Perhaps that’s because all prison stories are figurative, at least to a degree. Whether the characters behind bars are cold-blooded killers or innocent victims of a malevolent authority, the movies, books, songs, and TV shows about them tend to be more about the common feeling of being trapped, and how people either make the best of a dire situation or attempt a daring escape. Albert S. Ruddy, who co-created Hogan’s Heroes with Bernard Fein—and later co-wrote one of the great prison films, The Longest Yard —originally intended to set the sitcom in a regular American jail, but rewrote the script when he heard that NBC was developing a show called Campo 44 , set in an Italian WWII POW camp. (The Campo 44 pilot was later burned off in a one-off broadcast in 1967, and was accused by TV critics of ripping off Hogan’s Heroes .) In an interview on the Hogan’s Heroes complete-series DVD set, Ruddy says that it took less than a day to remake the show as a WWII farce, because the core of the premise never changed: It was always about these clever fellows and how they lived like kings in some of the worst conditions imaginable. It’s such a powerful fantasy, this idea of being able to turn an armed fortress into a secret clubhouse.