Friday, October 11, 2019

A Glimpse into the Work of a Radio Genius

While we continue to work on our first feature episode of Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane, we thought we'd give you a glimpse into Bob Crane's radio work in a brief "interim" episode. When I've given presentations about Bob at various places, such as the Liberty Aviation Museum and the MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention, I typically play a few clips for audiences to hear a sampling of Bob's work. We've also made many of Bob's radio airchecks available through our YouTube and SoundCloud channels, as well as through this blog.

To broaden our reach, we'll be including them in episodes of our new podcast. This episode contains two clips, a Winston Cigarettes commercial, and a rare interview with the late Marilyn Monroe.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy! 

Listen to "03. A Glimpse into the Work of a Radio Genius" on Spreaker.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Recap of the 2019 MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention

On September 12-14, 2019, I once again participated at the annual MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland. This was my fifth year going to the convention, and as is always the case, I had a fantastic time! Meeting new people and reconnecting with familiar attendees and vendors, and of course, meeting and seeing celebrities from classic television, keep me coming back year after year. I've had the pleasure of meeting Dawn Wells, Howard Hesseman, Jan Smithers, Ed Begley, Jr., Paul Petersen, Loni Anderson, Loretta Swit, and Aileen Quinn, to name just a few. This is definitely a show not to miss if you love classic television and the Golden Age of Radio!

This year, in addition to selling and signing copies of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, I recorded a few attendees talking about Hogan's Heroes, Bob Crane, the book, and something they had learned about Bob Crane from reading the book. You can listen to these testimonials in an episode of our new podcast, Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane. You can also hear a clip of Bob Crane's "Man on the Street" interview segment, which originally broadcast over KNX-CBS Radio around 1957 and was rebroadcast over KNX in 1962.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this episode! I know how intimidating it can be to record something and hear your voice. It took me years to be able to record my voice and then listen to myself. You all did great!

And as an aside, you can subscribe to Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane wherever you get your podcast fix.

Subscribe On:
and more!

I'm also thrilled to have been interviewed twice during this year's convention: once for a podcast and again for television. My coauthors and I love being interviewed! So if you're looking to chat about Bob Crane, our work on his biography, Hogan's Heroes (including the recently announced Hogan's Heroes reboot by co-creator Albert S. Ruddy)—give us a yell. We'd love to talk with you!

I'm looking forward to returning to the 2020 MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention, and perhaps I'll have a few new surprises. You never know what my crew and I will come up with next!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane — Preview Episode

We're thrilled to announce that our preview episode of Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane is now available! Everything is currently configuring to Apple Podcasts (iTunes), GooglePlay, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher, YouTube, and other various podcast delivery services. Once the podcast has been distributed, you'll be able to subscribe on all platforms. In the meantime, sit back, relax, and enjoy our preview episode!

Listen to "01. Preview of 'Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane'" on Spreaker.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Author Interviews About Bob Crane | Magic 95.9 Radio

Earlier this year, Linda Groundwater and I were interviewed twice about Bob Crane for radio station Magic 95.9 by host Bill Benjamin. Part I was recorded on May 24, 2019, and aired on Friday, June 7, 2019. Part II was recorded on July 12, 2019, and aired on Friday, July 26, 2019. Both interviews are available to listen to below. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Liberty Aviation Museum — Bob Crane Biography | July 27-28, 2019

On July 27-28, 2019, I was once again the invited guest of the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, for an author event. While there, I signed copies of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography and gave two hour-long presentations about Bob Crane and his life and career.

The Liberty Aviation Museum is the official home of the only authentic Hogan's Heroes props and costumes/uniforms display. They began the Hogan's Heroes collection in 2015, and ever since, they have been adding to the display. As you can see, it's quite crowded in the display case! Eventually, they are planning to build a larger display, with a barracks theme. 

