Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Colonel Hogan

I have to admit, you may not recognize this character unless you grew up when Hogan’s Heroes was playing for decades in reruns. Then, if no one recognizes this character, why would I choose him to be part of my Wednesday Warriors section on my site?

Bob Crane with Sigrid Valdis in Hogan's Heroes
Bob Crane with Sigrid Valdis in Hogan’s Heroes

The truth of the matter lies in Colonel Hogan (Bob Crane) and his genius for coming up with a plan at a moment’s notice.

If you’re not familiar with the show Hogan’s Heroes, it came out in 1965, ended in 1971 and soon after landed in syndication making a pile of money for CBS. Back then, there was a real demand for war shows, and given the show is nothing short of hilarious, I can see why. The characters are solid, the stories are simple, but overall, the cast is what makes this show unique.

Without Hogan though, the show would not have been the success it still is today in reruns.

Hogan's Heroes
Hogan’s Heroes

The show is about a Prisoner of War camp set in World War II Germany. The leader of the multinational team is an American prisoner named Colonel Hogan. Now, you might think, what’s the big deal? Sounds like an ordinary show. On paper, it does. But the originality behind the show is Hogan’s knack for coming up with a plan within moments of a problem surfacing, overcoming setbacks, and delivering end results that resolve the problem.

Oh, and as I’ve mentioned, this all takes place while slapstick and humor rules the airwaves.

Much of Hogan’s talent lies in his quick thinking, his charm and his ability to influence those around him simply by suggesting ideas that would benefit him and his team. Also, to make things even more interesting, Stalag 13, the camp where he resides as a prisoner, has never had a successful escape. That is no coincidence. He keeps it that way in order to maintain control of the camp, unbeknownst to the German commanding officer Colonel Klink (Werner Klemperer).

The most memorable moments with Hogan are not when he succeeds with his plans over his captors, but when a plan so easy to execute turns into a farce—like the time when the prisoners steal a tank and hide it in the camp. It could never happen in real life, but it does in the show, and it makes for fun TV.

I grew up with Hogan as someone I admired, not because of his way with women, or his ability to get himself out of trouble more than once, or his loyalty to his men, but for his unwillingness to surrender in the face of absolute defeat. Somehow, he manages always to come through with a plan.

That seems to me as someone anyone would want to have as a role model.

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Have you seen any of the Hogan’s Heroes episodes? If you have, what do you think of Hogan?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Marie Barone

In a middle-class suburb in Long Island lives Ray Barone (Ray Romano), sportswriter, with his beautiful wife Debra, and their three wonderful children. Across the street, live his parents.

Doris Roberts as Marie Barone
Doris Roberts as Marie Barone

Women Who Wow Wednesday once featured Everybody Loves Raymond‘s Debra Barone (Patricia Heaton) as the assertive, do-it-all homemaker who doesn’t take lip from anyone, including kids’ activity coordinators who’ve set themselves on a pedestal waiting for her to knock them off. Strong-willed, independent, Debra wears the loving mom moniker well. She also does it all.

Ray’s mom, Marie Barone (Doris Roberts), has the best job in the family. She spoils her kids rotten, except Ray’s brother Robert (Brad Garrett), but that’s another story. Perpetually caring for Frank (Peter Boyle), her husband of forty-five years, she’s learned a couple of things along the way. For instance, toenails don’t magically crawl into the garbage, nor does dirty underwear jump into the hamper all by itself.

A typical day in the life of the Barones goes something like this:

[Frank is eating lasagna from the platter]
Marie Barone: Frank! What are you doing? You can’t eat it from there! Your fork was in there! Now nobody can eat it!
Frank Barone: That’s all I have to do? In that case, the fork’s been in the ice cream, too!
Ray Barone: [comes in] Hey.
Marie Barone: Hi, Raymond. Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat? Only you can’t have lasagna… Or ice cream.
Frank Barone: [sticks his fork in cake] Or chocolate cake.
Marie Barone: Look at him! He’s like an animal, marking his territory!
[Frank sticks Marie with the fork]
Marie Barone: Hey!
Frank Barone: What? That’s a compliment.
Ray Barone: God, how I wish I could say this is the wrong house…

Marie Barone
Marie Barone

Her “Are you hungry?” line defines Marie as the selfless mom who is always willing to go out of her way to make life comfortable for Ray. Her relationship with Debra is a different matter. To Marie, Debra’s never been good enough for her son. In that respect, she has said less than flattering things about Debra’s cooking “Did another dinner get away from you, dear?” However, make no mistake; Marie loves Debra like her own daughter:

Marie Barone: I bought tickets for the whole family to go to Italy!
Debra Barone: Me too?
Marie Barone: Of course, dear. You’re family.
[Debra jumps with joy]
Robert Barone: Me too?

