Never Play Cards With Strangers
Series: Hogan's Heroes
Episode: Never Play Cards With Strangers
Original Airdate: November 09, 1968
Production Number: 5784-102
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: Bruce Bilson
Produced by: Marc Daniels & William A. Calihan

Regular Edit

Prisoners Edit

Camp Personnel Edit

Semi-Regulars Edit


Guest Stars Edit

Synopsis Edit

Hogan's plan to blow up a rocket fuel factory boomerangs back at him.

Plot Details Edit

It is late at night. Olga, one of the local underground agents, has escorted Hogan and Kinch to a large industrial area outside of nearby Hammelburg. The place is crawling with activity - and with scores of German guards, too, as Hogan notes the beefed-up security and multiple AA (anti-aircraft) gun emplacements in the nearby hills. Hogan and Kinch watch with amazement as a German army truck is thoroughly searched by a squad of soldiers before being allowed to enter the main gate. Olga explains that the plant at which they are looking has recently been converted to the manufacture of rocket fuel as part of Germany's advanced weapons programs for the war, and has been in operation for only a few weeks. Kinch asks if they should radio London for an air strike, but Hogan points out that any bombing run against the plant's heavy AA defenses "would be murder." They then watch with surprise as a staff car pulls up to the gate, and is allowed to pass with only a cursory questioning of its driver. "That is General von Treger's car," Olga explains. "He's in charge of the rocket program." Hogan mulls over this interesting tibit, then advises Kinch that they need to head back to camp. First they stop to pick up Newkirk, who (with a Schmiesser MP-40 submachine gun) has been guarding their back. Newkirk tries to use the opportunity to hit on Olga, but Hogan won't let him. The three Unsung Heroes then separate from Olga and return to Stalag 13.

The following day, Klink calls Schultz into his office to inform him that THE General von Treger will be visiting Stalag 13. The general will be staying in Klink's quarters as a guest for several days while he is involved with work at the new rocket plant. Klink will be sleeping in the orderly room, and orders all his things moved there for the general's convenience. As Schultz starts to depart with his orders, he can hear Hilda giggling beyond the door to the outer office. He looks back at Klink, chuckling as he does so. "Colonel Hogan is here," he says, grinning broadly. Even as he finishes, a beaming Hilda herself steps in and announces the senior American POW. Klink ignores what just happened between Hogan and Hilda in order to get to business. He has called in Hogan to inform him of von Treger's impending visit, and to warn him against the POWs putting on any kind of show of disrespect, or of any other kind of action for that matter. He also wants, as usual, to borrow LeBeau's cooking skills in order to impress his distinguished guest. It seems that General von Trager has a reputation for "enjoying all the good things in life," and Klink figures that LeBeau's cooking will help make a favorable impression on his (Klink's) behalf. Hogan won't allow it unless Klink is willing to cut a deal for the POWs - so, for the release of two POWs who have been locked up in the cooler for 10 days (for making rude noises during roll calls), Klink gets LeBeau's help in impressing the general.

Later that day, General von Treger's staff car arrives through the main gate and pulls up to the kommandantur. Klink and Schultz are waiting for him, along with two armed guards, in honor of the occasion. The general is a middle-aged man with round glasses, and speaks in an unsettlingly pleasant manner that hints of both snobbishness and superior intelligence. His first order to Klink, not surprisingly, is to see to his bags. At the same time, in Barracks 2, Klink climbs up from the tunnels to have a word with Hogan. As the other Unsung Heroes look on, he relays the bad news from London. It has been ruled "impossible" to attempt an air strike on the rocket fuel plant "at this time." The job of knocking out the facility is now theirs. Even as his men start to argue with him about the matter, Newkirk rushes in. "The Krauts are inspecting the barracks," he says, "and they're headed this way." Kinch quickly closes the tunnel entrance, and within seconds it resumes the appearance of a normal bunk bed. Seconds later Schultz walks in and calls everyone to attention. Behind him are General von Treger, Colonel Klink, and the general's driver. Klink assumes his most obsequious air, as he shows the general around a "typical" POW barracks and introduces him to Hogan, the camp's senior POW. Hogan is surprised when von Treger states that this is the few times he's ever met an Allied soldier face-to-face. Hogan promptly insults him, but the general restrains his anger. Klink quickly steers him away from Hogan and towards LeBeau, describing his cooking skills and bragging about the special dinners he will be cooking for them. LeBeau starts to protest but Hogan cuts him off with a look, and LeBeau gamely goes along with them. Still irked by the earlier insult, General von Treger looks across the barracks at Hogan. "Perhaps Colonel Hogan would join us for dinner?" he suggests. Klink is shocked by the idea, but von Treger quickly puts him in his place. "Perhaps," von Treger continues, "after dinner, we could have a rabble or two of bridge - eh, colonel?" Hogan accepts, suspecting (correctly) that the German general is an excellent bridge player and that this is von Treger's way of exacting a - shall we say, "intelligent" revenge for the insult. "Excellent!" von Treger says, then clicks his heels. "Auf wiedersen?" (Good day). Hogan responds in kind, and the general and his escort leave the barracks. The Unsung Heroes seem surprised that Hogan is going along with von Treger's suggestion. Hogan smiles back at them, saying, "At least we'll know where they are when we blow that plant."

