Karen Crane, Bob's younger daughter by his first marriage, says while she was growing up, she had no idea about her father's after-hours encounters. "There was a lot going on I didn't know about, and as well I shouldn't have. So he was right in keeping it a secret."
Karen has no interest in seeing Autofocus. "I haven't seen it. I won't see it. I don't need to see it. My dad was an absolute typical family man at home. I just have wonderful memories of my dad. And they never would have made a movie about my Dad as a nice family man."
But Bobby Crane, Bob Crane's eldest son from his first marriage and Karen's big brother, has said Autofocus captures the essence of his Dad. He served as a paid consultant, and even has a small role in the film.
"Bobby accepted $20,000 to sell out his father's life … to say this totally untrue, unflattering portrait of his father is OK for $20,000. They offered me that deal and I said, 'No.' I said, 'I only want the truth out there.'"
Those are the words of Scotty Crane, Bobby's half brother … the only child born to Pat and Bob Crane. He was just 7 years old when his father was murdered. He and his mother are speaking out because of their issues with Autofocus. "The film … is so outrageous and is such a distortion of my husband's life and what he really was, I have to speak out," says Pat.
Pat and Scotty's strenuous objections to Autofocus may seem minor to outsiders. They're upset by the film's suggestions that Bob had had a penile implant — not so, they say; that Bob dabbled in rough sex — never, they say; and that Bob was a dark and troubled man — not in the least, they say.
"They can say that he slept with women," says Scotty. "They can say that he photographed and videotaped women. They have to make it clear that he was just having a fun time with a lot of different women."
Paul Schrader says his movie is not supposed to be a literal retelling of Bob Crane's life. "Certainly when you create a fiction you have to manipulate reality," he says.
But for Scotty, Schrader's manipulations amount to unforgivable untruths, especially about his father's sex life.
"I can't emphasize it enough how much this wasn't a dark secret of Bob Crane's," he says. "Our family photo album was a bit like, 'Oh here's Scotty in Disneyland, here's you know, my wife and I in Mammoth on a ski trip, oh and here's some chick I banged in Austin.' Yes, he was this 'sex maniac' — but he's still a likable guy. He was very open with it."
A Son's Tribute — BobCrane.com
No one is more open with Bob Crane's sexcapades than Scotty is. In fact, he's taken some of his father's X-rated photos and videotapes … and posted them on a Web site, BobCrane.com.
"BobCrane.com is just evidence that what this film says is untrue."
Schrader doesn't buy Scotty's reasoning. "He's selling Daddy's dirty pictures for some complex reason. He'll tell you it's because he wants the truth to be known. But I don't know … something rings hollow in there."
You might expect Pat Crane to be upset that her son has a Web site that graphically depicts her husband's infidelity — but you'd be wrong. How does she feel about the images on BobCrane.com? "Very good," she says. "I gave the tapes to Scott with my blessing."
BobCrane.com has become the latest skirmish in a three-decade war between Bob Crane's two surviving families. Karen Crane says she's horrified by Scotty's Web site. "I feel so incredibly disappointed that Scott did not get to know his dad," she says. "All he has grown up knowing is what Patty has put in front of him. Not only is that sad, but that's very twisted. To have saved porno photos of my dad having sex with women … and this is what she wanted to present to their son? How twisted! I want to say to Scotty, "This is your dad! Get a grip! Shame on them for doing damage to a dead man."
"This site is a tribute to my father," says Scotty. "I don't think there's anything wrong with sex. Sex is fine, sex is a wonderful thing. I don't think there's anything wrong with that."
Sharing His Hobby With His Son
But when it came to Bob Crane and sex, there was something wrong … very wrong. After Hogan's Heroes was canceled, Disney hired Crane for a family film called Superdad — only to cut ties with him after news of his sexcapades surfaced; Crane wound up touring the country doing dinner theater. And even Bob's ever-tolerant wife had to draw the line — and threaten to end her marriage — when she learned the truth: that Bob had shown explicit images to Scotty when he was just a toddler.
"I'm talking about triple-X, very hard core, very graphic," she says. "I discovered that it had been going on since [Scotty was] probably about 4. That's where I drew the line. I had to put a stop to that. No matter how much I loved him, my child came first."
Pat immediately filed for divorce and insisted Bob get into therapy.
"He was sharing his hobby with his son," says Scotty in his father's defense. "It was kind of like if your dad was really into airplane models or something, and there was an airplane model on your dinner table. You never thought anything of it until you went to your friend's house, and there were no airplane models. It was kind of like that.
Will Film Distort Dad’s Image?
Scotty and Pat say the inaccuracies of Autofocus will give people a negative image of Bob Crane. Others, however, may get a negative impression not from what the movie may have gotten wrong … but from what the movie got right. But Pat says, "What Bob and I had between us was just between us. Those women wanted to be there as badly as he did. If it didn't bother me that he was doing this … I don't know why it should bother anyone else."
And yet, amid all the tawdry tales and explicit video, Crane's feuding families agree on one thing: He was a loving husband and father. And they miss him. "He was the greatest father in the world," says Scotty. "Always there. Always helping me." "He was a wonderful dad," says Karen. "Nobody can ever say anything negative about him to me and have me believe it. I love my dad."
"Fabulously loving husband," declares Pat Crane. "No one could replace Bob. I have never been on a date. I still wear my $20 gold wedding band. Hasn't been off my hand, except for when I had to have surgery. I am still Mrs. Bob Crane. I'm still married to Bob Crane. And we will go through eternity forever. Together forever, Hogan and Hilda."