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Date Posted: 20:04:01 08/24/14 Sun
Subject: Re: Bob Trow
In reply to:
's message, "Bob Trow" on 16:20:36 08/12/14 Tue
As something of a Cordic-phile, let me start by agreeing with you about Bob Trow's talent. He could do many things, and he did them all well. He was a writer, actor, musician, singer, artist. Incredibly talented, and incredibly versatile.
It's not accurate to say Bob did "most" of the voices on Cordic & Company. He may have done half of them, and that would probably be a high estimate. Karl Hardman and his partner, Marilyn Eastman, did a lot of work for the show. Each person wrote for his own characters. Even though the routines were recorded in advance, Karl was in the studio a lot of mornings to help Rege ride herd over the show. If Rege had a right-hand man, it was Karl.
I have no idea what Rege may have told Bob over the years, and neither of them is around to answer that question. Here's how the Cordic & Company show operated: KDKA paid Rege a salary. From that, Rege paid the people who contributed to the show. Karl, Marilyn, Bob Trow, Bob McCully and the others were not employees of KDKA. They were paid by Rege's company (There really was a "Cordic & Company"). So in that context, I'm not sure what "I'll take you with me" would have meant. When Rege moved to Los Angeles to work for CBS at KNX radio, they were hiring Rege, not a cast. It was up to Rege to hire people to help with the show. Would Bob have been interested in relocating to LA for the same part-time deal he had in Pittsburgh? Writing and performing on the Cordic show was not a full-time job for anyone but Rege. Bob Trow worked in the art department for Westinghouse (corporate Westinghouse, not Group W). Karl had a number of businesses and interests, including one where he designed and built custom furniture. McCully was a PR professional.
The idea that Cordic was going to take the cast with him to another city was never a realistic proposition, and surely Bob recognized that. No station was going to put three or four people on full-time staff to contribute to one show.
As far as using routines that had been recorded here, I doubt that happened. Most of the routines wouldn't translate to LA, where references to potholes, Market Square pigeons, Grant Street, the Pirates and a bridge to nowhere would have no relevance. Cordic and his cohorts tried to make the references as local and timely as possible. In advance of moving to California, Rege subscribed to the LA newspapers to try to get a feel for what was happening there. Most of the characters used here were not used on the KNX show. "Louie The Garbageman," perhaps the best-known character from the Pittsburgh show, never appeared on the LA show. Rege hired new contributors in LA (there were at least four of them) to write and do voices, while Karl and Marilyn continued to produce routines here that they shipped to California. There would be little or no need for things that were "in the can" from the Pittsburgh days. Rege didn't have most of that stuff anyway.
Unless he had his heart set on living in California, I don't see why Trow would have been upset about the way things played out. KDKA decided to keep some of the flavor of the Cordic & Company show and hired Bob to be part of the morning show that replaced Cordic. He went on staff with a salary and benefits. He was the first hire. They cast about for a straight man, looking in and out of the market. Bob Tracey wasn't interested in it. Terry McGovern, then working in New Kensington, auditioned, but they passed on him because he was only 22 (They did hire him for the all-night show). Finally, someone from Group W asked if they had tried Art Pallan. Pallan did a test run with Trow and they found that it clicked. "Pallan & Trow" debuted on KDKA on Monday, Nov. 29, 1965. Cordic had done his last show on Saturday, Nov. 27.
By several accounts, Cordic went to LA with his eyes open and aware that show might not make it. Tracey told the story that he and Cordic were stragglers at a client party and Bob, in his irascible style, asked Rege why he was leaving. Tracey said, "The show is not going to work in LA. It's a Pittsburgh show." Bob said that Rege agreed he was probably right, but said that he had a two-year contract. According to Tracey, Rege said, "I have a guaranteed income for two years. If the show works, great. I'll get another contract. If it doesn't work, I have two years to get in the door as far as acting."
That's what happened. KNX cancelled the show in the summer of 1967, with six months left on Rege's contract. CBS was converting its AM stations to all-news, the format KNX still has. Cordic used the down time to get an agent and audition for TV roles. He got his first TV acting credits before the year ended. He did that for about 10 years, then focused on voiceover work. He did a lot of national spots, which pay well. He also did "imaging" for TV stations and continued to make a comfortable living.
Rege's KNX show lasted about 17 months, or 10 months less than Pallan & Trow lasted on KDKA. They were replaced by Jack Bogut in April of 1968. Art Pallan returned to the midday slot, and Trow was out. He went on to his recurring role on "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" and many, many commercials.
Whatever rift that existed between Cordic and Trow was apparently repaired since Bob eventually came back to contribute material for Rege's Sunday morning show that ran on WTAE radio in 1969-70. They also worked together on a number of other projects that included a series of 1979 commercials for Equibank that used the characters from "Cordic & Company." Rege had very complimentary things to say about Bob following his passing on Nov. 2, 1998. That turned out to be about six months before Cordic died.
There was no lasting grudge between them, so perhaps you could let go of the one you're apparently holding?
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