Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day KNXtravaganza with Bob Crane

Whether you're jumping through this Leap Day as though it were like any other day, or taking some time to do something a little off-beat and fun, we thought we'd hop along with a bit of hilarity ourselves!

KNX branded their number-one morning man Bob Crane as their KNXtrovert, and they couldn't have been more on target. Bob was born in 1928, which was also a Leap Year, and from Day One, he was full of energy. His school friends remember him as always smiling and quick with a joke, not to mention drumming on everything - from lockers to tables to chairs to desks! In every aspect of his career - whether it was radio, television, theatre, or film - he was driven toward success. Inside sources at KNX claim he would work at the station until late in the evening preparing for the next day's show, which began at 6:00 a.m. each morning. In a recent article by John Burgeson of the Connecticut Post, Bob's son Scott stated, "He was a workaholic, and I don't understand when he slept or ate... The amount of prep work he did for his shows was just amazing, preparing dozens of sound effects that he would play during the show."

Here's Bob during the 5th anniversary of his KNX Show, and he sings, hums, talks, drums, and jumps along to "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter." Incidentally, if you haven't written a letter of support to the National Radio Hall of Fame Steering Committee, what are you waiting for?! Deadline is March 1, so submit your letter today! (Click here for details.)

"I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"
The Bob Crane Show / KNX-CBS Radio - 5th Anniversary Show
February 15, 1960

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bob Crane Interviews Morey Amsterdam of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' - KNX-CBS Radio c. 1962

Morey Amsterdam and Dick Van Dyke look on
as Bob Crane and Mary Tyler Moore portray
Anthony and Cleopatra in the episode
"Somebody Has to Play Cleopatra"
on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Moritz "Morey" Amsterdam was born on December 14, 1908, in Chicago. A notable comedian and vaudevillian actor, he appeared in numerous television shows, most notably as Buddy Sorrell in The Dick Van Dyke Show. Earlier in his career, Amsterdam worked in radio, having performed regularly on The Al Pearce Show radio program in the 1930s, and later, in 1937, was master of ceremonies of The Night Club of the Air. He passed away of a heart attack on October 28, 1996, at age 87.

Morey Amsterdam was a frequent guest on "The Bob Crane Show" over KNX-CBS Radio in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In this clip from an early 1960s interview conducted by Bob Crane, Morey provides Bob with a comical review of life in Southern California.

Bob Crane Interviews Morey Amsterdam
The Bob Crane Show - KNX-CBS Radio
Circa 1962

Thursday, February 9, 2012

'Picture Window' - Bob Crane's Debut Television Performance (1959)

In 1959, the television pilot for Picture Window was filmed, and this short film is credited as being the first television performance by Bob Crane. Created by Max Shulman (creator of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis), Picture Window centered around the lives of young couples and families residing in what was then modern-day Suburbia. The show was never sold, and thus, it was never produced, and the pilot never aired. This clip from Picture Window shows Bob Crane as Jerry McEvoy, a young husband and father who is fretting over his wife Mildred's spending habits. 

Bob Crane in Picture Window (1959)

In 1959, Bob had already been with KNX for three years. When he was hired by KNX in 1956, he had signed an agreement with CBS Radio that he would not act professionally for at least five years. According to Harry Neigher, reporter for The Sunday Herald (Bridgeport, Connecticut),  CBS had granted Bob an exception to film Picture Window. Neigher reported the following on May 22, 1960:

"A flash about Bob Crane, Bridgeport's greatest gift to Hollywood: CBS Radio gave him the nod to do a pilot film for Max (Dobie Gillis) Shulman "Picture Window" - a series about some Westport-type young married couples, but Bob isn't going thru with the idea. The "Tunnel of Love" performances Crane did last Fall turned out great, and he's doing another Valley Playhouse production this Fall, "Who Was That Lady," from the pix of the same name with Bob taking the Dean Martin role. Bob almost got the male lead in Marilyn Monroe's current movie, "Let's Make Love.," but the job finally went to an unknown named Tony Randall...CBS Radio Network is mulling a nationwide outlet for Bob's KNX show in Hollywood, which has captured the most applaudience and top rating of all the West Coast radio broadcasts. Which makes our Bob Crane the highest paid Airistocrat of California."

In addition to radio and music, Bob always had an interest in acting. While waiting for the right time to break into television, he honed his acting skills in live theatre, which he grew to love. He continued performing on stage from the 1950s through the 1970s until his death in 1978. In 1961, as soon as his no-acting clause expired, Bob accepted the role as Harry Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show. And the rest, as they say, is history!