Bob Crane’s son Robert Crane is speaking out after it was announced “Hogan’s Heroes” is reportedly getting the reboot treatment with a new series that will pick up several years after the adventures of the original sitcom left off.
“Hogan’s Heroes” aired for six seasons on CBS from 1965 until 1971. The comedy centered around a group of Allies at a German prison camp during World War II. While being held as prisoners of war, the group conducts secret spy missions on their dim-witted Nazi captors.
Crane, who played American hero Colonel Hogan in the series, was murdered in 1978 at age 49.
“It was a shock to hear the potential premise of this after ‘Hogan’s’ effort,” Robert Crane wrote exclusively to Fox News. “One of the co-creators of ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Al Ruddy, is involved, but this afterlife idea is so removed from the original it’s hard to conjure up any valid opinion. It’s also hard to ignore the success and longevity of the original after 168 episodes playing continuously somewhere in the world for 54 years and counting.
Bob Crane (1928-1978), US actor, in costume in a studio portrait, against a black background, issued for the US television series, ‘Hogan’s Heroes’, USA, circa 1968. The PoW sitcom starred Crane as ‘Colonel Robert E. Hogan.’
(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
“Leave it alone is my worthless opinion,” continued the younger Crane. “Enjoy the original with a cast, stories, and milieu that will never be duplicated or bettered. The Emmy-winning “M*A*S*H” tried and failed. My father, were he alive, might ask, ‘Why Al? Why now?’ … I’m tired of appearing at autograph conventions. By the way, loved ‘The Godfather.’”
In September 2019, Deadline reported Ruddy, 89, is working on a reboot with executive producers Danny McBride, David Gordon Green and Jody Hill. The reimagined version reportedly will be set in the present day and focus on the descendants of the original characters, who are now scattered around the world, gathering together for a global treasure hunt.
Ruddy previously worked on projects like “The Godfather” and “Million Dollar Baby.” McBride, Gordon and Hill have found success with HBO series “Eastbound & Down,” “Vice Principals” and “The Righteous Gemstones,” which was just picked up for a second season.
As Forbes noted, “Hogan’s Heroes” was politically incorrect, even for its time. The antics of Col. Robert Hogan (played by Bob Crane) and his gang made light of WWII wounds that were still fresh in many Americans’ minds. In fact, Robert Clary, who played Corporal Louis LeBeau on the show, was a Holocaust survivor.
Richard Dawson as Cpl. Peter Newkirk, Bob Crane as Col. Robert E. Hogan, John Banner as Sgt. Hans Georg Schultz and Werner Klemperer as Col. Wilhelm Klink in the ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ episode, “Praise the Fuhrer and Pass the Ammunition.” Original airdate, January 20, 1967.
(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
Despite the controversy, “Hogan’s Heroes” was a huge hit right out of the gate. It became a Top 10 show in its first season. The show was nominated for 12 Emmy awards during its run, with actor Werner Klemperer, who was Jewish, winning two for his portrayal of Nazi camp leader, Commandant Wilhelm Klink.
Although CBS originally aired “Hogan’s Heroes,” it’s unclear at this time where its revival would air and whether it would be broadcast or streamed.
Robert Crane previously released a memoir titled “Crane: Sex, Celebrity, and My Father’s Unsolved Murder,” which attempts to shed some light on the man behind the handsome, clean-cut persona.
In 2018, Crane told Fox News he had both fond and tough memories of his father.
Bob and Robert Crane at home pool, Tarzana, 1960.
(Courtesy of Robert Crane)
“I remember when I was a kid during summer vacation, I would go with him down to the station where he would do his radio show [before ‘Hogan’s],” he said. “No chauffeurs, no assistants, no handlers. He drove 80 miles an hour to get there by six and be on the air live.
“Not one cup of coffee. No drugs. Just pure adrenaline and pure love of entertaining people. He craved it… [But he later] made some bad choices, some bad decisions… And he missed out on so much over these bad choices he made with people. It’s such a waste.”