Visiting the Liberty Aviation Museum is always a highlight for me, and it invigorates me. Not only do I adore the owner and his family, and management and staff of the museum, but I also love connecting with fans of Hogan's Heroes and Bob Crane, and I enjoy observing them study the display and quote lines from the show. Even more, I love listening to them reminisce about watching the series with a family member, usually their father or grandfather, and how Hogan's Heroes brings back such happy memories for them. Not only do I love meeting new fans, but I love reconnecting with friends, some of whom travel great distances to the museum just to stop in and say hi (and give hugs!).

There are a few naysayers. I say, bring 'em on! One gentleman insisted that he had "read everything there is about Bob Crane," and thus, he knew all about him. I simply asked, "Have you read my book?" And he said, "No, no. But believe me, I've read everything about Bob Crane, and I already know all about him."

Newsflash: If you haven't read Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, then you haven't read everything there is about Bob Crane, and as a result, I can guarantee you don't know everything about him.

I don't blame people for thinking this way, and I'm not angry. Although I confess that I do become a little frustrated. Auto Focus force-fed an incorrect, fictionalized version of Bob to the public, and between that and all of the true crime shows and podcasts, it's really all people know about Bob Crane. It's even more frustrating knowing that Auto Focus director Paul Schrader did it all on purpose. Schrader told the New York Times, "You know, [John] Carpenter was not as important in Crane's life as he is in the film. It is a distortion...  My intent with Auto Focus is not to be true or definitive. People's actual lives are not really that interesting. And with Crane I wanted to get at something meaty. Otherwise, who cares?" You can read more about that here.

But I digress.

Simply put, if you only know Bob Crane through Auto Focus and the like, then you don't know Bob Crane at all. 

And I, along with my coauthors and friends Dee Young and Linda Groundwater, work hard at keeping his memory alive. We have a new podcast in the works (Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane), we are interviewed about Bob and our work on his behalf, and we continue to spearhead the campaign for his induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. No, we aren't done yet. Not even close. And with the complete support of Bob Crane's family and friends, we will keep going—for as long as it takes.

If you haven't visited the Liberty Aviation Museum, and especially if you're a Hogan's Heroes fan, you should. In addition, all copies of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography are sold in the museum's gift shop year-round, and all author proceeds on Bob's biography sold through the museum are donated to the museum.

In closing, I'll share with you what I call my Jurassic Park moment. I'm just a kid from New Jersey. I work hard, and I just figure that's what matters. So when I first visited the Liberty Aviation Museum in June 2016, I was thrilled to see Bob's custom-made Hogan A-2 jacket and his whole uniform, along with the rest of the costumes/uniforms worn by Werner Klemperer and John Banner. But the Jurassic Park moment came when the CEO drove me past the museum's marquis sign out by the highway. I wasn't paying attention and probably doing something on my phone, when the CEO literally turned my head to the left so I could see the museum's marquis sign. And I was floored. There was the book's cover, lit up against the sky! Of course, I didn't stand up through a safari Jeep, but my jaw did hit the ground and my eyes were wide with amazement!

I love everyone at the Liberty Aviation Museum. They are all very dear to me, and the museum is a home away from home for me (and now also members of my family!). I consider them all family. Liberty Aviation Museum is open year-round, and I usually visit for my author events in the summer. Hogan's Heroes fans, put the Liberty Aviation Museum on your Bucket List! And in addition to the ever-growing Hogan's Heroes display, the museum boasts two hangars full of military vehicles and airplanes and provides a living history. It is also home to one of the coolest 1950s diners in the country—the Tin Goose Diner. And at the very least, check out their website and support them by purchasing an item or making a donation. They are doing amazing work, and it's such an honor for me to know them and be part of their extended, surrogate family.

Thank you to everyone at the Liberty Aviation Museum for another spectacular event! See you next year!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Happy Birthday, Bob Crane!

Bob Crane was born on July 13, 1928, and today, he would have been 91 years old. To celebrate, we're hosting a birthday bash! To enter, all you have to do is hop on over to our Facebook page and wish Bob a happy birthday! One person will be randomly selected to win:
  • A copy of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography autographed by Linda Groundwater, Dee Young, and me!
  • The complete Hogan's Heroes box set (delivered to you direct from Amazon, with Prime shipping).
  • The Hogan's Heroes mug as shown in the photo, which is otherwise only available at my table in the vendor hall during the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention (September 12-14, 2019; Hunt Valley, MD).
One lucky winner will be announced before midnight EDT on Monday, July 15, 2019, so be sure to Like our Facebook page while you're there, too!

Happy Birthday, Bob Crane!
—Carol Ford

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane — A New Podcast!

We are thrilled to announce our latest endeavor, a new podcast! Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane will feature authors Carol M. Ford, Linda J. Groundwater, and Dee Young. 

Linda, Dee, and Carol will delve into their experiences of researching Bob Crane for Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, discuss their findings chapter by chapter, and share behind-the-scenes details of their journey to discovering Bob’s complete life story from those who knew him better than most.

If you think you know Bob Crane from what you've heard or read in the headlines, think again. You're about to find out the real story about the Hogan's Heroes star.

Premiering Summer 2019.

© Carol M. Ford, Linda J. Groundwater, and Dee Young. All rights reserved.

Media inquiries and interview requests, please contact us via our Contact Form (tab above). 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Tribute to Johnny Thompson — The Great Tomsoni

In April 2013, I was in Las Vegas for a business meeting being held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The hotel is situated just off of the Vegas Strip, and what it lacks in walking proximity to other casinos and attractions, it makes up for with its own spectacular events, including Penn & Teller's magic show. Three of my work friends and I had obtained tickets to Penn & Teller's show, and not only were we attending the show, but we were attending as VIPs. This was entirely thanks to Johnny Thompson, who made sure we were well taken care of.

Johnny Thompson and his wife, Pamela Hayes, maintained a long, successful career in the entertainment industry. What many people may not have realized up until March of this year is that John was not just a magician, he was the Magician's Magician, serving with Pam as magic consultant to acclaimed magician notables, including Penn & Teller and Criss Angel. Performing as The Great Tomsoni & Co., Johnny and Pam have been hailed as two of the greatest magicians of all time. In fact, Johnny also inspired the neuroscience community, prompting "investigators, to conduct research into the neuroscientific bases of magic." He even co-wrote an academic paper on the subject.

Last week, I learned through Bob Crane's son Scott that Johnny passed away on March 9, 2019, at the age of 84. He had suffered complications from respiratory failure after collapsing during a rehearsal on February 25, 2019. His passing was covered by many major news outlets, including Variety and The New York Times. Scott was devastated by the news, having just talked with John and Pam in February of this year. I, too, was stunned and saddened. John and Pam, like so many from Bob's life, are kind, generous, and caring people. Sadly, one by one, these beautiful and important people who knew and loved Bob are leaving this world. And now, with the loss of Johnny Thompson, another bright light has been extinguished.

Meeting John and Pam while I was in Las Vegas was an honor and a memorable experience. John and Pam were jolly, the perfect hosts, and full of life. When I first met them in the casino lounge in the hotel, I noticed that Pam even carried her sweet little dogs in her purse with her, and as we sat down to talk for awhile, they both reiterated their utmost appreciation to me for what my coauthors and I were trying to do — set the record straight for their dear friend, Bob Crane.

A few years earlier, in late summer 2009, Linda Groundwater and I conducted two lengthy, in-depth interviews with John and Pam as part of our extensive, and often exclusive, research for Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. They were eager to talk with us, and their conversation was informative, witty, and at times, hilariously funny! They bantered back and forth with each other, all while giving us a rich history of their friendship with Bob Crane.

Johnny and Pam Thompson, with Bob Crane,
in Beginner's Luck (circa 1976).
John and Pam were also adamant when they told us the public has it all wrong about Bob Crane. Thanks to media sensationalism, combined with misinformation and lack of perspective, Johnny and Pam wanted people to know the truth. They were on board with us all the way, and they made sure we knew how much they appreciated our efforts on Bob's behalf.

Pam, who costarred with Bob on stage in Beginner's Luck and Send Me No Flowers, as well as in an episode of NBC's The Bob Crane Show, told us: "We're hoping to put this right. I really believe what they did in [AutoFocus] was make him look as though he were a sleazy guy, and that's the last thing he was. He was really a gentleman. The sensationalism people go after is just unconscionable."

