Published in September 2015, Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography contains the first-hand testimonies, memories, and recollections from 200 prominent individuals from Bob Crane's life. Family, friends as far back as grade school, and coworkers in radio, television (including many from Hogan's Heroes), theatre, and film have helped tell his complete story. In addition, the hard cover edition contains more than 200 rare family and professional photographs, some never before published or seen by the public until now. Discover the truth! If you think you know Bob Crane before reading this book, you don't know him at all. Author profits will be donated to various charities in Bob's memory.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Official Statement about the Re-Investigation of Bob Crane's Murder (11/23/16)
"We—my coauthors and I, members of Bob Crane's family, his friends, and his colleagues—are always hopeful that one day, the true identity of Bob's murderer will be known and justice can be served. However, this recent investigation did not reveal any groundbreaking information or provide a resolution, and the subsequent media coverage did nothing more than bring unnecessary heartache to many who knew, loved, and cared about Bob. We do not discuss or endorse any speculative theories as to who may have committed the crime. We encourage those who want to know more about Bob Crane to discover his complete and true life story in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. All author profits are being donated to various charities in Bob's memory."
—Carol Ford, author, Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Morgan Kaolian's WICC Tribute to Bob Crane — August 19, 2008

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography took a long time to research. We wanted to get it right. We wanted to do Bob Crane proper justice. We knew we had a big mountain to climb, and it wasn't going to be easy. But thankfully, we had a lot of people who helped us along the way—people who cared about Bob and who wanted his true life story to be told.

One of our strongest allies was—and still is—WICC 600 AM Radio in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where Bob worked from April 1951 to August 1956. WICC has always been a strong advocate of Bob Crane and a terrific supporter of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. WICC also supports our ongoing efforts for Bob's induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame and officially endorsed his nomination in 2011.

On August 19, 2008, Morgan Kaolian dedicated an hour of WICC air time to Bob Crane. This special aired, in part, to assist us with researching Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography (then with the working title "Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane"). A retired pilot, aerial photographer, and former WICC Art Director and traffic announcer (known locally as "Captain Traffic"), Morgan knew Bob well, considered him a good friend, and spent many hours working with him on WICC's Channel 43 during the 1950s. Broadcasting live on the new UHF station, the duo performed many improvisational shows that included, according to Kaolian, "some crazy stunts in the style of Ernie Kovacs." One of Morgan's favorite recollections is the day Bob came riding into the studio on horseback to the sounds of familiar Native American music.



During his WICC broadcast, he talked about their friendship, their time spent working together at WICC and Channel 43, and Bob's successes in radio and television. "I knew Bob as a good musician; a very, very talented man on radio; and a just a great, all-around, fun-type guy," Morgan said. He also took calls from WICC listeners, who remembered Bob Crane as a prominent figure in Bridgeport history.

A lot of time has passed since this broadcast aired—almost ten years. Morgan, who I now count as one of my most cherished friends, is thrilled with the way our book turned out. I am deeply indebted to Morgan and WICC for all of their ongoing support. Without their contributions and efforts, we would never have been able to bring this important chapter of Bob's story to life!

Recording uploaded with permission from WICC.

Note: The Yahoo email address mentioned in this recording is no longer active.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Hurt, but Don't Fear the Reaper

It goes without saying that 2016 has been, when it comes to losses of prominent individuals, perhaps one of the worst years on record. From David Bowie to Debbie Reynolds, and everyone in between, I can't think of one person who hasn't been affected by the punches 2016 has pulled.

Loss hurts, and grief is perhaps the most personal of all human emotions. Nobody can tell you how to grieve, how long to grieve, or who you should grieve for. If someone touched your life, no matter how close or how far, when that person dies, you feel it. A little piece of you goes with them, your life is forever changed, and by default, that year becomes marred.

Like all of us, Bob Crane experienced loss throughout his life. During the 1940s, he watched family members and friends march off to war, some never to return. One of his most profound losses occurred in February 1976, when his father died suddenly. He was devastated, and 1976 became one of his worst years because of his father's death. Like all human beings, Bob experienced all human emotions, but one thing he was not was a depressed person. On the contrary, he was a positive person. He mourned his losses as anyone would, but he didn't let negativity weigh him down. He rose above it. 

Personally, 2016 was a pretty amazing year for me, to the point where I actually feel a little guilty given the tragedy and heartache this year will always represent to the world. Yes, I, too, had my own times of turmoil, but I also had phenomenal author events and book signings. I got to see (and touch!) Hogan's bomber jacket. I made some terrific new friends. My family and friends are healthy and doing well. But best of all and most unexpectedly, I met an extraordinary person—someone who helps me to roll with the punches, jump over the valleys, distinguish between reality and what's just an illusion, and when I get frightened in all this darkness, concentrate instead on the light. My life is better and brighter simply because he's in it.

