Thanks for the Memories
July 28, 2003 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Bob Hope passes way. Will there ever be another like him? Thanks for the memories Bob!
posted by da5id (68 comments total)
 
Do the police suspect foul play? Are there any leads?
posted by jonson at 6:57 AM on July 28, 2003


Probably a nice guy and all... But I never found him the least bit funny. Am I alone here?
posted by EmoChild at 7:02 AM on July 28, 2003


You will be soon!

This was my take on his last ten Bob Hope Specials:

Bob Hope - Dead Or Alive. What's The Difference?

If you didn't see the stuff from the early movies, yoiu don't realize how hot he was.

That said, wow, deja vu all over again. I was thinking, This has got to be a double post! when I read it.
posted by y2karl at 7:11 AM on July 28, 2003


No, emochild, you're not.
posted by turaho at 7:11 AM on July 28, 2003


One of Stern's minions just spoofed CNN. The caller got on as "Jean Perret," masquerading as a comedy writer for Hope. He then said something that will go down as the most vulgar, disgusting and inappropriate thing I have ever heard broadcast on television. Wow. Those guys really have no shame.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:11 AM on July 28, 2003


Let's see EmoChild... you're what? 19? Maybe as old as 24? Bob was 100. He's not supposed to be funny to you... he wasn't trying to be funny for you. But he was a whole more than just funny to a whole lotta people. You'd be advised to just tip your hat and move along.
posted by Witty at 7:12 AM on July 28, 2003


Only the good die young.

Bob wasn't very good. He was great. So long, ski-nose.
posted by bwg at 7:13 AM on July 28, 2003


His brand of funny doesn't really register with today's society. He's not crude, he's not sarcastic, he's not mean...

That doesn't mean he's not one of the best.

He's probably the last of the true legends of stage, TV, movies and radio.

He's also been a thorn in my side for the past 5 years for the various "dead pools" I've been in. Every year I chose him, and every year he hung on.

Of course, I didn't choose him this year...
posted by grum@work at 7:17 AM on July 28, 2003


emochild: I didn't find him that funny, either. Although my dad saw him in Vietnam and said he was really hilarious. Maybe he saved the good stuff for the troops.
posted by jonmc at 7:17 AM on July 28, 2003


My favorite Bob Hope Commemoration occured some time ago:
Our hero, Hal Incandenza, who is a junior at the Enfield Tennis Academy [E.T.A.] (high school) has been smoking a potent form of marijuana for at least a year or so. (This particular form of dope is called "Bob Hope" leading to the cynical rejoinder "abandon all Hope" for those who decide to quit using it.)
---From a fan of Infinite Jest. (Not to be confused with the Trading Card guy!)

posted by DenOfSizer at 7:20 AM on July 28, 2003


I just watched a documentary about Bob Hope last week, and it made me feel a sense of awe over how respected he was - for just being WHO he was.

Truly a sad sad day, and the end of an era. He will be missed.

*swings putter around*
posted by shadow45 at 7:20 AM on July 28, 2003


Witty, you are destined to be remembered as the great defender of all things Hope. From calling him "one of the greatest humans to ever walk the Earth" in the thread turaho links to, to leaping in and warning/ordering EmoChild to keep his benign opinions to himself and move along (after respectfully tipping his hat no less). Are you, in fact, related to Bob Hope? For the record, I'm with EmoChild, jonmc, aacheson & scarabic. Then again, I'm only 31, so maybe he wasn't supposed to be funny for me either.
posted by jonson at 7:21 AM on July 28, 2003


So, this Bob Hope... is he something you would need a telegraph to enjoy?

jonson: Witty does pretty much the same thing with Bush, so it may simply be that Witty is Ronald Reagan.
posted by stonerose at 7:24 AM on July 28, 2003


lupus - Ok, now I'm curious. What'd he say?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:27 AM on July 28, 2003


Where can I get the MetaFilter weather report?
posted by Eekacat at 7:31 AM on July 28, 2003


Civil: Y'know, this is the first time I've heard/read something that is so vulgar, tasteless and irredeemably nasty even I cannot repeat it. (I defintely would not recommend clicking here and searching for Stern.)

