It’s a must-watch, vintage TV promo. The stars of Gilligan’s Island introduced this new comedy called Hogan’s Heroes. They did so with the help of mannequins, the dad on My Three Sons and a black leather bomber jacket.
It was 1965. And Gilligan’s Island was the cool show on CBS. So the network used two characters from the show — the Skipper and Gilligan — to hype Hogan’s Heroes. The new comedy, which was set in a World War II prison camp, premiered in September 1965.
Alan Hale Jr — you know him and love him as the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island — described Hogan’s Heroes in a special sort of way.
“Hogan and his heroes also live on an island, but it’s a special kind of island, not at all like Gilligan’s,” the Skipper said. That island was actually in perpetually snowy Germany in a prison camp called Stalag 13. Fortunately, Colonel Klink and Sgt Schultz were so hapless they hardly could be called enemies. And Col. Hogan confounded the Germans by running an Allied special operations unit out of the prison camp. Wacky war stories usually aren’t so funny.
Gilligan’s Island Was Hot Show on CBS
By the time of the promo, Gilligan’s Island was headed into its second season. Fans were entranced by the seven castaways, who ended up stranded on a deserted island. The S.S. Minnow couldn’t withstand typhoon winds, so the Skipper and Gilligan, along with five passengers, needed to make do until help could come. Castaway tales, like war stories, usually aren’t so hilarious. But part of comedy is poking fun at normally unfunny kind of topics.
In the promo for Hogan’s Heroes, Gilligan (Bob Denver) tells the audience that the show “stars a funny guy named Bob Crane — getting laughs the last couple of seasons on The Donna Reed Show.”
Crane played Col. Hogan, the leader of the special ops. Col Klink often bragged that no prisoner had ever escaped from Stalag 13 during his leadership. That was mainly because the prisoners weren’t supposed to leave.
Gilligan proves to be as goofy in the promo as he was on Gilligan’s Island. He and the Skipper are in the CBS wardrobe department. They’re dressed as their characters. Fred MacMurray, who played Steve Douglas on My Three Sons, also strolls through the promo.
Gilligan is a mess in the Hogan’s Hero ad. He kept bumping into mannequins. Plus, he flipped on the steam iron. We can see why he couldn’t get off Gilligan’s Island.
The Skipper turns to the camera and says: “I might add, In real life, Bob is not at all like the way he appears in the character, Gilligan. As a matter of fact, beyond being a fine actor, Bob is quite a responsible and mature young man.”
And that was another Gilligan’s Island kind of joke.
Check out the classic promo: