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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Bob Crane Show: Reloaded — Podcast

We are thrilled to present our new podcast — The Bob Crane Show: Reloaded. This podcast, hosted by Eric Senich and based on Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography (2015), will explore the life and times of Bob Crane. Our preview episode is posted here, and new episodes will be announced as they become available. We have a lot in store, and we hope you enjoy it!

*Special thanks to Bob Taylor for designing our logo. 



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Our Interview with Victoria Berry Wells [Book Excerpt]

During our journey to discover Bob Crane's life story, we interviewed, talked to, and corresponded with well over 200 prominent individuals from Bob's life. And over the course of that time, we came to understand Bob as a whole, complete person. Not just Colonel Hogan. Not just a sex addict. Not just a murder victim. But a human being.

As nearly everyone told us, and as quoted by KMPC engineer Bob Maryon, who worked with Bob at KMPC in the early 1970s: "There's been a lot of negative stuff, and I think it would be nice if there were a positive thing about him. You know people say, 'You're only as good as your last record,' and it's sad because you have a whole life here. So why should your legacy be based on what happened at the end?"

Nobody argues that Bob struggled with addiction. And it was an addiction, one that he recognized shortly before his death and, as we've said again and again, sought to overcome. But let's keep a proper perspective: his addiction was sex with adult, consensual women only, whom he often photographed and/or videotaped with their knowledge and consent. If you want to slap a label on it, the only "abnormality" is the amount of sex he was having. And the key words here are adult and consensual.

It is also important to keep in mind that Bob was chronicling his entire life. Not just his sexual encounters, but everything. From the early years of his life to the very end, he had in some way audiotaped or videotaped or photographed or journaled or recorded/wrote down every single event that happened in his life. Everything. Chronicling his sexual encounters was just a fragment of it. 

Bob Crane with Victoria Berry Wells
Beginner's Luck, June 1978
We got to know so many people from Bob's life, and they are/were some of the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful people on earth. This includes Victoria Berry Wells, or Vicky, as she preferred to be called, who costarred with Bob in the final Scottsdale run of Beginner's Luck in June 1978, and who is notoriously—and sadly—best known for discovering Bob's body the day after he was murdered.

As you might imagine, such an experience would leave anyone scarred. Vicky had her fair share of nightmares following what she witnessed upon entering Bob's apartment that day. Bob was not just the director and star of Beginner's Luck. He was her friend, and someone she looked up to and respected. And when we talked with her, at times, she was unable to hold back her emotions.

Bob's murder changed her life, as it did for everyone who loved and cared about him. Get to know Bob a little better through Vicky's recollections in the following excerpts from Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. And while you're at it, get to know Vicky a little better, too. 

