Place In An American Prison
Fans tuned in to Hogan’s Heroes on CBS every Friday night to watch Colonel Hogan’s crew of POWs conduct hilarious pranks against their German captors. But the series might have been entirely different if the show’s creators had gone with their original idea. Showrunners originally wanted Hogan’s Heroes to take place in an American prison!
However, at the same time, NBC was developing a show entitled Campo 44, which took place in an Italian POW camp. To stay competitive, CBS changed the location of Hogan’s Heroes to a German POW camp. According to Albert Ruddy, one of the show’s creators, it took only one day to revise the script with the new setting.
Of course, in the end, Campo 44 never aired. Though it did, in its own small way, have a profound effect on television history.