Monday, July 25, 2022

Defender of the Truth: In Loving Memory of Bob Crane's Cousin Jim Senich

Jim Senich and his wife, Ellen (seated, front).
Linda Groundwater and her son, Andrew (back).
Summer 2010.
I learned today of the passing of Jim Senich.

I first met Jim when I decided to embark on the journey of writing Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. I was given his name and contact details, because he worked in Connecticut radio, and Bob was his first cousin. I was hoping that he would be able to give me some information and that he would have some stories to tell, and perhaps other contacts. He, himself, was a contact.

But Jim became so much more than that. Not only did he succeed spectacularly at what I hoped for from a writer's point of view, he shared himself. He shared his family. He shared his home. He shared his friendship. Jim and his wife Ellen and their daughter Mary welcomed me and my son Andrew into their home when we visited back in 2010. I remember two sweet doggies. A wonderful Italian dinner. Music! Books! And hours of talk and laughter and true to heart, genuine conversation. A trip around Waterbury, and a sit-down in a local park, where we just spoke about life and its unexpectedness. And he was so happy to know Andrew, who nearly shared Jim's birthday—the two being born a day apart (though vastly different in years). He sent packages with baseball themed gifts even before they met in person, and my little boy, he was happy. And he knew he had a real friend in his "almost" birthday twin.

Life wasn't always fair to the "Great Dane," but Jim tried his hardest to look at it from a larger perspective. He was so proud of his family, and he had every reason to be. We did lose touch, in the end. I regret that. But I will hold him close in my heart, with thanks for all he was, and for all he is.

Jim, may you rest in eternal peace with the Lord that you love. Thank you for everything, my friend. Your memory will be in my heart always.

Linda Groundwater
July 25, 2022

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Dead Again...and Again: The Murder and Ongoing Destruction of Bob Crane

On June 29, 1978, Bob Crane was murdered in his sleep. He was just 49 years old, and only a couple of weeks shy of his 50th birthday. Despite numerous unproven theories, the crime remains officially unsolved to this day.

Following his murder, information about Bob's private life surfaced. It was placed on display for all to see—and judge, with no explanation or perspective. The cry rang out: Bob Crane, beloved star of Hogan's Heroes, had a secret "dark side." 

Over the decades, this side of his life has obscured nearly all else about him, and the proliferation of articles, television shows, documentaries, books, YouTube videos, and podcasts focusing on true crime and vulgar humor—not to mention Auto Focus—is unending and unrelenting. Bob Crane's sex addiction and unsolved murder are lucrative as well as convenient for a cheap punchline to a bad joke.

Since our book, Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, was published in 2015, we have continued to actively tell Bob's story with proper perspective to allow a more profound understanding of Bob as a complete human being. This is not an easy task. Just as researching Bob's life had its hurdles and barriers, so does being his official biographers. We've heard it all and seen it all. And a lot of what we've seen and heard from those who did not know Bob but who only think they know him—is just plain ugly.

Take, for instance, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld. Mr. Gutfeld thinks he is being so funny in his article, entitled, "Bad People Abuse Good Intentions," when he talks about a "transgender ex-Nazi bank robber." 



Mr. Gutfeld states:

Now, I could have done a mono on inflation or Joe Biden, but really not again. It's so boring. Thankfully, a producer offered this headline, quote, "Transgender ex neo-Nazi Robber to receive fast tracked gender confirmation surgeries." Wow. I'm so glad he's an ex neo-Nazi. But talk about a perfect storm of Gutfeldian content: trans, Nazi, gender surgery, prison. It sounds like a Hogan's Heroes after party at Bob Crane's condo. That dude was crazy. Read up on him, seriously. 

What on earth? What an uneducated word salad.

Let me remind everyone: Bob Crane had consensual sex with adult women only, whom he often photographed or videotaped with their knowledge and willingness to participate. Further, in the months leading up to his murder, Bob was seeking professional counseling in the attempt to break free of this lifestyle, which he came to understand and recognize as an addiction. He was hoping to better his life, but he was denied that opportunity because someone took his life away from him. In that moment, when his murderer bludgeoned him as he slept, that evil monster took away Bob's life and dreams of the future, as well as shattered not only his friends and loved ones, but his legacy as well. 

Murdered. Judged. Ridiculed. Legacy destroyed. 

We do know his true story. We do care. And so we tell his story. Often. Every chance we get.

Bob's so-called "dark side" is actually kind of boring. For those who take the time to learn about Bob, it becomes quite clear. Yet there are those who still try to be funny by resorting to their meager inventions of alternative facts to suit their pathetic narrative in the attempt to boost their ratings and generate sales. How heartless.

Co-Bob Crane biographer Linda Groundwater has this to say about Gutfeld's statement, and I whole-heartedly agree:

Carol sent me a message that included an excerpt from an article online by Greg Gutfeld from Fox. Ignoring the entire rest of the article (let's not bring politics into this, shall we?), there was this little bombshell in his commentary: 

"But talk about a perfect storm of Gutfeldian content: trans, Nazi, gender surgery, prison. It sounds like a Hogan's Heroes after party at Bob Crane's condo. That dude was crazy. Read up on him, seriously." 

It went right over my head the first time. I couldn't even fathom what I was seeing. I read it again. And then again. And it made me angry. It made me SO angry. Forty-four years ago this week, Bob Crane was murdered. An addict, yes. A man who had a lot of sex, sure. But a human being. A man who tried. A man who had consensual sex with women. Not a person who deserved to be the butt of some weak, derisive, throwaway humor by some hack out to get a guffaw through his ignorance of truth. 

People ask us all the time, why do we do what we do? 

THIS IS WHY. Feel free to direct Mr. Gutfeld to reality. You're never too old to be educated. And if he has the tiniest, tiniest, sliver of humanity in him, he'll take us up on the challenge to actually learn the truth. Somehow, I doubt he'll do it. Because people who make jokes like this about Bob rarely want to learn. It's easier to point and laugh and stay ignorant than it is to see his humanity. 

Bob deserves better. We will NEVER stop.

Linda J. Groundwater
June 28, 2022