Sunday, March 20, 2016

'It Belongs in a Museum!' An Open Letter to Private Collectors of 'Hogan's Heroes' Props, Artifacts

I admit, there is nothing quite like holding, let alone actually owning, a piece of your favorite television show or movie. There's something magical about it. First you find it, then bid on it, and if you're lucky and have the financial means, you can win that iconic treasure. 

I know. I've done it. 

Your prize arrives, and you experience that moment of joy and elation. No matter what the item is, it was used on screen in your favorite show or movie, and now, it's in your hands and soon to be proudly displayed in your living room or den or office. You vow to take care of it, treating it like gold, knowing how important it is, not only to you, but to fans and collectors worldwide.

The official Hogan's Heroes display at the
Liberty Aviation Museum, Port Clinton, Ohio.
And there it sits. For awhile, you'll walk past it, and you can't help but grin. Yes, it's a valuable momento that represents your youth or a certain time in your life. The show means something to you, and now, you own a piece of it.

And there it sits. Maybe you'll showcase it when friends or relatives who visit. And it's truly awesome and cool!

And there it sits. In a private home. With only a handful of people able to enjoy it. Eventually, like all materialistic things, its novelty wears off. But it's still important, so it's really difficult to part with it.

So there it sits.

Last year, the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, acquired several key items from Hogan's Heroes: Colonel Hogan's A-2 leather bomber jacket, Colonel Klink's uniform, and Sergeant Schultz's overcoat. In addition, other items have been secured to add to the display. I have personally donated authentic props from the series I had in my collection, along with several original photographs autographed by the show's stars. After all, Hogan's Heroes is not only a television show, but now, more than fifty years old, it is a piece of Americana and our television history. These props belong in a museum, where they can be properly preserved and available for the public to enjoy.

Do you have Colonel Hogan's coffee pot? The Liberty Aviation Museum would love to hear from you!

The Liberty Aviation Museum is not holding back in creating a world-class and official Hogan's Heroes display. They are currently building a large case to house the items, and for the uniforms, they have commissioned lifelike mannequins in the likeness of the actors who portrayed the characters. It will be, without a doubt, a beautiful showcase and one that does justice to the series and those who were a part of it.

Do you agree that iconic props and artifacts from nostalgic
television shows belong in a museum?
Contact us if you own a Hogan's Heroes prop!
Personally, I can't imagine a better place for Hogan's Heroes artifacts and props to call their official home. The CEO of the Liberty Aviation Museum is an honest, true-blue Hogan's Heroes fan, and he's doing right by the series by putting all of his TLC into the display. Further, events and displays such as this help raise money for the museum, and funds go directly to helping U.S. veterans and active duty service members. When I do my book signing of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography at the museum in June, I will be donating my profits from the event's sales to the museum because of the good work these folks are doing.

Here's where you come in. Are you the owner/private collector of a Hogan's Heroes prop or artifact? We'd love to hear from you. We understand how much these props mean to you. But sit back and think for a minute — wouldn't it be wonderful and amazing for your Hogan's Heroes prop to be preserved and back together with other series artifacts for the public to enjoy? Whether you loan it to the museum or decide to sell it to them, as long as you can provide accurate and official authentication documents, they are interested in hearing from you. You can contact them directly via their website, or click the link below to send a message through us that we'll pass along to them.

And yes, my last name is Ford, so I get to say in true Indiana Jones fashion, "It belongs in a museum!" as much as I want! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Signing Set for Bob Crane's Biography at Liberty Aviation Museum/Port Clinton, Ohio

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography Book Signing with author Carol Ford
Dates: June 11 & 12, 2016
Location: Liberty Aviation Museum
Times: TBA
Carol will have a Q & A in addition to the book signing covering Bob Crane’s life & his role in the TV show, Hogan's Heroes. The museum's display of Hogan's Heroes uniforms are currently on display within the museum and will be on display during the book signing.
To learn more about the book, Bob Crane, or the author Carol Ford, please visit


I am honored and delighted to announce that I will be visiting the Liberty Aviation Museum on Saturday and Sunday, June 11-12, 2016, for a book signing of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography.

