Friday, August 28, 2015

Bob Crane's New Biography—Only a Few Weeks Away!

Have you pre-ordered your copy of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography yet? If not, what are you waiting for? 

If you think you know Bob Crane because you saw AutoFocus, think again! You have a lot to learn! This new book details Bob's entire life, taking you all the way back to his hometown roots in Connecticut, through World War II and his early radio career in the 1950s and 1960s, onto international stardom as the beloved Colonel Robert E. Hogan on Hogan's Heroes, as well as his film and theatre work, and beyond—up until the night he was brutally murdered on June 29, 1978. This book also discusses his sexual addiction, and brings a new awareness of it from a clinical perspective, something that has never before been done for him. 

Bob Crane was a human being. Neither a devil nor a saint, he was not perfect, but he was perfectly human. There was a lot to say about Bob—650 pages worth! And so much of it was overwhelmingly good!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography / Book Trailer #2—Hogan's Heroes

I've gotta tell ya, I love making the book trailers! Special thanks to my brother-in-law, Jeff Reim, who always does a superb narration. This trailer includes excerpts from the Hogan's Heroes chapter published in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. This chapter is 100 pages long and loaded with photographs (different from the ones shown in this video). Hope you enjoy! (And be sure to grab your copy of the book!)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The End of an Era: Bob Crane's KNX-CBS Radio Finale—August 16, 1965

It was the end of an era.

Bob Crane, who had made a dynamic name for himself in radio on both the East and West Coasts beginning in 1950, was trading his radio microphone in for a U.S. Army Air Force officer's crush cap. And when Bob signed off KNX for the last time on Monday, August 16, 1965, there was a literal sob heard throughout Southern California, and most audibly, throughout the halls of Columbia Square, home of KNX.

Bob had already spent the last eight months working on Hogan's Heroes, all while maintaining his regular schedule at KNX. He thought he could continue on at KNX while also working full time on Hogan's Heroes, similar to as he had done while working on The Donna Reed Show. Ambitious though he was, Bob soon discovered he was wrong. The new schedule had proven to be grueling, and it started to affect not only his work, but his health.

