By Ciara LaVelle
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The book, says the 30-year-old Crane, contains more than just sex pics of his dad as human Popsicle, but photos from throughout his life. The coffee-table book will contain snapshots of Bob with his family; during his days as a drummer with the Connecticut Symphony Orchestra; behind the microphone at CBS-owned radio station KNX in Los Angeles, where Crane was known briefly as "The King of the Airwaves"; on the set of television shows and movies, among them the Disney-made Superdad; and alone, reading.
"Not a lot of people want to talk about this, but this book is 144 pages long, and only about 25 pages of it are sex pictures," Crane says from his home in Seattle, where he's co-host of a popular radio show, Shaken, Not Stirred, on a local FM station. "The book starts with the very first known photograph of Bob Crane as a small child and ends with him dead in a Scottsdale hotel room, and that was the one photograph I censored...This is allthe faces of Bob Crane. The guy wore many hats, and so this isn't just a slash-and-burn, sleazy pornographic book. It's actually the true-life story of Bob Crane. There is some writing in the book, and it does tell Bob's story, but the photographs tell the story more than anything else. Pictures speak a thousand words."
Actually, they speak two: Jee. Zus.
That Bob Crane was a porno fiend fond of filming his exploits is no grand revelation. It was widely known throughout Hollywood that Crane frequented strip clubs, which he treated like a sexual smorgasbord for his doing-and-viewing pleasure. Scotty even recalls the time Bob allowed a reporter and photographer from one L.A. newspaper to accompany him on one such nudie-bar jaunt, which resulted in his being fired by Disney. And, Scotty recalls, Hollywood neighbors such as Carroll O'Connor and John and Patty Duke Astin were often escorted down to Crane's basement darkroom and allowed to gaze upon Bob's collection of his very public privates.
"Nothing was hidden in the house," Scotty insists. "These films and pictures were kinda everywhere. They were literally mixed in with our scrapbooks and family photo albums. It was hard for him to hide it, in a way, because it was like he'd be showing you a slide show and go, “Here's us in San Diego at Vacation Village, us skiing at Mammoth at Christmas time, and here's some chick I banged in Austin.' It was all just mixed together."
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Web site and book is that the sex photos are, most likely, linked to Crane's murder, whether it was at the hand of Carpenter, who died at the age of 70 in 1998, or, as Scotty suggests, an angry husband of one of the hundreds of women featured in the videos and pictures. He says Scottsdale police have returned some, not all, of the videos found in Crane's room the day his body was discovered. But most of the photos and videos available on bobcrane.com come from Crane's private stash, thousands of hours' worth of tape kept in his L.A. home that police never confiscated. Scotty says they date back to the 1940s, despite Karen and Robert David's insistence that Bob Crane didn't get involved in the swinging lifestyle till he took up with Sigrid Valdis, who tolerated but never partook in her husband's amateur-porn endeavors.
Indeed, Valdis, who has been in relative seclusion off the coast of Washington since 1978 and would not be interviewed for this story, is working on her own book about her life and marriage to Crane. She has also co-written, with Scotty and his radio-show partner Johnny Seattle, a screenplay titled Take Off Your Clothes and Smile, but it likely will never get made. There is already a film about Bob Crane in the works: Auto Focus, co-written and directed by Paul Schrader (who wrote Taxi Driver) and starring Greg Kinnear. Scotty says he's read one version of the screenplay, which is based on Graysmith's book, and is appalled that it's "based on rumor and innuendo." Schrader last week told the New York Daily News he finds it "sort of odd that [Scotty] would be the one to be pointing the sensationalistic finger when Scotty's selling his family's dirty laundry."
In the end (and in the front, and in the mouth), if people are going to see Bob Crane's penis, Scotty Crane wants to be the one showing it. Simple as that.
"It's been extremely hard," Scotty says, and he's still not talking about his pop's pecker. "The lies hurt a lot more than the truth, because I've known about the truth forever, and so little of it was out there till now. We're the only people even willing to discuss it. The people who are making films about him to this day don't want to discuss the truth. They want to discuss lies, and they want to make films based on that. It's bizarre. The thing about Bob Crane is his life doesn't need any sensationalism. It was a sensationalistic life as it was, and to try to make it more sensational is just so dumb, because the truth is just amazing."