As 2016 draws to a close, let's try not to focus on the negativity this year forced upon us. Rather, stay positive and concentrate on the good it provided as well. Continue to celebrate the lives of those we lost—the famous and the not-so famous alike, this year and in years past—and honor them by embracing their legacies. Life is short. Live it well!

Happy New Year, and wishing you all the best in 2017!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Tribute to Bernard Fox — Dr. Bombay, Colonel Crittendon, and So Much More

Bernard Fox with Bob Crane on Hogan's Heroes.
This photograph was in my collection for years before
I donated it to the Liberty Aviation Museum. It is now
part of their official Hogan's Heroes display.
In 1998, I was in the process of a major life transition. Recently divorced, I was picking up the pieces from a bad marriage and moving forward. As part of that process and as a diversion, I enjoyed watching Hogan's Heroes, my favorite television show since my childhood. 

During that time, I did something I rarely ever did: I wrote a fan letter. And the person I wrote to was Bernard Fox. I told him how much I enjoyed his work as Colonel Crittendon on Hogan's Heroes and asked for an autographed photo. Within a few weeks, he wrote back, his gorgeous calligraphy handwriting inscribed on the photo, as well as the envelope it was mailed in. At a time when I was at my lowest, he helped lift my spirits, and I'll never forget that.

I've always adored Bernard Fox in everything he did. From Bewitched to The Monkees to Hogan's Heroes, and countless other television shows, he made his characters shine. Seeing him in films such as The Mummy and Titanic was a joy. In fact, in one interview with Brenda Scott Royce (author of 'Hogan's Heroes': Behind the Scenes at Stalag 13!), he recalled his roles in both James Cameron's Titanic and the 1958 version of the maritime disaster, A Night to Remember.

"[In A Night to Remember]..., I was the fellow that saw the iceberg. And it has taken me forty years to work my way up from the crew to being a first-class passenger! ... [In Titanic, all] of the shooting was night shooting. Everything. We didn't even start on the ship until six, and we broke at midnight for lunch. And how James Cameron kept his humor, in the freezing cold at four o'clock in the morning, I don't know, but he did."

Bernard Fox, Larry Hovis, and Bob Crane in the
Hogan's Heroes episode, "The Crittendon Plan."
Fast forward ten years, and Dee, Linda, and I were in the process of researching Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. We contacted Bernard Fox, who respectfully declined a full interview. However, he did correspond. He wished us well on our endeavor, stating that he enjoyed working with Bob very much. Unfortunately, he also told us that his days were spent primarily going to doctor appointments. Seeing photographs of him from recent Bewitched gatherings posted by co-stars and friends only reinforced the sad truth that he was nearing the end of a fantastic life journey.

While researching Bob's life, we learned a whole lot, and one big piece of his life story often overlooked is his work in the theatre. It is typically written off as not much more than something Bob had to do to pay the bills and not necessarily something he enjoyed doing. His play Beginner's Luck became known only as the play he was performing at the time of his murder in June 1978. But Beginner's Luck and all of Bob's stage work was much more than just making ends meet financially. Bob loved the stage and craved the audience's reactions to his comedy. Beginner's Luck received rave reviews in the press on a regular basis, and Bob even aspired to take the play to Broadway or turn it into a feature film.

Bob Crane with Bernard Fox starring in the
theatre production of Beginner's Luck.
Bernard Fox was an integral part of Beginner's Luck. He starred in the original performance along with Bob, earning both actors their permanent place in the Cast roster at the front of the playbook. Audiences loved seeing the pair perform, their onstage chemistry being just as magical as it was on Hogan's Heroes, a testament to their professionalism and friendship.

No matter what role he played, Bernard Fox always looked like he was having fun. He is probably best known for his role on Bewitched, but it was his role as Colonel Crittendon on Hogan's Heroes that he proclaimed to Brenda Scott Royce he enjoyed the most.

"Colonel Crittendon was a marvelous schmuck," he told Royce. "I think I enjoyed Colonel Crittendon more than Dr. Bombay. It was a wild character, and I totally reveled in messing up every attempt to escape. I really liked the outrageous behavior of Colonel Crittendon. And I may have got a little bit more comedy of my own in on Hogan's Heroes than I did on Bewitched. [Hogan's Heroes] was a lovely show and had nice people in it. Bob Crane, I miss very much."

Rest in peace Bernard Fox. You are already missed very much.




Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Contest 2016!