You may remember that in September, the Liberty Aviation Museum acquired Colonel Hogan's leather A-2 bomber jacket,  owned by Bob Crane and worn throughout the run of Hogan's Heroes, as well as worn by Frank Sinatra in Von Ryan's Express. The museum also acquired Colonel Klink's uniform and Sergeant Schultz's overcoat. The Hogan's Heroes exhibit is growing, and as more original props and show memorabilia are acquired/donated, the goal is to make this the official Hogan's Heroes exhibit. The current display is temporary, with a much larger display being constructed in the museum.

In addition to preserving these iconic pieces of television history, the Liberty Aviation Museum has also been a loyal supporter of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography and all of our efforts to see Bob Craned recognized properly. If you are in the Port Clinton, Ohio, area or can make the trip from afar, I hope you plan to join us in June for my book signing and to view the Hogan's Heroes display. 

Special note: My author profits from this signing will be donated to the Liberty Aviation Museum, whose mission is "to provide an adequate organization for historians, aircraft and vehicle preservationists and collectors interested in encouraging internationally the acquisition, restoration, operation, preservation, public education and display of historic aircraft, vehicles and related items." Through their efforts, the Liberty Aviation Museum is able to help and support our American veterans and active duty members serving in the United States Armed Forces. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

'I Know Nothing!' Sergeant Schultz — Sidekick to Colonel Klink

It's a cold winter day in Germany. The year, 1942. The place, Stalag 13, a prisoner of war camp located deep within Nazi territory during the height of World War II. Colonel Robert E. Hogan and his men, all Allied prisoners of war, are actually spies, working for London and the underground, and calling Stalag 13 their home base of operation. Their warden, the monocled and unsuspecting Luftwaffe Colonel Wilhelm Klink, who might be considered one of the biggest fools in all of Germany. And never far behind Klink, Sergeant Hans Schultz, holding his rifle awkwardly in one hand and a piece of chocolate in the other. Like a faithful German Shepherd, Schultz sticks to his commanding officer like glue, and while he often rolls his eyes in Klink's direction, he will also assist him in various schemes and protect him (or at least try to) should the situation call for it.

It's difficult—and sometimes impossible—to imagine our favorite characters without their trusty sidekick. From Batman and Robin, to The Lone Ranger and Tonto, to more recent pairings, such as Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter, sidekicks serve a special purpose, and that is to emphasize every nuance of their friend or colleague and to reinforce those traits to the audience.

In Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, I open the Hogan's Heroes chapter with the casting of Colonel Hogan and Colonel Klink, one of the most outlandish duos in television history. After Bob Crane and Werner Klemperer brought their characters to life for the first time, a six-year love-hate military relationship between the two was born.

But while the two comedic colonels certainly caused each other a great deal of grief and frustration during World War II, neither Klink nor Hogan can be considered the other's sidekick. A sidekick is defined as "a close companion or colleague" and usually considered subordinate to the person he accompanies. So this honor goes to Stalag 13's very own sergeant of the guard, Hans Schultz, played almost effortlessly by John Banner.

John Banner as Sergeant Hans Schultz
on Hogan's Heroes.
Sergeant Schultz is a spectacle of World War II. A befuddled, obese, and always lazy Luftwaffe serviceman, it is hard to imagine how he ever even made it into Hitler's war machine, which prided itself on physical fitness and self-proclaimed super-men strength, in the first place. He falls asleep at his post and is more interested in stopping at the Hofbrau for a beer than listening to der FΓΌhrer's latest radio broadcast. He forgets his helmet, loses his rifle, and steals Klink's food, schnapps, and Cuban cigars, and the only reason he doesn't want Corporal Louis LeBeau to escape is that he'll miss the French chef's apple strudel.

Caught between his own morality and the enforced radical ideals of the Third Reich, Schultz manages to sidestep any direct participation in Nazi crimes by choosing to look the other way, and he does this by uttering one of his trademark phrases: "I see nothing," "I hear nothing," and "I know nothing!" Some consider this an indicator of Schultz's stupidity and his somewhat neutral stance. He is, after all, lenient with the prisoners. However, John Banner disagreed, claiming that Schultz was, in fact, not neutral, but instead, loyal to himself. Nor did Banner see Schultz as stupid, arguing, "Notice he stays alive."

