Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween 2017!

I have to say, I'm particularly proud of our Halloween episode of The Bob Crane Show: Reloaded, which is the sequel to our Friday the 13th episode. First, we cover some of Bob Crane's suspenseful acting roles, including his role in the film Arsenic and Old Lace, and in Rod Serling's Night Gallery and The Zero Hour. A lot of people don't know much about his acting roles outside of Hogan's Heroes, and they are worth checking out.

But our Halloween and Friday the 13th episodes are so much more than just information sharing. We provide some campy entertainment for you, and we don't hold back!

Somewhere along the way, when I was writing the Friday the 13th episode, I decided to introduce a little storyline. I didn't plan it. The script just morphed into it. As part of the episode, host Eric Senich interviews various spooky "guests"—Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees (neither of whom talk very much, if at all), Carrie, Dracula, and the Wicked Witch. They all ask Eric questions about Hogan's Heroes and behind-the-scenes trivia about the show. The end leaves the listener with a cliffhanger: Dracula has "kidnapped" me and sends Eric a note not to bother trying to find me or it would mean instant death for us both.

"Oh, well, if that's all. I guess I gotta go get her," Eric decides with a shrug, as if fighting Dracula is just another part of an ordinary day in his life.

And that leads right into our Halloween episode. Eric ventures to Romania, risking life and limb, to find me. Along the way, he meets a cast of ghoulish characters—Aunt Abby's ghost from Arsenic and Old Lace, Frankenstein's monster, and wolves and zombies. He gets transported inside an episode of The Zero Hour, and finally, with the help of a descendent of Van Helsing (played by my 13-year-old nephew Adam), he confronts Dracula and "rescues" me. And I use the word rescue loosely!

Now, I have always been a fan of Dracula, from Bela Lugosi to Geordie Johnson (in Dracula: The Series). There's just something about that sharp-dressed/sharp-fanged fellow and his suave demeanor that grabs my attention. In 2010, I even wrote a two-part teleplay sequel to Dracula: The Series (aptly named Dracula: The Sequel), with the hopes of launching a series reboot. Never happened (not yet, anyway!), but the dream lives on. The character my nephew plays in our Halloween episode—Nick—is one of the characters I created in the teleplay. And Eric and Adam did something that I never thought I'd experience. For a brief moment, they brought a part of my Dracula: The Sequel script to life. (By the way, Eric's Dracula impersonation is frightfully fantastic!) And that is pretty darn cool, not to mention special.

Below are both the Friday the 13th and Halloween episodes of our podcast. Get a bowl of popcorn and a handful of candy, and check out these two episodes, which are throwbacks to the campy horror radio dramas of yesteryear. Stay as long as you'd like. Longer, even. And Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

'Forecast Funnies': A Modern-Day On-Air Tribute to Bob Crane

What, might you ask, is a Forecast Funny?

Well, it's more than just a weather report. It's actually something pretty darn special.

If you've been listening to The Bob Crane Show: Reloaded podcast (and if you haven't, get with the program!), then you've been hearing the voice talents of our host, Eric Senich. Eric is a tremendous narrator, and he's related to Bob Crane through his father Jim Senich, Bob's first cousin. 

Jim grew up with Bob in Connecticut and loved him like a brother. They were about ten years apart in age, with Bob being older, and Bob looked out for his little cousin Jimmy. Later on, as Jim embarked on his own radio career, Bob took the time to help him and mentor him in the broadcasting industry. (Be sure to read the article Eric wrote about his father: "The Story of the Radio Man Who Inspires Me Every Day.)

Bob's murder devastated Jim. Over time, because Bob was no longer here to defend himself, Jim became a voice for his cousin, whom he always called Bobby, taking a stand against the negativity. The ongoing public ridicule, disrespect, and lack of kindness shown towards Bob—to this day—will cause Jim an enormous amount of pain and can bring him to tears. To speak against Bob is to speak against Jim.

Jim was a key contributor to Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, and in 2007, he told Linda Groundwater and me: "The family really appreciates what you're doing for Bobby. We sure do. Bobby was just a big teddy bear. He was; he was a big teddy bear, and everybody loved him, and they didn't want to hear any bad things. Strange, people probably think he walked around with horns sticking out of his head, but he was a good guy."

When Eric and I first met, neither one of us had any idea that within a year, we'd be producing a podcast about Bob. Our podcast is very important to Eric, not just because Eric is a radio DJ or because he loves the whole idea of podcasting. In every episode, Eric honors both Bob and his father. In so doing, he bears the responsibility of being a voice for Bob, carrying this forward on behalf of his father.

But it doesn't end there. Eric is also bringing a part of Bob's legacy to life.

On Memorial Day weekend this year, Eric started doing something a little wild over the airwaves at WRKI i95, where he hosts the Saturday mid-day show. Eric started getting creative with his weather reports by adding sound effects, voices, and quick skits—just as Bob used to do on his show.

Eric calls these dressed-up weather reports his "Forecast Funnies."

If you're a fan of Bob Crane (and of Classic Rock) and you're not streaming Eric on Saturdays, you're missing out. Eric provides a wealth of information on the bands and the music. He's a powerhouse behind the mic. And now, when you hear the station's forecast intro near the top of every hour, you can't help but wonder, "What's he gonna do this time?" And for that split second, you get to experience what Bob's listeners got experience every day. You don't know what's going to happen next. He's got dogs and rounds of golf and tennis matches; allergy attacks; a sing along with Aileen Quinn ("Little Orphan Annie"); a cookout in the studio. Sometimes he gets stalked by Jason Voorhees and has had a Golum sighting. And the Hogan's Heroes gang from Stalag 13 often shows up, too, including one General Van Halenberger. (Okay, yeah, it's von Himmelberger, but Eric's a major Van Halen fan, so just go with it!)

Eric does every single one of these Forecast Funnies as a tribute to his father's cousin and as an honor to his father. They are hilarious. And they are beautiful.

Check out a few of Eric's Forecast Funnies in the compilation below, and then tune in for yourself and stream Eric on Saturdays. You'll be glad you did!