Bob and John met in early 1970, during Bob Crane's first run of Beginner's Luck at the Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago. At that time, John was performing in a show in Chicago called the Lewis and Christie Show. While in Chicago for Beginner's Luck, Bob and his-then future wife, Patricia Olson (Sigrid Valdis), went to see the Lewis and Christie Show. According to John, Bob and Patty "fell in love with the show and came back several nights." Bob and Patty enjoyed the performance so much that they invited John over to see Beginner’s Luck on its closing night.

John recalled to Linda and me: "Meeting Bob at that time was really wonderful because it started a great relationship between the two of us." They became such good friends, in fact, that in 1973, Bob asked John if he would accept a role in Beginner's Luck. John agreed, taking the role also played by Bernard Fox (who Hogan's Heroes fans will remember as Colonel Crittendon).

Bob Crane with Pamela Hayes Thompson
in Beginner's Luck (circa 1976).
In the early 1970s, Bob played matchmaker for Johnny and Pam, and the couple soon married—and stayed devoted to each other ever since. The Thompsons maintained a close friendship with Bob and Patty, and their son Scott, throughout the 1970s. They continued to costar with him in Beginner's Luck over the years as often as their schedule allowed.

John remarked to us how Bob and Pam had terrific stage chemistry together, stating: "They had a chemistry that I can say is akin to Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke. It was a great, great on-stage relationship. Both Bob and I kind of trained Pam in timing in both physical comedy as well as timing in lines. And the three of us really did work well together. It really was a great balance. And so was Bernard [Fox]. Bernard was equally as brilliant."

Pam went on to explain to us in one of our interviews: "I don’t remember ever, ever fighting about anything. I was so overwhelmed, so young. And [Bob] taught me so much. I’m still working today at this horrendous age, and it’s because of him. He’s taught me so much timing. And then when John would do the show, I could keep up with them both because I listened. That was my learning time, and [Bob] taught me so much."

There are some fascinating and very little known facts about Johnny Thompson and his connection to Hogan's Heroes.

First, although Hogan's Heroes was cancelled after season six, the series was supposed to have gone on for one more year, for a total of seven seasons. During the sixth season, John Banner's health was failing. Not knowing the show was going to end, Bob began seeking a successor to Sergeant Schultz. This person would not play Schultz (really, nobody else could pull that off except John Banner!). But rather, the actor would play a different guard, taking Schultz's place. The person Bob had in mind was Johnny Thompson. But because the series was cancelled and didn't go the extra season, looking for someone to carry on if John Banner couldn't became a non-issue.

Second, following the cancellation of Hogan's Heroes, Bob wrote an ending to the series. This was to have been a variety show set in the months following the end of World War 2. Werner Klemperer and Robert Clary were on board—Klink was Hogan's business manager and LeBeau was going to perform as a singer. Bob, of course, was all set to play drums. Rounding out the cast was Johnny Thompson, who was going perform his magic act. The show, Hogan's Heroes Revue, was going to be performed in Las Vegas, but it never made it to the stage because Bob didn't agree with what he considered shady business on part of the hotel.

But I can't give everything away! For all of the details, read Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography.

Bob's murder on June 29, 1978, came as a cruel shock to John and Pam. They were so distraught, in fact, that they blamed themselves. They explained to Linda and me that they were unable to go with Bob to Scottsdale, Arizona, and perform in that fateful June 1978 production of Beginner's Luck. They had to turn Bob down because they were already booked for another venue. Following his murder, they felt deep guilt for not being there for him during that time, and it was something they carried with them all these years. They always wondered if—had they been there—maybe they could have looked out for Bob, and maybe he wouldn't have been murdered that night. They believed that perhaps, had they been there, they could have steered him away from the danger that ultimately took his life.

Carol Ford (center) and her friends from work,
meeting Teller, courtesy of Johnny Thompson.
During our interviews, and then on and off over the next few years, Johnny and Pam shared details about their friendship with Bob, all of which is contained in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. They expressed such happiness and joy repeatedly about what we were doing for Bob. In many ways, what we do for Bob isn't just for Bob, but also for all who knew and loved him.

