Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bob Hope, John F. Kennedy

"I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful."
-Bob Hope (born this date in 1903, died 2003

I miss Bob Hope! I grew up watching his television specials. There are several things I loved and miss. I miss that I could sit and watch him with my grandparents, my parents, and my younger siblings and not be embarrassed by what he was going to say or do. I miss that he was ACTUALLY funny. I miss that it was NOT insult humor! Our comedians today, for the most part are vulgar and cheap. Take a page from the masters! It is NOT necessary. Happy Birthday, Bob Hope!
Bob Hope is one of television's most renown comedians and actors. He also worked in vaudeville, radio, and film, and for the last eight decades has made audiences laugh at themselves, their contemporary culture and its foibles, their politics and politicians--and for his efforts he received numerous awards and accolades. He is perhaps equally well-known, and certainly equally applauded for his efforts in entertaining American soldiers overseas.Hope began his career in 1914 when he entered and won a Charlie Chaplin imitator contest.
He then made his way into vaudeville in the 1920s and his Broadway acting and musical debut in 1933 when he appeared in Roberta.
Hope moved to Hollywood in 1938 after appearing in several short films and on radio.

He made his film acting debut in The Big Broadcast of 1938
where he first sang his signature song Thanks for the Memory with Shirley Ross.
The Big Broadcast of 1938 is a Paramount Pictures film featuring W.C. Fields and Bob Hope.
Directed by Mitchell Leisen, the film is the last in a series of Big Broadcast movies that were variety show anthologies. This film featured the debut of Hope's signature song, "Thanks for the Memory" by Ralph Rainger, which Hope's character sings as a duet with Shirley Ross, accompanied by Shep Fields and his Orchestra.
The movie had many other stars of the era, a wide variety of acts ranging from the comedy of Fields
and Hope to a powerful performance of Ride of the Valkyries by Metropolitan Opera singer Kirsten Flagstad in full Brunhilde armor and winged helmet.
William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880– December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer.(ANOTHER AQUARIAN!) Fields was known for his comic persona as a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs, children, and women.
The film was Hope's first feature film, and was the final film under Fields' long-running Paramount contract, before he moved to Universal Studios to make his final series of films.
In 1940, Hope made the first of seven "Road" films, The Road to Singapore, with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. He became a showbiz wizard by playing on his rapid-fire wisecracking technique in the "Road" films that followed. The best known and probably most televised of these films, The Road to Utopia, was made in 1945. Hope regularly starred as a comic coward in caught in comic-adventurous situations, but he generally wound up winning the hand of the leading lady.
In addition to the "Road" films, he also appeared in many others.
He made his last "Road" film, The Road to Hong Kong, in 1962 and his film career virtually ended in the early 1960s. Hope was one of the biggest names in show business when television began to develop. Unlike some of his fellow stars, Bob Hope jumped into the new medium making his debut on Easter Sunday, 1950.
On a regular basis he was seen on two budget variety shows, Chesterfield Sound Off Time and The Colgate Comedy Hour.
In 1953, NBC broadcast the first annual Bob Hope Christmas Special.
These specials were usually filmed during his regular tour to entertain the troops overseas.
He also began a series of comedy specials for NBC-TV where he became known for his marvelous comic timing, his stunning array of guest stars, and his ease with both studio audiences and the camera. His guests regularly included top stars from film, stage, television, and the music industry.
As well, he was usually surrounded by Hollywood starlets and athletic figures.
His humor poked gentle fun at the world of politics, usually leaning toward the conservative. He also made numerous guest appearances on various comedy shows such as I Love Lucy, The Danny Thomas Show, and The Jack Benny Show where he was applauded for his wise cracking ability to throw new comic wrenches into already hilarious situations. In most of these situations Hope simply played himself, and his appearance as a guest star was a guarantee of a larger audience. His ability to make both the audience and his co-stars feel at ease in his presence, eager for the wry comment that would put a new spin on any situation, was performance enough.
In commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of World War II, NBC broadcast an hour-long Bob Hope special that chronicled the comedian's camp tours during the war. Hope, at age 92, narrated Memories of World War II.
The special was crafted from a video and CD collection originally produced for retail sales and added an additional 20 minutes of Bob Hope and his wife, Dolores(who celebrated her 102nd Birthday on Friday!), talking with friends and co-workers such as Charleston Heston, Dorothy Lamour and Ed McMahon about special photos and remembrances about the war, the entertainment, and their efforts to build and maintain morale. Many scenes extol Hope's comic abilities, patriotism, and human compassion.
The recollections range from outrageously funny to heartfelt to harrowing.
Still, some critics saw the special as self-congratulatory, inept, and awkward. Mike Hughes, a critic for the Gannett News Service says simply, "This doesn't mean Hope isn't a fine person. It doesn't mean the war effort wasn't worthy. It simply means that bad is bad, no matter the motivation." By this point in his long career Hope seemed, at times, anachronistic, a reminder of a different world, a different sort of television.
In spite of such commentary, Bob Hope remains an American institution in the entertainment world, quick-witted, wise cracking, and a master of comic response. He will be remembered as one of the foundational figures of U.S. television in the network era, one of the kings of television comedy.
-(Source: Gayle Pohl, http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection)


On this date in 1917, The 35th president of the united states, John F. Kennedy, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts.



On this date in 1943, "Rosie The Riveter" appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

These images and iconic figures are part of our history. So are the wars and strife, we ALL have endured in our Lifetimes. This Memorial Day weekend, Thank God for the Memories, both bad and good. They have made us who we are today. Thank God for the blessings we have and let's all take a moment...or two...and/or three and remember those who have fought for us, those who are fighting, and those who have been DIRECTLY affected by all of this which means all of us. We are ALL connected!
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