Ed Crane
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Ed Crane

The Man Who Wasn't There

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About Him

Living… in Santa Rosa, California, “in a little bungalow on Napa Street,” to be precise. “Place was okay, I guess,” he says in his usual deadpan voice, “It had an electric icebox, gas hearth, and a garbage grinder built into the sink. You might say I had it made.”

Profession… barber. It’s a simple profession, and Ed seems to like it for that reason. He works with his brother-in-law, a talkative man named Frank. “Now maybe if you’re 11 or 12 years old Franks’s got an interesting point a view,” he says, “but sometimes it got on my nerves.”

Interests… smoking. Ed can always be seen with a cigarette between his fingers – and music. He’s particularly fond of Beethoven music, especially when it’s being played by a local girl named Birdie. Ed is convinced she’s the best pianist around.

Relationship Status… married to Doris, who works as a bookkeeper for a local department store called Nirdlinger’s. Ed says his staid marriage does him well, but he doesn’t seem to be too excited about it.

Challenge… getting his wife out of jail. When a town-wide scandal breaks, Doris finds herself wrongly accused of murder and embezzlement. Ed and Frank decide to mortgage the barbershop to pay for an expensive attorney. Though Ed, who knows the truth about the crimes, doesn’t seem to want to defend his wife’s name.

Personality… unemotional, deadpan, and monotonous. Ed doesn’t seem to feel anything at all, he simply lets the world’s forces – economic, political and sexual – carry him through life in his small town.

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