Richard Dawson played Cpl. Peter Newkirk in the comedy television series

There is a philosophy I have often referred to in my life, I call, “The Newkirk effect”. I don’t refer to Ingrid Newkirk, president and co-founder of PETA, but Corporal Newkirk from Hogan’s Heroes.  In a nutshell it’s the act of doing something instinctively, through sheer will power and natural innate ability, without really thinking about it, planning for it, or having the required training to do so.  I have relied on, and been rewarded with, this way of doing things many times in my life.

There was a particular Hogan’s Heroes episode where Carter had found he had some American Indian blood in him from way back,…or something like that. He took up and started practicing the bow and arrow.  Hogan of course thought of a way to use this new, silly plot device in that week’s episode.  A munitions truck was to pass by the POW camp ( didn’t those Germans figure it out after a while?) and Hogan was tasked with the assignment of blowing it up.  “Let’s get Carter to shoot a flaming arrow at this canvas covered truck.”  Carter, as played by the late Larry Hovis (a Texas boy) practiced all through the episode for the fateful moment.  At the appropriate time the truck made it’s way past the camp.  They opened the window of the barracks.  Carter lit the arrow, took aim at the truck,….even figuring out how much to lead the truck ……and,….he shot it into the window shutter.  Without even thinking Newkirk took the bow from Carter, pulled the arrow out and made a perfect, yet maybe slightly unskilled, shot right into the side of the truck.  My point being with this has always been,..that sometimes raw talent outdoes over thinking and over schooling.

I have fond memories of Hogan’s Heroes which was on at 6:00, right at dinner time, and just after Star Trek.  It was also followed by Match Game.  That line up of TV was always a ‘warm fuzzy’ after a day of school on a cold winter’s day.  Richard Dawson was part of that.  I also, like the rest of America, was entertained to see him on Family Feud.  For some reason I felt a certain amount of pride for what a great fit he was and what he made that show. Watching it right after David Letterman’s original morning show. Those were fun summer moments. Good memories. Here’s to Richard Dawson. RIP.


And here’s a clip of that very scene from Hogan’s Heroes.

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  1. Loved Hogans Heroes! Another one bites the dust… where’s my childhood going? :~(