Original Hogan’s Heroes TV Program Colonel Klink Wardrobe WWII German Luftwaffe Visor Cap
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. If you are younger than 50 years old you may have never heard of the television program HOGAN'S HEROES. However, along with Sergeant Bilko, this was one of the most popular military shows of the era.
Hogan's Heroes is an American television sitcom set in a German prisoner of war (POW) camp during World War II. It ran for 168 episodes from September 17, 1965, to April 4, 1971, on the CBS network. Bob Crane starred as Colonel Robert E. Hogan, coordinating an international crew of Allied prisoners running a Special Operations group from the camp. Werner Klemperer played Colonel Wilhelm Klink, the incompetent commandant of the camp, and John Banner was the inept sergeant-of-the-guard, Hans Schultz.
This reproduction WW2 Luftwaffe Visor cap dates from the 1960s and was worn by the actor Werner Klemperer who played Colonel Klink on the show.
The hat is ink stamped CBS WARDROBE on both the silk inner lining and leather sweatband. There is an early Western Costume Company label stitched to the liner that reads:
No. Hogan’s Heroes
Name W. Klemperer
Chest ___ Sleeve___
Hat 2 of 3
The hat is in very nice worn condition and makes a very compelling part of early television history, originating from a now deceased collector of TV and military memorabilia. Unfortunately there is no paperwork to accompany this piece.
History of the show:
The setting is a fictional version of Stalag Luft 13 (Camp 13 in early episodes), a prisoner-of-war camp for captured Allied airmen located north of the town of Hammelburg in the Bad Kissingen woods. It was on the Hammelburg Road (now known as E45), on the way to Hofburgstraße and eventually Düsseldorf. "Anchors Aweigh, Men of Stalag 13" (S1E16) reveals the camp is 60 miles from the North Sea. Another episode places the camp 106 kilometres (66 mi) from Heidelberg in flying miles; it is 199 km (124 mi) by car. The camp has 103 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) during the first season, but becomes larger by the end of the series.
Though the series spans several seasons, it always appears to be winter at Stalag 13; there are ever-present patches of snow on the ground and on buildings, and prisoners regularly gather around a barrel fire or shiver through roll call. However, some episodes do in fact take place in spring or summer (such as the episode dealing with the D-Day invasions).
Hogan tries to influence visiting Italian Major Bonacelli (Hans Conried) into helping him.
The premise of the show is that the prisoners of war (POWs) are actually using the camp as a base of operations for Allied espionage and sabotage against Nazi Germany as well as to help Allied POWs from other camps and defectors to escape Germany (including supplying them with civilian clothes and false identification). The prisoners work in cooperation with an assortment of resistance groups (collectively called "the Underground"), defectors, spies, counterspies, disloyal officers, and others. The mastermind behind the whole operation is the senior ranking prisoner US Army Air Forces Colonel Robert Hogan. His staff of experts in covert operations comprises two Americans, one British serviceman, and one Frenchman. They are able to accomplish schemes such as having a prisoner visit the camp as a phony Adolf Hitler or rescuing a French Underground agent from Gestapo headquarters in Paris. The show is thus a combination of several writing styles that were popular in the 60s: the "wartime" show, the "spy" show, and "camp comedy."
Colonel Hogan and his band are aided by the incompetence of the camp commandant Colonel Klink and Sergeant of the Guard Schultz, both of whom wish to avoid trouble at any cost: the latter declaring "I know nothing" under even the slightest provocation. Hogan routinely manipulates Klink and gets Schultz to look the other way while his men conduct these covert operations. Klink and Schultz are constantly at risk of being transferred to the cold and bloody Russian Front, and Hogan helps to keep the duo in place if for no other reason for fear of their being replaced by more competent soldiers. In general, Germans in uniform and authority are depicted as inept, dimwitted, and/or easily manipulated. Many of the German civilians are portrayed as at least indifferent towards the German war effort or even willing to help the Allies.
