(Dec. 1, 1942— Sept. 16, 2016). Actor, broadcaster, and media personality best-known for playing “Cowboy Bob,” on local children’s TV shows, Robert Wesley Glaze was born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. In 1960, he graduated from Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana.

Polaroid photo of a man in a cowboy hat with his arm around the shoulders of a woman in clown make-up and costume.
Ruth Shaw and Bob Glaze at a Near East Side Community Organization festival, ca. 1980 Credit: The Indiana Album: Ruth Shaw Collection View Source

Glaze received a Bachelor of Arts in radio and television from Indiana University (IU) in 1965. While earning his degree, he made his first television appearance on Jack Noel’s Happy Valley Show, which aired on Bloomington station Wttv (Channel 4). Glaze also spent a little over a year working at WBBM radio in Chicago and had the opportunity to work with musicians Harry Belafonte, Chad Mitchell Trio, Hoyt Axton, and Connie Stevens.

After graduating from IU, Glaze joined the WTTV staff on June 6, 1966, as a camera operator and occasional actor on Bob Cook’s RFD-4 and The Bernie Nicolei Breakfast Show. Later, WTTV star Jane “Janie” Hodges asked Glaze to perform on her show Popeye and Janie (later revamped as Janie).

In addition to her show, Hodges and Glaze worked together on a Mountain Dew commercial as well as a Christmas album. They also made several public visits around Central Indiana to meet fans and promote their projects. During the pair’s appearance at a parade in Columbus, Indiana, Glaze was given the nickname “Cowboy Bob.”

Sometime after this event, WTTV’s station manager Don Tillman hired Glaze to replace Mary Ellen Reed as host of Lunch Time Theater. The renamed Chuckwagon Theater debuted at noon on January 7, 1970.

Chuckwagon Theater was a children’s variety show that served as a prelude to syndicated cartoons that aired on the station. Glaze played “Cowboy Bob,” a charismatic, guitar-playing cowboy, who educated children on numerous topics, including animals and fire safety. The show, eventually renamed Cowboy Bob’s Corral, was a hit with young audiences and became a staple at WTTV.

Throughout the program’s run, several side characters were featured including “Freckles” (an Appaloosa horse), “Windjammer” (a Palomino Horse), “Tumbleweed” (a dog), “Happy the Helping Hand” (a talking hand-shaped puppet), and “Sourdough the Singing Biscuit” (a singing biscuit-shaped puppet). In addition to interacting with these performers on-air, Glaze contributed to several behind-the-scenes aspects of the show.

This work expanded to projects outside of Cowboy Bob’s Corral. Glaze directed and produced other WTTV programs as well as the Indiana Outdoors television series for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In 1989, WTTV canceled Cowboy Bob’s Corral. Glaze later reprised his role on Cowboy Bob’s Cable Stable, which aired on the now-defunct American Cablevision network. After Cowboy Bob’s Cable Stable ended, Glaze focused on public appearances and charity work. Of special note was his strong support of animal rescues and pet ownership education. Along with his wife Gail, a former WTTV coworker, he rescued over 20 dogs, cats, and horses.

Glaze was also an active outdoorsman. He enjoyed sailing, scuba diving, windsurfing, cross-country skiing, rowing, visiting the YMCA, and walking his dogs.

In 2014, Glaze was inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.

Revised June 2021

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