Sunday, July 5, 2020

Liberty Aviation Museum, MidAtlantic Nostalgia Con — See You in 2021!

Sadly, both of our big author events have been cancelled for 2020.

First, due to personal family health concerns, I will not be able to make the trip to the Liberty Aviation Museum as originally planned at the end of July. However, the museum is currently open, so I urge you to check their website for updates on events. Remember, you can order Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography and other cool items in their online gift shop! All author proceeds from sales of Bob Crane's biography through the museum gift shop are donated back to the museum. Help them out with a purchase during this unprecedented year.

Second, since 2015, I have attended the Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Convention and have met so many wonderful folks there over the years! I was already unable to attend, but for all of the obvious reasons, the event has been cancelled for 2020. However, they will be holding a free virtual event, so be sure to like their Facebook page for updates.

I am so sad that I won't be able to see all of my friends this year at both events—owners, organizers, and attendees alike, but this was absolutely the right decision to make in both cases. I am planning to see everyone back at the museum and the convention in 2021! In the meantime, check back here and on our social media sites for virtual events, interviews, and new projects we have in the works about Bob Crane.

Take care, stay safe, and be well!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Why We Care about Hogan's Heroes Star Bob Crane

—by Linda J. Groundwater

Long post, but important to read, please. 

When Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography was conceived more than 15 years ago, the goal was to bring to the surface, the truth about Bob Crane. To separate the truth from the lies, the reality from the rumor, and the hidden gems and buried things that showed Bob as a whole, three-dimensional person into the light.

More than a decade was spent making this happen. We went from one person, to two, to three deeply involved in this expedition. And we picked up speed and momentum along the way, talking to anyone who was willing, who had ANY connection with Bob, be it professional, personal, familial. We had NO expectations. All we wanted was the truth, whatever it was.

What we learned surprised us, saddened us, made us joyful. Surprised that there was even more depth than we had imagined. Sad that a life so rich, and so full of potential and hope even in the difficult times, was cut short. Joyful, that there was so much good to tell, and that after so many difficult encounters, that the people who truly knew Bob finally had a chance to tell their truth to people who would listen, and tell it faithfully, without twisting it, or sensationalizing it, or making it fit an agenda.

Since its publication, our mission has been to spread the word about this man, about his truth, about his LIFE, and occasionally to dispel the falsities about his death. We have the support of his family, his friends, his coworkers, his estate. We represent no one but Bob himself-- we are not family representatives or anything of the sort. We do not make money from the sale of the book or from posting on these pages. We do not make money from the podcasts. Author proceeds are either donated to various charities and non-profit organizations, including to the Liberty Aviation Museum and charities of our choice, or go directly to funding our work on Bob Crane's behalf, such as the podcast and other projects. We are not out to support any particular point of view. As Bob's official biographers, we aim simply to tell the TRUTH.

With that in mind, we are grateful for the people who come to these pages looking for the true story of Bob Crane. Who want to know truth instead of fiction. We expect people come to this page because they already know that there's more to Bob than they have been told, or they want to know what that truth is. That they want to be educated. That if they have theories or ideas, that they are willing to be gently told the truth as we know it. Those who choose truth over ignorance will find this page to be a haven. Those who choose to cling to their false ideas by being abusive toward others on the timeline, by insisting on maintaining their false ideas despite being able to educate themselves (e.g.-- the truth has just been advised, or they can read the book, or listen to the podcast, or look at any of the firsthand sources that we provide), and instead of accepting that the truth is not what they thought, continue to spew vitriol, hate, and salacious untruths, will be removed and blocked from the page.

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is about truth. It's about fixing the wrongs and exposing reality. Abuse of Bob, his family or friends, the authors, or other members of the page is not welcome and those guilty of this will be removed without warning. Those who start out ignorant or uninformed are welcome with open arms. Those who stubbornly choose to stay that way in the rudest ways possible, will be removed.

Take a page out of Bob's own book: have a desire to learn. Learn the truth about Bob Crane.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Final Days of Bob Crane: Fact vs. Fiction [PODCAST]


Listen to "07. The Final Days of Bob Crane: Fact vs. Fiction [Part 2]" on Spreaker.
Note: This two-part episodes contains details about adult situations, including sex and murder, and is unsuitable for children. Parental discretion is advised.

