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

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!