Sunday, January 19, 2020

Happy New Year! Our Vision for 2020

Happy New Year! It's been a long time since I've posted, and I have to apologize for my absence. Personally, I've had a lot going on at home with my Dad's health and my day job, but it doesn't mean I'm not still here. In fact, quite the opposite! My coauthors and I never left, nor will we.

Linda Groundwater and I are getting ready to record our next episode of our podcast, Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane (based on our work of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography). We are also outlining future episodes. 

While you wait, you can check out the latest episode here:

I also wanted to share a little bit here of why we researched Bob Crane, wrote his biography, and carry on despite the book having been published.

Ever since I was a kid growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia in the 1980s, I have loved Hogan's Heroes and its star. Way back then, I was so sad when I learned of his murder, and my little 14-year-old self was determined to make a difference. Long before the Internet, I would go to the library, spending hours upon hours in the microfilm/microfiche room, trying to learn more. I still have my notebooks from my childhood research, and when I look at how diligent I was then, it's no wonder to me that I'm still here, all these years later, caring so much about the truth of Bob Crane's life.

Bob Crane is continually misunderstood and unfairly judged by the public. In the decades since his death, he has become known for three things, and three things only: Hogan's Heroes, his murder, and the scandal that came to light during the murder investigation. Very little or nothing is mentioned about his tremendous career in radio, that he was a talented drummer, that he made countless charitable contributions to society and nonprofit organizations, was "kind to those he worked with and kind to those he knew" (q. Leo McElroy, KNX colleague), was devoted to and loved his family and friends, was driven to success in all that he did (radio, acting, music), adored his fans and always made time to go out of his way to sign autographs, and sought to better his life by battling his addiction in the weeks leading up to his murder, and sadly, just didn't live long enough to see it through.

Auto Focus is the "source" most people have based their knowledge on. But be warned. Auto Focus misses its mark. Director Paul Schrader went further by stating in an interview to the New York Times that the film was meant to be a distortion and not entirely true because the truth is boring and who cares about the truth. So the film is exaggerated at best and completely inaccurate at worst. 

It would be very easy to give up, and I've been told to give up often over the years for all sorts of reasons: 1) I'm not a flesh-and-blood member of his family, and therefore, have no right to say anything; 2) my book won't sell because nobody cares; 3) nobody wants to hear "nice," they only want the dirt; and 4) the hateful comments I've received over the years from people who think they know the truth and feel empowered through anonymity (aka, trolls). I've been called names. I've been told that I "know nothing" and should just give it up.

But despite these shallow and often hurtful attempts to derail the work my friends and coauthors Linda Groundwater and Dee Young and I have done, we will not give up. We may not put a podcast episode out every week, or write a blog post every day, or post on social media as much as we used to, but we will not give up.

We are Bob Crane's official biographers. We are proud of the work we've done and honored to represent Bob through the people who knew him better than most. We have talked with 200+ prominent individuals from Bob Crane's life — family; friends; colleagues in radio, television, theatre, and film; and the counselor who was helping Bob overcome his addiction at the end of his life. We've become very close to and grown to love many people from Bob's life. It has, for us, become personal, because these beautiful people are now a part of our lives. We count them as our dear friends, and we continue our work not just for Bob, but also for all of them.

We understand that people who don't know about us or our work or have read our book have no idea about the truth about Bob Crane. It is never brought to the surface in the mainline media, and it's like a broken record that is on play-repeat. But it's a record we're happy to break so we can share what we know. The truth about Bob Crane. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

A Glimpse into the Work of a Radio Genius

While we continue to work on our first feature episode of Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane, we thought we'd give you a glimpse into Bob Crane's radio work in a brief "interim" episode. When I've given presentations about Bob at various places, such as the Liberty Aviation Museum and the MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention, I typically play a few clips for audiences to hear a sampling of Bob's work. We've also made many of Bob's radio airchecks available through our YouTube and SoundCloud channels, as well as through this blog.

