Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bob Crane's Unsolved Murder: A Proper Perspective

           Note: Episode contains some explicit content and is intended for a mature audience. 
           You must be signed in to YouTube and over 18 years to watch.

It's difficult to believe that Bob Crane was murdered thirty-nine years ago. I was only eight years old when Bob died during the early morning hours of June 29, 1978, so I don't remember hearing about the crime when it happened. It was several years later, when I was in high school, when I learned of his murder and the scandal that erupted afterwards.

I will be perfectly honest with you. I was pretty upset. I mean, he was Colonel Hogan. Nobody murders Colonel Hogan! But when I discovered Bob's sexual proclivities, I was disgusted. I didn't know how I could ever watch Hogan's Heroes again. Like most people, I only knew what the media told me. And I bought into it. All of it. Because that was all I was ever told.

But over time, as I transitioned from adolescence to adulthood, I started to realize something important. Bob Crane was only human. So what if he was having a lot of consensual sex? It wasn't my personal choice of a lifestyle, but that doesn't make someone a bad person. What was the big deal? I was (and still am) a big fan of Night Court. Why was District Attorney Dan Fielding, the role John Larroquette played to perfection, so acceptable to audiences, when it was more or less the same thing Bob Crane had been doing? Plus, nobody's perfect. We all fall short of that margin. Every single one of us.

I decided there had to be more to Bob's story than just the headlines. I wanted to find out. So I did.

And guess what? No big surprise—there is much more to his story.
  • That's why Linda Groundwater, Dee Young, and I researched, wrote, and published Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. We talked with two hundred people from Bob's life over the course of twelve years and discovered who Bob Crane really was. And he was very different than how he's been presented in the media since his death.
  • That's why we donate our author profits to various charities in Bob's memory or roll the money right back into what we do for Bob. Because it's not about the money for us. It's about truth.
  • That's why we nominated Bob for the National Radio Hall of Fame. Because he was a radio pioneer who changed the radio industry, and he deserves that recognition.
  • That's why Eric Senich and I are producing a podcast—The Bob Crane Show: Reloaded, which is based on Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography.
  • That's why we keep going. Because Bob Crane has a story to tell, and it's far and away more profound than you are otherwise led to believe.

As we concluded in Bob's biography, after discovering his whole life story:
     Whatever his struggles or disappointments, the compass of Bob’s life always pointed toward the positive. Hopefulness. Compassion. Excitement. Happiness. Courage. He loved completely, supported unconditionally, worked untiringly, and remained “the guy that always assumes no matter what’s in that room, there’s a pony hidden underneath all of that stuff”—a rare optimism that wouldn’t be snuffed out. He knew what he wanted in his work, and he figured out how to achieve it. Most of all, he wanted—needed—to be loved, liked, and accepted. And sometimes, in trying to meet that need, he was tripped up by human weakness.
     At the end of our lives, do we want to be remembered and judged only for our flaws and imperfections? Do we want people to focus in on the specks that mar our heritage and blot out all the good we’ve done? Do we want our families to be reminded of our mishaps and struggles constantly? No. Bob was much more than his struggles and weaknesses. In spite of his flaws, he was a kind person, a joyful person, a talented person, a courageous person—a whole person.* 

On this 39th anniversary of Bob Crane's death, and any time you hear Bob's name mentioned, take a step away from the noise and rhetoric. Remember he was more than that headline. He was human.

Watch the YouTube version of our podcast episode above (it's only nine minutes), and listen to Eric's first-hand account of how the murder of Bob Crane—his father's cousin—impacted his family.

And for just one minute, stop—and think.
*Excerpt from Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. © Carol M. Ford.