'Outrageous Arizona' stories captured in new Eight show

Make no mistake: Arizona’s reputation for spawning infamous characters is long and legendary – from brazen outlaws to lady bandits and self-promoting warriors, even corrupt politicians. Many of their stories are embarrassing, some are inspiring, but all of them are outrageously true.

Eight, Arizona PBS viewers will watch these history-rich, home-grown characters come to life in a new hour-long special, "Outrageous Arizona," premiering at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 16, on Eight HD (8.1 or Cox Channel 1008).

Eight co-produced the show with True West magazine. Here’s a preview of some of the dozen featured vignettes:

• Goyathla: A Real Yawner – Learn the story behind the famous Apache warrior Geronimo we never knew, from where he got his name to his shameless self-promotion during captivity.

• George Warren: Drunken Loser Lands on State Seal – Gambling away his one-ninth interest in Bisbee’s Copper Queen Mine, Warren died penniless yet ended up on Arizona’s State Seal.

• Pearl Hart: Lady Bandit – America’s only known female stagecoach robber was popular with suffragettes, then sent packing by Arizona’s territorial governor with whom she possibly had a fling.

• The Thieving 13th – One of Arizona’s strangest legislatures dates back to 1885, unmatched for its corruption when naming a territory capital, picking a university site and appropriating funds for an asylum.

• The Legend of Red Ghost – After the U.S. Army imported camels to test them as mounts, the Civil War spiked the project, leaving one escaped feral camel to reportedly terrorize Arizonans.

• Diltche: Frontier Woman – A White Mountain Apache grandmother named Diltche captured and sold into slavery in Mexico defied all odds to escape and through sheer determination return home.

• Tombstone: A Tony Town – Wine bars, coffee shops, ice cold beer, telephones? Turns out the rugged Tombstone we thought we knew had a sophisticated side even Doc Holliday and the Earps enjoyed.

“This unique show is a salute to Arizona’s well-known penchant for attracting outlandish characters, and it premieres appropriately during our state’s centennial year,” said Kelly McCullough, Eight's general manager. “You can’t make this stuff up, and we didn’t have to.”

Host of "Outrageous Arizona" is Bob Boze Bell, executive editor of True West magazine and a prolific western history writer and illustrator. Supporting each story will be photographic and illustrated images provided from the archives of True West.

Also contributing to the production are popular Arizona personalities Marshall Trimble and Jana Bommersbach. Trimble is the official Arizona state historian and a sought-after speaker and entertainer throughout the West, while Bommersbach is one of Arizona's most acclaimed journalists and historical authors. Both are contributing editors for True West magazine.

For more information, visit azpbs.org. Eight is a member-supported service and the public media enterprise of Arizona State University.