To broaden our reach, we'll be including them in episodes of our new podcast. This episode contains two clips, a Winston Cigarettes commercial, and a rare interview with the late Marilyn Monroe.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy! 

Listen to "03. A Glimpse into the Work of a Radio Genius" on Spreaker.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Recap of the 2019 MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention

On September 12-14, 2019, I once again participated at the annual MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland. This was my fifth year going to the convention, and as is always the case, I had a fantastic time! Meeting new people and reconnecting with familiar attendees and vendors, and of course, meeting and seeing celebrities from classic television, keep me coming back year after year. I've had the pleasure of meeting Dawn Wells, Howard Hesseman, Jan Smithers, Ed Begley, Jr., Paul Petersen, Loni Anderson, Loretta Swit, and Aileen Quinn, to name just a few. This is definitely a show not to miss if you love classic television and the Golden Age of Radio!

This year, in addition to selling and signing copies of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, I recorded a few attendees talking about Hogan's Heroes, Bob Crane, the book, and something they had learned about Bob Crane from reading the book. You can listen to these testimonials in an episode of our new podcast, Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane. You can also hear a clip of Bob Crane's "Man on the Street" interview segment, which originally broadcast over KNX-CBS Radio around 1957 and was rebroadcast over KNX in 1962.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this episode! I know how intimidating it can be to record something and hear your voice. It took me years to be able to record my voice and then listen to myself. You all did great!

And as an aside, you can subscribe to Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane wherever you get your podcast fix.

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I'm also thrilled to have been interviewed twice during this year's convention: once for a podcast and again for television. My coauthors and I love being interviewed! So if you're looking to chat about Bob Crane, our work on his biography, Hogan's Heroes (including the recently announced Hogan's Heroes reboot by co-creator Albert S. Ruddy)—give us a yell. We'd love to talk with you!

I'm looking forward to returning to the 2020 MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention, and perhaps I'll have a few new surprises. You never know what my crew and I will come up with next!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane — Preview Episode

We're thrilled to announce that our preview episode of Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane is now available! Everything is currently configuring to Apple Podcasts (iTunes), GooglePlay, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher, YouTube, and other various podcast delivery services. Once the podcast has been distributed, you'll be able to subscribe on all platforms. In the meantime, sit back, relax, and enjoy our preview episode!

Listen to "01. Preview of 'Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane'" on Spreaker.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Author Interviews About Bob Crane | Magic 95.9 Radio

Earlier this year, Linda Groundwater and I were interviewed twice about Bob Crane for radio station Magic 95.9 by host Bill Benjamin. Part I was recorded on May 24, 2019, and aired on Friday, June 7, 2019. Part II was recorded on July 12, 2019, and aired on Friday, July 26, 2019. Both interviews are available to listen to below. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Liberty Aviation Museum — Bob Crane Biography | July 27-28, 2019

On July 27-28, 2019, I was once again the invited guest of the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, for an author event. While there, I signed copies of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography and gave two hour-long presentations about Bob Crane and his life and career.

The Liberty Aviation Museum is the official home of the only authentic Hogan's Heroes props and costumes/uniforms display. They began the Hogan's Heroes collection in 2015, and ever since, they have been adding to the display. As you can see, it's quite crowded in the display case! Eventually, they are planning to build a larger display, with a barracks theme. 

Visiting the Liberty Aviation Museum is always a highlight for me, and it invigorates me. Not only do I adore the owner and his family, and management and staff of the museum, but I also love connecting with fans of Hogan's Heroes and Bob Crane, and I enjoy observing them study the display and quote lines from the show. Even more, I love listening to them reminisce about watching the series with a family member, usually their father or grandfather, and how Hogan's Heroes brings back such happy memories for them. Not only do I love meeting new fans, but I love reconnecting with friends, some of whom travel great distances to the museum just to stop in and say hi (and give hugs!).