Another holiday season is upon us, and as we have done in previous years, we're going to give away some holiday presents! This year, we'll give away a hardcover edition of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography signed by all three authors, as well as a DVD set of the Hogan's Heroes season of your choice! Simply visit our Facebook page and look for the photo below. Then Like, Comment, or Share — easy enough! One lucky winner will be chosen at random on Monday, December 26. Good luck, and Happy Holidays from all of us!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Official Statement about the Re-Investigation of Bob Crane's Murder

Below is our official statement regarding Fox TV news anchor John Hook's new investigation into the murder of Bob Crane.

   "We—my coauthors and I, members of Bob Crane's family, his friends, and his colleagues—are always hopeful that one day, the true identity of Bob's murderer will be known and justice can be served. However, this recent investigation did not reveal any groundbreaking information or provide a resolution, and the subsequent media coverage did nothing more than bring unnecessary heartache to many who knew, loved, and cared about Bob. We do not discuss or endorse any speculative theories as to who may have committed the crime. We encourage those who want to know more about Bob Crane to discover his complete and true life story in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. All author profits are being donated to various charities in Bob's memory."
Carol Ford, author, Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rod Serling's Night Gallery: 'House—With Ghost'

Night Gallery painting for
"House—With Ghost"
Nearly everyone I know likes a good ghost story (some more than others!). This is particularly true in the month of October as we build up to the scariest night of the year, Halloween. During this time, our fears of the unknown are heightened, and we're more acutely aware of things that might go bump in the night.

People are naturally intrigued about the Afterlife. What happens to us when we die? Do our souls live on in another dimension? Do some spirits hang around to either help or torment the living? Do ghosts really exist? We may not have the answers to such questions, but Hollywood certainly provides us with scores of chilling entertainment to feed our morbid curiosity.

Rod Serling successfully explored the supernatural and other elements of horror throughout his career, and his Night Gallery series (1969-1973) continues to send shivers down the spines of millions. Each painting on display in the Night Gallery has a tale of terror to share, and separately, these pieces of art correspond with their own segment in every episode. (Check out the paintings for yourself here.)

On November 17, 1971, Bob Crane guest-starred in the first segment of a Night Gallery episode: "House—With Ghost." In this segment, Bob played Ellis Travers, who is unhappily married to his wife Iris (Jo Anne Worley) and living in London. It just so happens that Iris has a peculiar hobby: conducting seances during dinner parties and playing with Ouija Boards in the hopes of making contact with restless spirits. This gives Ellis an idea. 

With the help of Mr. Chichester (Eric Christmas), a local historian and realtor of sorts, Ellis decides to find a house in the English countryside, and to please his wife, he wants one that is haunted. After describing to her what he considers the perfect house, Iris is convinced. They soon move out of their apartment and settle into their new home.

Ellis Travers (Bob Crane) comforts his wife, Iris (Jo Anne Worley),
after she is frightened by a menacing spirit.

But Ellis has more on his mind than just owning a haunted house. He's staging an elaborate plan, where Iris will eventually appear to become besieged by an unfriendly ghost, and after losing her mind and then her balance, will fall down the spiral staircase to her death. With Iris out of the way, Ellis will be free to move in with Sherry (Trisha Noble), a woman with whom he is having an affair. 

As Ellis hoped, they are not alone in their new house, and their ghost—Mr. Canby (Bernard Fox)—soon makes his presence known. And over time, his paranormal activities become increasingly more harrowing.

Ellis Travers (Bob Crane) feigns sadness after receiving bad news
from his wife's doctor (Alan Napier).

As part of his scheme, Ellis also talks to a doctor (Alan Napier) and asks him to examine Iris. But the doctor brings bad news: Iris has a rare medical condition and doesn't have long to live. Ellis, however, feels better than ever about his wife's impending demise. Now he doesn't need the unsettled spirit of Mr. Canby to do the dastardly deed for him; he can let nature take its course.

Mr. Canby has other ideas. He continues to torment Iris, eventually pushing her down the staircase to her death. Angry, Ellis confronts Mr. Canby, claiming he had changed his mind because she would have died of natural causes soon anyway. Mr. Canby is unaffected, and he presents Ellis with a bill for services rendered. For the rest of his life, Ellis must pay Mr. Canby's still-very-much-alive mistress a hefty sum to keep her happy—or else.

The ghost of Mr. Canby (Bernard Fox) presents Ellis Travers
(Bob Crane) a bill for services rendered.

I enjoy this episode for many reasons. First, I am one of those people who loves the Fall season, Halloween, and all the frightful festivities and entertainment that go along with it. And of course, that includes a good ghost story! Bob Crane also enjoyed Halloween, and each year, when his kids were little, he took them Trick or Treating around the neighborhood.