And indeed, Johnny and Pam Thompson loved Bob Crane. They respected him as a colleague and understood him as a friend. As friends, John and Pam were as loyal to Bob as friends could get. They didn't always see him every day, and they could go for stretches without seeing or hearing from each other at all. But both sides knew that all they had to do was reach out—to pick up the phone or send a note—and they would be there for each other—as true friends do.

Rest in peace, Johnny Thompson, The Great Tomsoni. Your magician's wand may be broken, but your legacy, memory, and spirit will live forever.

Carol Ford with Johnny and Pam Thompson.
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino | April 29, 2013.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Sample National Radio Hall of Fame Nomination for Bob Crane

Interested in nominating Bob Crane for the National Radio Hall of Fame but unsure of what to say? We're here to help! Below is a sample template that you can use to submit your nomination for Bob. The information below is based on extensive, corroborated research and is published in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. Feel free to use any of this information below in your nomination for Bob Crane.

Name of Personality:
Bob Crane

Radio Program or Name:
The Bob Crane Show

Brief Bio of Personality:
Sample Bio:
Bob Crane was born in Waterbury, CT, on July 13, 1928, and grew up in Stamford, CT. After graduating from high school in 1946, Bob joined the National Guard. He started playing drums at 10 years of age, and his love of music and drums led him to pursue a career in radio. In 1950, he gave up a steady job as a clerk at a jewelry store to pursue his dream of a radio career. His first radio job was at WLEA in Hornell, NY. In 1951, Bob returned to CT when he landed a job at WBIS in Bristol. His career skyrocketed when, after three months at WBIS, he moved to Bridgeport, CT, to work first for WLIZ and then WICC, where he held the morning time slot for his entire tenure. He was called out to Hollywood in 1956, when he started at KNX-CBS Radio, where he stayed for nine years, leaving in 1965 after he landed the role of Colonel Hogan on Hogan's Heroes. Despite his success as an actor, Bob stayed close to radio, and in the 1970s, he did part-time work at KMPC. He also guest-hosted radio programs across the country.

During his early radio career, Bob began experimenting with sound effects. From there, he graduated to voice impersonations – some famous, some not – and he soon became known as the “Man of a Thousand Voices.” All of these gimmicks, as Bob called them, were interwoven into his radio show, and most of the time, in with commercials, which was unprecedented. By the time he reached KNX, advertisers were paying top dollar for airtime during “The Bob Crane Show,” simply because he could get people to stay put, pay attention to, and actually enjoy the commercials.

Also central to Bob Crane’s radio show was his drumming. Wherever Bob went, his drums went with him, and he incorporated his musicianship into his radio program. When playing a record over the air, he could often not resist the urge to play his drums along with it. Further, Bob was an exceptional interviewer, which earned him a coveted place with many celebrities. While at KNX, Bob interviewed more than 3,000 individuals from September 13, 1956, to August 16, 1965.

On June 29, 1978, Bob was murdered in Scottsdale, AZ, while he slept. The crime has never been officially solved. The investigation revealed Bob’s alternate lifestyle, which included consensual sex and amateur pornography with numerous consensual women. Shortly before his death, however, he had admitted to a counselor that he realized he was a sexual addict and wanted to be healed. His counselor described Bob as a “tremendous talent;” someone who “just happened to be famous;” was a “wonderful, wonderful person;” “caring, sensitive, and somewhat shy;” and with “weaknesses and foibles like the rest of us.”

Submitted by:
Your Name

Industry Affiliation:
If you work in radio, please include your credentials and station. Please consider officially endorsing Bob Crane's nomination, and encourage your station to endorse his nomination as well.

Don't work in radio? Don't sweat it! Simply explain that you are a fan and have listened to Bob Crane's radio work (much of it is available on our Sound Cloud and YouTub Channels — Click the buttons above). Briefly explain what you like about Bob's radio work. As a fan, you also have a voice, and it should be and can be heard!

