Bob Hope traveled further and entertained more people than anybody. Looking over a list of his activites, Bob said: "If I had my life to live over....I wouldn't have time."
An Old Time Radio historian said: "Bob Hope traveled to frontline war zones to entertain American troops during FIVE wars, from WWII through Desert Storm in 1991. Speaking to our troops in the Persian Gulf, the 87-year-old entertainer questioned all the press America's new radar-invisible bomber was getting: "The stealth bomber is supposed to be a big deal. It flies in undetected, bombs, then flies away. Hell, I've been doing that all my life."
Bob was being chided by Bing for his expanding waist line. Bob said, "The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat are really good friends."
With the release of the new episode of Star Wars, I am reminded that Bob just missed out on a big role in the series as Fluke Sleepwalker.
In a recent interview, Bob's daughter said:"Growing up with Bob, he was so funny around the house," Linda Hope recalls. "A lot of comics save their humor for the stage."
Asked why Hope remained with NBC for so long, becoming as identified with the network as its famous peacock logo, his daughter had an answer that's perhaps not too surprising considering Hope's well-known love for golf.
"The (Toluca Lake) house was so close to the studio," she says. "ABC and CBS were much farther away. And he was able to be close to the golf course at Lakeside Country Club, where he could hit a few balls between (studio) setups. The Valley was a beautiful and rural place when Mom and Dad first moved there." With the age of 99 just weeks away, how is Hope doing?
"He's hanging in there," Linda Hope says. "Like any of us, he has good days and bad days. Some days we see a lot of the old Bob Hope, but otherwise he does a lot of sleeping."
She said the idea of Hope living to 100 "is something that really appeals to him," adding that he wants to beat longtime pal George Burns, who lived to be 100 years and 49 days.(note:Bob lived 12 days longer than George) In the meantime, Linda Hope says, "he's surrounded by people who love him and are touched by his sweetness and goodness."
Bob Hope likes to tell of an incident that occured to him one year at La Quinta and left him speechless - if you can believe it: "Players occasionally have to contend with these gusty desert winds. I hit a ball into the wind one day... but I shouldn't have watched it with my mouth open. I'm the only guy around here with an Adam's Apple marked Spalding Kro-Flite."
Incidentally, the toughest part of the course for me nowdays are the sand traps. It's not hard to get the ball out....the problem is to get me out, at my age!
Asked how he got started playing golf, Bob said: "During the Spring of 1930 on the Orpheum Circuit I'd be waiting around the hotel lobby in the late morning when the Diamond Brothers, another act, would come down with their golf clubs. They played every day. One day I said. "Well, Hell, I'll go out there with you." I've been playing the game ever since.
Bob said, "Golf is my profession. Show business is just to pay the green fees"
Bob said,"I set out to play golf with the intention of shooting my age, but I shot my weight instead!"
"I asked my good friend, Arnold Palmer how I could improve my game, he advised me to Cheat!"
Bob said, "I've played some strange rounds of golf in my travels. One course in Alaska was hacked out of the wilderness. My caddy was a moose. Every time I reached for a club he thought I was trying to steal his antlers."
Bob said, "The Scottish caddies are great. One old fellow at St. Andrews told me, "I had a golfer who was so lousy he threw his clubs into the water. Then he dived in himself. I thought he was going to drown, but I remembered he couldn't keep his head down long enough."
Bob played golf with eleven presidents. He never knew which course they were going to play until the Pres. hit the first ball.
Bob has played with all of the Hollywood celebrities, some were pretty fair golfers. For example: "Jimmy Stewart could have been a good golfer, but he speaks so slowly that by the time he yells 'Fore!' the guy he's hit is already in an ambulance on the way to the hospital."