Later that night, Olga arrives with detailed information on the next supply convoy to the rocket fuel plant. Hogan's plan is to have Newkirk and Carter, disguised as German soldiers, join up to the back of the convoy with a truck borrowed from the camp motor pool. The truck will be loaded with dynamite, which they will then park near some obviously critical part of the plant. They will then trip a time bomb hidden inside the truck. Hopefully, once the truck explodes and a chain-reaction explosion ensues within the plant, they can escape in the resultant confusion. The plan is foiled from the start by General von Treger, though, who abruptly orders the identification numbers of the truck changed without warning during his first dinner with Klink. He explains that this is part of the security procedures that have protected his operations from the Allies. Fortunately, Kinch has been hiding in Klink's kitchen helping Hogan monitor the operation. Hogan deliberately spills a nearby glass decanter of liquor, making it appear an accident, and excuses himself to go fetch a towel from the kitchen. He then sends Kinch running after Newkirk and Carter before they join the convoy. He gets to them just as they're about ready to pull out from the woods, thus saving them from certain inspection and arrest. The Unsung Heroes are safe for now, but the rocket plant is still in operation, and Hogan is not one to give up so easily. He will have to come up with a new plan that can thwart von Treger's security arrangements ... and the ultimate solution seems to be with the general himself.

The next evening, Hogan is again invited to play bridge with General von Treger. He had been forced to accept Colonel Klink as his partner the last time, and was royally trounced due to Klink's lack of skill at the game. Hogan accepts the offer, but has LeBeau bring a little something special for everybody's drinks. LeBeau makes sure all of the Germans, even the guard posted outside, gets a wine glass spiked with a knockout pill. It is not long before everyone except Hogan and LeBeau are fast asleep. LeBeau warns Hogan that he has only about an hour before everyone wakes up, but Hogan reassures him it will be enough time. He is then joined by Newkirk in the foyer. The two of them grab the caps and overcoats of von Treger and his driver, rush out to his car, where Carter is waiting for them. He tells them that per Hogan's orders he has loaded a package in the trunk of the general's car with plenty of dynamite and a time-action fuse. He then melts away in the nearby shadows as Hogan and Newkirk drive away, passed through the camp gates. They then meet up with Olga on the road to the plant. She is dressed as if going out on the town. Hogan's plan is to have Newkirk pose as General von Treger and he as his driver - using the Gerrman general's own identity and reputation against him to sneak the bomb past the formidable security at the rocket fuel plant. This time around, the plan works. The only hitch is when an overeager officer stationed at the plant questions the "package" that Hogan leaves there. The quick-thinking Hogan explains that it is brandy that the general is providing to celebrate Reichsmarshall Goring's birthday, which is only a few days away. The officer accepts this and backs down, thus allowing the three of them to leave the plant without further delay. Hogan and Newkirk drop Olga off on the road where they had earlier picked her up, and as she scrambles away into the woods, they roar down the road back to camp.

