Quotes by Bob Crane

Up until now, only one sustaining quote has been attributed to Bob Crane: "I don't drink, I don't smoke. Two out of three ain't bad." Yes, he did utter that line. Big deal. Here are some other, more profound quotes by Bob that provide deeper insight into who he was as a person. 

"The first station I started out with was a 250-watt station. I went to a 1,000-watt station, which was the Bridgeport station... And from the 1,000-watt, I went to the 50,000-watt, which is quite a jump, and it has happened to a lot of people. It's a fortunate thing to be in the right place at the right time."

"It's not a concentration camp. It's a POW camp. We're not making light of atrocities. We're just trying to show how darn clever the Americans were. It was easy to see which letter writers hadn't watched the program. No one could see Hogan's Heroes and think we were making fun of war. Our comedy is done with characterization. It's outsmarting the boss; it's the kid with a snowball when the top hat goes by; it's getting the best of authority."

"When I was a kid, I fell in love with Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous. That, to me, was the ideal. A good man, a brave man. What I would want to be. I'm still in love with that."

"Eventually, what you're looking for is gonna happen, and by the time it does happen, you'll be that much better along the way to what you should be. Don't get discouraged, and just keep on plugging along, and what you want will eventually be yours. You know, there's nothing to stop it if you just keep on working hard. And by working hard, I mean doing the best job you possibly can. Everything happens for the best, and I believe it completely." (1961)

"If I tell a joke that's not so funny, I have a faster-than-sound plane which shoots it down before it reaches San Francisco."

"I had to prove a point. I had to show that I could act and live down that radio bit. I didn't want to be an MC. If I got waylaid into MCing, that would be the end of things." (December 10, 1965)

"I knew I wanted to be an entertainer as soon as I started studying the drums in grade school. The drums were my ticket to the business, and I still enjoy playing them." (June 26, 1966)

"In my dressing room, I only have a full set of drums augmented by a complete hi-fi outfit boasting the biggest set of speakers this side of the Hollywood Bowl. When visitors to the Hogan's Heroes stages comment that my quarters are loud, they're not talking about the wallpaper or draperies." (July 21, 1967)

"As far as I know, nobody has followed the line of succession from radio-to-television-to-movies as I have in the past ten years or so. It's a long process, but I knew what I wanted and where I hoped to go." (1967)

"Always, in a new series, you begin by asking that one word—why? You ask all the different variations of why. When the answers indicate there's some plausibility involved, then maybe you've got a series." (May 1, 1976)

"Actually, Hogan is an extension of what I used to do on radio. Say I'd be talking to Eddie Fisher. After a warm-up, I'd say, 'Now Eddie, tell us exactly what did happen in Rome,' then I'd zing into a record. Now I put my arm around the commandant's shoulder and say, 'I understand you're coming up for a promotion,' then I change the subject." (November 27, 1965)

"I prefer comedy more. On the show, I more or less have to play the straight man. Otherwise, it wouldn't work. If I was a Charlie Idiot, too, nobody would believe what these guys are following. On Hogan's Heroes, I con the commandant, but with my guys, I gotta be straight. They pull the jokes, but I'm the one who stands up and says, 'Knock it off, fellas.' I'm like Big Daddy to the kids. 'Shut up and do your homework.'" (1969)

"I'd like to do movies, the kind of comedies Jack Lemmon does. There's talk of a contract with Paramount. We have only two months off this year, so there's no time. But I can wait." (June 11, 1966)

"I believe in independence, individualism, courage, patriotism—the traditional American values. People call me a flag waver. That's right—I am a flag waver." (August 3, 1968)

"I did The Donna Reed Show for two years. I did radio at the same time. I used to finish the radio show, run across the street, and do The Donna Reed Show." (1976)

"Programming a DJ Show: You take three turntables, two tape machines, sixty commercials, two networks, two thousand gimmick voices, a cup of java, two donuts, mix well with a two-headed, three-armed DJ, and you're all set to pick the music." (April 1955)

"People say to me, 'Aw, you're just naturally funny. You don't have to work at it.' I don't care if that's what they think. But man, I do work hard at it. I work hard."

"Sometimes this war is so exciting I can hardly stand it." (as Colonel Hogan)

"Don't think I don't shake over the idea. But you've got to take a chance sometime or you never progress." (1965, on giving up his radio career to concentrate on Hogan's Heroes full time)

"Art Linkletter and a lot of other good friends in broadcasting told me I was a fool not to branch out into the television emcee business and maybe become another Jack Paar or Johnny Carson. But I couldn't see it. Once you become identified as a TV emcee, you're dead as an actor, and actor is what I wanted to be more than anything else." (August 23, 1965)

"When Johnny Carson was leaving Who Do You Trust?, they wanted me to replace him... But nobody has ever gone from that to acting. Never. And acting is what I decided I wanted to do. After The Donna Reed Show, I began to get other shows offered to me... Then Hogan's came up, and once I got into it, it felt right. We work hard on the scripts... We try to give Hogan's the extra thought which makes The Dick Van Dyke Show, for example, so beautiful." (November 7, 1965)

"There's a rhythm to comedy. Timing is something actors feel... The trick to performing is hiding the rabbit. Once they figure how you take the rabbit out of the hat, you're done... I am not a comic. I am a musician. I play the drums. If you laugh along the way, fine." (1974)

"Hogan is a 'take charge' kind of guy. He never lets his own men forget he's in charge... There's a little bit of John Wayne in Hogan, too. I have at least one 'Wayne-type' line in every show." (September 15, 1965)

"Another of those awkward little hitches to performing in a television series such as Hogan’s Heroes is that some of the people who see you on their screens every week let you know what they think is wrong with your show. ‘The trouble with your show is that it’s giving my kids the idea that World War II was nothing but a load of laughs.’ If you’re depending on your kids getting their history lesson solely from a television comedy show, it’s you—not we—who are going wrong. Entertainment is what we’re presenting. We can’t purport to be educational.” (1966)

"The simplest gimmick that I used [was] a little saltshaker that I filled with water. And we had Borden’s as a sponsor. This was up in Hornell, New York... And I would use the saltshaker as a sound effect with the water coming out going into the glass. And I’d make believe I was milking the cow... This is how I got into the gimmicks thing. Then finally I decided [if] I could do it with sound effects, why not voices. Then I started adding voices…" (1963)

It seems as if I went from a radio station, walked across the street, and became a so-called TV star. It really didn’t happen that way. I spent fifteen years in radio before I got to Hogan’s Heroes. I love [acting]. People ask, “Would you go back to radio?” and I’ve said, “Not really, because this is a step in the right direction—great training—learning to think on your feet, learning to communicate with an audience. It’s satisfying. [Hogan’s Heroes] is so successful because of the chemistry—the people in it. (1968)