by Bill Daniel
Beginning work around 1982, Bill Daniel set out to explain travelling hobo culture and the origins of the mysterious freight train tag of "Bozo Texino", a person wearing a cowboy hat with a pipe. "Who is Bozo Texino?" is a film study on the 100-year-old tradition of hobo and railworker graffiti. Mostly shot on freight trips across the western US, the film includes interviews with some of the railroad’s greatest graffiti legends: Colossus of Roads, The Rambler, Herby (RIP) and the granddaddy of them all, Bozo Texino. The film also catches some of the socio-economic history of hobo subculture from its roots after the Civil War to the present day. Included are interviews with tramps that Daniel encountered in his travels. The range of the interviews, and the film’s style deal with both the clichés and the harsh realities of tramp life. In researching hobo culture Daniel found the written histories fraught with myth, and was initially frustrated by the apparent lack of verifiable truth to much of the lore. What we are left with is a fascinating little window capturing a slim view of the lifestyle, the nature of tagging, and the mysterious long-standing tradition of the seemingly larger-than-life Bozo Texino. Read an interview on Fall of Autumn! and another interview on Cinemad!