Klink has a perfect operational record as camp commandant in that no prisoners have escaped during his time in the job (two guards may have deserted). Hogan actually assists in maintaining this record and ensures any prisoners who need to be spirited away are transferred to another authority before their escape takes place, or replacements are provided to maintain the illusion that no one has ever escaped from Stalag 13. Because of this record, and the fact that the Allies would never bomb a prison camp, the Germans use the Stalag for high level secret meetings or to hide important persons or projects the Germans want to protect from bombing raids. Klink also has many other important visitors and is temporarily put in charge of special prisoners. This brings the prisoners in contact with many important VIPs, scientists, high-ranking officers, spies, and some of Germany's most sophisticated and secret weapons projects (Wunderwaffe), which the prisoners take advantage of in their efforts to hinder the German war effort.
The main five Allied prisoners (Hogan and his staff) bunk in "Barracke 2" (a goof here was that whenever the door was open, another building labeled "Barracke 3" could be seen, even though the barracks were supposed to be directly in front of the Kommandantur, which was, unlike actual prison camps, situated inside the prisoner's compound (kommandantur = headquarters, barracke = barracks). The prisoners are able to leave and return almost at will via a secret network of tunnels and have tunnels to nearly every barracks and building in the camp, so much so that Hogan, in a third-season episode ("Everybody Loves a Snowman"), has difficulty finding a spot in the camp without a tunnel under it. The stove in Klink's private quarters, a tree stump right outside the camp (known as the emergency tunnel), and a doghouse in the guard dog compound serve as trapdoors. A bunk in their barracks serves as an elaborate trapdoor and the main entrance to the tunnels. The tunnels include access to the camp's Cooler, a name used by Allied prisoners for solitary confinement, where prisoners are routinely sent for punishment and to hold special prisoners temporarily entrusted to Klink. Just inside the "emergency tunnel" is a submarine-style periscope, which the prisoners use to check conditions outside the tree stump trapdoor. There is also a periscope in their barracks with one end hidden in a water barrel outside the barracks and the other disguised as a sink faucet inside the barracks that allows them to see events in the compound.
The prisoners' infiltration of the camp is so extensive it includes control of the camp telephone switchboard, allowing them to listen in on all conversations and to make phony phone calls. They have radio contact with Allied command, based in London, code named "Mama Bear" in some episodes and "Papa Bear" in others. Hogan's code name is "Goldilocks" sometimes, and Papa Bear other times, although in later seasons Stalag 13 utilized different code names. Their radio antenna is hidden in the camp flagpole on top of Klink's headquarters, and the prisoners are able to make phony radio broadcasts including some by a prisoner impersonating Adolf Hitler. A real microphone, hidden in Klink's office in the picture of Hitler making a speech exactly where the microphone is in the picture, allows the prisoners to hear what is being said in the office (the speaker is disguised as the coffee pot in their barracks). The guard dogs are friendly to the prisoners, thanks to the town veterinarian Oscar Schnitzer (played by Walter Janowitz), who supports the prisoners. He routinely replaces the dogs on the premise that they could become too friendly with the prisoners, but he also uses his truck to smuggle people and items in and out of the camp, where the German guards are too afraid of the dogs to open the truck. Prisoners work in the camp's motor pool and "borrow" vehicles, including Klink's staff car, as needed to carry out their schemes. Sections of the barbed wire fence are in a frame which the prisoners can easily lift when they need to get out of the camp. When required, Allied airplanes land near the camp, or make airdrops. Allied submarines pick up escapees and defectors Hogan and his men are helping flee Germany.
