It’s dusk in Mark Hayward and Charley Knapp’s cozy duplex in Los Feliz. 

Tonight, Mark, Charley, and the cast are preparing for the first read-through of the pilot episode of “Hogan’s Heroes.” Before they begin, cast members study their lines, prepare their accents, and place googley-eyed sock puppets on each hand.

A row of sock puppets dressed in WWII-era German and Allied uniforms stand at attention on a round dining table in the corner of the room. There are sock puppet versions of the entire “Hogan’s Heroes” cast: Colonel Hogan, Colonel Klink, Sergeants Schultz, Kinchloe, Baker and Carter. Each sock puppet’s outfit it made of felt, pipe cleaners, buttons and yarn. 

“We debated what to do with the Klink monocle because it’s such the signature of Colonel Klink, but we decided that going with the largest googly eye we could find was better than a monocle,” said sock puppeteer Hayward. “This is the hardest thing we had to make, we had to make a helmet that’s sock-puppet size, a German World War Two infantry helmet. So, it’s paper mache!”

Hayward and his husband, Charley Knapp, are co-founders of the Sock Puppet Sitcom Theater, a monthly live show that recreates pilot episodes of hit sitcoms using homemade sock puppets. Along with a stable of puppeteers and musicians, the couple has given the sock treatment to shows like “I Love Lucy,” “Friends” and even the “CBS Evening News.” 

Listen to the whole story over on the Off-Ramp page at KPCC.org!