During the age when live music was still king, low level jazz cats often got regular gigs playing music for exotic dancers in raucous burlesque houses and strip-joints. One famous example is actor Bob Crane.
Primarily known for his title character in Hogan's Heroes, Crane's first job in showbiz was as a drummer playing with the Connecticut Symphony Orchestra when he was only 16. Following a move out west, Crane became a popular disc-jockey at KNX radio in Hollywood and parlayed his notoriety into acting gigs.
Always a musician at heart, the story goes that he started playing strip-clubs for fun and to keep up his musical chops. After hitting the big time with Hogan's Heroes, he often showed off his skill at "beating the skins" on TV variety shows such as the Red Skelton Hour from which this video is taken. Have a look...
This video is eerily prescient in its symbolism. Crane's regular strip-joint gigs meant that he was often surrounded by others with voyeuristic tastes and strong sexual appetites. His own appetites continued to grow and eventually he was introduced to a man by the name of John Henry Carpenter - a salesman of early video equipment. He and Carpenter began a sordid friendship which involved picking up numerous women and videotaping their sexual liaisons.
Crane's sexual tendencies became known throughout Hollywood and TV work soon dried up. After a while things reportedly became tense between Crane and Carpenter, but their relationship ended when Crane was found bludgeoned to death in June of 1978. While Carpenter was suspected, he was never convicted of the murder.
Crane's death was as infamous as his life and photos of the gory crime scene are far too accessible in this age of Google. So much so that the site where I got his headshot actively discourages people from doing an image search of him.
Oddly enough this blog post was supposed to be about me, but I've written so much about Bob, you'll have to wait until my next post to find out the connection between me, music and strippers. Thankfully my story is much less tragic.