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Hells Bells: Bob Bell Texas Ranger or Ford Dealership Blowhard?

August 2, 2014

   I'm still cleaning and sorting in the garage. I know, I know, it's been eight weeks but it gets too hot after nine a.m. and, well, I get distracted.

   For example: this morning I found this framed photo in a dusty corner, behind a very large stack of layout boards for my many New Times pieces:

Texas Rangers, Company D

   This is the famous frontier division of the Rangers, and the price tag was still on it ($75), but what caught my eye is the caption. Turns out the first guy, seated at left, is Bob Bell.

   Well, this struck a chord because I was just thinking about all the Bob Bells I keep bumping into. starting with Bob "Bozo" Bell, the semi-famous Chicago clown who many think I stole my handle from. And, although it's tempting to think this is true, I didn't know about the guy until I was in college, about three years after I started using the name as a professional nom de plume. And, then there was Bobby Bell, the Kansas City Chief's lineman who later had a Bar-B-Q sauce called Bobby Bell's Bar-B-Q Sauce. Somewhere I still have a bottle of it (probably in the garage!)

   When I was finishing "The 66 Kid" book I discovered, in a centennial book about Swea City, Iowa, that one of the previous owners of the Ford dealership there was a guy named Bob Bell. It was Gabby Motors when my dad sold cars for them in late 1955, and I had never heard this, but it made me laugh at the way researchers I know find stuff like this and twist it to suit their nefarious and selfish uses.

   A certain Billy the Kid researcher found a census from the Bonita, Arizona area from the 1870s and jumped on the name William Kidd, and made the leap of imagination that this was, in fact, Billy the Kid (who at the time was going by the alias Kid Antrim and really wasn't known as Billy the Kid until almost four years later). Based on this logic, one can easily imagine some researcher in the distant future jumping on the Swea City Ford deal and spinning out a story about how Bob Boze Bell once owned a Ford dealership in Swea City, Iowa and this proves that he was not an artist but a cheesy, used car salesman. That, my friend, is only half true.

"The problem with this world is everyone is about half right."

—Bob Bell, former Ford dealership misfit

Views: 178

Comment by Ed Wager on August 2, 2014 at 10:39am

The "Texas Ranger" available at the Bob Bell Ford dealership in Swea City, Iowa

Comment by marshall swanson on August 2, 2014 at 12:31pm

Was just in Swea City a couple weeks ago.  I believe that Bell Ford bldg. is still standing

Comment by Bob Boze Bell on August 2, 2014 at 12:54pm

The last time I was there it appeared the showroom was leveled and only the cement slab remained. Or, are you being facetious, Marshall?

Comment by Ed Wager on August 2, 2014 at 5:00pm

Comment by Gay Mathis on August 3, 2014 at 5:25am

Ed, Bob Bell in MD and see this commercial: "Keep those clunkers rolling, rolling, rolling to Bob Bell"

Comment by Bob Boze Bell on August 3, 2014 at 7:00am

Gay, that is a fantastic parody of, well, me. You couldn't make this any funnier.

Comment by Gay Mathis on August 3, 2014 at 2:00pm

A video keeper.....:)

Comment by Bob Boze Bell on August 3, 2014 at 2:04pm

Yes, and it pays off the headline question: yes it's Bob Bell Ford Dealership Blowhard!

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