Decisions, decisions!
John Banner as Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes.
For reasons we do not know, Schultz is assigned to serve out his wartime duty at Stalag 13, where he is not only a guard, but remarkably, the head of all guards. And he is positioned right next to Colonel Klink, a pompous, arrogant, egotistical, self-centered Luftwaffe officer who would hide under his desk during a thunderstorm. Together, this dynamic duo became the Laurel and Hardy of Stalag 13, bumbling through the war and practically bringing the Third Reich to its knees.

Whether or not you agree with John Banner's take on Schultz as being more cunning than stupid, it is clear that on the outside at least, Schultz is a world class dummkopf. His reputation has endured through the years and even as recent as this past week. I will neither condemn nor endorse a recent political meme comparing both Schultz and Klink to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and United States Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, but its creation is a testament to the lasting cultural power these two iconic characters have from one generation to the next. Klink and Schultz were funny in 1966, and they continue to be funny, fifty years into the future.

Schultz seems to have forgotten something...
(John Banner, Werner Klemperer, and Bob Crane)
Some of television's funniest moments are from Hogan's Heroes, and many can be directly attributed to Klink and Schultz. One of my favorite scenes is from the episode "The Empty Parachute." In the effort to gain access to the briefcase hidden in Klink's safe, Hogan convinces Klink that a spy has parachuted into camp to steal the briefcase. They then bury an empty parachute in the center of the camp and allow Schultz to find it. Eager to report his important discovery to his commanding officer, Schultz gathers up the massive parachute and hustles over to Klink's office, where Klink and Major Hochstetter are trying in vain to solve the mystery of the so-called spy. Proud as can be, Schultz announces to Klink, "Herr Kommandant. I found this." Klink, as though scolding a child for interrupting an adult gathering, brushes Schultz off, barking, "Good. If nobody claims it, you can keep it. Now get out."

Another favorite moment is from the episode, "The Kommandant Dies at Dawn." Hogan uses Klink's overcoat as a means to deliver information to the underground. After Klink is arrested for suspicion of treason, Hogan and his men realize they need to get the coat back, which Klink is wearing as he is hauled off to the cooler. Meanwhile, Schultz decides he will rescue Klink. He comes up with a plan that has no chance of success. He tells Hogan and Sergeant Kinchloe: "I put a little something into the dogs' food that will make them sleep. Then, when Corporal Wolfschmidt comes on guard duty, I offer him a little schnapps. He goes into my room. That will give me the chance to plant some dynamite in front of Kommandant Klink's cell and blow it up! And then I take the Kommandant Klink and put him into my brother-in-law's car outside the fence and off he goes to Switzerland!" Later that night, as the prisoners watch Klink and Schultz stumble their way through the camp, knocking over water barrels and making all kinds of noise, Hogan quips, "Here come Stan and Ollie now."

"Halt! Who goes there?"
Klink and Schultz stop Hogan and Newkirk from an attempted escape.
(John Banner, Werner Klemperer, Bob Crane, and Richard Dawson)
I also conducted a short survey on a popular Hogan's Heroes Facebook Group and other social media outlets to gather some fan-favorite moments. Here are a few of them.

One fan wrote: "There were a couple of episodes where Schultz gets to be/plays the Kommandant. At the end of Kommandant Schultz, the manner in which Klink divests Schultz of his badges of office is priceless! Another running bit is how useless Kllnk believes Schultz is, how wiling he is tho throw Schultz under a panzerbus, until he has some connection or condition (famous toy company, friend to a General, supposed to have only days to live), and how Klink turns on a dime to praise Schultz as the son he never had."

Another fan stated: "I like the one where Schultz tries to speak French. 'Enchante Mademoise-lle' to the niece of Oscar Schnitzer, the vet!"