The following is an exclusive excerpt from Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, by Carol M. Ford, with Dee Young and Linda J. Groundwater:
CBS had made it quite clear: Hogan’s Heroes must be a winner. They would accept nothing less. Neither would Bob. But with a starring role on a TV series and his regular job at KNX, Bob’s already manic schedule would now be nothing short of insane. Something had to give. Bob’s intention was to continue at KNX while filming Hogan’s Heroes, working both jobs simultaneously the same way he had done when he worked on The Donna Reed Show. On May 6, 1965, Bob entered into another one-year contract with CBS to continue his morning program at KNX from 1965-1966. By this time, the agreements between Bob and KNX were fairly informal, with Bob himself even claiming that they were more or less a handshake deal, even though signed contracts did exist. Bob enjoyed his work in radio, and KNX knew Bob was their top commodity.
However, after filming the first several episodes of Hogan’s Heroes, the arrangement soon proved to be far more difficult than Bob or anyone else had anticipated. There was a big difference between being part of a supporting cast and carrying the lead role in a series. Nevertheless, Bob struggled to maintain both jobs.
“I did both The Donna Reed Show and my radio show for two years,” Bob said. “But that was a situation where I wasn’t in every scene. I wasn’t Donna Reed in other words. But in this series, I am Donna Reed.” 
The dual career arrangement was to be short-lived. By June 1965, Bob had discovered that juggling two full-time and highly prolific careers was irrational—and impossible. He could not perform both jobs well, take care of himself and his family, and remain sane. It became too much.
“People were swarming around me with fresh cups of coffee, foot massages, and soothing words,” Bob had said, “and it suddenly hit me what the trouble was—I was just too darned tired. I had pushed it. When we first started the new series, I was falling apart physically. That’s when I decided I couldn’t do the radio show too. I tried to carry on until January [1966] after my replacement for radio was hired. But one day, I just started forgetting my lines. That was the day I made up my mind to quit the [radio] show. Being on radio and starring in a TV series at the same time means waking up at five-thirty a.m., going to do four hours of radio, then running down to the set and staying there until seven-fifteen at night, then getting my makeup off and going back to the radio station to get my music ready for the next day, getting home at nine-thirty, eating dinner, looking at my lines for a few minutes, and then falling asleep. I got so I was Uncle Daddy to my kids. ‘My wife, what’s her name’ and all those jokes were apropos. When I’d drive in the driveway, the kids would say, ‘Hey, here comes Bob Crane.’ I got Bob Sutton (general manager of KNX) on the phone and said, ‘I’ve had it, buddy. I’m bugging out early,’ and that was that. Fortunately, there is such a great group of guys over there that they understood.” 
Despite the signed contract, CBS and KNX realized that it was dangerous to Bob’s health for him to continue at full capacity in both Hogan’s Heroes and at KNX. So, with the approval of KNX and CBS, Bob bowed out of radio. It was a pivotal decision for Bob to leave the medium he had always loved and that had made him both wealthy and famous. After more than fifteen consecutive years behind the microphone, from one coast to the other, Bob hosted “The Bob Crane Show” live for the last time over KNX on Monday, August 16, 1965. (pp. 215-216/hardcover edition, © Carol M. Ford). 
Bob Crane brought a whole new dimension to radio. He incorporated what KNX termed his "show stuff" (in other words, his skits, gimmicks, and drumming) with the traditional programming of music and commercials. Bob invented what was known as "sampling"—not breaking his show into segments, but rather, having everything flow together. A commercial became part of a skit became part of the next record, during which he would also drum along, and then some pieces were revisited later during another part of the show. It all flowed together; none of it was compartmentalized.

A gifted voice impersonator, KNX also hailed him as radio's "Man of a Thousand Voices," and most of the voices heard on Bob's show were created and performed by Bob himself. People listening would swear they were hearing Bob carrying on a conversation with another person in a particular skit, but in reality, in many cases, it was all performed by Bob and then pre-recorded.

Of course, Bob's KNX celebrity interviews were unparalleled in radio at the time, and should still today command great respect. These interviews are a treasure trove of Hollywood history. During his tenure at KNX, he interviewed thousands of celebrities and Hollywood notables. So successful and entertaining were his interviews, that producers urged Bob to transition his radio show to television. They also pressed him to replace Jack Paar on The Tonight Show. After Bob declined, it went to Johnny Carson.

Bob's colleagues in radio have referred to him as a radio genius. Much of what Bob did behind the mic seemed to flow right from his mind, without any preparation. And while some of that is true—some of his quips and ad libs were spontaneous—he prepared extensively for his radio show, so much so, that when he launched into his program each morning, it all flowed together. He was very much at home behind a microphone, and he enjoyed every second of it.

Bob stayed close to radio for his entire life. During Hogan's Heroes, he donated many hours of his time with the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Network. Following the cancellation of the series, he returned to radio briefly, working at KMPC, where he filled in for his former broadcasting competition, Dick Whittinghill, and then provided a year-long series of specials for the station. In 1976, he returned to WICC in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he helped the station celebrate its 50th anniversary.

In radio, Bob Crane became a star. We all know him as the wise-cracking Colonel Hogan, but radio is where he got his basic training. He learned new skills at every station, beginning at WLEA in Hornell, New York, in 1950, and he carried those skills with him throughout radio and beyond into acting and directing. The impromptu title bestowed upon him—"King of the LA Airwaves"—is mostly accurate. He truly was, but not just in Los Angeles! 

