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Ken Crane Dead At 85

Hawthorne, Calif. — TV retail pioneer Ken Crane, founder of the eight-store Los Angeles A/V chain that bears his name, died Sunday at the age of 85.

The funeral has been scheduled for Nov. 19.

Charles Kenneth Crane began his CE career working at an RCA plant in Indianapolis and later opened his first TV-only store in 1949 with a $3,500 loan from his father. Six years later, Ken Cranes became the first single-line retailer for Magnavox, which in the mid-1950s was an exclusive, high-prestige franchise.

In recent years, Ken handed off day-to-day operations to his son Casey and daughter Pam as the company, in anticipation of digital and high-definition TV, transformed itself into a home theater destination for Orange County, Calif.

“He was one of the first to embrace HD,” recalled Tom Campbell, a company director. “He was one of the best retailers I ever knew, and was also a wonderful human being who cared for his employees and customers.”