Rebecca West: Words & Music

Taking the Show on the Road

by Bob West

During the time I was with the ad agency, I started my own business, working nights and weekends on a subscription clip art service for churches and other projects. After I began publishing Gospel Graphics, a how-to magazine about visual aids and design and production of church newsletters, I left the agency to establish Bob West Publications, Inc., and to do freelance graphic design, illustration, and production to fund my own publications. My primary clients were Walt Disney World and Green Thumb Corporation.

In the May 1976 issue of Gospel Graphics I announced the redesign and expansion of the magazine to include two major sections: Education and Graphics. The Education Section would feature articles on Radio and TV Teaching, Teaching in Print, Adult Education, Child Education, Curriculum, Class Preparation, Teacher Training, Techniques, Personal Development, Personal Evangelism, and Resource Center. The Graphics Section would include Design Procedures, Typography, Audio-Visuals, and Reproduction. Columns such as Feedback, Reviews, News, Editorials, and a Buyer's Guide would also be featured. The new magazine would be called Gospel Teacher. It debuted January 1977 and was published bimonthly.

Suzanne had completed college and was now married and living in Texas. David had graduated from college and was employed as a preacher for a church in another city. Robynne was away in college. Sylvia and I had an empty nest, and we decided to do some traveling to advertise and sell our products.

Bob and BWP van
Theophilus advertises GT on rear of BWP van
Bob poses beside his company's new 1979 Dodge Maxivan, which was a traveling billboard. It had custom interior with insulation, paneling, and built-in cabinets. There was plenty of room inside for all of the merchandise, advertising displays and fixtures. Bob's comic strip character, THEOPHILUS, appears on the rear doors.

Theophilus tells motorists and pedestrians in 19 states about Gospel Teacher during a trip we made from Orlando to California and Kansas workshops.

BWP exhibit, St. Louis

BWP exhibit with Sylvia, St. Louis

In this photo taken at the St. Louis Convention Center, Sylvia tells a visitor about our magazines, tracts, and clip art. A programmed audiovisual slide presentation explained the unique format, indexing, and purpose of GOSPEL TEACHER magazine.

At first our exhibit featured only our own publications. Later we expanded our space and included a wide range of Bibles and excellent Bible study and teaching materials. Our van transported these products and display fixtures to workshops and exhibits from Orlando to Tampa Florida, St. Louis Missouri, Henderson Tennessee, Searcy Arkansas, Wichita Kansas, Abilene Texas, Sacramento California, Denver Colorado, Detroit Michigan, Oklahoma City and Tulsa Oklahoma. The following photos were taken in the convention center during the 1978 Tulsa Workshop.

BWP Tulsa exhibit
Bob used an animated overhead transparency projected high above the exhibit area to allow THEOPHILUS to advertise GOSPEL TEACHER and draw visitors to his booth.

BWP Tulsa exhibit
In addition to back issues of GOSPEL TEACHER and Bob's other publications, the expanded exhibit space included a wide range of Bibles and excellent Bible study and teaching materials. Bob also programmed his Commodore PET computer with a Bible quiz (shown below),
which was especially popular among the youth.

BWP Tulsa exhibit

The experiences of Sketch and Honey Drawings in the following Theophilus episode twenty years later seem somewhat familiar. The responses Sketch is receiving to his magazine at the exhibit are identical to some of the feedback I received for Gospel Teacher.

Theophilus comic strip

THEOPHILUS comic strip 1998 episode: "Taking the Show on the Road"
Visit the Theophilus website by clicking here.

To be continued

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