Email Address:
Your Email Address

Your Phone Number

Click "Submit"

Thank you for supporting a broadcasting legend!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Remembering Morgan Kaolian

Morgan Kaolian (left) with Bob Crane
performing a skit on WICC Channel 43
in Bridgeport, CT (circa 1953).
August 16, 2008. It was a hot, summer weekend in New England, and I was in the thick of researching Bob Crane's life for his biography. During this time, traveling to and from Connecticut was nearly a monthly occurrence for me. I was hopping all over the Nutmeg State, going to libraries, exploring every nook and cranny in search of Bob's story through those who knew him in his early years.

And Stratford, Connecticut, is where I first met Morgan Kaolian—pilot, aerial photographer extraordinaire, former Sikorsky Memorial Airport manager, former WICC art director and traffic reporter (affectionately known locally as “Captain Traffic”), creator of Gyro the Robot, owner of Aeropix, and former director of Long Island Sound America, to name just a few of his titles and roles. And—for my specific interest at that point—a former coworker and friend of Bob Crane.

Thunderstorms were rolling through in between pockets of sunshine as Dee Young and I sat waiting for Morgan at Knapp's Landing restaurant, situated near the banks of Long Island Sound. To say I was nervous about meeting Morgan is an understatement. Aside from being someone of great importance to the telling of Bob's life story, Morgan was also not entirely sold on participating in the book. Dee, who had known Morgan for most of her life, arranged our meeting so I could hopefully win him over and change his mind.

In 2006, when Linda Groundwater reached out to Morgan about being interviewed, he initially agreed to contribute. But after giving the matter more thought, he stepped back. As with so many who knew and loved Bob, Morgan was cautious. If our intent was to ridicule Bob or dwell on his murder, then he wanted no part of it. He only agreed to meet me as a favor to Dee more than anything else. He had, however, also hinted to Dee that if the weather cooperated, maybe we could all take a flight. So while I was nervous, I will admit to also being excited—and optimistic.

I remember when Morgan entered the restaurant. Despite the heat and humidity, he was sharply dressed, wearing a tweed blazer and dress pants. Dapper would be the best word to describe Morgan Kaolian. Dee introduced us, and the happy twinkle in his eye somehow reassured me that things were going to be just fine.

Morgan slid into the seat across from me, and as we talked, he grew increasingly more interested in our work on Bob's biography. He listened intently to me explain the project's goals and mission—to tell Bob Crane's complete and full story, and not dwell on his murder or promote any type of scandal. The three of us talked for hours, and it wasn’t long before any and all fears on both sides were completely alleviated.

WICC and Channel 43 Staff (1953). Bob Crane is back row, center.
Morgan Kaolian is back row, standing, first on the left.
Photo courtesy of Scott Crane.

Morgan thoroughly enjoyed telling his stories about working with Bob Crane at WICC and specifically on WICC's Channel 43 during the 1950s. His recollections are all included, of course, in Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. But for instance, Morgan loved talking about the time Bob held up a $100 bill on the air and told the viewing audience that the first person who called would win the money. But—nobody called! Nobody was watching because very few people could afford the bow-tie antenna to receive Channel 43 on the new UHF frequency. Morgan laughed as he said they basically were performing their Ernie Kovacs-type skits for the cameramen! Morgan was full of stories, and as he told them, he would laugh—more like giggle and chuckle like a school boy—and his eyes would sparkle as he brought his memories to life.

After we wrapped up our discussion and paid for lunch (Morgan always insisted on paying for our meals—always), we collected our belongings and made our way out of the restaurant. Morgan was insistent. We were going for a flight!

At the time, Morgan owned four airplanes, which he kept in hangars at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Bridgeport. A life-long pilot, Morgan began flying in the 1940s, even before he learned how to drive a car. He loved flying so much that he made a side career of taking aerial photographs and selling them to clients or submitting them for publication in The Connecticut Post and on other news outlets. On top of that, he gave professional sky rides to the public. For $50, he would take the adventurous up in his Piper J-3 Cub or his Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

Within a half hour of leaving the restaurant, we were soaring the Connecticut skies. I was seated up front in the copilot seat. Dee was in the back (aka, back seat driver! "Contact!"), and for the next twenty minutes, all I can remember is a feeling of euphoria. I've flown as a passenger on commercial airliners all of my life; my father worked as a mechanic for the airline industry, and I travel frequently for work. But no commercial flight would ever compare with this! A front-row seat with the ground far below. It was as if we were flying with the angels, and it was, truly, one of the best moments of my life.