Shortly before his death, Bob hinted at possibly wanting to write his own autobiography. Imagine what we might have learned—and specifically about radio and his time at KNX—if his life had not been cut short and he had only been allowed that opportunity.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Book Trailer #1 for 'Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography'

It's hard to believe that in May 2011, this blog started as a web presence in support of Bob Crane's nomination for the National Radio Hall of Fame. His induction is still the goal, but it's only part of the larger effort. Everything ~ this campaign, the book, the website, the social media pages ~ they all are interconnected with the over-reaching aim of providing the truth about Bob Crane and shining light on his lesser-known yet equally important contributions to the entertainment industry and society.

On September 17, 2015, the long-awaited Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography will be published. If you haven't seen me around lately, it's with good reason. I've been just a little bit busy! In addition to the demands of my career as an editor and managing editor for a health care publishing firm, in my spare time, I spent two solid years writing the book, which took 12 years to research ~ a collaborative effort between Dee Young, Linda Groundwater, and myself. 

It was, for all involved, a pure and honest labor of love.

As I sit here holding the first official copy hot off the press, my heart swells. I'm completely overwhelmed. I won't lie. It's a huge book, and at 660 pages, my publisher was about ready to shoot me! Yet it was all important to include. Further, it's a treasure trove of history, not just about Bob Crane, but also of the eras in which he lived and worked.
  • The Great Depression
  • World War II
  • The Big Band Era
  • The Golden Age of Radio
  • The Swinging Sixties
  • The "Me" Decade of the Seventies
I hope, with all my heart, that this book brings a new perspective of Bob Crane to the media and public. Beyond that, I want more than anything for it to brings peace to his family, friends, and loved ones. In short, I truly hope it makes people happy ~ because brining joy and happiness to others was what Bob Crane always wanted to do. ~Carol Ford

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography ~ Trailer #1

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Resources and Official Contributors - 'Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography'

Original Research/Contributors (Research Phase: 2003-2015)
The following individuals have provided detailed recollections and information to the authors specifically for Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. Some people wished to remain anonymous for various reasons, and therefore, they are not listed here. The authors are deeply indebted and profoundly grateful to all who contributed, not only for sharing their memories and thoughts about Bob Crane, but also for believing in the true purpose of this work.

Family and Close Friends
Karen Crane (daughter) – Ongoing conversations 2012-2015
Robert Scott Crane (son) – Recorded interview June 2010, ongoing conversations 2010-2015
Jim Senich (cousin) – Recorded interviews June 2007, ongoing conversations 2004-2015
Jane (Senich) Ryfun (cousin) – Ongoing conversations 2012-2015
Barbara Trembley (nee Senich) (cousin) – Ongoing conversations 2012-2015
Charles Zito (best school friend) – Recorded interview August 1, 2008, ongoing conversations 2008-2010 (d. February 5, 2010)
Donald Sappern (school friend) – Recorded interviews August 18, 2006 and June 4, 2007
Dr. Edwin Gordon (school friend) – Recorded interview March 2, 2007
Neil McGuinness (school friend) – Via letter Summer 2008
Dr. David Dugan (school friend) – Via letter Summer 2008
Jane Golden (nee Lippoth) (school friend) – Recorded interview September 20, 2008, ongoing conversations 2008-2015
Harvey Geller (friend and neighbor) – Recorded interview August 24, 2007, ongoing email correspondence 2007-2009 (d. March 12, 2009)
Salvatore (“Tootie”) De Benedetto (friend and jazz band member) – Recorded interview November 30, 2007
Eliot Dober (friend, WICC, Exec. Dir. Cerebral Palsy Foundation – Connecticut) – Recorded interview June 20, 2009, ongoing conversations 2009-2010 (d. July 30, 2010)
Julius Bogdan (neighbor) – Conversation/statements only August 2009
John and Pamela (Hayes) Thompson (friends, theatre actors) – Recorded interviews August 23 and August 30, 2009, ongoing conversations 2009-2015