*******************************************************
e
     [Vicky] found Bob to be pleasant and fun. As an actress, she respected him as an actor, so when Bob offered her the role of Monica in Beginner’s Luck, she was eager to accept. She traveled with Bob and the cast to Ohio in November 1977, where she performed Beginner’s Luck for the first time.
     “I did the show, and I had very good reviews,” Vicky said. “Bob was very proud. I was very sick when I was there, and Bob was absolutely marvelous to me. I had a hysterectomy, that’s how sick I was, and I still worked. Bob took me to the pharmacy. My doctor bought all my medication for me and checked on me every day to see if I was well. But thankfully, I got better. Bob was so marvelous. I will never forget how marvelous and caring he was with my health. But he was very pleased about my reviews, and I traveled with him on the road a few times after that. There was one special thing I remember—one review I got, Bob came running into the dressing room in Dallas, and he came in very excited. He was very professional. He knew I was very serious about my career. He read the reviews all the time, and he had circled the review. It said, ‘Victoria Ann Berry—Her scenes with Crane were the smoothest of the evening.’ And Bob thought that was so unbelievable because it’s a little part, and to have ‘her scenes with Crane were the smoothest of the evening.’ He was so impressed with that. He was so excited. There’s a lot about Bob that I absolutely loved.”
     But there was one thing about Bob that she didn’t absolutely love. Early on in her tour with Beginner’s Luck, Bob wanted to film Vicky in a provocative setting. She only ever allowed him to film her once—by the pool. But it made her extremely uncomfortable, and she told him about it. Like a light switch, he turned off any further desires he may have had to film her, and he never approached her again.
     “He knew I wasn’t into it at all,” Vicky said. “He was very protective of me.”
e
     Vicky explained that as a director, Bob allowed others to shine and to have their moment. “Bob gave me a chance,” she said. “He let the light shine on me. He never stole the scene. I’ve worked with actors who have stolen the scene from me. People tried to steal scenes from Bob. Bob never tried to steal a scene from me. I used to watch the show every single night, after my part, and then I’d come back for my bows. Bob was a real pro. He was the star. It was about him. But he gave everyone else their chance except with people who would try to take it off him. It was very hurtful. I don’t think Bob had an ego at all. I think he wanted the show to work, and to make a show work, a fine director knows that everybody counts. He was the star of the show. He had the name. The other people were small-time actors. We were blitzed to even get the job.”
     Not everyone was as respectful or professional as Bob would have liked, however.
    “He had problems with egotistical actors, though,” Vicky continued. “But I always knew Bob was right. There wasn’t a shadow of a doubt in my mind. Not just right, but he was 110% right. He had to deal with a lot of ego. One girl started talking to the audience, making jokes with the audience behind his back. Oh, that was a cardinal sin. Bob was upset about that—he nearly had a heart attack over it. And there was another guy who thought he was a top actor, and he kept trying to do things—like wrong direction and wrong turns and wrong ambiance—against Bob. He tried to make it like Bob was stupid. It was a comedy, not a show to make Bob look stupid. Bob was the star. And they had problems over that. But he dealt with it as it came, and he was on top of everything. No matter what else what he was doing, he was always on top of it. He cared very much about his work. I didn’t think he was an egotistical man. I’d treat him as an equal. Some other people were very egotistical, and he had to sort of stand his ground. And he was always right. I mean, it stood out like a sore thumb how right he was. I have to tell you the truth. I would say if Bob was wrong or out of line. Bob handled it very professionally. He did not lose his cool. He was right. And he had to put up with a lot. I respected him immensely. If he said something, I knew it was right. I never questioned it. I put my trust in him, whereas some people didn’t, obviously. And they were wrong and stupid.”
     When Bob wasn’t performing on stage, Vicky found him to be very “down to earth.” He was older than Vicky, and she respected his experience and enjoyed the fatherly attention he gave to her. 
   “He gave me his all,” Vicky said. “Professionalism. I was so comfortable with him. I was never nervous, and ‘Oh, gee, is he going to yell at me?’ and ‘Did I do something wrong?’ I was free to experiment and improve. I would try different things. He would come in and say, ‘That’s fantastic!’ He would always be positive with me. Only once he corrected me. Only once ever. And I learned to this day how right he was. Bob was right there. Bob was right there 110%.”
e
     “He seemed very upbeat,” she said. “The only down side that I can remember is he wanted more in his work. That’s a definite. I felt that he wanted to get out and do another series. Badly, I’d say. I think he lost a lot when he was on dinner theatre. I think his soul got a little sad. But he had this pilot coming up that he really wanted me in. But with dinner theatre, he felt, ‘This is what I have to do for now.’ And he made it as professional and as good, and he cared about us, as he could. What was important to him was his family and his work. I think he wanted harmony in all areas. And his family—he was worried about little [Scotty] and getting a divorce made him distraught and stressful. He talked about Scotty. That stands out in my mind. He talked about him so much. That was bothering him—his family. I know he wanted more. He wanted another series. But he kept an upper lip. He was fun to be around. I never saw him distressed except about getting the divorce. His family life was tearing him apart. He wasn’t in a great place. But he was aware of it. He held it together.”
     But Vicky also commented that the need for “more” in his acting career was not a problem that Bob had encountered exclusively. She said, “I think most people that are on Bob Crane’s level as an actor need to have more. Tom Cruise, I’ve worked with him. He needs it. Don Knotts needed it. I mean, everyone I’ve worked with. So I don’t see why Bob would stand out any more than anyone else. Of course he needed it. It was his life. He gave his life to it. And to lose it and just do dinner theatre, I think that’s a very hard thing to do. He wanted to come up. He was not quitting. It was very humbling, to have to step down. But I’ve heard that from Don Knotts and other actors. Not just Bob. So that’s nothing unusual there. That’s just my opinion.”
     Victoria Berry Wells loved working with Bob Crane, and she embraced every moment she spent with him performing Beginner’s Luck. “In a way, I was a little bit like his confidante,” she said. “He was very professional. He loved my work, and he was honest. He became very protective and caring with me. I had to earn that. But I won it. And I got it. And I loved it. And I cherished it.”
e
     “Bob was a professional actor. A lovable, lovable man. Loved his family. A professional in his work. You couldn’t get any more professional to knowing his lines and knowing his work. He’d been on a successful hit sitcom which gave him that. And plus all his background in radio and all that. But Hogan’s Heroes gave him a lot of confidence, and he evolved out of that. That showed him that he had a successful show and that was part of him. He was tremendously lovable and very professional. And a beautiful man. But he was like two different people. And the other side to me is sad. He needed help. He didn’t see that until much later. But he did see it.

