‘Hogan’s Heroes’: One Actress Played Two Different Characters with Same Name on Show

by Jennifer Shea
CBS via Getty Images

“Hogan’s Heroes” lasted from 1965 to 1971. And over the course of its run, it featured both comedy and drama, not to mention some pretty darn good acting. But the show also featured a plot discrepancy that, years later, no one can explain.

Interestingly, the actress Marlyn Mason made two separate appearances on “Hogan’s Heroes,” playing apparently different characters with the same name.

That duplication was unique to Mason’s two characters, according to MeTV. And it’s unclear whether the repetition was deliberate or accidental on the part of the show’s writers.

The First Lily Frankel on ‘Hogan’s Heroes’

Mason’s first appearance took place in the episode “Six Lessons from Madame LaGrange.” In that episode, she played a nightclub singer named Lily Frankel who was secretly a member of the underground.

Frankel wants to subvert the Germans who run the POW camp. So she gets a message to Hogan: A double agent is going to divulge the names of everyone involved in the underground.

Hogan et al. develop a farfetched plan to solve the problem that involves the nightclub singer, her club and LeBeau offering dancing lessons to Major Hochstetter. Meanwhile, Hogan and Frankel have some serious chemistry going on throughout the episode.

The Second Lily Frankel Joins the Series Finale

In the following season of “Hogan’s Heroes,” Mason returned to play Lily Frankel. Yet again. Only this time, it’s in the episode “Rockets or Romance,” and Frankel is an agent collaborating with the underground. There’s no mention of nightclubs or singing. Instead, she’s trying to help Hogan track down a mobile rocket launcher that will target London.

When Frankel introduces herself to Hogan, he doesn’t seem to know her, nor does she know him. Neither one of them alludes to their previous encounter. And when Hogan vows to risk his life for her, Frankel responds, “You do not even know me.”

If the people behind “Hogan’s Heroes” wanted to create two separate characters, both coincidentally named Lily Frankel, they likely would have cast a different actress. The fact that they brought back the same actress and had her play a character with the same name suggests some attempt at continuity, however half-baked.

So what explains the plot hole whereby neither Hogan nor Frankel remember meeting each other before? And why change everything else about the character besides her name and face? It doesn’t really make sense. But in the slapdash production schedule of a weekly TV show, maybe it didn’t have to.