Hogan’s Heroes: Season 1 Episode 5, “Flight of the Valkyrie”

LOGLINE: Hogan’s efforts to help a German baroness to escape are thwarted by Klink, who has arranged for the transfer of a British prisoner who is senior to Colonel Hogan.

This is the first of about eight episodes of Hogan’s Heroes that features Bernard Fox as Col. Rodney Crittendon of the RAF. A bit difficult, because there are no colonels in the RAF: the equivalent rank is Group Captain, and Fox does wear the uniform jacket of one. My guess is that they didn’t figure we Americans would understand that, certainly not those of us who were casual observers, so they used the rank of colonel. The important thing to the story is that Crittendon had twelve more years as a Group Captain/Colonel than Hogan does, which makes him senior to Hogan.

Thus, when Klink manages to transfer him from Stalag 18, it ends Hogan’s term as Senior POW officer. Perhaps Klink feels that Crittendon will bring Hogan to heel and the "strange things" will stop happening. Or maybe he’s just being an asshole. Or both.

Crittendon is the sort who does everything by the book: calisthenics in the morning, followed by a parade. More importantly, the job of every POW is to try to escape and rejoin his country’s forces. Aside from that, the POW’s coöperate with the Germans in every other way. Hogan gives him a hypothetical: suppose they were running an operation where they help Germans to escape? Crittendon tells him that would be spying, and as such he would be obliged to tell the kommandant.

This is a problem, because there is a German who looks to escape: Baroness Lili von Schlicter, whose husband is a member of der Führer‘s inner circle, who they brought into camp the night Crittendon arrived and who will fly out in a plane that was shot down the night before. The plane is currently in the tunnel being repaired. Lili is impressed with the operation and with Hogan, who’s quick to explain that he’s not the man in charge, Crittendon is. As if on cue, Crittendon, who with Carter and Newkirk is digging his own escape tunnel, breaks through a wall in the tunnel they’re in and pokes his head through. Hogan drops a heavy wrench on his head, knocking him out.

Some time later, Crittendon, his head bandaged from the blow on the head he received, is sitting outside with Hogan, Carter and Newkirk, and says that he saw a woman and a plane in a room before he blacked out. Hogan convinces him that it was all a mirage. Crittendon then launches a plan for breaking out by going through the fence and into the woods that surround the camp, and is surprised that Hogan hasn’t thought of it. Hogan asks him to obtain a tent from Klink for a camp orchestra (they had instruments from the Red Cross, he says, but all they sent were kettle drums) to rehearse in, and Crittendon agrees.

Hogan is rehearsing with the kettle drums in the barracks (Bob Crane was an excellent drummer) when Schultz comes in with Lili, imploring Hogan that wherever she came from to "put her back!" When Schultz leaves, Hogan demands an explanation from her, and she explains that the Gestapo kept her in a basement, and she just had to get air. While this is going on, Crittendon walks in, finds out who she is, and chastises Hogan, saying that her presence could get everyone shot, and that he must report it to Klink. Lili speaks to him, and Crittendon agrees to 24 hours, then tells Hogan that she looks remarkably like the woman he saw in his mirage. Hogan says "that means you have good taste!"

Hogan, Kinch, LeBeau and the Baroness are in the tent, where they’re playing a record of Wagner’s "Flight of the Valkyries" to make it sound like they’re rehearsing, while they’re preparing the plane (which has somehow migrated from the tunnel to the tent) for takeoff. Across the compound, Crittendon is escaping with the "help" of Newkirk and Carter. Here’s what goes on…

CAST:

  • Bob Crane as Hogan
  • Werner Klemperer as Klink
  • John Banner as Schultz
  • Robert Clary as LeBeau
  • Richard Dawson as Newkirk
  • Ivan Dixon as Kinchloe
  • Larry Hovis as Carter
  • Cynthia Lynn as Helga
  • Bernard Fox as Crittendon
  • Louise Troy as Lili

I’ll wait a bit to hit you with the next episode. I had planned on doing these three times a week, but I might want to speed that up.

10 thoughts on “Hogan’s Heroes: Season 1 Episode 5, “Flight of the Valkyrie”

  1. Another great one with the wonderful Bernard Fox whom I always know as Dr. Bombay from Bewitched. He is so distinctive in his voice and mannerisms.

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  2. another great episode. i mentioned it before but I am sure I never watched the show in order- it amazes me how good the show was- right off the bat… Bernard Fox was also in Titanic… I won’t hold that against him.

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    1. Someone has posted a bunch of the shows on YouTube, I guess from a DVD set, and there are a few scenes that don’t show up on MeTV. A little bonus there.

      We’ve never seen “Titanic,” and haven’t felt like we missed anything.

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  3. Malcolm Merriweather is who I think of when I see Fox. By the book would not go well in that camp.

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    1. No, it certainly didn’t. The next time we see Crittendon they take him in through the tunnel (IIRC) and he says “why didn’t you show me this the last time?” and Hogan says “because you said you’d go to Klink and tell him,” to which Crittendon says “Did I? Oh, I suppose I did…”

      Malcolm Merriwether was a completely different character. He was actually competent, at least when it came to domestic things. Bernard Fox was a fine character actor. And remember, he created Dr. Bombay at around the saame time…

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      1. Oh yea he was completely different. It was kind of a shock to see him in this. I’m at episode 12 and I want to say thanks for doing this…it gave me something else to watch that is smartly written.

        I do remember Dr. Bombay… he was so different.

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