Today, July 13, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember actor Bob Crane, who was born on this day in 1928.
Crane did not appear on camera in the Zone, but he did voice the disc jockey who can be heard on one of the radio broadcasts in "Static," in which boarding house resident Ed Lindsay (Dean Jagger) begins to hear anachronistic broadcasts on his console radio – broadcasts that sound like they're brand new.
A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, Crane is best known to baby boomer audiences as the star of the long-running CBS television series Hogan's Heroes (1965-1971, 168 episodes as Colonel Robert E. Hogan). Associate producer Bernard Fein named the leading character after actor Robert Hogan, who portrayed stockbroker Robert Blake in "Spur of the Moment."
Before he became an actor, Crane was one of the most successful disc jockeys in the U.S. – a perfect reason for casting his voice in "Static."
Bob Crane was murdered in a Scottsdale, Arizona, motel room in the early morning hours of June 29, 1978. The crime is still unsolved. The sordid side of Crane’s life was dramatized in the 2002 film Auto Focus, with Crane portrayed by Greg Kinnear.
So let's toast another piece of the puzzle – a voice matched to a fine, memorable actor who projected an ancient broadcast right into the antenna receiver of The Twilight Zone.