On the evening of June 28, 1978, Bob Crane finished the night's production of Beginner's Luck at the Windmill Dinner Theatre in Scottsdale, Arizona. This particular run of the show seemed to not be going as well as others. On the outer cassette label of an audio tape he made of one of the performances, he had hand-written "DISASTER" on one side and "BOMB" on the other. Nevertheless, whatever he might have thought or felt was not visible to his audience. They flocked to see the Hogan's Heroes star, and they laughed and applauded throughout the show. It also didn't prevent him from happily signing his autograph on Playbills in the theatre's lobby following the performance. Bob loved his fans, and he was known to graciously give out his autograph whenever asked.

According to Victoria Berry Wells, who costarred in Beginner's Luck with Bob during this run, the last time she saw Bob was as he drove away with John Carpenter following the performance of June 28, 1978. When Linda Groundwater and I spoke at length with Vicky for Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, she stressed—it was the last time she saw him alive.

What happened next during the overnight hours has been the subject of books, documentaries, podcast episodes, and the film Auto Focus. At some point, it is said that Bob Crane told Carpenter he no longer wanted to continue engaging in a sexually active lifestyle. One witness claimed she saw the two men drinking (although Bob did not drink) and dancing into the late hours. It was also reported that Bob asked a woman to return to the apartment with him, but she declined. It is widely believed that Bob and Carpenter returned to his apartment together. Carpenter claimed that he overheard Bob have an argument with his estranged wife, Patty (Sigrid Valdis). The argument was allegedly so loud, that neighbors could hear it, and they said they were worried Bob would lose his voice and might not be able to perform in the play the next night.

By 4:00 in the morning on June 29, everything was quiet. 

And it was around that time that someone either silently entered Bob's apartment or was someone who never left. As Bob slept, his unknown assailant approached and delivered a fatal blow to his head, killing him instantly. Bob Crane, known the world over as Colonel Hogan, was gone. 

Victoria Berry Wells had the unfortunate notoriety of being the person to find Bob dead in his apartment the next morning, when he missed an engagement with her to record a demo tape for a pilot he was pitching to a studio. The police and detectives were called, and from that moment on, speculation and scandal prevailed, misinformation and misunderstanding abounded, and a new Bob Crane was born—one who was the butt of all sex jokes, one who was tossed about with little to no understanding, and one whose life and career became a hazy blur in exchange for media glare and caricaturization.

Linda Groundwater began officially researching Bob's life in 2003, about a year after Auto Focus was released in theaters. She was met with slammed doors and ignored requests. In 2005, when Dee and I joined Linda in this quest for the truth, she had talked with just a handful of people: Al Warren and Morgan Kaolian from WICC in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Bob's cousin Jim Senich. The three of us worked hard to earn trust, which then led to the truth.

We are not criminologists. We are not psychologists (although both Linda and I took undergrad psyche courses in college). While Bob's murder was important to us because it was how he died, it was not the intent of our book to rehash the murder—again. Our intent was to provide truth, clarity, and understanding. It was also to expose any fallacies and falsehoods, and correct them. And we did.

Our work on Bob Crane's behalf is more than just writing a book, slapping our names on the cover, and calling it a day. So many beautiful people from his life have entrusted us with their memories of their father, cousin, friend, and coworker. They would say to us, "Write the book!" and "We're in this with you!" 

Linda, Dee, and I became part of Bob's inner circle. With that comes responsibility. We are now in this with them.

On this, the 42nd anniversary of the murder of Bob Crane, we present a two-part podcast episode, "The Final Days of Bob Crane: Fact vs. Fiction." As you listen, you may be surprised that the Bob Crane you thought you knew... wasn't the real Bob Crane at all.

Rest in peace, Bob. We're still on our soap box, and we're not going anywhere.