For more photographs from my sky rides with Morgan, click here.

So began my long, eleven-year friendship with Morgan. Like so many of those who were a big part of Bob Crane's life, Morgan and I became dearest, most treasured friends. We'd chat on the phone occasionally, too. I'd fill him in on the progress of Bob's biography, tell him about things I had going on here in New Jersey at work or at home, and he'd reminisce about his time at WICC and flying. I'd usually start our conversations with something like, "Hi Morgan! What have you been up to?" He'd always answer, "About a thousand feet!"

One of my favorite memories of Morgan was the time he hosted an hour-long tribute to Bob Crane on WICC. Dee was in her office down the hall (Dee was Former Assistant Business Manager for WICC/WEBE before retiring a few years ago), and I was listening online. Dee later told me that in between each segment during the commercial breaks, Morgan would zoom out of the booth, tear down the hall to her office, burst in and ask her, "How am I doing?" And Dee would answer, "You're doing GREAT!" And Morgan would ask, "Is Carol listening in New Jersey?" And Dee would say, "Yup, she is!" And with that, Morgan would spin on his heel and zip back to the booth in time to do the next segment, only to zoom back down the hall to Dee during the next commercial break!

You can listen to Morgan's tribute to Bob Crane in the video below.

I have grown to love Connecticut so very, very much, and primarily because of the beautiful people I've met and befriended there. Every trip to Connecticut included a visit (and often a flight, until his retirement from flying) with Morgan. I'd stay with Dee and her husband Doug. Sometimes we'd go flying with Morgan—like the time in December 2008 when we flew from Sikorsky to Oxford, just for lunch! And sometimes, we'd meet up for dinner or even just a Dunkin' Donuts coffee. 

Over the past couple of years, Morgan's health began to decline, but he always bounced back. This last time, however, he didn't bounce back. At 90 years young, Morgan passed away peacefully on the morning of January 27, 2019. And a little piece of me died that day with him.

With the loss of Morgan Kaolian, we lost a remarkable man. Morgan was smart. He was funny. He was a skilled aviator and brilliant aerial photographer—he would literally turn the plane on its side while flying to grab the best shots of the landscapes below. He mastered night aerial photography, and in January 2011, his nighttime photos were on display at the City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport. Opinionated but eloquent, he fought for what he believed in, including his dream of restoring Pleasure Beach. Morgan was playful, and witty, and charming. Morgan had a class and style all his own. 

I have so many memories of fun times spent with Morgan. He was an important part of Bob Crane's life and his biography, but he was more than that. So much more.

When I visited Connecticut, and Dee, Morgan, and I would get together, we laughed. A lot. Sometimes, when he'd get going on telling his stories, he'd suddenly stop. Mid-sentence. Mid-memory. And he'd kind of look up a little to the right, as if looking directly at the memory that only he could see. And his eyes would sparkle and he'd grin. This knowing, mischievous, school boy grin. But he'd never share whatever it was that made him smile in that moment. I think this was perhaps one of Morgan's most endearing qualities. Some memories are so sacred and special, they are not meant to be shared with anyone else.

Rest in peace, Morgan. Now you are flying with the angels.

Morgan Kaolian
April 5, 1928—January 27, 2019

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

We Need You! Nominate Bob Crane for the Radio Hall of Fame

Bob Crane deserves to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame for his tremendous work in the radio/broadcasting industry. We officially nominated Bob in 2011 and have been campaigning for his induction ever since.

Our official nomination for Bob is endorsed by WICC (Bridgeport, CT), WLEA (Hornell, NY), WATR (Waterbury, CT), members of the Columbia Square Alumni Group (KNX-CBS Radio, Hollywood, CA), and more. 