One of Bob's favorite golfing partners is Gerald Ford, "the man who made golf a contact sport." "You all know Jerry Ford -- the most dangerous driver since Ben Hur. Ford is easy to spot on the course. He drives the cart with the red cross painted on top. Whenever I play with him, I usually try to make it a foursome -- the President, myself, a paramedic and a faith healer. One of my most prized possession is the Purple Heart I received for all the golf I've played with him. "Whenever I play with Ford these days I carry 13 clubs and a white flag. I try to win only enough from him to pay my extra insurance premiums."
Bob played with former V.P. Spiro Agnew, he said: "I was his partner one day at Palm Springs, although I didn't realize it until my caddy handed me a blindfold and a cigarette."
Bob, Bing, and Dorothy made several very successful movies that were called "The Road Pictures". They might have made more, but somebody lost the map.
The characters played by Bing and Bob were con-men who openly acknowledged to the audience that they knew they were in a motion picture. They defied Paramount to have them killed because they had a contract to do another picture. As the series progressed even the bad guys got wise to the action. For example, the patty-cake routine that Bing and Bob used to escape trouble didn't always work because the bad guys, too, had seen the previous picture.
Some movie stars were reluctant to make a move to television. Ed Sullivan's show gave some old vaudeville stars a chance to air their talents. Bob said: "When vaudeville died, television was the box they put it in."
Bob told the troops in the North African Desert: "Here we are in the desert. Nothing to drink. Water! Water! I didn't pass water for three days!"
Bob told the troops, "The California Chamber of Commerce is calling this one of my victory tours....they said it is a victory to get me out of the state!"
Hope stated that "I have performed for twelve presidents and entertained six."
As he celebrates another birthday on May 29th, someone asked,. "How does it feel to be almost 100, Bob?
Bob replied: "I don't feel old - I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap."
Last year Bob told the guests: "You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake."
"How do you look so good at your age, Bob?"
"I have a wonderful make-up crew. They're the same people that restored the Statue of Liberty."
Bob said: "My father told me all about the birds and the bees, the liar - I went steady with a woodpecker till I was twenty-one".
Early in his career, Hope emerged as a monologist. In announcing a coming performance at the theater, he burlesqued the announcement and told Scotch jokes with such success that he decided to be a solo performer. His business card red "Bob Hope: Monology and Eccentric Dancing."
W.C. Fields appeared on the program with Charlie Mc Carthy and Edgar Bergen in which Charlie and Fields had a running feud. Fields smuggled a saw on stage and, as a stunned Bergen looked on, finally cut his adversary down to size. "I'll always have a warm place for you, Charlie," Fields said. "Where?" Charlie asked. "In your heart?" "No, in my fireplace."
Bob told about going to the New Year celebration in Times Square one year. "Boy, was it crowded! It was so crowded that the pickpockets wouldn't take your watch unless it was gift wrapped.---One of 'em had his hand in my pocket, and I said, "What's the idea?
"He said, don't get excited...I'm just making change."
President George Bush speaking of the bombing of Pearl Harbor mistakenly said it happened on October 7, 1941. Bob noticed the error and kidded George by saying, "George is always prepared, always ready, in fact, he was ready for Pearl Harbor three months before it happened."
Bob told Jerry that he hoped they Navy would make a man out of his brother.
"Yes, it has helped a great deal to put him through Boot Camp. He has been sober for ten weeks. You know, Bob, before he got drafted he was known as the town drunk."
"Where did he live, Jerry?"
"New York," Jerry answered.
Bing was introduced on a G.I. Journal show as,"the man who Bob Hope claimed was Frank Sinatra's father."
Bing said, "I must take a moment right at the outset here to deny definitely that Frank Sinatra is my son....My kids were brought by the stork, not tied to the leg of a carrier pigeon."
Bob had met Bing about seven years before their first Road together. "It was love at first sight," says Hope. "We started to insult each other from the moment we met."
In the film, Broadcast of 1938, Bob's director told him, "Everything you do in pictures you do with your eyes..." "I took him at his word and acted my eyeballs out the first day of the shoot," Bob says. "If you get a chance to see The Big Broadcast check out my eyes when Shirley Ross and I are singing 'Thanks For The Memory.' I did everything with them except make them change places."
