Synopsis: Hogan (Bob Crane) and his team orchestrate a plan to steal a German bomber and blow up a well-protected refinery. However, that plan is put in jeopardy when the camp is visited by a German general (James Gregory) who has done extensive research on Hogan and believes his latest scheme is an attempt to escape.
Hogan's Heroes Episode Review: "Hogan Gives a Birthday Party"
A review of the season 2 television episode that first aired in September of 1966.
I don't normally have time to watch this show at night (my wife and I usually are settling down at this point and watching something we both enjoy). However, I had some time to myself last night and had an opportunity to see it.
This was my first time seeing this particular episode of this series and, because of that, I wasn't really sure what to think of it. After watching it, however, I do think it was one of the better ones I've seen.
The thing I liked about this particular episode is, unlike most from this series, it wasn't as predictable as I first expected. Hogan's original plan, which involved tricking Klink (Werner Klemperer) into bringing in a German bomber so he could "borrow" it for his plan, seemed relatively simple enough. However, this episode managed to throw in a nice curve ball by having the general that shot Hogan down in for a visit.
I found I liked how that general seemed, because of his extensive research, to know Hogan inside and out. And, while he never fully figured out exactly what Hogan was up to (he just thought Hogan was trying to steal the plane so he and the other prisoners could escape). His watchful eye and reluctance to take Hogan at his word on anything did make pulling off his plan much more difficult.
There were a couple things I did find I didn't like about this episode. One of them was Sgt. Schultz's (John Banner) direct involvement in Hogan's plan. It's one thing to pull off a scheme because Schultz is too lazy or incompetent to stop it. But, it just isn't as believable when he's along for the ride and witnesses everything Hogan and his crew are doing. That's one line this series really shouldn't have crossed.
I'm also not a big fan of the ending, which involved Hogan and friends parachuting back into camp. Again, something like this is only really funny if it is somewhat believable and I find it very hard to believe nobody paid any attention to the parachutes or, for that matter, noticed several prisoners, along with the head sergeant, were missing.
Overall, I did like this particular episode. However, I wasn't crazy about the ending and, because of that, do have to say it could have been better.
My Grade: B
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