Friends and Classmates from Stamford High School, Stamford, CT
Edward Finney – Via letter Summer 2008
Raymond Gagliardi – Via letter Summer 2008
Louis Esposito – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Aniello Casillo – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Joe Delfino – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Gloria Rosa (nee Di Sette) (also co-worker Finlay Straus Jewelers) – Recorded interview Summer 2008
Mary Anderson (nee Daly) – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Patricia Mucci (nee De Angelis) Via phone conversation July 10, 2008
John Bell – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Angelina Barcello (nee Moccia) – Via letter Summer 2008
Estelle Alterwitz (nee Silberman) – Via letter July 12, 2008
Nathan Gottfried – Via letter Summer 2008
Beatrice Wexler (nee Levinson) – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Annalise Barrett (nee Biegler) – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Ruth Lanyon (wife of Rodney Lanyon) – Via letter Summer 2008
Eric Ericson – Via letter Summer 2008
Catherine Dial (nee Kohores) – Via letter and phone conversation Summer 2008
Ed Caraszi – Via letter August 7, 2008
Jean Sempey (nee Packman) – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
John Mercede – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Virginia Kristoff (nee Pendleton) – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Martin Rosenblum – Via letter Summer 2008
Edward R. Martin – Via letter Summer 2008
Alice Jarrell (nee Peterson) – Via letter August 9, 2008
Cleante Pimpinella – Via letter Summer 2008
Frances C. Cassity (nee Maziuk) – Via letter Summer 2008
Anne Sessa (nee Lopiano) – Via conversation October 2011
Jackson A. Ransohoff (also brother of television producer Martin Ransohoff) – Via phone conversation Summer 2008
Doris Leidecker (nee Sidney) – Via letter Summer 2008
Phyllis Gallucci (nee Telesco) – Via letter Summer 2008
Audrey Ivanko (nee Swan) – Via letter Summer 2008
Additional members from the Stamford High School Class of 1946 who wished to remain anonymous but whose testimonies are on file with the authors.

Hornell, New York
Kevin P. Doran (WLEA, owner and on-air host) – Via phone conversation Spring 2014
John Sloggs (WLEA listener – 1950) – Via email correspondence 2014

Connecticut Radio
Frank Derak (WICC) – Ongoing conversations 2005-2015
Morgan Kaolian (WICC, Channel 43) – Via email correspondence, ongoing onversations
Wes Hobby (WICC) – Via email correspondence July 24, 2005
Al Warren (WICC) – Ongoing conversations 2005-2015
Jack Coombe (WNOC) – Via letter and ongoing conversations 2007-2015
Harry Luke (WICC, WNAB) – Via conversation August 2008
Bill Dillane (WADS, WICC) – Ongoing conversations 2007-2015
Gene Valentino (WATR) – Via email correspondence December 29, 2008
Martha Gross (WICC) – Via conversations 2007-2008
Rev. Tom Carten (WICC) – Via phone conversation May 18, 2009
Michael Collins (WICC, Connecticut Broadcasters Association Historian)
Bob Slugoski (WATR) – Via email correspondence
William Secor (participant, WICC Junior Achievement) – Via email correspondence
February 3, 2013
John Ramsey (Connecticut Broadcasting History) – Ongoing conversations 2007-
Mark Ammann (nephew of Wayne Mitchell, WICC, Channel 43) – Phone conversation/email, February 26, 2015

