Hogan’s Heroes: Season 1 Ep 21, “The Great Impersonation”

Let’s see if I can get caught up here…

LOGLINE: Sergeant Schultz impersonates Klink in a scheme to get some of his men free from the Gestapo.

LeBeau, Newkirk, Carter, and Kinchloe are out on a sabotage mission. They’ve wired dynamite to railroad tracks and, as the train passes through, Newkirk sets off the explosives. They’re in a festive mood, but when they start back for the camp Carter realizes that he doesn’t have the compass. LeBeau and Newkirk give Carter grief while Kinch climbs a tree to see if he can see the camp. Meanwhile, a Gestapo patrol comes up behind them and captures them.

Kinch sees all this from his vantage point and returns to camp, where he tells Hogan what happened. Hogan decides that he has to find them and bring them back, but doesn’t know where they have taken them. Fortunately, says Kinch, they’re all wearing phony dog tags.

Meanwhile, a Gestapo captain is looking at the dog tags the three men were wearing, and sees that the names don’t go with the men or the uniforms. Carter was wearing dog tags that say his name is Antonio Calvelli; LeBeau is identified as Jock McPherson; and Newkirk is identified as Heinrich Hilgenbecker. The captain orders that the three be taken to Stalag 4 and placed in solitary confinement.

Hogan and Kinch need to find out where the other three are, so Hogan goes to Klink’s office and keeps him busy with some trivial matter, while Kinch uses a portable receiver (like the ones used by telephone repairmen, which he did as a civilian) and Klink’s phone line to call Gestapo headquarters as "General Kinchmeyer" to find out where they are. Klink tries to make a call and is connected with "Kinchmeyer," who reads him the riot act…

At roll call, Schultz realizes that there are three men missing. He starts to recount, but Hogan stops him, tells him there are three missing – who Schultz was supposed to be watching – and leans on him to lie to Klink. In the barrack afterward, Hogan tells him the story. Schultz tells them he’ll tell Klink. who will get them back, and Hogan and Kinch start the psychological battle: by now, the Gestapo has questioned them, and they’ve told them all about Schultz accepting bribes and trading secret information for candy bars. Schultz has visions of being shot, sent to the Russian front, or both. Hogan says that they need to send an officer from Stalag 13 to get the men, and that the officer is Schultz.

Schultz initially refuses, saying that he won’t pass as an officer, and leaves the barracks, but is back less than a minute later, willing to do it. Then, as Kinch is measuring him for his uniform, he changes his mind again, too afraid of getting caught, and walks out again. Hogan knows he needs to turn up the heat on him, so, with Klink watching, he gives Schultz a pack of cigarettes, and Kinch gives him a can of sardines, mentioning that he’ll have the chocolate bars later. Klink confiscates the bribes from him and tells him to put himself on report, tucks the contraband in his pockets, and goes back to his office. Hogan tells Schultz that when they add this report to the information the Gestapo gets out of the other three, he’s on his way to the Russian front.

Later, Schultz walks into the barracks and sees the men collecting money for a man’s widow and realizes the money is for his widow, gives the money back and says he’ll do it. They have him rehearse what he’ll say to Major Bernsdorf (kommandant of Stalag 4) and how he’ll act while impersonating Klink. It’s a comedy of errors, but eventually he does a passable impersonation of an arrogant camp kommandant and they set the rest of the mission in motion: Hogan will act as "Klink’s" adjutant, they have a truck to transport the prisoners, and they’ve fixed the window in Klink’s office so that "General Kinchmeyer" can get in and make a call to Bernsdorf at an appropriate time.

Schultz and Hogan arrive at Stalag 4 and go in to see Bernsdorf, who’s reluctant to let the prisoners go until "General Kinchmeyer" calls him and orders them to be released to Klink. Carter, LeBeau and Newkirk are brought out and loaded into the truck. As they’re leaving, they notice that Schultz has passed out.

The next day, the Gestapo captain who did the capture is walking through the lineup of prisoners looking for Calvelli, MacPherson, and Hilgenbecker (who are standing inside the barracks laughing). He accuses Klink of taking them, and Klink protests that he was in all might, sleeping. The captain’s description fits Schultz ("6 feet tall, 300 pounds"), of course, but Klink doesn’t realize that. The captain says he will investigate the matter and leaves. Hogan points out to Klink that Schultz fits the captain’s description, and Klink laughs as he walks away. At the end, Hogan suggests to Schultz that he should go on a diet…

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
  • James Frawley as Gestapo captain (not otherwise named)
  • Bert Freed as Maj. Bernsdorf

IMDb lists Harvey Keitel as an uncredited German Soldier.

5 thoughts on “Hogan’s Heroes: Season 1 Ep 21, “The Great Impersonation”

  1. I just saw this episode about 4 or so weeks ago and enjoyed it. It is one where Schultz is more than just a “I know nuthin” kind of guy. I was quite funny and a few laugh out loud moments.

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