Colonel Wilhelm Klink (portrayed by Werner Klemperer) - Kommandant Colonel Wilhelm Klink is an old-line Luftwaffe officer of aristocratic (Junker) Prussian descent, but is inept, a bit dimwitted, cowardly, and often clueless and rather gullible. His favorite expression was "No prisoner ever escaped from Stalag 13", though prisoners could virtually come and go as they pleased. He was born circa 1895 in Leipzig, though he refers to Düsseldorf, where he attended the Gymnasium (high school) (graduating 43rd in his class), as his home town. After failing the entrance exams to study law or medicine, he received an appointment from Kaiser Wilhelm II to a military academy, through the influence of his uncle, the Bürgermeister's barber, and graduated 95th in his class the only one who has not risen to the rank of general. He has been stuck at the rank of colonel for twenty years with an efficiency rating a few points above "miserable". However, when questioned by Colonel Hogan, Colonel Klink admits that many of his higher-ranking classmates have been killed in action or shot by Hitler. The nearest he ever comes to becoming a general is when Hogan tricks Klink and the German General Staff into thinking Klink has been personally chosen by Hitler to be the new Chief of Staff just as the D-Day invasion begins. When faced with a decision whether to move the German reserves to Normandy or not, Klink can only order more champagne. In another episode, when he thinks he is going to be rich, he claims his 500-year-old name will finally have some money as well. One episode has Klink's coat of Arms with a big "K" with Fencing swords. He always wears a monocle (which often reflects an image of the round studio lights) on his left eye, usually carries a riding crop, and walks with a stoop. Normally Klink is seen wearing an Iron Cross First Class, along with the 1939 clasp for a second award (spange), Ground Assault Badge of the Luftwaffe, and the Pilot's Badge. The former implies that he also earned both an Iron Cross Second Class as well as the Honor Cross for service in World War I. (See picture at right of Klemperer with Bernard Fox.). One or two episode have Klink wearing the Pour le Mérite. A veteran aviator of the First World War, Klink is content to live out the end of his military career in the relative comfort and safety of a prison camp commandant's billet, although in one episode he wishes he were piloting a Heinkel bomber again and wants his old bomb group back. However, his piloting skills are suspect. On August 4, 1917, during World War I, he panicked and crashed, which left his passenger with a permanent limp. His passenger was none other than "The Blue Baron" Mannfred von Richter (a parody of Manfred von Richthofen, "The Red Baron"). The Blue Baron, by then a general, visits Klink in "Will the Blue Baron Strike Again?" and reminds Klink of the injury. But according to Burkhalter and Schultz, Klink is too afraid to fly. Hogan is able to very easily manipulate Klink through a combination of flattery, chicanery, and playing on Klink's fear of being sent to the hazardous Russian Front or of being arrested by the Gestapo. Klink is for the most part portrayed as a vain, bumbling, and incompetent career officer rather than as an evil German or ardent Nazi. Colonel Klink received the Citation of Merit-Second Class (fictitious) from General Stauffen during World War II. The general visits Stalag 13 to get a briefcase from Hogan filled with explosives for a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, all under the unsuspecting eyes of Klink. This is typical of the scenarios in which Hogan will entangle Klink. A running gag is that Klink gets doused with water or covered with snow for comedic effect. Another running gag is that Klink is an inept violinist, and is only able to play the U.S. Army Air Forces Song. (In real life, Werner Klemperer was a skilled violinist, son of the famous orchestra conductor Otto Klemperer, and a skilled orchestra conductor in his own right.) General Burkhalter tells Klink, a bachelor, he needs to marry into an important family to improve his chances of becoming a general. Klink initially thinks that Burkhalter is referring to his lovely niece, but Klink finds out that it is actually Burkhalter's homely and gruff sister, the widow Frau Linkmeyer. Klink narrowly escapes from this fate several times with the help of Colonel Hogan. In "War Takes a Holiday", Klink tries to flatter Schultz, a very successful businessman in civilian life, hoping to be hired as a bookkeeper with Schultz's toy company now that he falsely thinks the war is over. In "The Missing Klink", Klink is almost shot twice - once by the Underground because he is not of high enough rank to trade for an underground leader and once by the Gestapo - who think Klink is the Allied Super Spy Nimrod."
Friday at 8:30-9:00 p.m. on CBS: September 17, 1965April 7, 1967; September 26, 1969March 27, 1970
Saturday at 9:00-9:30 p.m. on CBS: September 9, 1967March 22, 1969
Sunday at 7:30-8:00 p.m. on CBS: September 20, 1970April 4, 1971
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