California Radio
George Nicholaw (KNX) – Via letter and phone conversation June 13, 2007 (d. August 9, 2014)
Tom Bernstein (KNX) – Via email correspondence June 2007
Tom and Diane Thornton (KNX) – Recorded interviews July 13 and 14, 2007
Leo McElroy (KNX) – Recorded interview July 7, 2007
Gordon Mason (KNX) – Recorded interview August 16, 2007 (d. December 10, 2007)
Tom Kelly (KNX) (statement only) – Via phone conversation Summer 2007
John Hokom (KNX program director) – Via email correspondence
John Sutton (son of Robert P. Sutton, former KNX general manager) – Via phone conversation February 20, 2015
Geoff Edwards (KMPC) – Recorded interview June 28, 2007 (d. March 5, 2014)
Roger Carroll (KMPC) – Via email correspondence Summer 2007
Bob Maryon (KMPC) – Recorded interview August 11, 2007
Joe Cosgrove (KPOL-Los Angeles/KTHO-Lake Tahoe) – Recorded interview August 18, 2007
Gary Owens (KFNB/KMPC) – Recorded interview July 14, 2008 (d. February 12, 2015)
Bill Wolff (KNX) – Via phone conversation August 9, 2007 (d. December 2012)
Arlen Peters (KNX) – Via email correspondence August 2007
Alan Hall (KNX) – via phone and email correspondence (August 2012)
Tom Hatten (KNX) (statement only) – Via letter
Additional former KNX colleagues and Columbia Square alumni who wished to remain anonymous but whose testimonies are on file with the authors.

The Donna Reed Show
Eddie Foy, III (casting director) – Recorded interview March 30, 2008
Paul Petersen (actor) – Recorded interview April 15, 2008

Hogan’s Heroes
Albert S. Ruddy (co-creator and producer) – Recorded interview April 15, 2008
Jerry London (associate producer, director) – Recorded interview August 17, 2007
Bruce Bilson (director) – Recorded interview February 6, 2008
Robert Butler (director) – Recorded interview April 13, 2009
Robert Clary (actor) – Via handwritten correspondence October 14, 2008
Cynthia Lynn (actress) – Recorded interview April 24, 2007 (d. March 11, 2014)
Arlene Martel (actress) – Recorded interview September 8, 2006 (d. August 12, 2014)
Victoria Carroll (actress, also The Love Boat) – Recorded interview June 20, 2009
Robert Hogan (actor) – Recorded interview October 28, 2008
Jon Cedar (actor) – Via email correspondence August 8, 2007 (d. April 14, 2011)
Inge Wegge (actress) – Via email correspondence March 31, 2005
Monte Markham (actor) – Recorded interview July 26, 2015
Ruta Lee (actress) – Via email correspondence October 14, 2014
Bernard Fox (actor; statement only) – Via email correspondence July 24, 2007
Alan Oppenheimer (actor; statement only) – Via email correspondence June 18, 2006
Stewart Moss (actor; statement only) – Via email correspondence September 9, 2006
Frank Marth (actor; statement only) – Via email correspondence September 2006

Bob Crane, His Drums and Orchestra Play the Funny Side of TV
Stu Phillips (music producer) – Recorded interview June 8, 2007

Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz
Larry D. Mann (actor; statement only) – Via handwritten correspondence July 17, 2009
Maureen Arthur (actress) – Recorded interview August 1, 2009

Arsenic and Old Lace
Robert Scheerer (director; statement only) – Via handwritten correspondence September 2008

The Bob Crane Show
Norman S. Powell (creator/producer/director) – Recorded interview February 26, 2008
James Sutorius (actor) – Via email correspondence February 8, 2008
Bruce Kimmel (actor) – Via email correspondence July 27, 2006

Ellery Queen
Edward Abroms (director) – Via phone conversation September 2008

The Hawaii Experience
John Orland (director) – Recorded interview July 6, 2009

The Love Boat
Ted Lange (actor) – Via email correspondence August 18, 2009
Victoria Carroll (actress, also Hogan’s Heroes) – Recorded interview June 20, 2009

Celebrity Cooks
Derek Smith (owner and producer) – Recorded interview June 19, 2009
Anne Kear (associate producer/talent agent) – Recorded interview June 27, 2009
Roger Packer (studio director) – Recorded interview June 19, 2009

The Flaw
Jim French (radio scriptwriter) – Via email correspondence June 20, 2006

Send Me No Flowers (1969)
Rick Plastina (actor) – Recorded interview June 3, 2009