Hogan and Newkirk arrive back at Stalag 13 not a moment too soon. LeBeau's knockout drops are about to wear off. He helps them in reviving all of the Germans with smelling salts. Even as the dazed General von Treger tries to talk away how he managed to doze off in the middle of a bridge game, a tremendous explosion rocks the camp. It is followed quickly by several more, and everybody rushes to the windows. There is now a brilliant ball of fire on the horizon where the rocket fuel plant used to be. As the explosions continue, and as a horrified von Treger stares at the sight, Hogan smiles and tosses a card on the table. "Gentlemen," he announces with his trademark smile, "I think it's a grand slam." Klink is horrified. "It's a catastrophe!" he exclaims, as von Treger's driver quickly calls the plant. The fires are out of control, and the plant is a total loss. Hogan quips about having a good score in the game, but it is evident what he's really talking about. As von Treger stares at Hogan, the American lays down the rest of his cards and rises from the table. "If you ever need a fourth again," he says as he leaves, "please call me."

Story Notes Edit

Background Trivia Edit

  • Fans are split on the identity of the underground agent named Olga in this episode. Many feel that she might be Tiger under another name, before the truth of her identity became known to Hogan (Hold That Tiger), since both roles are played by actress Arlene Martel. Many feel that she might be Olga Messnier, with whom the Unsung Heroes have worked before (To Russia Without Love). Still others believe that the episode should be taken at face value, and that the Olga depicted here is a unique character. All three views have been accounted for in this episode's location in the series timeline.
  • In real life, the part filled by General von Treger in the series most likely corresponds to that of Major General Walter Dornberger, who was the senior military commander of both the V-1 and V-2 rocket programs.
  • General von Treger's actions in frequently changing his security arrangements echo the real-life tactics used by Adolf Hitler himself to foil would-be assassins. He once remarked on this to his associates, telling them that one of the best ways to protect himself was to be as unpredictable as possible.
  • The phrase "for Pete's sake" is a polite slang form of the oath "for Christ's sake" (also "for chrissake!"). In this case, "Pete" is actually St. Peter, who was the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Kinchloe likens his mission-saving trot to a 'four-minute mile.' This alludes to a record set in 1954 by Roger Bannister, the first person in recorded history to run a mile in less than four minutes. At this time in history, a four minute mile was considered impossible.
  • The stock footage of the German rocket plant being destroyed is taken from the movie Operation Crossbow, a fictionalized account of the German wartime rocket program starring George Peppard. Its most famous use outside of the movie is in the classic Battlestar Galactica episode, "Fire In Space".

Timeline Notes and Speculations Edit

  • This is the nineteenth episode of the series in chronological order, per the series timeline. It follows The Softer They Fall, and is in turn followed by The Experts.
  • This episode takes place in early January. We know this is the case because Hogan mentions that Reichsmarshall Hermann Goring's birthday, which was January 12, is "next Saturday." Also, references are made to the German rocket bases in France, and the troubles that the Germans are having on the Russian Front.
  • Whether or not the year in question is 1943 or 1944 depends on how you interpret the comments that are made both about the rocket bases in France and the Russian front. To be fair, a case can be made for the 1944 date, assuming that the French rocket bases are already operational. The series timeline goes with the 1943 date - interpreting that the rocket bases are still under construction, the Russian Front troubles are the imminent fall of Stalingrad, and also based on another inference within the episode (see below). A 1943 date also helps resolve various fan issues concerning Olga's identity (see Background Trivia)
  • Timewise, it would appear that by this point Stalag 13 no longer has a set of dedicated VIP quarters (Cupid Comes to Stalag 13). While earlier visitors have stayed in Klink's quarters before, this is the first time chronologically that Klink mentions having to stay in the orderly room whenever important guests visit the camp. It can probably be safely assumed - given a 1943 date for the episode - that the camp's VIP quarters were wrecked by d ebris from the American bomber that crashed next to the camp some weeks earlier (The Big Gamble). This would help explain why Klink's quarters, and not the previously seen VIP quarters, are used to house guests for the rest of the series.
  • SPECULATION: Before the war (1930s?), Hogan lived for a time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He also lived for a time in Indianapolis, Indiana (Happy Birthday, Dear Hogan) and in Cleveland, Ohio (multiple episodes). This seems to indicate that Hogan spent a lot of his pre-war time in the American Midwest. One of the biggest military bases in the area at that time was the USAAC Technical School at Chanute Field. Hogan would have been a major or lieutenant colonel at this time and may have been assigned to Chanute Field (although this is nowhere stated in the series). Another item of note is that Hogan spent his prewar years in the same geographical area - the American Midwest - where Kinch was living. It is conceivable that Hogan first crossed paths with Kinch during this time (again, not stated but plausible). Kinch lived in Detroit, Michigan before the war (The Prince from the Phone Company, Is General Hammerschlag Burning?). Hogan and Kinch know each other quite well and have a close working relationship. Kinch acts as Hogan's right-hand man and is almost always the first to back him in any dangerous venture. They trade jokes with each other, and Hogan even used the nickname "Sam" for Kinch at one point (Man in a Box).

