Wednesday, September 21, 2005

September 21, 2005
Just before noon, Sheri, our receptionist, came on the speaker phone and said, “Paul Harvey is on the line for you. Do you want to take the call?” I thought to myself, No, it couldn’t be the real Paul Harvey, who’s syndicated on a thousand radio stations and is world famous for his “And now you know. . . .the rest of the story” stories.

It was the Paul Harvey. He is going to do a piece tomorrow on True West magazine. We talked for about fifteen minutes. His son, Paul Harvey, Jr. is a big fan of the magazine. He asked me how I got my name Boze and I told him the Kingman, running the bases backwards story and he laughed and said, “We’ll have to revisit that story sometime.” He asked me to name three Old West characters who perhaps weren’t quite what legend says they were. That was easy. I asked him if he still had a home up in Carefree. He admitted he does but that he and his wife also got a place down at the Biltmore on the golf course. It was too dead out here for him and Angel. He kept the house up here, but they mostly let staffers come out and use it.

So when you hear Paul Harvey tomorrow and your friends say, What was that all about? How did Boze score that coup? You can tell them and end with, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

Worked on a press release for the artshow and book premiere. Jana Bommersbach, my Blue State friend, helped me whip it into shape. In fact, here it is for your perusal:


"BLAZE AWAY! THE 25 GUNFIGHTS BEHIND THE OK CORRAL" by Bob Boze Bell not only features 120 original paintings and illustrations, but dethrones Tombstone's most famous resident, Wyatt Earp!

Both the book and its original artwork will be premiered from 7 to 9 p.m. September 30 at the Cowboy Legacy Gallery, 37555 Hum Road, Suite 101, Carefree, Arizona.

Finally, a book about Tombstone that doesn’t make Wyatt Earp the hero. In fact, the real hero of the town too tough to die turns out to be a blogger (or, at least a diarist who would have been a blogger had there been an internet in 1881). Yes, George Whitwell Parsons is the one who left us a real treasure with his daily diary which he faithfully kept for a half century. His insights into southern Arizona’s premiere boomtown and the Earp-Clanton feud provides us with a very unique and believable version of the truth. And in this book--Bell's sixth on the Old West--Parsons gets his due.

Told with blunt historical accuracy, Bob Boze Bell puts Wyatt Earp and the Tombstone troubles in its proper perspective. Utilizing rare primary documents provided by historian Neil Carmony, many myths and legends bite the dust in this no holds barred search for the truth of what really happened before and after the so-called Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

“A friend once asked me if there were any other gunfights in Tombstone besides the O.K. Corral fight," Bell remembers. "When I responded that there were actually quite a few, Bob Brink looked surprised. ‘Really,’ he asked, ‘How many?’ Off the top of my head, I reeled off a dozen. That’s when the concept hit me. What if I put the O.K.Corral fight in its proper perspective by chronologically listing other dramatic events that occurred from 1880-82? And furthermore, what if I gave equal attention to all of the other violent encounters, fleshing out everything leading up to the big fight and everything going out the other side? Now, we’re getting somewhere.”

But Bell also wanted this book to present more. “Another goal I had for the book was to authentically portray everyday life in and around Tombstone," he says. "It really wasn’t as primitive as legend would have us believe. For example, you’ll read first hand about drug addiction and overdoses, bad fashion and killer wardrobe (one poor sap died from having on checked shirt—talk about dressed to kill!), coffee shops (four), ice cream parlors (four), French food, imported wines from Europe, the best entertainment. telephones (yes, they had telephones in Tombstone in 1881!), a municipal swimming pool (1883) and their own stock exchange.”

In 1957 while watching the TV show “Wyatt Earp” starring Hugh O’Brian, Bell’s grandmother commented that Wyatt Earp was the biggest jerk who ever walked the West. Intrigued, the 11-year-old Bell made a vow to find out who the real Wyatt Earp was. After almost fifty years of study and two years of specific research, and 13 months of intensive field work (more than two dozen trips to Tombstone!) Bell says,  “I think I painted or illustrated everyone in Cochise County,” he says with a laugh. “There are at least 236 paintings or scratchboard of the characters I wanted to see. I approached this like a movie on paper. I wanted to see what happened and I wanted it to be accurate to the times.”

This is Bell’s sixth book in his Old West series and the second volume of Classic Gunfights, a feature he created for True West magazine in 2000.

To reach the author, call (480) 575-1881. Also check out BBB’s daily blog (at, where he tracked the daily travails of putting out the book.

To reach the Cowboy Legacy Gallery, call (480) 595-8999

”Picking the right leader is the most important task of any commander. I line up all of the candidates and give them a problem. I say, ‘Men, I want a trench dug behind Warehouse No. 10; make this trench 8 feet long, 3 feet wide and 6 inches deep.’ That's all I tell them. While the candidates get their tools, I get inside the warehouse and watch them through the knotholes. The men puzzle over why I want such a shallow trench; they argue over the depth; they complain about the job; they gripe that it is too hot or too cold to dig; they complain that they are being asked to do such lowly labor. Finally, one man will order, ‘What difference does it make what the old [so-and-so] wants to do with this trench. Let's get it dug and let's get out of here.’ And that's the man who gets the promotion. There's only one rule -- pick the man who can get the job done!”
—General George S. Patton

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