YOU can help by nominating Bob Crane today! 

Radio stations, radio personalities/DJs, and program directors, please contact us if you would like to endorse Bob Crane's nomination (use the Contact Form — see tab above).

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Author Meet & Greet: Sue Rovens Interviews Carol Ford

Earlier this week, I had the honor of being interviewed by Sue Rovens, an author who also enjoys spotlighting other authors and getting to know them and their works. Sue is a suspense/psychological-horror indie author who is an active member of the Chicago Writers Association. In addition, Sue loves Hogan's Heroes and is a great fan of Bob Crane! Below is a segment from my interview with Sue, followed by the link where you can read my interview in its entirety. Thank you so much, Sue, for this fantastic opportunity! Discover all of the authors Sue has interviewed by visiting her website —

Sue Rovens: How has writing changed/altered your life?

Carol Ford: In a word: Profoundly.

Researching Bob Crane and writing his biography introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have ever had the honor and privilege to know. I wouldn’t trade one second of any of it for the world. These are/were some of the most beautiful and precious people, and I’m not just saying that because they knew or are related to Bob. Each has touched my life and made me a better person in ways I can’t even begin to explain.

I’ve also had to sharpen my public speaking skills. Nobody tells you that when you publish a book, especially a biography about a public figure, that you’ll have to give presentations about it, be interviewed on the radio about it, and even go on TV about it! Having written and published Bob’s biography has pushed me way outside my comfort zone to do things I normally would never have had the courage to do.

I have come to absolutely love giving presentations about Bob Crane, which I do annually at the MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention (held each September in Hunt Valley, Maryland) and the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio (home of the official Hogan’s Heroes prop and uniform display). I love watching my audience—and it doesn’t matter if it’s five people or fifty people or a hundred people—absorb what I tell them. Many often attend my presentations with preconceived notions about Bob based on incomplete or inaccurate information, and as I go through his life from birth to death, I can physically see their faces change. They realize how much they didn’t know about him, and they see him in a new light.

My favorite story will always be about the first time I gave a presentation at the MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention. One lady kept coming up to my table in the vendor hall, and she kept saying how much she used to love Hogan’s Heroes, but how she couldn’t watch it because of what she thought she knew of Bob Crane. I was scheduled to give the last presentation of the convention, and I urged her to attend. .She said she’d think about it. So the day came for my presentation (and I was terribly nervous!), and afterwards, she approached the podium to see me. I recognized her, and I said, “I’m so glad you decided to come!” And she said, and I’ll never forget it, “Thank you. You have changed my negative perception of Bob Crane and given me my show back.” That is when it hits you, that you’re doing more than just writing/publishing a book or going around giving talks. You are righting a wrong. That is why I keep going and will always keep going.

For the full interview, click here.

Photos: Top — Carol Ford at the 2018 MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention. Center — Carol Ford and Linda Groundwater, August 2006, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, working on Bob Crane's biography. Bottom — Carol Ford and Dee Young October 2008, trespassing and exploring WICC's Booth Hill location, Trumbull, Connecticut. Below — Bob Crane, circa 1951-1952, at the WLIZ/WICC studios, Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year — Welcome 2019!

Happy New Year from all of us to all of you!

Last night, the Liberty Aviation Museum rang in 2019 with the Tom Daugherty Orchestra during the museum's 4th annual New Year's Eve 1940's Big Band Victory Canteen Hangar Dance. The Liberty Aviation Museum is the official home of the Hogan's Heroes uniforms and props display, and the orchestra performed the Hogan's Heroes theme song! I love it and wish I could have been there! 

I love everyone at the Liberty Aviation Museum, and I'll return to the museum in 2019 for more presentations about Bob Crane and book signings of Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. I'll announce dates soon. Visiting the museum is always a highlight of the year for me because I get to see old friends and make new friends, too, so I hope to see you there! 

There will also be a big announcement sometime in 2019. But no spoilers...! (Yes, I've been binge-watching Doctor Who!) Stay patient. All in good time.

We wish you peace, love, health, happiness, and all the best for 2019 and beyond! —Carol