Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on May 2, 1993 · Page 14
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 14

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 2, 1993
Page 14
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U-2 — SUNDAY, MAY 2, 1993 Th£ JKIAn DAk.Y Bob Hope turns 90! Bob Hope today. EDITOR'S NOTE—The 20th century was just 3 years old when he was born, in a small town in England. World War I had not yet begun when he moved with his family to America. There's little in show business he hasn't done, few people as well known. Bob Hope turns 90 this month and he'll celebrate in his favorite style, with a television special. By BOB THOMAS The Associated Prass LOS ANGELES — Bob Hope strolls down the long hall of his Toluca Lake mansion with a hint of the dancer's gait he used on thousands of stages dating back to vaudeville. He shows some signs of his nearly 90 years now, but he remains the slick wisecracker who has conquered every entertainment medium. He enters his "playroom," sunny, elegantly furnished quarters with a few mementos, including a Norman Rockwell portrait of the comedian, his eyes mischievous, lips pursed as if ready for a timely quip. Hope's face today seems little changed. The skin is smooth and tanned from daily golf, the voice is strong and clear, the profile suggestive of the slopes at Aspen. Hope turns 90 on May 29, and he'll celebrate the way he likes best — with a television special. This one will be a whopper, three hours on NBC on May 14 with a multitude of stars and ex-presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George Bush, as well as Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hope has entertained every White House occupant from Franklin D. Roosevelt on. Hope's generally good health could be attributed to exercise: nightly walks, golf every day at the nearby Toluca Lake course ("Golf keeps you young — if you win"). Genetics helps; his English grandfather lived to be 100. One health problem has been Hope's eyes. "I've got a hemorrhage in the right eye now, and I used to have one in the left eye," he says. "I'm a walking hemorrhage." "He takes his ailments beautifully," reports Dolores Reade Hope, his wife for 59 years. "He is a model of acceptance. The toughest thing for him to accept is the eye problem; he doesn't seem to understand it. Otherwise he's like a prizefighter (which he briefly was). He rolls with the punches." She observes that her husband "seems to be automatically cutting down on his schedule, taking on less commitments." Yet he still undergoes travels that would be unthinkable for most 90-year-olds. Linda Hope, his daughter who is a television producer, comments: "He doesn't seem to be on the same kind of merry-go-round. But sometimes you wonder. On May 13, he'll get his fourth star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On the next day, the day of the TV show, he'll be in Noblesville, Ind., for a show. On May 15 he'll be in Rome, Ga., then on to Texas." Hope's history is part of the American legend: his birth as Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England, on May 29, 1903. The family's emigration to Cleveland, Ohio, when Bob was 4. Winning a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest at 10. His professional debut in a Fatty Arbucklc revue. Hope got into vaudeville in a dancing act with a partner, George Byrne. They added a few comedy bits, and soon Hope realized he earned more applause with his jokes than his singing. He launched his single act and proved so successful that he was booked for a 1927 Broadway show, "Sidewalks of New York." The show folded. Back to vaudeville. He remembers vaudeville with fondness: "It was fine, because you had an audience, and you could ad- lib and play around." Hope returned to Broadway for "Ballyhoo of 1932" and followed with the hit "Roberta." In the 1936 "Ziegfeld Follies," he sang, "I Can't Get Started" to Eve Arden. "Red, Hot and Blue," with Jimmy Durante and Ethel Merman, produced another hit song, Cole Porter's "It's De-lovely." The Broadway years ended when Paramount brought him to Hollywood for "The Big Broadcast of 1938," which starred W.C. Fields. The movie provided his theme song, "Thanks for the Memory," sung with Shirley Ross. Hope had appeared on radio since 1932, but he had never scored a hit until "The Pepsodent Show" in 1938. "I was No. 1 in radio for several years, and that helped the pictures," he observes. Hope's movie career soared after Paramount teamed him in 1940 with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour in "Road to Singapore." In March of 1941, Hope took his radio show to March Field. The response from the servicemen was Oak Manor School P.T.A. CINCO DE MAYO FESTIVAL May 5th, 1993 At Oak Manor School 5:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M. FUN • FOOD • PRIZES • MUSIC • AUCTION Public Invited FREE ADMISSION £$, - :^f &I^pMNQ'€l As he takes the stage &jams with ex-Faces pal, Ron Wood, A combination of both oldies his latest hits! Many of Hope's jokes still remembered Bob Hope's face has launched a million jokes in his long show business career. His most-quoted movie line came in the 1945 "Road to Utopia" when he and Bing Crosby found themselves at the bar of a Yukon saloon filled with grizzled sourdoughs. Advised by Crosby to act tough, Hope ordered his drink: "Gimme a glass of milk — in a dirty glass." (The joke reappears in the current "Cop and a Half.") Some of Hope's best humor has been delivered on his many television shows: "Being 82 is getting up in the middle of the night as often as Burt Reynolds. But not for the same reason." "That's America for you. They won't let kids pray in school, but they put Bibles in motels." May 5th at %'P I|*W^W*5 W 1^|W.%*1 » CENTURY CABLE Ukiah 462-8737 • Willits 459-2262 Ft. Bragg 964-6613 1060 N. State St., Ukiah CA 95482 "I see the Beatles have arrived from Europe. They were 40 pounds overweight, and that was just their hair " After John Glenn's orbit in space: "The flight made history. Imagine, an American going around the world without a checkbook. At the 1988 dedication of the Bob Hope Cultural Center in Palm Desert: "Naming a cultural center after me is like naming a monastery after Gary Hart." At his 82nd birthday show: "We decided not to light the candles this year. We were afraid Pan Am would mistake it for a runway." And: "I can* t quit show business. I've got a government to support." '• so overwhelming that he continued broadcasting almost exclusively from military bases until June 1948. His first long trip was to Alaska in 1942. The next year his troupe covered England, Africa, Sicily and Iceland. In 1944, he toured the South Pacific from Eniwetok to New Guinea, m-1945 he followed the victorious troops through France and Germany. "Those audiences were sensational," he sighs. "We always took a little help with us, like two or three gorgeous gals. They never complained about that." His travels continued over the years, to Korea, Berlin, Beirut, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, and every other trouble spot where Americans were stationed. Only during the Vietnam War did his reputation suffer. He supported the American troops he had entertained, arousing vitriolic attacks from: anti-war activists. The criticism stung and confounded Hope, who had never encountered negative publicity. "I've seen too many wars to say that war is beautiful," he says. "I've been in bum wards, and I've smelled burned flesh. I've walked through hospital wards where I had to grab the bed to keep my balance. The inevitable question to a man at 90: Will he ever stop performing? "I'm a kid," he jokes. "No, I won't quit as long as I feel good. I enjoy working and doing something. Playing to an audience gives you something to work on, something to do. I like it." Bob Hope a few years ago. h /1 <• i^^"" Grand Opening ^^^^^^^Sb^H^^^^^J^Jl SALE J ALL STORES CELEBRATE NEW LOCATIONS! 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