Rod Serling, “Hogan’s Heroes” and Bob Crane

If Rod Serling didn’t like something, you were going to hear about it. And he hated Hogan’s Heroes.

So you might conclude that Serling also BobCrane_Portraitdisliked its main star, Bob Crane. On the contrary, they enjoyed a friendship that began before the show and continued after it was over.

I knew that Crane, who first came to fame as a radio host, had appeared (voice only) as an announcer in The Twilight Zone‘s “Static”. I also knew that Crane had interviewed Serling on his radio show several times (most notably about “The Shelter”, which you can listen to here), and that he’d starred (post-Hogan’s Heroes) in Night Gallery‘s “House—With Ghost”).

But that was all I knew. Bob Crane Hogan's HeroesSo I found this in-depth post about Crane and Serling quite interesting. It’s written by Carol Ford, an uber-fan of Crane who’s written a detailed biography of the man.

I haven’t read the biography yet (I just purchased the Kindle edition), but if you’re a fan of Serling and/or Crane, I can certainly recommend the post. I could fill this post with quotes and other information from it, but it’s all there. Check it out.

***

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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 01/16/2016, in Rod Serling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. It’s interesting to find out that he liked Bob Crane. I would have expected the opposite.

    • Hi Dan — I’m glad you enjoyed the posts. :)

      It is so sad to me that people automatically assume that because Rod Serling hated Hogan’s Heroes, he must have naturally hated Bob Crane. Or that perhaps he hated Hogan’s Heroes because he hated Bob Crane.

      As a writer and as Paul puts it, an uber fan (LOL) of Bob’s I must comment a bit here, just to give a little more information. Sorry if it goes a little long…that’s the writer in me! ;)

      Bob was actually so much different than what Auto Focus presents to an uninformed public. That film does nothing but disrespect Bob and all who loved him. When Arlene Martel (who was a regular guest star on Hogan’s Heroes) watched Auto Focus, she said she watched it with her eyes partially covered, from behind parted fingers. This was not the Bob Crane she knew. During her interview for Bob’s biography, Arlene said to us: “Everybody has so many layers, and so many people [in their life]. There is more than just the top layer. That’s not all anybody is. If all they are doing is condemning [someone] based on an addiction…then they are losing the true picture. To me, truth is the whole picture of something, and if you were to focus on any one thing and blow that up, that’s already a distortion. So I think that’s what you are after. You [are] after the whole picture. Ask me any questions, and I’ll tell you!”

      We received the same reaction to Auto Focus from just about everyone we talked to for Bob’s biography. The film is a distortion of the truth, but because this film has become “the bible” for Bob’s life, this is how people have learned to judge him.

      What Bob had was an addiction, and he was trying to break away from it just before his death. But Bob was not an evil, bad, depressed, washed-up, angry, mean, or brooding person. He was, in fact, just the opposite. He was a loyal friend (and he had an army of friends—in the entertainment industry and as far back as his early school days). He was “a ray of sunshine” with a “sunny personality,” “was kind to those he worked with and kind to those he knew,” was considered a genius in radio by those who worked with him. He was optimistic. He was determined and driven toward any goal he set for himself, and he achieved almost all of them. He read. He was a writer. He was an avid musician and drummer, having played the drums since he was 11 years old. He volunteered his time to many charities, and he has never really been given credit for any of that. He loved and adored his children above all else, and he genuinely loved both his first wife and second wife.

      We interviewed 200 people from his life for his new biography, and what we discovered was that so much of what is out there now has either been invented or exaggerated. Was he perfect? No. But nobody is. And it’s a terrible injustice to him—as it would be to anyone—to have the facts twisted around for sensational journalism. I’m hoping people will read his biography and discover the truth.

      • Thank you for that comment. I was surprised, only because I knew that Serling didn’t like the show. I’m always interested in learning the truth.

    • I know what you mean, Dan. At least Carol was able to give you a bit more background on the situation. I’m glad that he was able to separate his feelings for the show from his feelings about Bob Crane. Thanks to both of you for commenting!

  2. It would be interesting to find out why Serling hated “Hogan’s Heroes.” I suspect the reason might be that Serling had personal experience with the horrors of World War Two and may have thought that a comedy about the war was in bad taste.

    • That’s basically it in a nutshell, but I encourage you to click over to Carol’s post. It has a long quote from Serling about the show.

  3. robert balboni

    I never was a big fan of Hogan’s Heroes. Not because of my beliefs or personal feelings, it’s just I never thought the show was all that funny. The actors were decent, but it never really did anything for me. I am sure Rod had his own deep personal beliefs about this show and it left a negative vibe with him. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Nothing at all. We all have different tastes. If you check Carol’s post, you’ll see a long quote from Rod where he elaborated on his reasons for disliking it. Thanks for stopping by, Robert.

  4. It is the mark of character to not let our dislikes and likes spill over into each other.

  5. Very, very interesting. It’s funny, both starred in big shows that were favorites of my father. That is how I was introduced to them.

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