Quotes Edit

As Hogan, Kinch, and Olga watch General von Treger visit the rocket fuel plant ...

  • Olga - That is General von Treger's car. He is in charge of the rocket fuel program. I saw him in Hammelburg. We know he works on the rocket installations in France. [An] important man - very close to the Fuhrer!
  • Hogan (wryly) - It's a cinch he's not in town for the Bach beer festival. (to Kinch) Let's get back to camp.

(The trio head over a small rise, where Newkirk is standing guard. His back is to them as he watches the road below).

  • Hogan (low-voiced call) - Newkirk!
  • Newkirk (turning, startled) - Oh!!! Gawd - blimey, colonel, you scared me. (glances down at his submachine gun) Gave me a fright - I nearly let you have it!
  • Hogan (also glances at the gun) - Glad you're alert - but your safety catch is on.

(Newkirk starts, then recovers and pats the gun barrel)

  • Newkirk - Oh. Can't be too careful, can we, sir? (embraces Olga) See you home, love?
  • Kinch (sarcastically) - Aww, isn't that sweet?
  • Hogan (evenly) - Beautiful.
  • Newkirk (smiling) - Well, the Germans are prowling these woods!
  • Hogan (looks at Kinch) - He's right.

(Hogan steps in, separates Newkirk from Olga)

  • Hogan (continuing) - Also Englishmen.

Klink discusses General von Treger's visit with Schultz

  • Klink - Now preparations are to be made ... General von Treger will be staying in MY quarters.
  • Schultz (surprised) - Both of you in one bed?

... and later ...

  • Klink - ... and see to it that all of my things are taken out of there and moved to the orderly room.
  • Schultz (smiling) - Everything.
  • Klink (not catching on) - Yes!
  • Schultz (chuckling) - Also the girlie pictures on the shelf in the--

(Klink spins around and glares angrily at him)

  • Klink (waving his finger, speaking low) - I said everything - now see to it at once!
  • Schultz (coming to attention) Jawohl, Herr Kommandant! It shall be done!
  • Klink - I shall depend on you, Schultz (throws hands up in air) - which is a terrible mistake.

(Schultz throws a salute, grimaces as soon as Klink looks away, then leaves.)

Hogan and Klink discuss General von Treger's visit.

  • Klink - Hogan, one of the most important men in Germany today is coming to visit Stalag 13.
  • Hogan (motioning to the Hitler picture on the wall) - You mean Ol' Bubblehead's coming here?
  • Klink (evenly) - I do not appreciate you calling our Fuhrer "Old Bubblehead."
  • Hogan (nodding) - How about fruitcake?

(Klink slams his hand on his desk in frustration)

  • Klink (angrily) - Hogan! (calms down) We are to be honored by the presence of General von Treger.
  • Hogan (fakes being impressed) - That's BIG brass!

Hogan wins the release of his men from the cooler.

  • Hogan - You're a great humanitarian. You know, they might even name the next war after you.
  • Klink (ponders, then reverent tone) - World War 'Klink?!'

Hogan discusses sabotaging the rocket fuel plant with his men.

  • Hogan - Machine gun emplacements, minefields, automatic alarm system, a regiment of elite guards - impossible, right?
  • Kinch, Carter, and LeBeau (unison) - Right.
  • Hogan - All right, let's get on with it.

(Kinch stares at him in disbelief. Carter just stares. LeBeau begins to protest vigorously)

  • Hogan - Hold it, hold it! We all have pay piling up back home, right?
  • Kinch - That is, if we can live to spend it.