Jerry asked Bob why he hadn't won an Academy Award for his acting.
"Well, don't count me out, Jerry. I was walking down the street in Hollywood the other day when a homeless person asked me for money to buy lunch. I gave him fifty-cents. I looked around to see if certain members of the Academy had witnessed my generosity and might nominate me for the Jean Hershold Humanitarian Award.
Bob hosted the Oscars from the Santa Monica Civic Center. During the cinematography awards, a strange man suddenly rushes to the podium. Calling himself Stan Berman, he announces: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm the world's greatest gatecrasher and I just came here to present Bob Hope with his 1938 trophy." Handing a miniature statuette to actress Shelley Winters, he says "This is for Bob" and splits. Hope later quips, "Who needs Price Waterhouse? All we need is a doorman."
Joking about the fact that he has never won an Oscar for his acting abilities, Hope says that "Oscar night at my house is called Passover."
The commander told the executive officer of his unit, "I think we are going to transfer nurse Lt. Hot Lips"
"I think she is responsible for a strep throat epidemic".
"How do you figure that?"
"There's been a big an increase in sick call since she was assigned to duty at the dispensary. Half of the men are waiting to get her to swab their throats."
Jerry Colonna said, "Bob, I heard you used to box under the name of Packy East, why did you quit?
"I ruined my hands in the ring......the referee kept stepping on them!
Bob said, "With gas rationing, people are driving slower and we don't hear of so many automobile accidents."
Jerry said, "Car radios can cut down on car crashes, too, Bob"
"How is that Professor?"
Jerry said, "Turn the radio up loud...that way you don't hear the crash!"
Bob said to the "Professor" (Jerry Colonna), "Why is it that anytime I send you anyplace you always stop at the burlesque show?
Colonna said, "I like to help Mom blow up her bubble".
Bob said, "I should have never sent you in the first place....an imbecile could have done better."
Colonna said, "That's right, Hope, if you want the job done right....do it yourself!"
When Judy Garland first appeared with the show, Bob asked her:"Are you sure you'll feel at home on this program?"
Judy Replied: "Oh, yes, Mr. Hope...you should have seen the strange creatures I worked with in the Wizard of Oz."
The ship was delayed in coming in to port by a threatened strike by longshoremen. The crew listened for news by radio. Finally a news bulletin was issued: "The striking longshoremen have walked off the dock. Rescue operations are continung."
A sailor told Bob that sailors never forget their friends. He said an old shipmate was in a financial bind, so he helped him. The mate told him he'd never forget his kindness. An he didn't. He's in a bind again and he just called.
Navy kitchens are clean. One cockroach was talking to another one in a garbage can. As one munched, the other told him about the navy base he had just left. "You'd never believe it," the traveling roach said, "but the kitchens were spotless. Everything--the sink, the utensils, the counters---all were sparkling clean."
The other roach stopped chewing and said, "Do you have to talk like that when I'm eating?"
Jerry Colonna sent a message to the folks back home: "We are having a great time entertaining the troops in Hawaii. Incidentally, if you forgot to feed the cat, don't worry about feeding the fish."
Bob said, "One sailor told me the pretty nurse on his ward really knows her job. She takes our blood pressure and then deducts twenty points for "white dress" syndrome.
Sailors on shore leave spend the first 6 days of each week sowing wild oats, then they go to chapel on Sunday and pray for a crop failure.
Bob had Fred Allen as a guest on his show one time. Bob asked him why he didn't do more work in motion pictures. Fred said, "I have a face that was made for radio, Bob."
Bob had a long association with NBC. He said,"I've been with NBC so long. I was here when the peacock was just an egg"
Bob's troupe visited the Navy hospital ward. Jerry Colonna told Bob.."I was out with a nurse last night."
Bob said, "Well, if you behave, maybe they'll let you go out without one!"
