DES MOINES, IOWA — This Friday will be one last day to remember Al Bell in Iowa. Bell, a former WHO radio broadcaster turned world traveler, educator, film maker and entertainer who was known for traveling the schools of Iowa to present films he’d made.
Bell wanted to be his own boss, travel, and be an entertainer so he founded his own company to travel abroad and then present films of exotic worldwide and domestic trips he would make. He would then present them to 400-500 schools per year, and then make another trip in the summer.
“He was quite a character who just wanted to have fun and travel”, said daughter, Becky Bell-Greenstreet. “He wanted to entertain kids, and my mother having been a teacher as well said and let’s teach them along the way, and they went all over the world.”
As the kids got older they would often come along on trips and appear in the films.
“The deal with my mom, because she hated leaving us kids at home on the farm, she said we can go abroad this year but next year we have to stay within the United States where we can drive,” said Bell-Greenstreet. “So we went to Alaska, we went to Newfoundland.”
Bell would work tirelessly during the school year presenting programs. In the early days he went school to school just trying to sell administrators on his idea to present to students.
“Over the years when those little towns conglomerated, to combine or whatever, but he was actually doing four programs a day and just going from a little town to the next you know in 15 minutes over.”
Friday at 9:30 Bell-Greenstreet will be at the Iowa Historical Museum with some displays and will answer questions. From Noon-3 pm they will be showing Al Bell Films.
“I call them Al Bell film day at the museum and we were doing it every other year until we had the problem with the pandemic,” said Bell-Greenstreet. “I have decided because of my age and experience that I have done enough of these it’s really something wonderful it was a once-in-a-life experience getting to meet these hundreds of people.”