One other fan remembered how Klink would react to various situations and Schultz: "I think my favorite Klink moment is when something happens, and he says 'Donnerwetter!' Makes me laugh all the time!"

Hogan's Heroes costars Werner Klemperer (Klink)
and John Banner (Schultz) review a scene with
producer Edward H. Feldman (left).
Several fans said the following quotes between Klink and Schultz were some of their favorite Hogan's Heroes moments:

Klink: Now Schultz, you will share your food with me, or the next lunch you have will be covered with icicles!

Burkhalter: Just 1 moment. I see no reason why Colonel Hogan shouldn't watch a demonstration of German efficiency.
Klink: But this is classified Herr General.
Burkhalter: He isn't going anywhere with the information is he?
Klink: Of course not. No one has ever escaped from Stalag 13.
Burkhalter: So you have told me.
Klink: Yes sir.
Burkhalter: And told me. And told me.
Schultz: Yes, Herr Kommandant. I remember.
Klink: Schultz!

Schultz: I am also the German soldier of the month!
Klink: You are a big bungler who I do not trust out of my sight!

That got me thinking of Klink/Schultz quotes in general, so here are some popular ones from IMDb:

From "German Bridge Is Falling Down"
Klink: If the prisoners ask any questions about these explosions, you know nothing; you are ignorant.
Schultz: Oh, I can handle that.
Klink: I know.

Schultz [reading graffiti the prisoners painted on a building]: Hess is a mess. Himmler is a rat fink. Goering is a fat rat fink. Klink is bucking for rat fink.

From: "A Klink, a Bomb and a Short Fuse"
Klink: What are you waiting for? Cut the wire.
Hogan: That's the problem. One of these wires disconnects the fuse, the other one fires the bomb. Which one would you cut, Shultz?
Schultz: Don't ask me, this is a decision for an officer.
Hogan: All right. Which wire, Colonel Klink?
Klink: This one. [points to the white wire]
Hogan: You're sure?
Klink: Yes.
Hogan: [Cuts the black wire, the bomb stops ticking]
Klink: If you knew which wire it was, why did you ask me?
Hogan: I wasn't sure which was the right one, but I was certain you'd pick the wrong one.

"Schultz, with my bare hands...!"
Colonel Klink gives Sergeant Schultz a hard time in an episode from Hogan's Heroes.

From "One Army at a Time"
[Hochstetter wakes Klink up in the middle of the night]
Klink: Heil Hitler!
Schultz: No, no, it is Major Hochstetter.
Klink: Heil Hochstetter!

From "The Missing Klink"
Klink: Like all of us, the general has his good points as well as his faults.
Schultz: Yes.
Klink: What do you think my faults are?
Schultz: [after failure to keep a straight face] I wasn't talking about you, Herr Kommandant.
Klink: You know, Schultz, the trouble is you're afraid to say anything you think. Filled with fear, frightened to express any kind of opinion.
Schultz: Oh, no, Herr Kommandant. I talk about you all the time, when you are not around.

The original cast of Hogan's Heroes, season one.
Werner Klemperer, John Banner, Cynthia Lynn, Bob Crane
Larry Hovis, Roert Clary, Ivan Dixon, and Richard Dawson
(left to right).
Although it is seen as controversial for some viewers, Hogan's Heroes is classic television gold. The casting, writing, directing, and acting are stellar across the board, and the characters stand the test of time. The beauty of Hogan's Heroes is that its characters can be as simple or as complex as each individual viewer wishes. Schultz can be merely a simpleton in the eyes of some, a neutral in the eyes of others, or a clumsy oaf in the eyes of his kommandant. Personally, I see a measure of innocence in Schultz, a common attribute of sidekicks—usually the ones with a big heart. To John Banner, who was Jewish, Schultz stood for something quite profound. He said: "I see Schultz as the representation of some kind of good in any generation." Perhaps that is why Hogan's Heroes and Schultz remain just as popular today as they did fifty years ago. Good endures and overcomes, no matter where you are or how bad things might get. And that's something to hold on to.

This post is part of the Classic Film and TV Blog "Sidekicks Blogathon." For the full schedule, click here.