Subscribe to Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio, Spreaker, our YouTube Channel, and everywhere podcasts are found.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Bob Crane Biographers Carol Ford, Linda Groundwater | TV Confidential Interview (Part 2)

We're back at it! This weekend, Part 2 of our three-part interview with TV Confidential host Ed Robertson will air on radio stations across the United States and Canada. Ed has been a strong supporter of our work and has officially endorsed Bob Crane's nomination for induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Be sure to show your support by following TV Confidential on social media, joining the mailing list, or becoming a TV Confidential Confidant! Visit the TV Confidential website for details.
__________________________________
The following is reprinted from the TV Confidential website:

Ernie Kovacs, Knuckles & Nash, and The Radio Career of Bob Crane: Next on TVC

We’ll play Part 4 of our conversation with Emmy Award-winning talk show host and producer John Barbour (Real People, Ernie Kovacs: Television’s Original Genius), plus we’ll welcome back authors Carol Ford and Linda Groundwater (Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography). 

We’ll play Part 2 of a three-part conversation with Carol Ford and Linda Groundwater, two of the co-authors (along with Dee Young) of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, a comprehensive, cradle-to-grave look at the life and career of the beloved Hogan’s Heroes star whose accomplishments in television and radio are often overshadowed by the brutal nature of his unsolved murder on June 29, 1978 and the tabloid-like coverage of his addiction to sex and porn once that became public knowledge after his death.

This week’s segment will particularly focus on Crane’s radio career, from its unlikely start on WLEA in Hornell, Connecticut to his nine-year run (1956-1965) as host and star of the top-rated morning show on KNX-AM, the CBS radio affiliate in Los Angeles. Crane not only made radio a spectator sport, but pioneered many elements of radio production that remain industry standard today. We’ll also discuss Crane’s television career, before and after Hogan’s Heroes, and how he was just beginning to grow as an actor at the time of his murder. Carol Ford and Linda Groundwater will join us in our first hour.

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography includes first-hand insight from more than two hundred people who knew Bob Crane personally and better than most: family members; his friends from Connecticut, including many who knew him as far back as grade school; his colleagues from TV, the theatre, the movies, and, above all, radio; and the addiction counselor whose help Crane sought in an effort to overcome his addiction, in the weeks before he was killed.

All this, and more, on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing June 26-28 at the following times and venues:

WBRT AM 1320 and FM 97.1
Bardstown, KY
Friday 6/26
9am ET 6am PT
Listen Live at WBRTCountry.com

Share-a-Vision Radio
San Francisco Bay Area
Friday 6/26
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT
Click on the Listen Live button at KSAV.org
or listen to us on the KSAV TuneIn channel

RadioSlot.com
San Francisco, CA
Friday 6/26
10pm ET, 7pm PT
Saturday 6/27
11pm ET, 8pm PT
Sunday 6/28
11pm ET, 8pm PT
with replays Monday thru Friday 11am ET, 8am PT
Click on the Talk Slot button at RadioSlot.com

WKXO AM 1500 and FM 103.5
Lexington-Fayette/Richmond/Berea, KY
Saturday 6/27
9am ET, 6am PT
Streaming at Facebook.com/1035wkxo

KDUN AM 1030
Eugene/Springfield/Reedsport, OR
Saturday 6/27
Noon ET, 9am PT
Streaming at kdunradio.wixsite.com/kdun

WTCA 1050 AM and FM 106.1
South Bend/Plymouth, IN
Saturday 6/27
3pm ET, Noon PT
Streaming at am1050.com
or listen to us on the WTCA TuneIn channel

KSCJ Talk Radio 1360 AM and 94.9 FM
Sioux City, IA
Saturday 6/27
4pm CT, 2pm PT
Sunday 6/21
6pm CT, 4pm PT
Streaming at KSCJ.com
or listen to us on the KSCJ TuneIn channel

Indiana Talks
Huntington, IN
Saturday 6/27
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Sunday 6/28
10am ET, 7am PT
Click on the player at IndianaTalks.com
or listen to us on the Indiana Talks TuneIn channel

WON 920 The Apple
Brooklyn, NY
Saturday 6/27
10pm ET, 7pm PT
Streaming at WONNewYork.net

WLAD AM 800 and FM 94.1
Danbury, CT
Sunday 6/27
5am ET, 2am PT
Also streaming at WLAD.com
or listen to us on the WLAD TuneIn channel