A nurse was showing Bob's troupe through the hospital. Pointing to a special section of a ward, a group of young sailors, she said, "This is the most hazardous place for a nurse. These men are almost well."
Bob said, "Out here in the Pacific, they have typhoons and hurricanes that blow over 200 miles an hour. We have tornadoes and hurricanes back home, but I don't worry about them. The mortgage on my house is so heavy that nothing could budge it."
Jerry Colonna showed Bob a picture of his baby. "It's a good looking baby, Jerry."
"Bob! you're looking at the picture upside down!" Jerry exclaimed.
Bob introduced "Jerry The Magician" who prepared to perform his fake guillotine trick on Bob.
Jerry said, "If this trick doesn't work out, we will donate the brains to the Chief Master at Arms.
Bob said he played a round of golf with Admiral Nimitz.
"On the first tee, the Admiral topped the ball and it landed fifty feet away from the tee and three hudred from the green. I conceded the putt."
Jerry Colonna, playing "The Professor" when the USO troup was in the South Pacific was lecturing on Crocodiles:
"The female crocodile lays three million four hundred thousand eggs at one time. The male crocodile eats three million, three hundred and ninety-five of those eggs."
Bob asks: "Professor, why does the male crocodile eat all of those eggs?"
The Professor answers, "Because if he didn't we'd be up to our arm pits in crocodiles!"
Jerry Colonna got in trouble during the USO tour to Hawaii. He was caught chasing the Hula dancers with a lawnmower at a party for the show's cast.
Bob said that Jerry Colonna, the bug-eyed comedian and musician felt like he ought to register for the draft in the early days of the war. He asked Bob:
"Where do aliens from outer space go to register?"
Bob had a skit with Jerry Colonna, the "Mad Professor," in which he asked him:
"Professor, did you plant the bomb in the embassy, like I told you?
Colonna said, "Embassy? Great Scott, I thought you said, NBC."
Then follows a big explosion off stage with billows of smoke and debis onstage. That leaves Colonna standing there at the microphone with a singed script.
He asks, "Do we need to re-do that one, Bob?"
Bob said the Admiral was very supportive as he took his show into combat areas. "He promised to keep a supply of my blood type on hand, even if he had to kill the chicken himself"
Bob said, "President and Mrs. Eisenhower were given a new piano for the White House. The old piano that Harry Truman left had been worked on several times but regardless of what was played on it, it still came out, "The Missouri Waltz."
There were troublesome times in the early 1950's on the home front. Bob commented on the situation:
"Eisenhower admitted the budget can't be balanced and McCarthy says the Communists are taking over. You don't know what to worry about these days ... whether the country will be overthrown or overdrawn."
Click Here To See Members of Bob's Troupe
Click To Hear Bob Tell Jokes
A Bob Hope Christmas Broadcast
USA Today Salutes Bob
One Hundred Years of Hope....a PBS Tribute
Listen to Larry Webb's audio salute to Bob
More About Bob's Film Career
Tributes Pour In To the BBC
Saturday Evening Post's A Century Of Hope, Part 1
Superbowl kicks off Bob Hope Centennial Celebration Bob Hope Military Tribute News Hope To Receive Century Honor The Desert Sun..."A Century Of Laughter" Preview:"Bob Hope's Life In Jokes" Bob Hope's Online Joke File A Bob Hope War Time Christmas with the Merchant Marine Bob entertains troops in 1972 on Diego Garcia AARP Magazine Article
Bob Hope Military Tribute News
Hope To Receive Century Honor
The Desert Sun..."A Century Of Laughter" Preview:"Bob Hope's Life In Jokes" Bob Hope's Online Joke File A Bob Hope War Time Christmas with the Merchant Marine Bob entertains troops in 1972 on Diego Garcia AARP Magazine Article
Preview:"Bob Hope's Life In Jokes"
Bob Hope's Online Joke File
A Bob Hope War Time Christmas with the Merchant Marine
Bob entertains troops in 1972 on Diego Garcia
AARP Magazine Article