Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BOB CRANE swings "F-Troop"

These days, Bob Crane is best remembered for "Hogans Heroes" and for his infamous death, which most agree had something to do with somebody jealous or angry over his conquests as a ladies man. At 49, he was still gettin' it on, even if his sitcom fame was far behind him and his round, still attractive face was seen only rarely in a guest spot on a "Quincy" or "Love Boat." Crane was still a STAR when he turned up in small towns during the summer months. He was on the "straw hat" trail, playing lead in some familiar Broadway comedy people might want to see. He brought along his video equipment to record his romps with starstruck fans…single or married.

Before "Hogan's Heroes," Crane was a hot prospect and something of a hipster. He was a radio personality with a cool sense of humor. In fact one of his very first TV appearances (uncredited) was as a disc jockey on a "Twilight Zone" episode in 1961. He was also a good drummer, and once "Hogan's Heroes" was a hit, he was able to indulge himself with a record deal and a band…and material that referenced both his show and many other hit TV series of the day. He covered "Get Smart" (even piping up with a "Sorry About That…" at the end), and a jazzy take on the western comedy "F-Troop." Yes, Bob was way too cool to just record TV themes and not make 'em swing. Well, he was always a bit too hip for his own good…



Timmy said...

Bob Crane was a long time DJ on KNX in L.A. during the late 50's & early 60's.

Ill Folks said...

Thanks...fans can try and find the promo album "Laffter Sweet and Profane." I have it around here somewhere. I'm pretty sure it's from KNX. One side is Bob Crane goofin' with guests (Jonathan Winters!!) and the other side has the somewhat unlikely radio host Pat Buttram...who was a stand-up comic and roastmaster, though better known as Mr Haney of 'Green Acres.'

Vote For Bob Crane said...

You can hear a lot of Bob Crane's radio work and drumming skills over at my website http://vote4bobcrane.org/
Also, be sure to check out his new biography (published September 17, 2015 — the 50th anniversary of Hogan's Heroes): http://vote4bobcrane.org/book.html

Carol M. Ford, author, Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, and owner/manager of Vote For Bob Crane, the official campaign for Bob Crane's induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame

Ill Folks said...

Thanks! Vote for Bob! It's quite a testament to his charisma, talent and yes, good looks, how well he's remembered.

The guy seemed to start it all on voice alone, charming and amusing listeners on radio. Then he began to get work as a kind of modern Bob Cummings...a handsome rascal with a sense of humor. But Bob didn't have that cloying "quality: Cummings had. His style, as exemplified by his Col. Hogan role, had everyone admiring him.

Let's leave out the legendary ending that still has people theorizing what exactly happened. Instead, lets just say that as he forayed into middle age, and dinner theater, he still was attractive to the ladies, and turned in fine performances in whatever comedy or drama he was in.