FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Bob Chase passed away Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 at Parkview Hospital Randallia in Fort Wayne. The WOWO legend is known to almost everyone in Fort Wayne as he was the Sports Director for WOWO radio for 63 years. He’s also well known for spending more than 60 years as the voice of the Fort Wayne Komets.
During his time at WOWO, Bob would interview many artists as he was part of the original Fabulous Four. (Bob Chase, Bob Sievers, Jack Underwood and Don Chevillet.) One of those artists was a young Elvis Presley.
As we get ready to honor Bob at the Fort Wayne Komets’ Bob Chase Memorial Game on Thursday, November 23rd, Bob’s family came forward with the original Elvis Presley interview. It was first heard on WOWO on March 31, 1957. It was then aired again in 1988. To help promote the Bob Chase Memorial Game, Bob’s family allowed WOWO to air the interview for only the third time in 60 years. They have also given WOWO permission to share this piece of history with you.
However, it wasn’t just about sports for Bob. It was also about giving back. While at WOWO, Bob was committed to WOWO’s non-profit Penny Pitch organization. For almost 70 years, Penny Pitch has directed donated funds to local groups that serve the community and for nearly 60 of those 70 years, Bob spent countless hours dedicated to the cause as he was the official spokesperson for the fundraising campaign.
For this year’s Penny Pitch fundraising efforts, Shepherd’s House has been selected as the only and only recipient. When Shepherd’s House was announced as this year’s beneficiary Bob’s daughter, Karin Thomsen, wrote the following:
Do you know how happy you just made my Dad? I feel a little Divine intervention here. My brother spent the last two years of his life needing support from injuries he received in Vietnam. Although he had no drug/alcohol addiction, there was no place for Mike to go and get the care he needed. Dad spent the last year of his life fighting for my brother. He found out just how difficult it is for our veterans to be cared for properly. This would have been his choice for sure and I hope from his radio rink side seat in Heaven he does his best fundraising ever!
Karin Thomsen (Bob Chase’s daughter)
As we honor Bob on Thursday, November 23rd, at the Fort Wayne Komet Hockey Bob Chase Memorial game, we ask that you take a listen to the WOWO legend and in honor of his legacy donate to a cause that he spent countless decades supporting.
He’s always been a cornerstone to WOWO’s heritage and he will continue to be a cornerstone to WOWO’s history for many years to come.
If you are unable to attend the Bob Chase Memorial Game, you can also donate here.
Transcribed interview between Bob Chase and Elvis Presley:
Bob: We’ll take it right from there with Mr. Presley to mix one up and do the talkin’.
Elvis: I was listening to you or somebody was talking about you because I heard Bob Chase about four or five times on the radio today.
Bob: While you were traveling?
Elvis: While I was on my way out here.
Bob: You might’ve picked it up throughout the area. We’re nationwide…
Bob: How do you feel sitting backstage before a performance now?
Elvis: Well I enjoy talking to people and everything and meeting a lot of these people. And too I can straighten a lot of rumors out because people always hear things and they want to get straightened out.
Bob: Any particular amount of nervousness at all?
Elvis: Yes sir. Quite a bit. I haven’t gotten to the point, yet, where I’m completely at ease. When I first walk on stage that’s when I’m very nervous…
Bob: That’s your maximum point right there?
Bob: As far as records are concerned, what do you have happening, anything at all? New releases? “All Shook Up” is going great right now.
Elvis: “All Shook Up” and uh…
Bob: Nothing new in the immediate future coming?
Elvis: Not any time soon, no.
Bob: One thing I’d like to ask you as far as this particular area is concerned… what is your religious denomination?
Elvis: Well… well all my life I was Assembly of God.
Bob: I see… Church of God. The Church of God?
Bob: And do you currently attend? Of course, you’re pretty busy…
Elvis: Well I’m usually gone, I’m never home. Whenever I get some free time I do.
Bob: And what kind of traveling do you do? Train, bus or car?
Elvis: I go by train most of the time.
Bob: That’s your preferred way of going?
Elvis: Well if I can get a drawing room albeit or something. It’s much better for me.
Bob: When you first got started, as far as your career is concerned, was the music called rock-n-roll at that time or was it more of a country western?
Elvis: It was… mine was more or less classed as country western I guess at the time. As I went along, it got more rock-n-roll. That’s what they tell me, I don’t know the difference.
Bob: Yeah but as far as your starting you probably developed more or less with rock-n-roll. What what, the 2 and a half years you’ve been at it?
Bob: Any particular highlights that you’ve had so far that stand out from all the rest of your experiences?
Elvis: Well I’ve had quite a few highlights…I mean, I guess you’re talking in terms of exciting things happening to ya…
Bob: Yeah when you’re on the road or..
Elvis: Yeah I’ve had quite a bit. I must say, it’s been a heck of a lot of fun, everything.
Bob: And we know too that you take more than periodic tannings from a variety of groups… and a variety of people and parents. How does that affect you?
Elvis: All of that is part of the business, there’s people that like you there’s people that don’t like you regardless of what you do… I mean… If everybody liked the same thing, we’d all be driving the same car and married to the same woman. You know? Well that wouldn’t work out… And there’ll be people that like you… there’s people that didn’t like Jesus Christ. They killed him and he was a perfect man.
Bob: That’s a pretty good answer right there, as far as your comparison of Christ. Where do you go from here now?
Elvis: I go to Detroit.
Bob: And you’re touring through the Midwest, Buffalo, Detroit…?
Elvis: I go to Detroit, Buffalo, Toronto, and Ottawa.
Bob: That finish your tour?
Elvis: No I come back to Philadelphia for two days.
Bob: When’s your movie start?
Elvis: First of May.
Bob: First of May, yes. Well we wish you an awful lot of success, it’s been a real pleasure having an opportunity to speak with you. And we hope to see you again sometime in the future.
Elvis: Well thank you very much.
Bob: Okay thanks so much, goodbye.