There are a few naysayers. I say, bring 'em on! One gentleman insisted that he had "read everything there is about Bob Crane," and thus, he knew all about him. I simply asked, "Have you read my book?" And he said, "No, no. But believe me, I've read everything about Bob Crane, and I already know all about him."

Newsflash: If you haven't read Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, then you haven't read everything there is about Bob Crane, and as a result, I can guarantee you don't know everything about him.

I don't blame people for thinking this way, and I'm not angry. Although I confess that I do become a little frustrated. Auto Focus force-fed an incorrect, fictionalized version of Bob to the public, and between that and all of the true crime shows and podcasts, it's really all people know about Bob Crane. It's even more frustrating knowing that Auto Focus director Paul Schrader did it all on purpose. Schrader told the New York Times, "You know, [John] Carpenter was not as important in Crane's life as he is in the film. It is a distortion...  My intent with Auto Focus is not to be true or definitive. People's actual lives are not really that interesting. And with Crane I wanted to get at something meaty. Otherwise, who cares?" You can read more about that here.

But I digress.

Simply put, if you only know Bob Crane through Auto Focus and the like, then you don't know Bob Crane at all. 

And I, along with my coauthors and friends Dee Young and Linda Groundwater, work hard at keeping his memory alive. We have a new podcast in the works (Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane), we are interviewed about Bob and our work on his behalf, and we continue to spearhead the campaign for his induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. No, we aren't done yet. Not even close. And with the complete support of Bob Crane's family and friends, we will keep going—for as long as it takes.

If you haven't visited the Liberty Aviation Museum, and especially if you're a Hogan's Heroes fan, you should. In addition, all copies of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography are sold in the museum's gift shop year-round, and all author proceeds on Bob's biography sold through the museum are donated to the museum.

In closing, I'll share with you what I call my Jurassic Park moment. I'm just a kid from New Jersey. I work hard, and I just figure that's what matters. So when I first visited the Liberty Aviation Museum in June 2016, I was thrilled to see Bob's custom-made Hogan A-2 jacket and his whole uniform, along with the rest of the costumes/uniforms worn by Werner Klemperer and John Banner. But the Jurassic Park moment came when the CEO drove me past the museum's marquis sign out by the highway. I wasn't paying attention and probably doing something on my phone, when the CEO literally turned my head to the left so I could see the museum's marquis sign. And I was floored. There was the book's cover, lit up against the sky! Of course, I didn't stand up through a safari Jeep, but my jaw did hit the ground and my eyes were wide with amazement!

I love everyone at the Liberty Aviation Museum. They are all very dear to me, and the museum is a home away from home for me (and now also members of my family!). I consider them all family. Liberty Aviation Museum is open year-round, and I usually visit for my author events in the summer. Hogan's Heroes fans, put the Liberty Aviation Museum on your Bucket List! And in addition to the ever-growing Hogan's Heroes display, the museum boasts two hangars full of military vehicles and airplanes and provides a living history. It is also home to one of the coolest 1950s diners in the country—the Tin Goose Diner. And at the very least, check out their website and support them by purchasing an item or making a donation. They are doing amazing work, and it's such an honor for me to know them and be part of their extended, surrogate family.

Thank you to everyone at the Liberty Aviation Museum for another spectacular event! See you next year!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Happy Birthday, Bob Crane!

Bob Crane was born on July 13, 1928, and today, he would have been 91 years old. To celebrate, we're hosting a birthday bash! To enter, all you have to do is hop on over to our Facebook page and wish Bob a happy birthday! One person will be randomly selected to win:
  • A copy of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography autographed by Linda Groundwater, Dee Young, and me!
  • The complete Hogan's Heroes box set (delivered to you direct from Amazon, with Prime shipping).
  • The Hogan's Heroes mug as shown in the photo, which is otherwise only available at my table in the vendor hall during the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention (September 12-14, 2019; Hunt Valley, MD).
One lucky winner will be announced before midnight EDT on Monday, July 15, 2019, so be sure to Like our Facebook page while you're there, too!

Happy Birthday, Bob Crane!
—Carol Ford