© 2015 Carol M. Ford
Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

'Superfun' Demo Reel (1967) | Starring Mel Blanc, with Bob Crane

After spending many years as a radio personality, Bob Crane became known for his ability to impersonate voices, and KNX christened him their "Man of a Thousand Voices." Whether it was a race car driver, his radio engineer (who sounded a lot like Disney's Ludwig Von Drake), a sentimental and romantic Russian, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, all of the voices heard on the radio in The Twilight Zone episode "Static," or any number of characters, Bob proved he could impersonate anyone.

One interesting bit of trivia discovered while researching Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography concerned his German accent on Hogan's Heroes. To put it bluntly, it's horrible! I had often wondered, as did my coauthors, if Bob had been such a talented voice impersonator during his radio days, why did he seem to have such difficulty with a German accent on Hogan's Heroes

According to Hogan's Heroes directors, Bob didn't have difficulty with it at all. In fact, he was directed to do the accent poorly because the show's producers thought it would make the episode funnier. Just as an accomplished musician might be instructed to play the instrument badly (fans will recall that musician Werner Klemperer performed the violin terribly in a few episodes of Hogan's Heroes), Bob was told to do it wrong. So he did.

There's no question that master voice impersonator—and the official Man of a Thousand Voices—Mel Blanc respected Bob's work in radio and as a voice artist. Mel was a guest on Bob's KNX radio program, and in one instance, he—as Porky Pig—introduced Bob. And as short as this clip is, I have to say, I just love it.


But he didn't stop there. Mel Blanc hired Bob to help him with a new project—Superfun.

Superfun was an "audio cartoon service" for radio stations. Starring and produced by Mel Blanc, its goal was to provide humor to listeners in the same way that comic strips provided humor to newspaper readers. This demo reel, recorded in 1967, also stars Bob Crane as the salesman who promotes Superfun to the fictitious radio station WIMP.



Superfun was well-received by radio stations and listeners across the country when it started airing during the late 1960s. Billboard Magazine published an article on February 11, 1967, which details Superfun, its creator, and some of the stations that played it. (Double click on the image for easier reading.)



As a kid, I loved Mel Blanc's Warner Brothers' cartoons because they always made me laugh. Later, as an adult and an artist, I grew to appreciate the artwork and the voice talent that accompanied the drawings. And Bob Crane's connection to Mel Blanc, as well as Bob's own voice talents,  are discoveries about Bob that will always bring me great joy.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Bob Crane Show | KNX 8th Anniversary Special


Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography may be published, but we are not finished working on Bob Crane's behalf. Far from it, in fact! 

When my dear friend Eric Senich agreed to introduce Bob's KNX 8th Anniversary Special for me, I was beyond thrilled. Eric is a tremendous radio talent, having worked in the broadcasting industry for twenty-five years. He's a proficient writer with a degree in journalism, who explained to me that he takes a journalism approach to radio. Born and raised in Connecticut, Eric adores and treasures his family above all else—a family that includes Bob Crane. His father, Jim Senich, is Bob's first cousin. And Eric is one of the coolest, kindest, smartest people I know. You bring all that together, and something truly magical happens when he introduces Bob. 

On Saturday, May 30, 1964, Bob hosted a four-hour 8th anniversary special of his KNX radio program. For this special broadcast, he aired clips from many of the interviews he had conducted over the years at KNX. All four parts are presented here.

This was Bob's final Saturday broadcast. He remained at KNX for one more year, for a total of nine years. In December 1964, Bob auditioned for and accepted the role of Colonel Hogan on Hogan's Heroes, and Bob broadcast his last show at KNX on August 16, 1965.

This four-part video series is a precursor to a much larger endeavor Eric and I have planned about Bob—not a YouTube project, but something far more special. Stay tuned!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Bob Crane Show
8th Anniversary Special – KNX/CBS Radio
Saturday, May 30, 1964 | 8:00 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
PART 1 – 8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Introduction by Eric Senich



Guests
  • Jack Lemmon
  • George Jessel
  • Gypsy Rose Lee
  • Soupy Sales
  • Bob Hope
  • Dick Van Dyke (also plays a clip of his interview with Fred Astaire for Dick)
  • Joe Louis (American professional boxer) and Terry-Thomas (English comedian)

Commercials
  • General Motors/GMAC Time Payment Plan
  • Budweiser
  • Buick – Riviera car
  • Milk
  • National Airlines
  • Senator Goldwater’s stand on Social Security– paid Republican announcement
  • LA Times ad for The Bay of Pigs article series
  • Command Hair Dressing – contest: giving away 70 Ford Mustangs
  • Burgermeister Beer
  • Plymouth Barracuda sports car
  • Delta Airlines
  • Ralph’s Supermarket