I also love that Bernard Fox costars with Bob in this episode. These two actors and friends worked alongside each other often. Fans of Hogan's Heroes know Bernard Fox as Royal Air Force Colonel Rodney Crittendon, one of the few who kept Hogan off balance. What a lot of people don't know, however, is that throughout the 1970s, Bernard Fox worked with Bob on stage in many productions of Beginner's Luck (they both starred in its initial 1970 run in Chicago), and the pair received rave reviews in the press for their theatre performances. Bernard Fox genuinely liked "old Bob," as he called him, and was greatly saddened by the news of Bob's death.

Bob Crane with Bernard Fox in
Beginner's Luck.

This episode of Night Gallery is also one of Bob's first performances following the cancellation of Hogan's Heroes, which ended after six seasons on April 4, 1971. Originally scheduled to go one more season, Hogan's Heroes fell victim to what became known as the Rural Purge—a sweep of series cancellations by networks to clear the way for television shows that dealt with modern issues rather than just provide light humor.

In my opinion, Bob played Ellis Travers, who is a despicable character, quite well. This episode of Night Gallery marks the start of Bob's decision to play characters that were out of his comfort zone (those that were not comedy roles). Bob often appeared as the villain when guest-starring on various series, including Police Woman, Ellery Queen, and Gibbsville, to name a few, and this was a far cry from the United States Army Air Force hero for which he was best known. But most could only view Bob as Hogan—and nothing else. Many years would pass before directors, critics, and the public would begin to see beyond his Colonel Hogan persona and accept Bob as a versatile actor. His role on The Love Boat in January 1978 may be his best dramatic performance. However, his murder a few months later cast an eerie shadow over his Love Boat performance, and as a result, he does not receive the proper credit he rightfully deserves.

It's worth taking a second look at Bob Crane's acting roles post-Hogan's Heroes and viewing his performances with an open mind, minus the stigma of June 29, 1978, and the media blitz that followed. Rod Serling's Night Gallery: "House—With Ghost" is a great place to start!




This post is part of the Terror TV Blogathon hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association.
Click the image above for more fabulous entries in this blogathon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Last Few Months in Review and Future Plans

It's true. Everyone needs a hiatus, including me. The past year has been a whirlwind for me in promoting Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, as well as hopping from one place to another for book signings and presentations. And I've loved every minute of it!

But between juggling all of that, plus working at a demanding full-time job and on other writing projects, as well as spending time with my family and having some sort of a personal life (ha! What's that?!), I needed to take a little step back. That shouldn't be confused with abandonment, however! I'm still here, always ready and willing to combat the negative and tell Bob's true, complete story.

Past Events
Carol Ford with awesome 2016 MANC vendor neighbors
and new friends Josh Kennedy (left) and Mark Redfield
(Poe Forevermore).
I was thrilled to once again participate as a vendor at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, held in Hunt Valley, Maryland, from September 15-17, 2016. Over those three days, I reconnected with some great folks I knew from last year's convention, met a few people I knew through social media, and made some terrific new friends! You can browse through a selection of photos from the convention by clicking here. While I didn't present this year, I had a blast talking with people one to one at my table in the vendor hall. I'm looking forward to being a regular participant at the convention!

A few days prior to the Nostalgia Convention, I gave a full presentation at my hometown library in Gloucester County, New Jersey. It was a great success, and I have grown to love talking before a crowd. This comes as somewhat of a surprise to me because in the past, public speaking would usually make me very nervous, and I'd get cold feet! 

Carol Ford with Mitchell Hadley, owner of
It's About TV: Adventures in Classic TV
and AmericanCulture
, at the
2016 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention.
A favorite story I like to tell is the time I met Arlene Martel, who played Tiger on Hogan's Heroes. Arlene, who was a major contributor to Bob's biography and a tremendous supporter of our work, invited me, along with two of my dear friends, as her special guests to the 2007 ICON Convention in Long Island, New York. We spent the day with her in the vendor hall and then went to her presentation. Just before her talk, Arlene pulled me aside and specifically instructed me to ask her one simple question: "What was it like working with Bob Crane on Hogan's Heroes?" 

Following her talk and a short film composed of her works, she took questions from the audience. Several people raised their hands. I shrunk down in my seat! She answered questions about her role as Spock's bride on Star Trek, among other questions. But I was frozen! Finally, as she was wrapping the session up, she asked if there were any more questions from the audience. She looked directly at me and said, "Anyone? ANYONE!" My friend kept nudging me to talk, but to no avail! I was not budging, and it was not going to happen. Arlene was a little miffed at me following her session, but she was so sweet and kind, she didn't dwell on it. Arlene passed away on August 12, 2014, and I often think of that moment at her session, smile, and say, "I've come a long way, haven't I, Arlene?"

What's in Store for the Future?
In addition to more author events, we've got something big starting to simmer on the front burner. At this time, I can't divulge any details, but I promise you, you're gonna love it. For now, I'll just say...stay tuned!