S3E6: The Bob Crane Story
The New York Times Magazine writes, quote “Had Bob Crane not been a sex addict, had he not been bludgeoned to death with his own tripod in an Arizona condo surrounded by an elaborate array of video equipment, had he not photographed hundreds of women naked in twosomes and threesomes and orgies and had his murder not gone unsolved…He would be remembered, if he was remembered at all, as the star of ''Hogan's Heroes,’
As the star of ''Hogan's Heroes,'' Crane enjoyed the same kind of fame as Gilligan or Greg Brady -- his character became part of America's collective pop-culture nostalgia. Embalmed by syndication, Crane would have been the wisecracking Hogan forever. But in the years since his death in 1978, when the porno pictures started surfacing in the tabloids and his secrets began to unravel, Crane became infamous."
And technically, it still might have quieted down if his family hadn't wanted to cash in on the drama surrounding his death. Personally, it was hard for me to get through the research on this one because, it was such a senseless crime- I mean, most of them are, but isn't it enough that his life was taken away at such a young age and in such a brutal way? But then his antics are drug through the mud.
I'm not condoning his actions and maybe this is his "paying the piper", but it just turned my stomach how the family pounced on his fleeting fame.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not listened to the episode, this following may ruin the twists and turns!
I'm curious to hear what you might have taken away from the crime - as a crime. Do you believe John Carpenter was guilty? If not, who do you put as a suspect?
In these types of cases, we are prompted to "follow the money" and in this case, the only ones who would have benefited from Crane's death was Patti Crane. It was proven that there was NO WAY she could have actually, physically committed the murder as she was apparently on an island that night. Police said they actually made the drive to and from Arizona to see if it was possible. I'd be curious of who took out the life insurance policies and when. If she was a suspect, this tidbit would be important too: Apparently on father's day weekend, she took their son to visit him in Arizona. It's caught on video, because... he documents everything. (It's out on YouTube if you want to find it.) It was very touching. He was obviously affected by their visit.
IF she was planning his murder, maybe she planned this visit to divert attention? IF they were planning on a divorce, maybe this prolonged the proceedings... just enough?
When did his first family get removed from the will? Was there a will? He was such a family man, I don't believe he would alienate his children that way. The Scottsdale police department did admit that they never considered Patti Crane a serious suspect.
IF Carpenter killed him... he could have taken the tripod (possible murder weapon with him) cleaned it off, taken it on the plane and it said he went straight to work. He could have easily hidden it among the other millions of tripods that were probably all over his work. And why go to Richard Dawson's house? And stay there?
He does certainly act suspicious, but he really did everything they asked of him. If I remember correctly, he submitted to more than one lie-detector test and passed them all. The police really did have nothing. Did they check out his hotel room? His clothing?
There's no way, that big of a mess did not get on some clothing!
AND that murder was extremely passionate. There was some ANGER involved with those blows.
I usually try to find court transcripts and police records, but I just couldn't get my hands on those. I just had to wade through the sludge of gossip. I still have SO many questions!
Tune in to the Bag of Bones Podcast to hear the whole sorted story.
Books for further reading:
Who Killed Bob Crane- John Hook
Who Killed Bob Crane? is Hook’s first-hand account of a two-year investigation and search for the truth. It’s seen though the eyes of the people who were there—witnesses, detectives, prosecutors, jurors, and family members. John Hook takes readers on an incredible reporter’s journey for an inside look at the sensational physical evidence in a final attempt to learn the truth.
Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography- Carol Ford, Linda Groundwater & Dee Young
Carol Ford writes, quote “We talked with about 200 people—family members; friends as far back as grade school; and colleagues in radio, television, theatre, and film. From them, we learned that Bob was kind. He cared about people. He was generous, considerate, charitable, and compassionate. He was funny and could brighten a room just by walking into it. We have been given heaping helpings of “the dark side” with only little snippets of the good — good that included his devotion as a father to his four children from both of his marriages, his generosity to his friends and his countless hours of volunteer work for numerous charitable organizations.
Crane: Sex, Celebrity and My Father's Murder- by Robert Crane
This is the son't addition. From the description: Through disappointment, loss, and heartbreak, Crane's humor and perseverance shine. Beyond the big stars and behind-the-scenes revelations, this riveting account of death, survival, and renewal in the shadow of the Hollywood sign makes a profound statement about the desire for love and permanence in a life where those things continually slip away
From what I could see, Scott Crane never did get his book published and he also had a movie script in the works that went by the wayside. Probably for the best, I'm sure.
The Murder of Bob Crane: Who Killed the Star of Hogan's Heroes?- Robert Greysmith
This was the book that was used as a base for the controversial movie Auto Focus which starred Greg Kinnear as Crane and William DeFoe as Carpenter
Grab all 6 seasons of Hogan's Heroes on DVD to binge watch at home!
A History Blog
This is a great way to connect over all things American history! Comment on podcast episodes, read quick pieces and extra segments that couldn't make a full episode!