Sunday, June 29, 2014

Remembering Bob Crane on the Anniversary of His Passing


Today marks yet another passing of the anniversary of Bob Crane's untimely death. And once more, we remember Bob on this day humbly and with kindness, the way he deserves to be remembered.

Sadly, not all people are so kind. All people know about Bob Crane is from the film Auto Focus, and it is all they have been allowed to know. Some say that he got what he had coming to him. That he deserved it. That he was even the cause of it. 

I cannot and will not agree with such callous and unthoughtful remarks. A lot of people suffer from an addiction, and they seek professional help, just as Bob had been doing. A lot of them come clean. Bob was unfortunate in that he was never given the chance to see it through. Someone else chose to end his life. Bob did not ask to be murdered.

People don't choose to become addicted. Addiction is an illness. Those who suffer from addiction didn't wake up one morning and say, "Gee, today's the day I'm going to become an addict. Yeah, let's go!" No. It happens quietly, slowly, painfully over time. Like the frog in the pot of water on the stove that is gradually coming to a boil. The frog doesn't know he's being cooked, no more than those who suffer from addiction don't know they are addicted until they are. 

We are so quick as a society to judge others today that we forget that every person is fighting some kind of battle. Nobody is perfect. And in Bob's case, he not only did not deserve to die the way he did, but he also does not deserve the ongoing ridicule and humiliation brought on by the media and the film Auto Focus. He was a human being, and that simple fact is so often forgotten. 

It is very important to understand that Bob had recognized and acknowledged his troubles, himself calling it an addiction. He was very serious about his commitment to change and sought professional guidance to do so. He just was never given the opportunity to see it through. 

We have spoken with approximately 200 people who knew Bob Crane personally, many better than most, for the purposes of Bob's new biography I am writing, FLIPSIDE: THE TRUE STORY OF BOB CRANE - The Definitive Biography. Their recollections and testimonies of Bob are vastly different than how he was portrayed in the film Auto Focus. These individuals denounce and shame Auto Focus, saying it is nothing at all as how they remember Bob. This film was produced to shock and awe with scandal and salacious hype rather than to shed light on Bob as an individual. Much of what is seen in the film is either sensationalized or simply not true. Bob may have had his troubles, but this film completely demonizes him. I say again - he was neither a devil nor a saint. He was a human being. 

As you know, I have been working on Bob Crane's biography for quite some time now. I am thrilled to tell you that I will be signing with a national publisher very shortly. This has been a long time coming, and it was a decision that I did not ever want to take lightly. Most publishers are demanding of their authors, and in the trade market, they will insist on a large percentage of such a book containing some sort of scandal before they will even consider it. This will not be the case with my publisher. 

I like my publisher for a great many reasons, but at the top of the list is that he will not alter the content. He sees the book's merits and understands its importance. He will work with me as an invested partner in this endeavor to publish this biography the way it should be and to do justice to Bob. I could not be happier! 

The target release date for the book is July 13, 2015 (Bob's birthday), and 2015 also coincides with the 50th Anniversary of Hogan's Heroes. This book would not be happening without the fine contributions and assistance of Dee Young and Linda Groundwater. To Bob's family, friends, and colleagues, yes, it is finally happening. And thanks to everyone for all your ongoing support. 

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Wishing all Dads and Dads-at-Heart a Happy Father's Day today!

Above: Photo of Bob Crane and Kathy Cody from Superdad.
"I have always felt, in my own career, in the years that I was in radio, and on The Donna Reed Show, and on Hogan’s Heroes, and now doing the Disney film and doing plays on the road, it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time and having a little talent to go along with it and experience. And all of these things are not done overnight. And in Superdad, I try to convince my daughter, 'Take your time. Don’t be in a hurry.' But that’s tough to tell a teenage girl or boy. There’s plenty of time. You’ve got your whole life to live. They don’t want to hear that." ~Bob Crane, on his role in the film Superdad (1974)

Above: Bob Crane with Robert Clary, Ivan Dixon, Richard Dawson, and Larry Hovis during an episode from Hogan's Heroes.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

In Honor of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Remembering all American and Allied World War II servicemen/women in honor of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. Thank you for our freedom. 
Bob Crane had not been old enough to serve in World War II. However, following high school graduation in 1946, he joined the U.S. National Guard and served for three years in his home state of Connecticut. Bob was a proud American, and he remained greatly supportive of America's military forces and veterans throughout his entire life.

Bob Crane's older brother, Al, served in the United States Navy during World War II. He is honored in the United States World War II Registry.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Memorial Day Weekend ~ 2014

Bob Crane (Colonel Hogan), Ivan Dixon (Sergeant Kinchloe), and Larry Hovis (Sergeant Carter)
on Hogan's Heroes (1965-1971).

When we think of Memorial Day weekend in America, we often associate the holiday with barbeques, trips to the beach or the mountains, an extra day off from work, and the kick off to the summer season. However, we are reminded that this holiday means more than just hot dogs and burgers and cold drinks. This is a time for remembrance of our veterans ~ those who served our country and who either died in battle or have passed on. This day should also extend to our living veterans, who have served our country so that we may know freedom from oppression and be able to live in a peaceful democracy.