KSCO AM-1080 and FM-104.1
San Jose, Santa Cruz and Salinas, CA
Sunday 6/27
9am ET, 6am PT
Also streaming at KSCO.com
or listen to us on the KSCO TuneIn channel

KOMY AM-1340
La Selva Beach and Watsonville, CA
Sunday 6/28
9am ET, 6am PT
Hear us online on the KOMY TuneIn channel

CROC Radio
Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada
Sunday 6/28
1pm ET, 10am PT
Streaming at CROCRadio.com
or listen to us on the CROC Radio TuneIn channel

KLTF 960 AM
St. Cloud/Little Falls, MN
Sunday 6/28
6pm CT, 4pm PT
Streaming at FallsRadio.com
or listen to us on the KLTF TuneIn channel

KPLT 1490 AM and 96.3 FM
Paris, TX
Sunday 6/28
8pm CT, 6pm PT
Streaming at EastTexasRadio.com/stations/kplt/
or listen to us on the KPLT TuneIn channel

WDIG AM 1450
Dothan, AL
Sunday 6/28
10pm ET, 7pm PT
Streaming at WDIGRadio.com
or listen to us on the WDIG TuneIn channel

KHMB AM-1710
KHMV-LP 100.9 FM

Half Moon Bay, CA
Sunday 6/28
9pm PT (Mid ET Mon 6/29)
Click on the Listen Live button at KHMBRadio.com
or listen to us on the KHMB/KHMV TuneIn channel

PassionateWorldTalkRadio.com
A member of the Truli Media Group
Ann Arbor, MI ~ Boston, MA ~ Chicago, IL ~ Melrose, FL ~ Los Angeles, CA
Various times throughout the week on PassionateWorldTalkRadio.com
and the PWR channel on TuneIn

TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television

Saturday, May 30, 2020

'Hogan's Heroes' 1988 Reunion Interview | WZFM

In the summer of 1988, several members of the cast of Hogan's Heroes reunited for an hour-long interview at the WZFM studio in New York City. Cast participants included Werner Klemperer, Leon Askin, Larry Hovis, and Robert Clary. They shared memories of working on Hogan's Heroes and with the show's cast and crew, as well as discussed their current projects. Werner Klemperer conducted his portion of the interview in the WZFM studio, and host Paul Cavalconte surprised him by having the other three Hogan's Heroes cast members call in. Toward the end of the interview, Werner states that he wished Bob Crane and John Banner were there with them, as the interview didn't seem complete or right without them there. His castmates agreed. He also grew sentimental and a little emotional at the end. 

There is no question that this cast was indeed a family, which is exactly what we learned from countless Hogan's Heroes cast and crew as we researched Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. This is a refreshing, first-hand account of how much this cast really enjoyed working on Hogan's Heroes and with each other. 

We are grateful to producer Stuart Hersh and radio host Paul Cavalconte for granting us permission to post this interview on our YouTube channel, so we can make this delightful interview available to Hogan's Heroes fans everywhere.




Notes: 
The recording is shared here in its entirety, including opening WZFM theme song and commercials. The actual Interview starts around the 7:00-minute mark.

The blooper reel they discuss is featured on the Hogan's Heroes Season Two DVD set as an "extra" and was made available for the DVD set by Bob Crane's widow, Patricia Olson (Sigrid Valdis). 

The TV Guide cover is used in the photo because they discuss this cover in the interview (and it also maintains Bob Crane's presence). 

© 2020 Stuart Hersh All rights reserved. Used with permission. 

Produced by: Stuart Hersh 
Hosted by: Paul Cavalconte 
Featuring Leon Askin, Robert Clary, Larry Hovis, and Werner Klemperer

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Checking In and Updating During COVID-19

As Linda and I prepare to record our next podcast episode, I realized it has been quite awhile since I last wrote a blog post. We are all doing well—as well as can be expected during a global crisis. We have been extremely busy, though, with work and caring for our families. We are taking everything just one day at a time, and staying positive is key.

