On this date in 1971 the last episode of Hogan’s Heroes aired. It was a television comedy set in a German prisoner of war camp during World War 2. The series started in 1965 and ran for 6 years with a total of 168 episodes.
Some fans of the series had been actual prisoners of the Germans. Bomber pilot George Ott of New England, North Dakota, was shot down in 1943. He spent 18 months in a German Stalag. When it came time to watch Hogan's Heroes, he would quit farm work early to catch the program.
One of Hogan's Heroes was Technical Sergeant Andrew Carter, the explosives expert, said to be a Native American of Sioux ancestry from the fictional town of Bullfrog, North Dakota, a suburb of the also fictional Crab Apple Junction. It was one of the first times a Native American was shown on screen without the Indian stereotypes often portrayed in Hollywood.
In one episode where it is revealed that Carter is part Sioux Indian, his fellow POWs tease him but, it comes across as good-natured banter between servicemen.
In another episode, the Germans' fascination with American Indians is revealed when Carter presents a supposedly “authentic” feather and headband to the German guard, Sergeant Shultz. Shultz proudly wears the headband and later the camp Commandant, Colonel Klink, also tries on the headband and admires himself in a mirror.
Sergeant Andrew Carter was played by singer and actor Larry Hovis. He had a long acting career, but is best known for his time with Hogan’s Heroes. In later years Hovis taught drama at Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas. He passed away in 2003.
It is not known if Larry Hovis ever visited North Dakota but many sources reveal he was indeed of Native American ancestry. He was born in Wapato, Washington, on the Yakama Indian Reservation.
Dakota Datebook by Scott Nelson
Wikipedia actor Larry Hovis
Wikipedia Hogan’s Heroes
Larry Hovis biography
Personal visit with George Ott
Newspaper Rock – Where Native America meets Pop Culture, April 8, 2015
Little Deer in Hogan’s Heroes