Bob Crane grew up during the World War II years, graduating from high school in June 1946. He knew a great many friends and classmates, and even family members, who were called off to fight in the war. Bob himself came close to serving in the war. They were preparing his class to graduate early in 1945 and were "toughening them up" during gym class for the harsh conditions they would experience during battle. Fortunately for Bob and the Class of 1946, the war ended before their class was called up to serve. Following graduation, Bob joined the U.S. National Guard in Connecticut, where he served for three years.

Bob's older brother, Al, however, did serve in the Navy during World War II. He was stationed on the U.S.S. Bunker Hill in the Pacific Theater of War. The Bunker Hill saw a great deal of action. On the morning of May 11, 1945, two Kamikaze planes crashed into the ship, severely crippling her. Many who were serving on the Bunker Hill died or were badly wounded that day, and the Cranes did not know for several weeks if Al had survived. When the word finally came that he was alive, according to Bob's best friend from school, "It was like Christmas." Al Crane is now honored for his service in the United States World War II National Registry. Throughout his life, Bob was always hugely supportive of all U.S. troops, and he volunteered his time regularly with organizations such as Operation Entertainment and the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Network.

John Banner, later Sgt. Schultz on Hogan's Heroes, was the
official "poster boy" for the United States Army
during World War II ~ 1942.

When Bob worked on Hogan's Heroes, his co-stars provided a rich tapestry of their own experiences of service and survival. Robert Clary, who is Jewish, spent two years in a concentration camp and lost many of his family during the Holocaust. John Banner (Sergeant Schultz), also Jewish, left his home in Austria and came to the United States, where he served in the U.S. Army. In 1942, he was the U.S. Army's official "poster boy" for World War II, his strong physique speaking to America's young men to prove that they, too, could be that brave, fighting soldier. Werner Klemperer (Colonel Klink), of Jewish descent, escaped Nazi Germany with his family in 1933 and came to America in 1935. He served in the U.S. Army for three and a half years in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He achieved the rank of Technician Fifth Grade (T-5). Howard Caine, also Jewish, who had portrayed Gestapo Major Hochstetter on Hogan's Heroes, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and fought the Japanese in the Pacific Theater.

This year, while you are at your picnics and taking your mini-vacations, certainly enjoy the time spent with your family and friends. You are able to do so because of the brave service men and women who have given and continue to give of themselves, and who sometimes pay the ultimate price for our freedom. Take a few minutes and remember them ~ all of them ~ who have served in any war or conflict in which America has engaged, and especially those who  gave their lives in battle so that we may be free.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hogan's Heroes - 'Hogan's Hofbrau'

Just for fun! Some interesting trivia about this episode (courtesy of IMDB): "Klink's forced contribution of 10,000 Reich Marks would be equivalent to $32,000 today, after converting to dollars and adjusting for inflation."

I'd say that was a very generous contribution!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bob Crane's New Biography: Update

I am happy to say that Bob Crane's biography is progressing nicely. I continue writing and editing as earlier chapters are being formatted. It is hard work. And it is a lot of hard work. But I am hopeful that the end result will please those who loved him, bring understanding to the public, and finally, do some justice for Bob that is so long overdue.

In 2015, Hogan's Heroes will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. The release of Bob Crane's new biography will coincide with this milestone event for the series. And to get there, I will write, write, write; edit, edit, edit; proof, proof, proof. 

It you think you know Bob Crane because you saw the film Auto Focus, you don't know Bob Crane at all. Mark my words, Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane will be nothing like Auto Focus. It will be accurate. It will be complete. It will be honest. It will be heartfelt. And it will be worth it!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

All in a Day's Work - Bob Crane at KNX-CBS Radio (1964) and Some Drumming

In the course of researching Bob Crane's life, I have located, viewed, and collected thousands of photographs of Bob. Literally. From rare finds online to heirloom family photographs to pictures of Bob with his friends to photos of Bob at work in radio, television, theatre, and film. Many never-before-seen photos courtesy of his family and friends will be published in his new biography. 

Photos of Bob really exemplify who he was. You can see his drive and ambition; his sunny personality; his complexity; his charm; his wide, boyish smile. As many who knew him have said, all Bob had to do was walk into a room, and the room simply lit up. He could brighten any room just by being there.

The photos in this video were taken in 1964 of Bob Crane at work at KNX-CBS Radio. The montage is set to a musical piece that Bob recorded, which features his drumming talents (courtesy of Scott Crane).

"Crane approaches something close to genius in integrating his commercials with show-stuff. While he sometimes fractures a sponsor's message, he reassembles the pieces and augments and embellishes said message in such a manner as to increase the plug's effectiveness. This is a matter of record. Crane sells. Crane pitches hard. Add to this that he has the area's fastest-expanding morning audience and you have a degree of value that should make time buyers drool."
-Liner Notes, "Laffter, Sweet and Profane" (KNX Promotional Album for The Bob Crane Show)

Bob Crane has been called a genius in radio by his radio colleagues at WICC in Bridgeport, CT, and KNX and KMPC in Los Angeles. All sound effects, gimmicks, and voices are performed by Bob Crane (who was also known in radio as the Man of 1,000 Voices), either as pre-recordings or live right at the mic. Bringing all the pieces together, Bob transforms an otherwise bland commercial reading into a dazzling comedic performance.