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Mar 25, 2015

Nazis ain’t funny. Most of the time. Two exceptions come immediately to mind, though. One is the Internet subtitling meme based on the 2004 Hitler film Downfall, which has parodied Der Fuhrer endlessly and to great effect. (Watch it below.)

ROBERT CRANE podcast excerpt: "My stepmother, Patti, and her son had gone on an X-rated website rant, exposing all of my dad's private photos. I subsequently jumped into the production of the movie Autofocus because I felt someone from Bob Crane's first family had to be involved in the making of this movie; Paul Schrader was going to make it no matter what. It was a good script."

The other was the long-running 1960s sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” which was based in a Nazi prisoner of war camp and starred a United Nations’ assortment of sharp-tongued captured soldiers, including a Frenchman, a Brit, an American black man, a backwoods southerner, and an All-American WASP named Colonel Hogan.

Colonel Hogan, a.k.a., former Los Angeles radio disc jockey Bob Crane, was a man who charmed German frauleins and officers alike. In fact, if the show were ever rebooted today, Hogan would probably be shown seducing men, too. His charisma knew no bounds.

ROBERT CRANE podcast excerpt: "John Candy was always on time and always knew his lines. But sometimes he would party through the night and when he showed up on set the next morning--ready to work--(director) John Hughes knew he was up all night and was not pleased."

The actor Crane was apparently irresistible off-screen, too. Mysteriously murdered in his Scottsdale, Arizona, apartment in 1978, Crane’s secret life as an uber-sex junkie was revealed over subsequent years, culminating in the 2002 feature film Auto Focus, starring Greg Kinnear as Crane.

Crane’s murderer was never found, although his eldest son, author Robert Crane, has long suspected he knew the culprit. In his book, Crane: Sex, Celebrity, and My Father’s Unsolved Murder, Robert and his long-time friend and collaborator Christopher Fryer give the son’s view to the kill. But there is much, much more to this book. Robert, it turns out, has led a damned interesting life himself, including being the right-hand man and confidante of the late John Candy, star of Uncle Buck, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, “SCTV” and more. Readers who expect Crane to be solely about the death of Colonel Hogan will discover new insights into a second actor whose life was also cut tragically short at far too early an age.

Robert Crane Order Crane: Sex, Celebrity, and My Father’s Unsolved Murder from Amazon.com