Two prominent Kingman figures named to Arizona hall of fame

Late actor Andy Devine and artist-author Bob Boze Bell, both whom had long and enduring links to Kingman, Arizona, and Route 66, were named to the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame a few weeks ago.

Late western author Zane Grey also was inducted.

The Kingman Daily Miner reported about the inductions a few days ago:

The Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, located in Scottsdale, was formed in 2002 to recognize the contributions of musicians, entertainers, venues and people who made a mark on the entertainment culture of Arizona. […]

“For both Devine and Bell, the recognition was well deserved,” said Jim Hinckley, a local author and Route 66 historian. “Their induction was an incredible marketing and promotional opportunity for Kingman.”

Devine was born in 1905 in Flagstaff, Arizona — another future Route 66 town — but his parents moved to Kingman when he still was a baby.

Devine became best-known as a character actor with a distinctive wheezy voice and appeared in 400 films during a career that lasted 50 years.

His parents owned the Beale Hotel in Kingman, and he said a mishap there led to his voice. According to an entry on his Wikipedia page:

Devine claimed that his distinctive voice resulted from a childhood accident in which he fell while running with a curtain rod in his mouth at the Beale Hotel in Kingman, causing the rod to pierce the roof of his mouth. When he was able to speak again, he had a labored, scratchy, duo-tone voice. A biographer, however, indicated that this was one of several stories Devine fabricated about his voice. His son Tad related in an interview for Encore Westerns Channel (Jim Beaver, reporting from the 2007 Newport Beach Film Festival) that there indeed had been an accident, but he was uncertain if it resulted in his father’s unusual voice. When asked if he had strange nodes on his vocal cords, Devine replied, “I’ve got the same nodes as Bing Crosby, but his are in tune.”

Devine’s best-known roles include being a sidekick named Cookie in nearly a dozen Roy Rogers films. He appeared in several John Wayne movies, including “Stagecoach” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” Devine also worked a lot in radio and television, including for comedian Jack Benny.

Here’s the hall of fame’s video about him:

Devine died in 1977 at age 71. Kingman’s main drag of Route 66 was renamed Andy Devine Avenue, and the Mohave Museum of History Arts there contains an exhibit about him.

Bell was born in Iowa, but his family moved to the Route 66 town of Peach Springs, Arizona, when he was an infant. They moved 50 miles west to Kingman before he was 10.

Bell became enamored of cowboy culture and played in many rock ‘n’ roll bands. He also showed talent as an artist, including his works showing up in national publications, and he hosted a radio show.

He bought True West magazine in 1999 and continues to serve as its executive editor. Bell told his life memorably through his words and art in the book, “The 66 Kid.”

Here’s the hall of fame’s video about Bell:

(Image of Andy Devine, left, and George Bancroft on “Stagecoach” by Insomnia Cured Here; image of Bob Boze Bell by Eric Vondy)

One thought on “Two prominent Kingman figures named to Arizona hall of fame

  1. I love Andy Devine. If I ever make it out that way, a photo op for me and my car on Andy Devine Ave is a must.

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