- Associated Press - Sunday, July 30, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Dale Ogden can relay the details about Cowboy Bob’s “Chuckwagon Theater” with encyclopedia-like accuracy.

He can tell you that the run dates of the show - which brimmed with Bob Glaze’s voice, guitar, goofy jokes and safety lessons - were 1970 to 1989. That the names of Bob Glaze’s dog, one of his horses and singing biscuit were Tumbleweed, Windjammer and Sourdough, respectively. And that Cowboy Bob was sensitive to his young audience members, but still offered a wink and a nod to his older viewers, too.

Ogden, the chief curator of cultural history at the Indiana State Museum, recalled the stories behind the show as he looked at the behind-the scenes preparation of Cowboy Bob’s jacket, which will go on display this fall.

It’s now 32 years after Ogden, 64, took and stayed at a job he never applied for, and he’s retiring. After working on a project at the request of a friend more than three decades ago, the museum asked him to stay on full-time. He’s delved into projects that included Jazz Age classic cars and high fashions, Colts owner Jim Irsay’s collection of literary works and classic guitars and exhibitions that focus on Abraham Lincoln’s family life.

Listen to Ogden talk about his favorite items at the museum, and it becomes apparent that history’s personalities interest him most. The characters he spins out are always the adventurous type, the people who didn’t settle for the status quo.

And throughout Ogden’s tenure at the museum, he’s had interactions with them that go beyond what the pages of his research say.

Take Cowboy Bob, for instance.

When the museum acquired local TV icon Glaze’s famous fringe jacket from WTTV-4’s “Chuckwagon Theater,” which will go on display this fall, Ogden traveled back to his Indiana University college dorm room.

Of course, the program was geared toward kids. But it found a niche with the college crowd, too.

“In addition to every 10-year-old kid in Central Indiana, the other half of his fan base were college students because if you were in the right frame of mind, the show was just a huge hoot,” Ogden said.

“Especially on Friday, if your classes were over by noon and everybody was gearing up for the weekend.”

The curator eventually got to know Glaze a bit and was struck by how personable and gracious he was. After “Chuckwagon Theater” - later named “Cowboy Bob’s Corral” - ended, Glaze remained a major local icon as he continued to entertain and do charity work until he died in 2016.

A Stutz sedan

When Ogden looks at the hulking Stutz that sits on the museum’s second floor, he travels back to a barn on East Orange in Vermont - the site of maybe the most unnerving and fun experience of his tenure.

Ogden bought the AA four-door sedan for the museum in 1996 at an auction there after the death of its owner, the colorful A.K. Miller.

An aviation junkie from a wealthy family, Miller settled with his wife on East Orange - a dirt road off a county road about 20 miles away from Montpelier - in a farmhouse that lacked heating and air conditioning. He collected junk cars and rarely left his land.

“Three or four times a year, he’d drag one of these out, get it running, drive down to West Topsham and buy 50 pounds of flour and, you know, whatever else,” Ogden said.

“If the weather was bad, he’d wear a trash bag.”

After the deaths of Miller and his wife, the county came in to settle his estate, bringing on Christie’s to auction off what turned out to be a veritable treasure trove from a man who didn’t pay social security or income taxes.

Among the collectibles: $600,000 in gold bullion in a wood pile next to the stove and $1 million in stocks and bonds stuffed into cigar boxes and coffee cans. And, of course, dozens of classic cars.

Looking for an Indiana-made car the museum could afford, Ogden chose the sedan. But its breaks had locked up so that the tires refused to roll and instead dug into the barn’s dirt floor. He brought in a wrecker and pulled the car from the top, terrified all the while that he’d break the entire thing apart.

“That might be the most fun I’ve had in 32 years at the museum,” Ogden said.

Even with the jaw-dropping stuff the museum has picked up during his tenure, one piece has always eluded the curator.

“The one thing that we don’t have that I would like to have more than anything else in the world is a Duesenberg,” Ogden said of the Indianapolis-made luxury car that only the likes of actor Clark Gable and pharmaceutical king Eli Lilly could afford to drive.

“You may - may - be able to get a Duesenberg for $1 million right now. But probably not. And that would be really cool.

“And if they ever do get one, I insisted that I be the one that gets to drive it in the 500 parade because I’ve been lobbying for it for 32 years.”

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Source: The Indianapolis Star, https://indy.st/2eLdGQl

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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