Author, illustrator and Emmy Award winning director Bob ‘Boze’ Bell puts the everlasting allure of Route 66 into perspective by showing readers what life was like growing up in Kingman, Arizona, one of the highway's quintessential cities, curing the heyday of automobile travel in the 1950s and 1960s. This personal take on the Mother Road's history—part autobiography, part narrative history, all beautifully illustrated—expertly weaves personal memories and observations with entertaining accounts of folks who lived, worked and played along the road. Bell also digs deep into the roots of the region, offering seldom explored historical context for Route 66 and the American Southwest.
Illustrated with personal and archival photographs, period advertising art, vintage postcards, specially commissioned maps, and of course the author's own fantastic watercolors, The 66 Kid is a Mother Road book like no other, offering a unique look at a slice of Route 66's history that entertains and at the same time makes sense of the highway's continued popularity.
Born in Forrest City, Iowa in 1946 and raised in the tough tourist town of Kingman, Arizona, Bob ‘Boze’ Bell has lived a life on the road. And not just any road, but the one and only Route 66.
After five lackluster years at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Bell gravitated to Phoenix, where he and childhood friend Daniel Harshberger, published humor magazine Razz Revue from 1972 to 1977. In 1983 Bell won the Arizona Press Club's Cartoonist of the Year, and he has since won an Emmy for his work on Outrageous Arizona, a television documentary that ran on Eight, Arizona's PBS affiliate.
In 1999, Bell bought True West Magazine (published since 1953) and moved the editorial offices to Cave Creek, Arizona. He has published and illustrated groundbreaking books on Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid and Doc Holliday along with his series Classic Gunfights. In addition to his efforts at True West, Bell's artwork and writing have appeared in Arizona Highways, New Times, Playboy, Wild West and National Lampoon.
Bob ‘Boze’ Bell's recognition as a historian may be surpassed by his reputation as a prolific artist. "Bob ‘Boze’ Bell paints what the rest of us can only imagine" said Fred Nolan, author and Lincoln County War expert.
Bell will also be giving a talk about the making of the book and his history in Mohave County on Friday August 15 at the Mohave Museum. A video of the same name will premiere at the 66 Cine Festival in downtown Kingman’s old Elks Hall at 8 p.m Friday night. "After my heart attack—while playing Wipeout at the Elks Lodge in 2008—I knew it was time to wrote a book about growing up on Route 66," says Bell. As his friend and fellow classmate, Trudy Peart, says "We all grew up on Route 66 and we are all a little bent."
Update: Here's a link to Bell's blog on the exhibit - enjoy!