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.
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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, March 13, 2012

CBS Columbia Square - Home of 'The Bob Crane Show' / KNX-CBS Radio: A Tribute to a Hollywood Landmark

by Carol Ford

CBS Columbia Square, 6121 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. 

Sometimes no words can adequately do justice to a moment. No matter what I write here, it cannot nor will not compare to the actual experience. As I explored the exterior surroundings of the building once globally and still affectionately known as CBS Columbia Square, it never dawned on me that I might have the opportunity to venture inside. Yet, within a half hour, I had not only made my way into the lobby, but I eventually found myself gazing over all of Los Angeles from atop the roof.

The day was crystal clear, with not a cloud in the sky, as I looked over Hollywood in its entirety, the Hollywood sign making its crisp statement to the north, and the skyscrapers of Downtown Los Angeles poking up from the horizon in the far distance to the west. It was a magical and profound moment, one I will not soon forget.

Impressive and bold, CBS Columbia Square stands proudly on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and North El Centro Avenue. It is scarred by time but still majestic, grasping its historic legacy and refusing to let go. Passers by see what they think is an abandoned structure, even though inside businesses and studios have occupied several of the floors and hum through the work week. Tourists walking up and down the famed Sunset Boulevard may not even realize how important this building used to be, and to some, still is. 

To many, it is the stuff of Hollywood legend.


CBS Columbia Square Then...

CBS Columbia Square was the home of CBS radio and television from 1938 to 2007.
While working for KNX-CBS Radio, Bob Crane broadcasted from
CBS Columbia Square during the years 1956 to 1965.

CBS Columbia Square Now...

Looking virtually abandoned, CBS Columbia Square as it appears today.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Having done so much research about Bob Crane, I had, of course, seen various photographs and vintage postcards of CBS Columbia Square, once home to KNX-CBS Radio, and from 1956 to 1965, "The Bob Crane Show." In my files are countless photographs of Bob working at KNX - behind the mic, spinning records, playing drums, chatting with celebrity guests, and taking calls from listeners, all the while laughing and smiling and giddy - having the time of his life. From his humble beginnings in Stamford, Connecticut, Bob Crane had landed smack-dab in the middle of Celebrity Central when he moved from WICC in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to KNX in Los Angeles. And from the look on his face in all those photographs and the delightful exuberance heard on his airchecks, not to mention testimonies from those who knew him well, Bob most certainly loved his work in radio. And for nine years, Bob called CBS Columbia Square home.

On April 30, 1938, CBS Columbia Square opened its doors for the first time to an adoring public. The biggest stars of the era were on hand, with broadcasts celebrating the momentous event lasting all day and a "Salute to Columbia Square" special broadcast that evening. Over the next sixty-nine years, some of the most talented and famous individuals the world has ever known would grace the halls of CBS Columbia Square. Bob Crane alone interviewed approximately 3,000 guests on his radio show, many of whom were Hollywood royalty.

Walking around the outside of the building, it is difficult not to feel a sense of pride mixed with sorrow for the iconic structure and its league of dedicated employees. CBS Columbia Square is in and of itself a monument to the Golden Age of Radio and Television. But as I stepped inside, I felt as though I had stepped through a Glass Mirror and stumbled back in time. The first and second floors have remained virtually untouched since April 27, 2007, when the last of the broadcasting teams vacated the premises. 

The photos below now take you on a virtual tour, allowing you to walk where I walked, nearly 60 years after Bob Crane first stepped foot inside CBS Columbia Square and launched his radio show over the KNX airwaves. While fascinating and interesting when compared to photos of the past, they are also bitter-sweet. CBS Columbia Square, not unlike Bob Crane, deserves better.

Side exterior wall of CBS Columbia Square, near former main entrance.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.

Walking up Sunset Boulevard to the front of CBS Columbia Square.
Sadly, the Courtyard is hidden from the public behind a thick fence.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Rear entrance.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Inside the front Courtyard.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Bob Crane entering CBS Columbia Square,
as promoted on this KNX postcard (circa 1960).
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.


Inside the front Courtyard.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Main first-floor hallway of CBS Columbia Square.
Doors to the Courtyard are on left.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Stairs leading to second floor of CBS Columbia Square.
The KNX studios were housed on the second floor.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Bob Crane leaving his KNX studio.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.

The rooftop of CBS Columbia Square.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

View from the roof of CBS Columbia Square overlooking
the corner of Sunset Boulevard and North El Centro Avenue.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

View from the roof of CBS Columbia Square overlooking
the corner of Sunset Boulevard and North El Centro Avenue.
Downtown Los Angeles can be seen in the far distance.
Bob Crane's office was located on this side of the building.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Bob Crane in his KNX office.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.

On top of the roof of CBS Columbia Square overlooking
the corner of Sunset Boulevard and North El Centro Avenue.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Studio 5 and also Bob Crane's KNX studio.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Studio 5 and also Bob Crane's KNX studio.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo taken March 3, 2012, by Carol Ford.

Bob Crane in his KNX Studio.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.

Update April 30, 2016: Countless historical landmarks exist throughout the world. From the dawn of civilization to the present day, mankind has embraced such structures—natural or manmade—and christened them with immortality. Today, Columbia Square has been fully renovated and is now the home of Neuehouse, an upscale condo and office complex.  

Many who worked in CBS Columbia Square hold this building near and dear to their hearts. Could there be a CBS Columbia Square Museum one day? Those who worked within and remember CBS Columbia Square in its heyday would love for this to become a reality. 

What do you think about a CBS Columbia Square Museum? 
Send us your comments!


Opening Night, April 30, 1938.
CBS Columbia Square, Los Angeles, CA.


This post is dedicated to all those who once called CBS Columbia Square home.

Many thanks to Corrine Ochipinti.

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography contains first-hand accounts of Bob's work at KNX-CBS Radio at Columbia Square, where he worked from 1956-1965. Order from Amazon by clicking here.