But we are still here! As you no doubt are aware, Linda Groundwater, Dee Young, and I are just a little bit passionate about telling Bob Crane's life story. This is because we worked so very hard to learn it. And in order to learn it, we had to work just as hard, if not harder, to earn trust from people who knew him, worked with him, cared about him, and loved him. It was not an easy thing to do because so many were protective of Bob, and they were tired of seeing his name dragged through the mud and hated Auto Focus. They did not know us, and they did not know what our intentions were when we said we were writing Bob's biography. But once they did understand our mission, they trusted us completely. They opened up to us. In so many instances, we became very dear friends. They became just as passionate as we were, and they would say things to us like, "We are in this with you!" and "Write the book!" Sadly, many did not live long enough to see Bob's biography published. One beautiful person who passed away prior to the book's publication is Charlie Zito, Bob's best friend from high school, who I will always adore like family, and to whom the book is dedicated. 

We know Bob wasn't perfect, and we don't paint him as such. We are balanced in our telling of his life story in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography (book) and Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane (podcast). But the good side of Bob Crane far outweighs the bad. One of my best friends said to me once, "Bob Crane wasn't perfect, but he was perfectly human." Human beings are complicated. Each human being deserves more than just sweeping surface statements with no perspective and outward ridicule. I am proud of the work that Linda, Dee, and I have done and continue to do on Bob Crane's behalf. I am honored that we are his official biographers. And we will always climb up on that soap box to defend him.

To do that, we will continue to produce our podcast, do interviews, and go to book signings (once the world opens back up again). So sit tight! We have a lot in the works!

Right now, the world is upside down and backwards, and it is a bit scary outside. Let's keep focused on the good and stay positive. That is exactly what Bob Crane would want us to do! 

Virtual hugs to all. Stay safe and healthy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hogan's Heroes: 'Lie to the Kid!'


Thanks to COVID-19, like most people around the world, I'm hunkered down at home, practicing social distancing, sanitizing everything every chance I get, and staying isolated. I know I'm doing this to protect others as well as protect myself, but the thought that I'm sitting at home and not really helping out in the world goes against my nature. I feel stuck, and that makes me antsy.

Then I remembered this scene from Season 6 of Hogan's Heroes, in which LeBeau wants to leave Stalag 13 and return to France to fight with the French Underground. He believes he will be doing more good in France than making meals and baked goods at Stalag 13, which he believes is frivolous to the war effort. One by one, his fellow prisoners try to convince him to stay, culminating with the scene above. In what I think is one of Kenneth Washington's funniest lines in his short time on the series, when LeBeau states that he's worried about what he will tell his children what he did during the war, Baker responds, "Lie to the kid!"

Like LeBeau, you might think your role of staying home during this crisis is unimportant. But it is very important—just as important as LeBeau's Crêpe Suzettes! Staying home, self-isolating, social distancing, and sanitizing helps all of our first responders and health care providers treat the very sick, and it contains the spread of the coronavirus.

I also know some of you may be feeling really anxious and scared. I'll be honest, I'm pretty freaked out right now, too. I'm worried and scared, mostly because of my parents, especially my Dad, who is immunocompromised as a transplant recipient and a cancer survivor. My parents have been shut in their house for two weeks now, and they are doing really well, and I think that is largely because we isolated them early in this crisis. It's difficult to feel so disconnected from society and from friends and family. I'm also uneasy worrying about the unknown.

But as I tell myself, try not to panic. Take it all one day at a time, and stay grounded in the here and now. Take deep breaths. Stay in touch with your family and friends remotely, and use this down time not to worry, but to focus on positive things. Maybe do something creative, like write some Hogan's Heroes fan fiction. You can read lots of it on fanfiction.net. If things really start to get to you, watch Hogan's Heroes (my go-to anxiety reliever) or listen to one of Bob Crane's radio broadcasts. We'll be putting more of them up shortly for you to enjoy, and our podcast, Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane, will resume production very soon, too.

Finally, to all of our doctors, nurses, scientists, researchers, and all those working tirelessly in the health care/medical field, as well as everyone working in banks, grocery stores, utilities, and all jobs that are keeping our infrastructure functioning worldwide, thank you! 

Stay calm and be safe everyone!