What makes Marie is not her intrusive, critical, overbearing attitude, although some may find that off-putting, but it is her unapologetic nature when defending her family. This is what makes her a formidable opponent, should anyone dare attack The Barones:

“I wanna tell ya something, there is nothing wrong with this family. We’re very close, we’re very open, we’re very loving, ‘cause I make sure of it.” ~Marie Barone

And it’s true. She may seem like someone you may not want to be with for long periods, but she certainly knows how to show her love. “Are you hungry, dear?”

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you seen Everybody Loves Raymond? What do you think of Marie Barone?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Debra Barone

“Debra, Debra, lovely wife, why am I stuck with you for life?” So says Ray Barone, sports columnist for Newsday. Well, Ray, I wouldn’t say stuck, buddy. I would say blessed. Debra Barone’s the first comedic character I’m including in my Women Who Wow Wednesday series.

Debra Barone
Debra Barone

Strong-willed, temperamental, the ideal organizer—Debra Barone makes the perfect compliment to her otherwise silly husband, Ray. Played by Patricia Heaton on Everybody Loves Raymond, Debra is the homemaker who will take it and equally dish it out. In her family there is no dictator. She says what’s on her mind, and she’s never afraid to stand up for herself. How’s this for telling her husband how she feels? “You know what, I’m tired! Could you just call yourself an idiot?”

Lovely Debra
Lovely Debra

Never one to pine away the hours in a depressed state of vomit-inducing withdrawal, Debra cleans, cooks, looks after the kids, takes them to their activities, does the laundry, does the dishes, hires exterminators, plans the family vacation, runs for school president and, and, and more. Nothing is too large a feat for her. She does it all. Ray may try to act manly and all, “Let’s try and get it spot free. This isn’t like at home where I let that stuff slide.” But in the end, Debra is the one who strikes fear in the hearts of men:

Debra: Where did you just come from?
Raymond: I went to the bathroom.
Debra: No, you didn’t.
Raymond: I’m doing it right now.

Debra’s mere height of 5′ 2″ doesn’t deter her willingness to fight Robert, Ray’s brother who stands 6′ 8½”:

Debra
Debra

Debra: Okay, Robert, listen. Stop feeling so sorry for yourself.
Robert: I’m not feeling sorry for myself.
Debra: Yes, you are. Spouting off at the family and insulting everybody. You just love playing the victim, don’t you?
Robert: OK, thank you, Debra. You can go back to being princess fabulosa now.
Debra: Hey, you better be nice to me, pal, because I’m the last person in the family that doesn’t wanna climb up there and strangle you!

But you know what? As strong as she is, she still cuts Ray some slack. Who else can put up with Ray’s greeting to his beloved wife? Precede these phrases with the customary “Hey, _______”:

Auntie Em, Baby, Baby-Bop, Baloney Bosoms, Banjo Pants, Blubber Head, Boobala, Bubble Wrap, Bully, Cap-a-Loo, Cheese Doodle, Clive, Cornflake, Cranapple, Crazy Broad, Darth Debra, Delilah, Eight Maids a Milkin’, Fat Legs, Girlie, Groucho, Honey, Honey-Bun, Hot Little Chuckle Monkey, Hot Mama, Hot Muscle Mama, Huck a Poo, Jambalaya, Jelly Cheeks, Krispy Creme, Lucky Pants, Ma’ Lady, Miss Hippy Go Free Free, Miss Smarty Pants, Miss Teen USA, Mommycakes, Moonshine, Mrs. Holey Moley, Muck-A-Luck, Nickel, Noodle, Pepper Squat, Pinky, Puddle Pants, Puka Shell, Pumpkin, Sister Girl, Skinny Girl, Slim Fast, Smelly Tramp, Sniggles, Snuggle Pants, Soda Pop, Squeezioli, Sweet Sister, Sweetie Pie, Sweetness, Swizzle, Teletubby, Thanksgiving Day Hooker, Tiny Dancer, Witchy-Poo, Your Highness.

Ray and Debra
Ray and Debra

In spite of the arguing, complaining, and explaining, Debra is your typical wife who achieves greatness with the ordinary. If she had a shotgun strapped to her thigh, she’d make the perfect zombie hunter.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

What do you like about Debra? What do you like about Everybody Loves Raymond?