News Briefs
  • California 1964 Primaries
  • Politics – Barry Goldwater campaign, Salinger-Cranston debate (Friday, May 29, 1964)
  • Former VP Nixon meeting in New York
  • CA Gov. Brown – Memorial Day message

Songs
  • Great Day – Lena Horne
  • Theme from The Dick Van Dyke Show – Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Bob Crane Show
8th Anniversary Special – KNX/CBS Radio
Saturday, May 30, 1964 | 8:00 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
PART 2 – 900 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Introduction by Eric Senich


Guests
  • Jule Styne 
  • Charlton Heston
  • Meredith Wilson and his wife, Rimi Wilson 
  • Shelley Berman
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Alexander King 
  • Jayne Mansfield
  • Arthur O’Connell 

Commercials
  • F&P Fruits and Vegetables Canned Foods
  • Pierre Salinger Campaign
  • National Airlines
  • Bandini Fertilizer
  • DelMonte Tomato Sauce
  • Chrysler 
  • Camel Cigarettes
  • The Oregon Coast (Travel)
  • Barry Goldwater Campaign
  • Delta Airlines
  • County Supervisor Warren M. Dorn

Songs
  • There’s No Business Like Show Business
  • Swanee (Wayne Newton)
  • My Wish (Craig Stevens)

News Briefs
  • Barry Goldwater Campaign, Rally
  • Gov Nelson Rockefeller taking weekend off on his Presidential campaign
  • Norwegian freighter ship Sandanger fire, 10 killed
  • Judy Garland’s condition continues to improve in Hong Kong following coma
  • Idaho Governor Robert Smylie – Snake/Colorado Project
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Bob Crane Show
8th Anniversary Special – KNX/CBS Radio
Saturday, May 30, 1964 | 8:00 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
PART 3 – 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Introduction by Eric Senich



Guests
  • Olivia de Havilland
  • AndrĂ© Previn
  • Phyllis Diller
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Gig Young
  • Stephanie Powers 
  • Gene Krupa
  • Danny Kaye 
  • Richard Chamberlain 
  • Bronislaw Kaper 
  • Eddie Cantor 
  • Norman Vincent Peale

Commercials
  • Foremost Dairies – Profile Nonfat Milk
  • Rockefeller for President Campaign
  • American Savings and Loan
  • LA Sunday Times – 1961 Bay of Pigs Series
  • Fullvita Vitamins
  • PSA Airlines/Hertz Rental Car 
  • Burgermeister Beer
  • BC Pain Medication
  • Plymouth Barracuda 
  • Pierre Salinger Campaign
  • Doublemint Gum
  • Aetna Insurance

Songs
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf Theme (organist, Jimmy Smith)
  • Steve Allen Theme Song

News Briefs
  • Indianapolis crash kills one driver – Eddie Sachs 
  • Various new technological gadgets/inventions
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Bob Crane Show
8th Anniversary Special – KNX/CBS Radio
Saturday, May 30, 1964 | 8:00 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
PART 4 – 11:00 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
Introduction by Eric Senich




Guests
  • George Hamilton
  • Rudolph Friml 
  • Keenan Wynn
  • Morey Amsterdam
  • Bette Davis
  • Jonathan Winters
  • Otto Preminger
  • Steve Allen
  • Jayne Meadows
  • Bill Dana

Commercials
  • Milk (American Dairy Council)
  • Judge Dalsimer for District Attorney Committee
  • Mocha Mix Coffee Creamer
  • National Airlines
  • Look Magazine
  • Fullvita Vitamins
  • Ralph’s Supermarket
  • Profile Nonfat Milk
  • The Herald Examiner
  • Rambler Automobiles
  • Bandini Fertilizer
  • Senator Barry Goldwater Campaign

Songs
  • Huguette Waltz
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The 8th anniversary show was given to Carol Ford by a KNX colleague and close friend of Bob Crane who wishes to remain anonymous.

Drumming at the beginning of Parts 1 and 2 by Bob Crane and is courtesy of Bob's son, Scott Crane.

"Song of India" at the beginning of Part 3 performed by Bob Crane, sitting in with the New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and is courtesy of Bob's best school friend, Charlie Zito.

Drumming at the beginning of Part 4 is the intro to the Hogan's Heroes March and is performed by Bob Crane.

Photographs included are from Bob's personal collection and are also courtesy of Scott Crane. For more about Scott, visit http://scottcrane.net/

Introduction by Eric Senich, whose father, Jim Senich, is Bob's first cousin. For more about Eric, visit: http://i95rock.com/author/ericsenich/

For more about Bob Crane and the campaign for his induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame, visit vote4bobcrane.org

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.