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Date Posted: 00:27:18 09/30/12 Sun
Author: JM
Subject: Re: How Cordic took Bob Trow to California
In reply to: tce 's message, "Re: How Cordic took Bob Trow to California" on 16:48:07 09/29/12 Sat

Some history:

--The members of the "Company" were employed by Cordic personally and not KDKA. It was part-time work. They all had other careers. Karl Hardman did a number of things, including a business where he designed and built custom furniture. Bob Trow worked in the art department for Westinghouse (corporate Westinghouse, not Group W broadcasting), and Bob McCully worked in advertising and PR. The only other person who worked on the show who was also a KDKA employee was engineer Bill Stefan.

--Art Pallan told me there was some dissent over pay in the latter days of "Cordic & Company," and that contributed to Rege's willingness to end the show on KDKA. He didn't say so, but I got the impression that whatever friction existed was with Bob Trow since Cordic had close friendships with Karl and Bob McCully.

--It wouldn't have been terribly realistic for Cordic to take anyone along to Los Angeles. He continued there with the same arrangement, using local talent to write and provide voices. Karl and Bob McCully continued to generate material here and shipped it to Los Angeles.

--Whatever work of Bob Trow's that was "in the can" probably wouldn't have had much value in LA. As noted, it was a different cast there with a different set of characters. Not much call for a routine about potholes or Market Square pigeons in LA. Karl Hardman's "Louie the Garbageman" character didn't even appear on the LA show. He did a similar character who was now "Manuelo the Gardener."

--Cordic went to LA with his eyes open about the prospects for the radio show. Bob Tracey told the story of commiserating with Cordic at a client's party after the announcement had been made. Tracey said he told Cordic the show would flop in LA, and said Cordic agreed it probably would. But Cordic said that he had a two-year guaranteed contract. If the show succeeded, great. If it failed, he had two years to get his foot in the door as an actor. He had taken acting lessons while he was in Pittsburgh, and was in some local productions. His radio show was canceled after 18 months, and he used that time to get an agent and chase TV and movie roles. He was in episodes of "The Monkees" and "The Flying Nun" by late 1967.

--Things worked out pretty well for Bob Trow. KDKA hired him to co-host the morning show that replaced "Cordic & Company." He got a full salary and benefits and his name was on the "Pallan & Trow" show. KDKA hired him first, then looked for a straight man to play off the characters. After auditioning a number of people, they found that Art Pallan and Trow had a natural chemistry and timing that worked.

--If there was any bitterness, it didn't linger. Cordic and Trow worked together later on other projects, including a series of commercials for Equibank in 1979.

--There were a number of reasons the LA show failed. The previous poster notes correctly the gap between Bob Crane's departure from KNX in June, and Cordic's arrival in mid-December of 1965. That was because KDKA found a loophole in Cordic's contract that required him to stay through the end of November. But the biggest reason the LA show didn't work was it was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A lot of the humor on "Cordic & Coampany" came from spoofing the formal style of network radio that had been prominent in the 1940s. That stuff resonated in Pittsburgh because people had grown up with it. In 1965 Los Angeles, routines about the studio announcer and the in-house orchestra didn't have much relevance. Another difference was LA was a much bigger city that didn't have the same universal humor that existed in Pittsburgh. Cordic described LA as being "like 100 different Monroevilles." Competition was much more fierce in LA, with more stations fighting over fractions of rating points. People came to Pittsburgh and did good morning shows that failed going against the established "Cordic & Company" machine. That scenario was reversed in LA. Rege found it difficult to get people to change their morning listening habits.

--Things worked out for Cordic. He acted for about 10 years, then turned his focus to voiceover work. He had some national accounts that paid well and he enjoyed his life in the sunshine. He got back to Pittsburgh just enough to bask in the fondness that people retained for him.

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