Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015: Wow, What a Year, with More in Store for 2016!

A few friends stopped in during my book signing
for Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography
at Bogart's Bookstore and Cafe
in Millville, New Jersey. I love this place!

On Friday evening, December 18, 2015, I enjoyed a night of book signing, music, and conversation at Bogart's Bookstore & Cafe in Millville, New Jersey. This was the latest in a string of book signing events I have done since Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography was published in September, and I have to say, I'm hooked! I love every second of it! There is nothing I love more than meeting people who like and appreciate Bob Crane, or who didn't know a whole lot about him before talking with me and who walk away with a more profound understanding of who he was as a person. 

Whether it was during a presentation before a large audience at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland, or casual conversations with curious shoppers at independent bookstores, one by one, people are starting to learn about Bob Crane. He was more than Colonel Hogan on Hogan's Heroes, more than a murder victim, and more than a means to a profit via scandal and sensationalism. He was human—and a good human at that. 

By far, my favorite moments are when people approach me with pre-conceived notions about Bob because of what they have already seen in the media but who change their opinion after meeting me. Initially, they use words like "creep," "pervert," "deviant," and "sick-o" to describe Bob, only to discover they have been misinformed. One lady came up to my table on Friday night and said, "Oh, that guy. I know all about him." After a few minutes of talking with me, however, her demeanor changed. Before she left, she said, "Thank you. I'm so happy and relieved to know he wasn't a jerk! I always liked him on Hogan's Heroes. This makes me feel so much better!"

Other favorite moments include learning that people have driven great distances to meet and talk with me. At the Nostalgia Convention in Maryland, one person drove all the way from Texas, and on Friday night, a gentleman and his wife drove up from Delaware. I'm completely humbled and touched by their gestures, and I only wish I had more time to talk with them! 

What I'm discovering is what my gut has always told me: people want to like Bob Crane. They just want to be reassured. I know because before I wrote this book, I was one of them. They loved him on Hogan's Heroes. Those who were lucky enough to hear his radio programs on both the East and West coasts loved hearing his shows. But since his murder and the sex scandal that followed, many have been unsure of what to think of their favorite POW or radio personality, especially when all the media has ever seemed to focus on were his murder and sex scandal. Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is different from anything else that has ever been done for him. It puts everything in context, presents the facts, and dispels the myths. It's okay for people to like Bob Crane again! And for those who have read the book and/or talked with me, their outpouring of gratitude—and often with emotion—speaks volumes.

As we close out 2015, I am happy to say this has been a tremendous year for me. The first half was spent finishing writing and formatting, and the second half was spent promoting the book and enjoying its success. After production and publishing expenses are paid off, author profits will go to various charities in Bob Crane's memory. The reason for publishing this book was never to get rich; it was to simply do Bob justice by telling his true story.

As we move into 2016, more book signings/author appearances will be announced (save the date: February 6, 2016, I'll be at the Barnes & Noble in Deptford, New Jersey). I'm trying to work out some appearances in the Midwest and in Los Angeles, and I'll keep you posted as those develop. More radio interviews will be conducted. And of course, we will keep up our ongoing efforts for Bob's induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. The year 2015 was a remarkable year for me, and I anticipate 2016 will be just as exciting and rewarding. Thank you to every single one of you who has supported and helped along the way! 

Stay tuned—more good things are on the horizon!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Donna Reed Show — 'A Very Merry Christmas!'

Note: In March 1963, Bob Crane made his first appearance on The Donna Reed Show as Dr. Dave Blevins. This one guest appearance led to his being cast in the semi-regular role of next-door neighbor Dr. Dave Kelsey, officially launching his acting career and preparing him for the future. Bob thought highly of Donna Reed, who often coached him as an actor and offered him advice during Hogan’s Heroes. When asked about what he thought of Donna, he said, “She was marvelous. I learned everything I know in the business from her.” (For more about Bob Crane’s role on The Donna Reed Show, click here.) Although Bob did not appear in the Christmas episode, we have chosen to take this opportunity to honor The Donna Reed Show with a post about her holiday episode, "A Very Merry Christmas," as part of Me-TV's "A Very Merry Blogathon," hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association. This post is written by guest author Jude H. Cormier, owner and manager of the We Love The Donna Reed Show Facebook page. Thank you, Jude, and Happy Holidays to all!


The Donna Reed Show — 'A Very Merry Christmas!'

by Jude H. Cormier

When one thinks of the Christmas holiday, especially the televised version of it, you have the expected pitfalls and trappings. The Donna Reed Show’s “A Very Merry Christmas” (which is, in fact, the series’ lone holiday episode) has these things delivered in a warm and funny package. Scenes of Christmas cards dangling, sermons about the commercialism of the holiday, jokes about how awful everyone thinks fruitcake is, especially as a gift, are presented in typical, but still amusing fashion. The madness of shopping for gifts that are bound to be returned seem quaint, even by the late 1950s standards. 

What really sets this episode apart is the discovery that the children’s ward of the hospital (where Dr. Stone works and Donna Stone volunteers) seems to have been overlooked among the rush and bustle of doing “Christmas.” Donna is just appalled that no one seems to be doing anything for the children. Enter the wonderful Buster Keaton, who, as the hospital custodian, has been secretly doing it for years. Donna offers her assistance, much to the protest of her own kids, who can’t bear the thought of their own plans being interrupted.

In true heartwarming fashion, Donna’s family pulls through and brings gifts and decorations to the hospital. We all know Donna Reed for her wonderful contribution in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, but this episode of her sitcom is just as good in her repertoire for delivering the message of Christmas.

So gather up the family around the cozy fire, pass the sugar cookies, enjoy mugs of eggnog, and yes, a slice or two of the dreaded fruitcake, and make it “A Very Merry Christmas” for at least 30 minutes.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Win a Free Autographed Copy of Bob Crane's New Biography and Hogan's Heroes Season 6!

The cast of Hogan's Heroes season six.
Back row: John Banner, Richard Dawson, Bob Crane, and Werner Klemperer.
Seated: Robert Clary, Kenneth Washington, and Larry Hovis.

'Tis the Season! 
And we're celebrating by giving away some gifts! Simply submit your name and email address via our secure Contact Us form, and one lucky person will win an autographed hardcover copy of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography AND a brand new DVD box set of Hogan's Heroes season 6! Enter before midnight EST on December 23. Winner will be announced on December 24. Happy Holidays, and good luck! 

~Carol, Dee, and Linda

Sunday, December 6, 2015

'A Gift of Love and Laughter — Enjoy the Gift!'

Bob Crane with Ruta Lee on Hogan's Heroes.
The lovely and talented Ruta Lee, who appeared in several episodes of Hogan's Heroes ("To Russia Without Love," "Who Stole My Copy of Mein Kampf," and "Hogan and the Lady Doctor), and whose extensive resume includes her work on Operation Eichmann and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, was happy to contribute to Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. She liked Bob very much, and she had wonderful memories about working along side of him on Hogan's Heroes. 

She recalled his sense of humor and professionalism, and when asked what she wanted people to know about Bob, she said, "What the world saw and got was a gift of love and enjoy the gift!"

You can read more about Ms. Lee's remembrances of working with Bob on the set of Hogan's Heroes in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, available through all major book retailers worldwide.