Bob Hope; Hope to Soldiers

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Artifact: Bob Hope

Touring for more than fifty years Bob Hope brought to soldiers a reminder “of what they were fighting for,” (Hope). “Hope attempted to join the armed forces.  He was told he could better serve his country as a performer, building support for the war effort.  So he took a team of performers to bases around the country to perform his radio show,” (Zimmerman and Rael, VOA). His diverse acts, sometimes brash or sentimental, left the soldiers with an aura of American life. “The media dubbed him “America’s No. 1 Soldier in Greasepaint.” To the GIs, he was “G.I. Bob” and their clown hero,” (Bobhope.com).

Bob Hope took his Variety Show to the U.S. Soldiers. Wherever the soldiers were Bob would find them. His variety shows included monologues, celebrity appearances, specialty acts, skits, singers, and dancers.

“Bob Hope began most of his radio broadcasts with the words, ‘This is Bob [fill in name of remote location] Hope,’” (Library of Congress). The radio shows were performed/aired from the US “and theaters of war in Europe and the South Pacific,” (BobHope.com).

During the summer of 1944 he traveled over 30,000 miles giving more than 150 performances with Tony Romano, Frances Langford, Patty Thomas, and Barney Dean. “Bob Hope hopped from island to island in the South Pacific to entertain the troops. It was an emotional, as well as dangerous,” (Library of Congress) adventure. And later in 1964 he visited the troops in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The Cadet Records he sold back home made money for the United Service Organizations.

“Bob Hope was designated an honorary veteran for his humanitarian services to the United States Armed Forces by Congress. He is the only individual in history to have earned this honor,” (Library of Congress). Bob Hope ended up writing a book titled “I Never Left Home.” This was a book about his work entertaining the soldiers during World War II. 1.5 Million copies sold, was adapted to radio, and then was recorded as an album for Capitol Records. His theatrical works kept the soldiers fighting as it reminded them of what they were fighting for.

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By K. Marsh

Bibliography

“BobHope.com.” World Golf Hall of Fame. 2013.

Grow, George. “People in American.” VOA Special English program.

Lib. Of Cong. U.S. Govt. Web. “Bob Hope and American Variety.” 2013.

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