Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Researching the Life and Times of Bob Crane

If you research something or someone for most of your life, chances are, you're going to have stories about the actual research process. I have traveled all over the globe seeking to discover the truth about Bob Crane. And yes, I do have stories! I'll start sharing them here because they are perhaps just as important as the book itself. These stories show the heart and soul at the core of this endeavor, that it wasn't something done on a whim or to make a quick buck. My two coauthors and I genuinely wanted to learn the truth, and for me personally, those seeds of determination go way back.

When I was a kid back in the mid-1980s, once school let out for the summer, I used to stay with my grandparents for several weeks in the Poconos. One day, my Nana and I went to KMart to do some shopping. While she went off to get the necessities, I found myself over in the records department. And sitting right there, in the very limited soundtracks section, was this album. It was like striking gold! I was amazed by the description of the Hogan's Heroes Theme, which credited Bob Crane as the conductor. Later, I'd learn it was from his album, Bob Crane: His Drums & Orchestra Play the Funny Side of TV. But I didn't know that then! Yes, Nana bought me the record without skipping a beat, and it became a cherished possession of my youth. 

If you look at the back of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, you'll notice the photo is the same as the one used on the record album. I never wanted the cover photo to be of Hogan because Bob was more than just Colonel Hogan. But I did want and need a picture of Hogan on the back. I chose this photo because not only is it one of my favorite Hogan pictures (and that's tough to chisel down!), it also represents a lifelong dream finally coming true. 

It will also always remind me of childhood summers spent with my grandparents, shopping that day with Nana, and discovering this album—a little golden nugget that would one day lead to something far more profound than I could ever possibly imagine.

Back of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography cover jacket.