Indiana children’s TV’s beloved ‘Cowboy Bob’ Glaze dead at 73

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Former Indianapolis WTTV personality “Cowboy Bob,” played by Bob Glaze, was a popular on-air personality in the 1960s and ‘70s with his children’s show. Glaze died Saturday. | WTTV-4.

INDIANAPOLIS — Bob Glaze, a beloved children’s TV show personality known around Indiana as “Cowboy Bob,” has died. He was 73.

The guitar-strumming cowboy and animal lover was an after-school fixture on Indianapolis’ WTTV Channel 4 from 1970 to 1989.

Glaze, who started out as a TV camera operator, became host of the children’s variety show “Chuckwagon Theater,” which later became “Cowboy Bob’s Corral.” He used the show to engage children in lessons about such things as fire safety and animals. He even taught his dog Tumbleweed to demonstrate how to stop, drop and roll.

He died Friday at the Community Heart and Vascular Hospital in Indianapolis, accoding to his wife, Gail Glaze.

Glaze, who had a history of heart problems, became ill after Labor Day and was hospitalized Tuesday, family members said. Funeral arrangements were pending.

A tribute program, to include local television horror host Sammy Terry, is being planned for Nov. 1 at Canyon Inn in McCormick’s Creek State Park, according to the official Cowboy Bob’s Corral website.

Glaze was helped on his show by a gang of playful puppets, the most memorable of which he dubbed Sourdough the Singing Biscuit. The inspiration for that quirky sidekick came from a leftover biscuit that was dropped on the studio floor.

Reflecting on his life in a WTTV interview earlier this year, Glaze said he wanted his show to be more than clowning around.

“I wanted to be, if possible, a surrogate brother, father to the kids out there,” he said. “That was my motivation.”

Former children’s TV star “Cowboy Bob” Glaze at his home in Martinsville Ind., in 2002. | Indianapolis Star

Former children’s TV star “Cowboy Bob” Glaze at his home in Martinsville Ind., in 2002. | Indianapolis Star

While working as a camera operator, Glaze was enlisted to play guitar and sing as a guest on another of the station’s children’s programs. His performance was well-received and he was chosen later to host a new show. Asked what character he wanted to play, the Oklahoma native and experienced horseman immediately chose a cowboy.

In the years after the show went off the air, Glaze appeared at fund-raisers and parades and supported animal shelters and YMCA children’s programs.

He and his wife cared for 19 rescued dogs over the years.

“He was actually kind of a shy person, but he was able to take his desire of being a good person and put it into a character to perform and hoping to get the message out that you have to treat one another as equals and have good in your heart and always do the very best you can and just never give up,” Gail Glaze said. “I think that message is pure and it’s simple, but that’s what he was all about.”

Contributing: USA Today Network

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