Bob Hope – Does anyone remember?

Taken From Writer’s Almanac.

Today is Bob Hope’s birthday, born (1903) in Eltham, near London. His family moved to the United States when he was four years old, and he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. His first successful show-biz venture came at the age of 10, when he won a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest. By 1940, after working in vaudeville, Broadway, and radio, he was one of America’s most popular comedians. His comedy was verbal, not physical, and he usually played unsympathetic characters that the audience could feel superior to.

He never won an Oscar for his acting – “Oscar Night at my house is called Passover,” he once quipped – but the Academy nevertheless honored him five times, with two honorary Oscars, two special awards, and a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The Guinness Book of World Records named him the most honored entertainer in the world, with 2,000 awards and citations, including 54 honorary doctorates and a knighthood from his native England.

In 1941, he performed his first show for soldiers, a group of airmen stationed in March Field, California. It was the beginning of nearly 60 years of shows at military bases at home and abroad. Congress unanimously passed Resolution 75 in 1997 to make him the nation’s first Honorary Veteran, and he considered this his highest achievement.

He wasn’t universally adored, however. A few days after Hope’s death, author and journalist Christopher Hitchens called him “paralyzingly, painfully, hopelessly unfunny” in Slate. He skewered the comedian and his fans, saying, “This is comedy for people who have no sense of humor and who come determined to be entertained and laugh to show that they ‘get it.'” Hitchens closed his article by saying, “Hope was a fool, and nearly a clown, but he was never even remotely a comedian.”

Bob Hope died in 2003, two months after his 100th birthday.


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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2 Responses to Bob Hope – Does anyone remember?

  1. ShimonZ says:

    I thought he was funny.

  2. I also thought he was funny.

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