On DVD is one of the most beloved entertainers of this century. In three very special television performances is “Bob Hope: Entertaining the Troops.”
Bob Hope (aka Leslie Townes Hope) spent 80 years in the business with a career that includes television, films and entertaining on the road. Of course he wow’d audiences in the theatres but his biggest audience would come in the form of our military troops.
Between 1941 and 1991, Bob Hope would pack up his own duffle bag and head out entertaining military personnel in over 57 USO (United Service Organizations) tours. It began in 1939 when Hope volunteered to perform for the passengers on the RMS Queen Mary.
Two years later, his first official USO performance was at March Field, Calif., and that’s practically in his own back yard. Hope would go global and travel during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Lebanon Civil War, Iran-Iraq War and the Persian Gulf War.
That is what an amazing human being does for his fellow human beings. For his service, Hope was awarded the Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy in West Point in 1968. President Bill Clinton signed an act of Congress in 1997 giving Hope Honorary Veteran status.
“Thanks for the Memory” is a song Hope became famous for on that first volunteer gig and made the tune iconic on every tour and to this very day.
Time Life brings this DVD that contains three television Christmas Specials, a rare, never-before-seen-released 1951 special from The Korean War Era, along with shows from 1970-1971 — two of the most watched shows in history!
Of course there are monologues with guest stars that come in at two and a half hours of Hope’s house calls of troop shows!
“The Bob Hope Christmas Special: Around the World” with the USA which originally aired in January of 1970 takes the 16-day tour through Germany, Italy, Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Guam and aboard the USS Ranger and USS Sanctuary. Connie Stevens brought her Wedding Bell Blues!
“The Bob Hope Christmas Special: Around the Globe” with the USA originally aired in January of 1971. Bringing Christmas cheer to West Point, England, Germany, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Alaska and aboard the USS John F. Kennedy in the Mediterranean and the USS Sanctuary in the South China Sea. Lola Folana brought song and dance while Johnny Bench swapped humor with Hope.
Also added is “Chesterfield Sound Off Time” that aired in December of 1951. The special was filmed during the Korean War aboard the carrier that included Hope and Connie Moore singing “I Wanna Go Home.” Hope brought his song and dance and command of humor — oh and the ship!
“Bob Hope: Entertaining the Troops” is just an amazing DVD to experience some of the best comedy by a man who has brought so much to us all. Yes, in theatres and on stage for sure but more importantly to our military service people who truly needed the laughs and good feelings from home.
I grew up watching Bob Hope through his film and didn’t realize until I was in my teens that he was part of the USO. Having family that fought over seas, it is so good to know that this wonderful man along with his crew brought something fine to those that served us all!
Time Life continues to bring stellar DVD products to those wanting to expand their home media libraries as well as introduce their families to a look at yester-year. Time Life captures the spirit of today that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
This is truly an amazing visit into the past of good entertainment that families can still enjoy today.