Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Where The Boys Are (hint: where jawbreakders are sold)

March 26, 2013
   Sometimes I'm kind of amazed at some of the people I've met who have impacted the world in ways I had no clue about. When I was doing freelance illustrations for Arizona Highways in the 1980s I attended a patio cocktail party at the editor's house and met the author Glendon Swarthout, who wrote, what became John Wayne's last movie, "The Shootist." I knew he also wrote "Bless The Beasts And Children" but I didn't know this: in yesterday's New York Times Magazine, they ran a feature called "Who Made That" and it said that in 1958 Glendon Swarthout, an English professor at Michigan State University, heard the student buzz about Easter Break at Fort Lauderdale. So, he tagged along, came back and dashed off a novel called "Unholy Spring" (kids used to go home at Spring Break to go to church), but Hollywood persuaded him to change the title to "Where The Boys Are." The resulting movie and the Connie Francis song doubled the amount of kids going in 1960, then it tripled and now it's in the hundreds of thousands and is a national rite of passage. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Speaking of history, I recently had all of our home movies and DVDs converted to CD and last night I was perusing one of the discs and discovered a driving tour of Kingman with my father, Allen P. Bell, in 1996, two years before he died. I basically drove him through Kingman and videotaped him as he showed me where he got his first job (a Shell Station across from Desert Drugs), the houses we lived in and all the businesses from the Stony Wold Motel, White Rock Court, Arcadia Court, Jade Restaurant, Branding Iron, El Trovatore, Hilltop Motel, City Cafe, Bells Motel, The Kingman Motel (being torn down as we drove by), Al Bell's Flying A, Mo Vaughn's Chevron, Whiting Brothers, the Felspar explosion site and several other classic locations that figure prominently in our Mohave County history. It's a little historic tour of Classic Route 66 sites. He gives some dates, like it was February 15, 1956 the first day his Flying A opened for business. And he puts the City Cafe at the mid-forties for being built and said it was one of the first businesses on Hilltop. He also told me he had to sneak into the Lockwood Cafe because if the cook, and owner, saw him, he would give him too much food. Ha.

The Coronado Court Market (at right, above) is where many of the Hualapais kids, like Squibe, Moon and Alex Nish, would stop on the way to school and load up on fireballs and jawbreakers (huge gum concoctions that would, well, break your jaw, because they were so big and so full of sugar a normal person would go into shock upon chewing one).

Whipped out a little study this morning based on the photo of Lee Anderson I took this past weekend at the Festival of the West.

Daily Whipout #499, "In The Corral"

"Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else's can shorten it."
—Cullen Hightower