1. Archive

A big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe ... Sergeant Hulka

Published May 13, 2011

Stripes, the 1981 film that made a headliner out of Bill Murray and introduced us to a big lug named John Candy, turns 30 years old this summer. That's plenty of time for us to honor our favorite characters and actors from the flick before the big birthday (technically, it's June 26).

Today's candidate for greatness: Sgt. Hulka, played by the late, great Warren Oates. Yes, sadly Oates died in '82 at age 53, a year after Stripes opened in theaters. His final two films -- Blue Thunder and Tough Enough (both released in 1983) -- were posthumously dedicated to him.

Did his take as an Army drill sergeant seem realistic enough? It probably didn't hurt that before entering actor, Oates served a stint with the U.S. Marines. Of all his roles, it's his earlier ones set in the Wild West that made him most uncomfortable. "I feel most uncomfortable in a western role, because my image of the western man is John Wayne and I'm just a little s--t," Oates is credited with saying.

We'd never say that about Hulka. Here are five reasons you'll always be our big toe, Warren Oates.


5. "Now, since nobody else has got the guts ... to admit it, the rest of this platoon ... will do the next two weekends on KP. How's that sound to you, mister?"

4. "I'm getting too old for this s--t."

3. "Before we proceed any further, we gotta get something straight. Your mamas are not here to take care of you now. It's just you, me, and Uncle Sam. And before I leave you, you're gonna find out that me and Uncle Sam are one in the same."

2. "You better hit those bunks my little babies, or Sergeant Hulka with the 'big toe' is gonna see how far he can stick it up your a--."

1. "Lighten up, Francis."

Posted by Steve Spears at 9:40:10 am on May 12, 2011