Colonel Klink shows General von Treger around Barracks 2, as the Unsung Heroes look on.

  • von Treger - Seems very cozy.
  • Klink (kissing up) - Yes, sir! It does have sort of that 'homey' feel about it. (laughs nervously)
  • Hogan (snidely) - The same interior decorator [also] did the main Berlin sewer.
  • Schultz (genuinely surprised) - I didn't know that!
  • Hogan - Oh, yeah.
  • Klink (barking) - Silence!

Hogan asks LeBeau what he plans to serve von Treger.

  • Hogan - LeBeau, what do you have on the menu?
  • LeBeau (shrugging) - Oh, I don't know. Beef Stroganoff?

(NOTE - Beef Stroganoff is a Russian dish)

  • Hogan - Beef Stroganoff? With the trouble they're having on the Russian front, you'd give them beef Stroganoff? That's cruel.
  • LeBeau (nodding and grinning) - Oui. I know.

Hogan briefs Kinch, Newkirk, Carter, and Olga on his first plan to blow up the plant.

  • Hogan - All right. Newkirk, Carter, study the map. You're going to be driving a German truck filled with dynamite. Here's where you join the convoy.
  • Newkirk - Well suppose they won't let us in?
  • Carter - Well, the Krauts can't be as unfriendly as that, for Pete's sake.
  • Newkirk (stares, then shakes his head) - Andrew ... I'm going to miss you after the war.
  • Hogan - Kinch, can you get us a truck from the Kraut sergeant at the motor pool?
  • Kinch (matter-of-factly) - Ten cents a mile.

(NOTE - Normal travel expenses in 1943 were a little under 7 cents per mile)

  • Hogan - This one WON'T be coming back.
  • Kinch - Well, we'll give him twelve cents a mile - with our apologies.

(Hogan smiles at him. Kinch smiles back.)

  • Kinch - He squeals on us, he squeals on himself.

... and later ...

  • Carter - How do we get away?
  • Newkirk - You read my cowardly mind.
  • Hogan - When the truck blows, you should be able to get out in the confusion.
  • Newkirk - What if there isn't enough confusion?
  • Hogan - I never said this wasn't going to be dangerous.
  • Newkirk (agitated) - Colonel! We're gonna be drivin' a truckload of dynamite into that bloody chemical plant!
  • Carter (morosely) - We could easily get ourselves blown up.
  • Hogan (evenly) - And I'm going to be playing bridge with a roomful of Krauts. I could very easily be bored to death.

General von Treger asks about Klink's record.

  • von Treger - I've been told that there's never been an escape from this place. Is that true?
  • Klink (proudly) - Yes, it's true.
  • Hogan (quickly) - We'd be hurt if he tried.

(von Treger bursts out laughing, as does everyone else save Klink. He too begins laughing a few beats later, just for appearances.)

LeBeau, on Klink

  • Kinch (sampling LeBeau's cooking) - Monsieur, your cooking is sheer poetry.
  • LeBeau (angrily) - Klink is an animal! The worst Boche of an animal that ever lived!
  • Kinch - That's also poetry.
  • LeBeau (still angry) - I'm going to kill him with my bare hands, if I ever get the chance.
  • Kinch (resumes eating) - Don't worry about the dishes. I'll take care of them.

Bloopers Edit

  • Hogan spills an almost full bottle of liquor on the table in order to distract everyone's attention during the bridge game. He also wipes his wet hands on his pants after the spill. When he arrives in the kitchen to get a towel, however, his pants are dry. There should have been visible stains on his pants where he had wiped his wet hands.
  • Less a blooper than a plothole: Lt. Vogel calls the plant commander, Major Hermann, to tell him that General von Treger is there with the wine. Vogel is presumably killed but Hermann calls Captain Moss to tell him about the explosion. They could easily trace the "General" back to Stalag 13.
  • Although wearing a Wehrmacht Heer Officer's cap and coat, Hogan is wearing his US Army dress khakis underneath. Most important about this fact is his tan dress tie, which is clearly visible despite the coat. Any German soldier (and a great many civilians) would have noticed this incongruity at once; German soldiers wore black ties (or olive, in Tropical dress).

External links Edit

Previous episode:
Man's Best Friend Is Not His Dog
Next episode:
Color the Luftwaffe Red