Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long 2011, Hello 2012! Best New Year's Wishes from Vote For Bob Crane

Well, Santa and his reindeer are back at the North Pole (with apparently a little help from Bob Crane here!), and the holiday season is coming to a close. It's been a little while since we've posted, but we've had good reason. It's been pretty hectic around here! For the past several weeks, in addition to celebrating the holidays with our families and friends, we've been busy at work planning for a whole avalanche of activity that will kick off in January 2012.

In mid-January, we'll be sending out a press release to the media announcing Bob Crane's nomination for induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Remember, you can support his induction in many ways, such as following us on Twitter, Liking us on Facebook, and sharing our posts and Tweets with your friends. You can also nominate Bob yourself by sending a letter directly to the National Radio Hall of Fame Steering Committee (click here for more details). Deadline for nominations is March 1st. And don't forget, the official ballot of Hall of Fame candidates will be released by the Museum of Broadcast Communications in either July or August for public voting, so stay tuned for details on how to vote. Anyone can vote, so we're counting on YOU to help see that Bob's extensive work in radio is recognized.

We are also in the process of building a new Web site (currently under construction) that will be launched in January. As soon as it's up, you'll be the first to know! 

The new year will also see some new information and interview clips with Bob and some famous folks. As Bob would say, we won't tell you who yet so we get you to listen to the whole show.

As we usher out 2011 and welcome in a brand new year, we want to thank you for all your support. We hope that 2012 will see Bob Crane's induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame, and with your help, we can make that happen!

Best wishes for a bright and shiny, happy and healthy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Best Wishes to All of You This Holiday Season!

From all of us at Vote For Bob Crane, we wish you peace, happy memories, and all the joys of the season, now and in the new year. 
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Parting Swimming Pools: Bob Crane Interviews Charlton Heston / c. 1960

One of the motion picture industry's most heroic actors of Biblical proportions, Charlton Heston had a rich Hollywood career and has been called "larger than life" by many, including his family. Immortalized in such iconic films as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, El Cid, Planet of the Apes, and The Greatest Show on Earth, he also appeared in several television productions as well as on stage. During World War II, Heston served in the U.S. Army Air Force as a radio operator and aerial gunner, and achieved the rank of staff sergeant. A political activist, he held many firm beliefs and shared them openly, specifically against racism and for Second Amendment rights (the right to bear arms). Charlton Heston passed away on April 5, 2008.

When Bob Crane interviewed Charlton Heston over KNX-CBS Radio, he wasn't sure what to expect and had prepped himself for a serious interview. Heston turned out to be quite relaxed and very funny, telling Bob the story of how, on the first day of school, his teacher thought his name was Charlotte, asking repeatedly, "Where's the little Heston girl?"

In this clip, Bob asks Charlton about his current home, which had been located on a ridge overlooking Hidden Valley, California. The take-home message? Don't walk on other people's water when you're swimming in their pool!

Bob Crane / Interview with Charlton Heston
The Bob Crane Show / KNX-CBS Radio
circa 1960

Sunday, December 4, 2011

All Is Organized Confusion / Bob Crane and His Morning Radio Show

Pixyish KNX 'Morning Host' Seldom Lets Hearers Know What's Coming
by Elmer Gaede

No, he's isn't a Keystone traffic Kop.

He's just "the guy who talks to himself with a thousand voices."

But the gyrations of Bob Crane, the animated "morning host" of Radio Station KNX in Hollywood, certainly would conjure such a mental image for anyone who might be able to penetrate "the most closely guarded secret" since the A-bomb.

The secret undoubtedly wondered at by many of the thousands who are entertained six mornings a week from 6:15 to 10 by the energetic Bridgeport (Conn.) transplant, as they traverse the Los Angeles freeways to work or do their housework, is how he manages to intersperse - and spoof - his commercials so ingeniously with such pixyish recorded comments.

Listeners never know what's coming next. They're continually being surprised and caught off balance by the antics of his "thousand voices" on recordings - of which he has stacks and stacks. 

The voices might break into the middle of a commercial with kidding comments which peculiarly fit into the sense of the advertising message, or they might similarly introduce the commercial.

The result is that Crane's commercials are probably more closely followed by listeners than "ordinary" popular music and other entertainment he also provides.

It's nothing to hear him call a sponsor "cheap," as he did the other morning referring to one of the top advertisers, whose spot that time happened to be real short. And still the sponsors come!

All Is Near Chaos
Then there was the singing coffee commercial. Just as it got in the initial "pitch," came a childish "Look, mom, no cavities" - from another well-known recorded commercial - then a loud crash, followed by a harsh feminine voice saying: "Look again, ya little monster," followed by continuation of the coffee message.

That's four different recordings cut in and out with split-second timing.

The more involved feats of "recording magic" defy description - they really must be heard to be appreciated.

On his pledge not to disclose the "big secret," the writer was permitted to observe Crane in action. Secrecy is required by the arrangement which enables the happy-go-lucky pied piper to perform this recorded-voice legerdemain. 

It may be said, however, that it involves uncanny co-operation and complete understanding between Crane and his engineer - the man who sees that it goes out correctly over the airwaves.

It also involves a prodigious amount of almost continuous arm-waving, "body-English" and other physical gyrations by Crane.

The arm-waiving and other motions of course are his methods of signaling to the engineer - who gets almost as strenuous a workout as Crane, and really has to keep "on his toes."

And the strange part is that it is done entirely ad lib, without script - other than the sequence of musical recordings and commercials - mute testimony to the complete understanding between Crane and his engineers, Jack Chapman of Burbank, Mondays through Fridays, and Jay Cook of Sepulveda, on Saturdays. 

When he carries on one of his inimitable "conversations" with a recording, it seems that the person the the platter actually is in the studio. Bob goes through all the gestures, facial and otherwise, of a real conversation with another person, answering back, contradicting, arguing, etc. - even facing toward the recording as if it were a live being.

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Source: The Los Angeles Times; Sunday, August 9, 1959.

Note: The "closely guarded secret" referred to in this article is that Crane received special permission from the Broadcast Engineers Union to be able to play his own records. His engineer would play the commercials and songs, while Crane played the records containing all the voices, skits, gags, and sound effects, which was imperative for the program's success. Bob knew exactly which record contained which voice or gag, and he could locate such tracks in mere seconds. In order for his show to work, he needed to spin his own records and not rely solely on the engineer, which was nearly universally unheard of in radio during that time.