(director/writer: Bill Daniel; cinematographer: Bill Daniel; editor: Bill Daniel; music: Tom Kerr; cast: Bill Daniel; Runtime: 56; MPAA Rating: NR; Bill Daniel Production; 2005)
One of the most enjoyable films I have seen in years.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Bill Daniel’s experimental documentary is about the search for the true identity of the world’s greatest boxcar artist. It follows the 100-year tradition of hobo and railworker graffiti, and has interviews with some of the railroad’s current hobo and railworker graffiti artists. It also calls to attention some of those legendary monikers that include: Colossus of Roads, The Rambler, Herby, Bozo Texino, Frisco Jack, Water Bed Lou, and Coaltrain. It’s one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in years; it captures some of the history of the hobo subculture from its 19th century roots in America and why it’s appealing for these featured misfits and outsiders to ride the freight train boxcars and not be part of mainstream society. And, also why there’s the need for the hobos to seek a nickname for themselves in their strange trip through life and to tag their monikers (or use another’s) on trains by mostly using wax crayons.

This lonely independent lifestyle of the hobo was researched by the freight riding Daniel starting in 1982 for some twenty years, and digitally edited from hours of 16mm and super 8 b/w film. Daniel was especially curious about a person withthe mysterious freight train tag of “Bozo Texino”, a character that’s drawn wearing a cowboy hat with a pipe who decorated trains for over eighty years. It concludes that the real Bozo Texino is possibly a railway worker from Texas, who no longer is around.

This curious look at a possible fading lifestyle and a colorful part of American folklore mythology, tells us more about Americans and their need for independence than most other films because it’s genuine and the filmmaking by the independent-minded filmmaker is spirited about getting the task at hand right.

Who Is Bozo Texino? Poster

REVIEWED ON 1/11/2011 GRADE: A      https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/