Tunnel of Love (1959)
Who Was That Lady (1960)
Donald Freed (Director) – Recorded interview July 27, 2014

Beginner’s Luck
Victoria Berry Wells (actress) – Recorded interview February 27, 2007
Donna (Siegfried) Goobic (lighting designer/stage manager, Beverly Dinner Playhouse, New Orleans [1972-76]) – Recorded interview August 16, 2009
Michael Cahill (The Cahill Archives, Beverly Dinner Playhouse, New Orleans) – Via email correspondence Summer 2009

Other Contributors
Dick Van Patten (actor) – Via email correspondence July 18, 2006
Monty Hall (television host) – Via email correspondence February 17, 2008
Tom Davis (brother of Larry Hovis, actor) – Recorded interview July 27, 2008
Richard Addrisi (musician, The Addrisi Brothers) – Via email correspondence July 25,
Colonel Jerry Chipman, USAF (Retired) – Via email correspondence June 10, 2006
Pat Boone (musician) – Via email correspondence
Martin Ransohoff (television producer) – Via phone conversation October 2008
Marie Blesk (Stratford, CT, PAL Talent Unit) – Via letter August 2008
Ed Begley, Jr. (actor; statement only) – Via email correspondence July 21, 2008
Francine York (actress, The Red Skelton Hour) — via written correspondence May 8, 2015
Dr. Leo Finkelstein, Jr. (USAF film writer/pro ducer/director) – Via email correspondence February 1, 2009
Frank and Marion Karas, owners, The Floor Covering Shop, Stamford, CT – June 2007
Ron Marcus (historian, Stamford Historical Society) – Ongoing correspondence 2004-2012

Therapy and Clinical Psychology Regarding Sex Addiction
Reverend Edward Beck (retired; vice president, Windmill Dinner Theatre, Scottsdale, Arizona; addiction counselor) – Via email correspondence and audio letters May 15, 2006, July 27, 2006, October 12, 2006, and July 7, 2009
Veronica Monet, ACS (sex addiction/human sexuality expert) – Recorded interview January 2009
Alexandra Katehakis, MFT, CSAT, CST (sex addiction expert) – Recorded interview January 2009
Nancy Irwin, PsyD, C.Ht. (sex addiction expert) – Recorded interview January 2009
David Bissette, PsyD (sex addiction expert) – Recorded interview January 2009

Print, Audio, and Video Resources

More than 600 published and/or recorded resources were located and referenced. Many were clippings Bob Crane saved in his scrapbooks or taken from his own personal audio collection. Digital versions of all resources are on file with the authors.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2015 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention / Hogan's Heroes 50th and Bob Crane Biography

Save the date! We are booked for the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention (September 17-19, 2015, at the Hunt Valley Wyndam, Hunt Valley, Maryland)! 

On Saturday, September 19, beginning at 1:30 p.m., I'll be doing a presentation based on research from Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography and will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hogan's Heroes. In addition, I will have a booth in the exhibit hall, where I can talk with attendees and sell copies of the book. 

More details coming soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography ~ Pre-Orders Now Available for Hardcover Edition

Pre-Orders of Hardcover Edition 
Now Available!
Limited edition, hardcover, signed copy of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography

This is a pre-sale. The book will ship out on September 1st, two weeks before release date.

Deluxe, expanded edition contains:
  • Exclusive, never-before released historical documents chronicling Bob Crane’s life and career.
  • More than 200 family and professional photographs, many exclusive, courtesy of Bob Crane's family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Over 600 pages containing first-hand accounts from nearly 200 people from Bob Crane's life.
  • Personally signed by all three authors: Carol M. Ford, Dee Young, and Linda J. Groundwater.
  • Hardcover embossed with a stamp of Bob Crane’s original signature.

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is being published by AuthorMike Ink Publishing and will be available through all major book retailers worldwide.