Bob Crane, when playing Col. Hogan on “Hogan’s Heroes,” wore a leather jacket in a lot of his scenes. That jacket was worn by Frank Sinatra.
Yes, that Frank Sinatra. “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” “The Chairman of the Board.” Sinatra, who also happened to be a pretty solid actor, wore that jacket in the 1965 film “Von Ryan’s Express.” It found its way to Crane, who wore it throughout his show’s run on CBS.
The jacket also makes another appearance, too. Actor Greg Kinnear wears it in 2002’s “Auto Focus,” a bio-picture on the life of Bob Crane.
Bob Crane Led ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ For 6 Seasons
“Hogan’s Heroes” ran for six seasons on CBS, going from black-and-white episodes to color. It was canceled in 1971. The show shares some striking similarities with the movie “Stalag 17,” starring William Holden. But the TV show was not based on that movie, according to its creators.
Crane led a crew of prisoners of war at Stalag 13. He mapped out plans to get out of the camp and escape from the Nazis. Actors Werner Klemperer, who portrayed Col. Klink, and John Banner, who portrayed Sgt. Schultz, were the main target of Hogan’s interference.
When the show ran on CBS, it happened to be in the middle of the Vietnam War. Showing POWs in a comedic setting didn’t sit well with a lot of people, especially the network executives. This was one of the reasons that “Hogan’s Heroes” went from network TV to syndication.
Crane Starts Career As DJ Before Moving To Acting
Bob Crane actually started out as a disc jockey on the radio. He worked at stations in New York City, Connecticut, and eventually Los Angeles. His radio morning show was No. 1 in the Los Angeles market on KNX.
But he wanted to get into acting, which ultimately led to “Hogan’s Heroes.” After the show went off the air, Crane ended up playing in numerous dinner theater productions. One other TV chance came in 1975 with “The Bob Crane Show” on NBC, but it was canceled after 13 episodes.
He also appeared in two Disney films, “Superdad” from 1973 and “Gus” from 1976.
On June 29, 1978, Crane’s body was found in a Scottsdale, Ariz., apartment. He reportedly had been bludgeoned by a weapon and was found with an electrical cord tied around his neck.
Crane’s life was played out in “Auto Focus,” which detailed his acting career and numerous sexual escapades. Reportedly, Crane would videotape and photograph his sexual encounters. Some women reportedly gave their consent; many others, though, had no idea it was happening.