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Refocusing on Crane

October 13, 2002

Paul Schrader, who brands Bob Crane an unsavory "creep" ("Into the Deep End," Sept. 29), has, obviously, directed "Auto Focus" as a film even more inexcusable than the "Hogan's Heroes" sitcom.

"Auto Focus" producer Scott Alexander is also quoted. "You're taking somebody's life and turning it into an hour and 40 minutes, so there's bound to be something you left out" -- like Crane's dedication as an actor who spurned an offer to succeed Jack Paar on "The Tonight Show" so that he might hone his craft, or the thousands he invested in government bonds at 4% instead of bank CDs at 6% because "this country's been good to me."

Arguably the most listenable DJ in L.A. history, Crane helped uncover and establish several entertainment icons. Crane was an attentive dad who spent his summertime weekends poolside or at the Encino Little League Park and trick-or-treating each Halloween with his kids. In 1963, for months, a dozen roses (with unsigned cards) mysteriously arrived daily at Crane's KNX office. Finally, CBS staffers discovered they had been sent by a fan, Alfred Hitchcock.

Schrader says, "Crane didn't have any friends." It's a shame that some of his musician buddies -- Henry Mancini, Johnny Green and Bronislaw Kaper -- aren't around to refute the inaccuracy. I am.

Based on the Calendar article, "Auto Focus" is a one-dimensional cheap shot of Bob Crane that is, sadly, out of focus.

Harry Geller

Tarzana

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday October 16, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 ..CF: Y 6 inches; 222 words Type of Material: Correction
Letter writer's name -- The writer of a Sunday Calendar letter about Bob Crane was misidentified as Harry Geller. His name is Harvey Geller.

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