|One of the more unique brands of beer has been Pittsburgh Brewing’s Olde Frothingslosh. It was invented as a joke by Pittsburgh radio station KDKA’s Rege Cordic in the early 1950s. The local brewer picked up the idea as a humorous Christmastime promotion and “the pale stale ale” ended up as the inspiration for about 30 different beer cans, most created specifically for collectors.|
Rege CordicIn the 1950s and 1960s, Pittsburgh area radio listeners typically began their days hearing a dubious trombone rendition of “Up A Lazy River” followed by Cordic’s “Hello there, you lovers of good music you .. .and welcome to yet another chapter of the day-by-day, week-by-week, true-to-life adventures of Cordic & Company.’’ The host was Rege Cordic. The Company was Bob Trow, Karl Hard man, Bob McCully, Charlie Sords, Sterling Yates and engineer Bill Stefan. During most of their 22-year run, they commanded ratings as high as an astounding 85 share in morning drive time. They created a notable cast of characters: atrocious punster Carman Monoxide; the philosophical Slav garbage man Louie Adamchevitz; tipsy golf pro Max Korfendigas; and Omicron, the bottle-shaped Venutian bureaucrat, incensed when Earthlings returned him for the deposit. Cordic was creative when that didn’t mean inviting strippers and porn stars onto your show to challenge the FCC and local standards of taste. He established Brick Throwing as a sport, replete with fan rallies, a “Miss Brick” contest, and an official magazine, Thud. One year he organized a 14-car train for a suburban whistle-stop campaign by his fictional political candidate Carmen Monoxide.
One of his best creations was inspired by near-tragedy. One December night in 1964, a wayward Pitt student zoomed off the end of the incomplete Fort Duquesne bridge, miraculously landing unhurt on the Allegheny riverbank. Within weeks, hundreds of thousands of cars bumpers were labeled “Official Entry, Cordic & Company Bridge Leap Contest.” Taking no chances, police sealed off the bridge with giant concrete barriers. In 1965 Cordic couldn’t resist Los Angeles’ KNX invitation to succeed Bob Crane as their morning drive-time DJ. Crane had left KNX to star in his own TV show, Hogan’s Heroes. Cordic’s show did not transplant as successfully as he and KNX had hoped. It was canceled after only 18 months and KNX switched to an all news format. However, he began a stable career as a supporting player in films and TV-and as a voice talent for HBO as well as in dozens of cartoons. He had a regular role in the 1968-69 detective series “The Outsider” starring Darren McGavin. Cordic also appeared in a few motion pictures, including Woody Allen’s “Sleeper,” Newman’s Law” and “The Wild Party.” His voice was heard in others, as the clock, for example, in the 1977 film “The Mouse and His Child.”
Cordic never lost touch with Pittsburgh. For years he pretaped movie intros for WTAE-TV on whose AM station he reprised Cordic & Company in 1970. Cordic passed away from brain cancer on 16 April, 1999 in Los Angeles.
The Pale, Stale Ale
Rege Cordic’s most lasting contribution to humor, and incidentally, to beer can collecting, was Olde Frothingslosh. He invented commercials for the beer he called “the Pale Stale Ale--so light the foam is on the bottom.” Supposedly brewed by Sir Reginald Frothingslosh IV at Upper-Crudney-On-The-Thames it was advertised with slogans such as “a whale of an ale for the pale stale male.” The commercials were so popular that in 1954 Pittsburgh Brewing Company bought the rights to bottle it and packaged 500 cases to give to customers at Christmas. Inside the bottles, of courses, was the normal Pittsburgh Brewing Company beer. This proved so popular that Pittsburgh Brewing bottled more cases for Christmas 1955 and also issued a quarter million 8 oz cans of Sir Lady Frothingslosh (#242-16 in the USBC, the BCCA’s new guide to beer cans) containing Pittsburgh Brewing’s Tech brand beer.
That was it for canned versions until 1968, when Olde Frothingslosh was again produced in a can, a brown pull tab. However, Sir Reginald and Sir Lady Frothingslosh had disappeared to be replaced by “Fatima Yechbergh,” the 300 lb fictional winner of a make-believe beauty contest. Once again, this was a one-time event and the this Olde Frothingslosh became one of the cans most desired by collectors.
In 1974 Miss Olde Frothingslosh came back with a vengeance. The Olde Frothingslosh cans with Fatima Yechbergh were reissued in four different colors, including the original brown in addition to blue, orange and red. This depressed the value of the 1968 version (but NOT of the 1955 Sir Lady cans!) but elated many beer can collectors who began snapping up the cans for their shelves. In 1975 the can was issued in purple, yellow and silver, followed by a white can in 1976. Pittsburgh Brewing continued issuing a profusion of other Olde Frothingslosh cans over the next decade
• a multi-colored can set in 1976 (photo 64 kb),
• a 6-can set featuring Fatima Yechburgh stories in 1977,
• a silver can featured Sir Reginald in 1978,
• a four can set in different colors in 1979 again featuring Sir Reginald,
• another six can multi-colored set with Fatima in 1982,
• a 30-year anniversary can in 1985.
These sets produced after the 1973 version have only minimal value for most collectors, as they were produced in huge quantities specifically for the collectors’ market. They are often given away for free by collectors with extras at many breweriana hobby conventions or, if sold, usually go for about 25 cents each. The 1973 set cans may each sometimes sell for a dollar or more, depending on color. The most common colors are yellow, purple, silver, and white. The scarcest colors are blue and orange. The last two, the red and brown cans, fall someone in the middle as to scarcity. The 1968 version is available in limited numbers. However, it can only be verified as legitimate by comparing its lid to the brown can from the 1973 set, which reduces its potential value considerably. The 1955 can, easily the most popular Frothingslosh can for collectors, is listed in the BCCA book as being valued at about $200 in excellent condition. However, it may get more in an auction such as Ebay because it is such a popular can among collectors. The Woman of Quality, and Quantity Fatima Yechburgh, chosen for her “beauty, talent, poise,... and quantity” was portrayed by Marsha Phillips, a plus-size fashion model who also worked as a go-go dancer, cashier at a railroad yard, a floral arrangement designer and a real-estate agent. She was a favorite at beer can collector's conventions, signing autographs on cans for her fans. I have one I picked up on Ebay and its one of the favorites in my collection. She passed away from a heart attack at age 54 in May, 2000.
Sources:Associated Press “‘Olde Miss Frothingslosh’ Dies At 54” 30 May, 2000.
Beer Can Collectors of America “American Beer Cans, 1975-1988” (BCCA: Denver, CO. 1989) 36-37.
Beer Can Collectors of America "Marsha Majors Phillips, Miss Olde Frothingslosh, 1976 Miss Beer Can," Beer Cans & Brewery Collectibles, 30(4) August-September 2000, 22.
Beer Can Collectors of America “United States Beer Cans: The Standard Reference of Flat Tops and Cone Tops” (BCCA: Topeka, KS. 2000) 15, 242.
Cady, Lew “Beer Can Collecting” (Charter: New York, 1981) 58, 79-83.
Greenwald, Arthur “Rege Cordic, The Man Of The 85 Share” Broadcasting & Cable 45(1) 10 May, 1999.
Oliver, Myrna “Obituary: Rege Cordic; Deejay and Character Actor” Los Angeles Times 19 April, 1999 A-14
“Pittsburgh Brewing Company Reissues the Successful 40th Anniversary Can” PR Newswire 11 November, 1998.
Ressel, Art & Pete “Beer Cans Unlimited” (Maverick Publishing: Buckner MO. 1980) 102.
The Cordic and Company Site: Good info and pictures, the "official" site!