Uggh. I feel dirty just linking to it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:32 AM on July 28, 2003


Obituary posts linking to news sites are getting tiresome.
posted by dgaicun at 7:32 AM on July 28, 2003


Then again, I'm only 31, so maybe he wasn't supposed to be funny for me either.

I dunno. I'm only 32 and there's plenty of people from earlier eras(W.C. Fields, Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Shecky Green, Jackie Gleason) who I do find funny.

Humor is the ultimate matter of taste. But Hope did seem like his heart was in the right place.
posted by jonmc at 7:33 AM on July 28, 2003


I'm truly surprised that anybody under, say, 65 gives a damn about Bob Hope. Like Art Buchwald, he may have been funny long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, but not (I would have thought) in the memory of the vast majority of MeFites. Ah well, de mortuis nil nisi... huh? What was I saying? Hey, I was talking to Gerald Ford the other day, and I said "Pardon me," and he said... or was it... ah, the hell with it.

lupus, you know you're not going to get away with that. Come on, spill it.
posted by languagehat at 7:34 AM on July 28, 2003


"I hear he died choking on Howard Stern's ball sack."

I am so going to hell.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2003


EmoChild,
You know, I felt the same way until seeing the Paleface movies. They are the only work of Hope's that I have ever found funny.
posted by DragonBoy at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2003


CNN decided not to used the canned obit reported here in April. I was SO looking forward to hearing about his life as a Queen Consort. Sounds like a scene from a "Road to~" movie.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2003


oh lupus, you sheltered lil' thing. that isn't even the grossest thing i've heard yet today.

someone called up and told CNN that Bob Hope choked to death on Howard Stern's ballsack.

the real offense is that it's unfunny. it would've been a sweet opportunity to pay tribute to a comedian with some worthwhile edgy comedy, but Stern habituees aren't really up to that task.
posted by stonerose at 7:37 AM on July 28, 2003


I liked the movies and when he was caught uncensored from time to time, but I'm pretty much in the same boat as the rest. My mom wouldn't even give him that much, she just does not like him at all. My grandfather, now he's a fan, but then again he and my grandmother used to sing along with the Lawrence Welk family. He did a lot of good for a lot of people though and for that, fan or not, I can applaud him.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:42 AM on July 28, 2003


stern: lame, lame, lame

stern groupies: rashes on zits on protuberances on the butt of lame, lame, lame.
posted by signal at 7:42 AM on July 28, 2003


Bob Hope was funny: you've got to listen to his radio performances and see the movies. Certainly, at his prime and among his peers, he was one of the greats. Wit, charm and understated delivery are hallmarks of real talent. The television shows? Eh. The vaudeville stuff, a lot of which was also on the big screen and on the wireless? Super.

But I understand his detractors: The joke for joke's sake can grow thin, and if the comedian just seems like a delivery mechanism for sillyness, rather than a social commentator; well, it's not necessarily high-impact. I've always been fond of the well-crafted lines where the punchline is telegraphed only three or four words in advance, and then said with the same kind of glee in which you abandon all restraint in a food fight. It's not for everyone. But Bob Hope is in my comedy canon: Jack Benny, Bill Cosby, Lenny Bruce, Bob & Ray, Stiller & Meara, Richard Pryor, Burns & Allen, Woody Allen and Bill Hicks.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:53 AM on July 28, 2003


Although my dad saw him in Vietnam and said he was really hilarious. Maybe he saved the good stuff for the troops.

Actually, Hope got jeered at in Vietnam on a number of occasions during his USO tours there. His pro-war stance wasn't entirely popular with the troops.
posted by y2karl at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2003


Planetkyoto: Thanks for the link back to the CNN obituary. I hate to admit it, but when I heard the news on the radio this morning, I dashed off to the CNN web site to see if they'd employed the leaked design.

That would have been funny.

In all seriousness, it's a sad day for comedy. While Hope didn't exactly resonate with me, he can't be dismissed. More contemporary comedians owe him an incalculable debt.
posted by aladfar at 7:59 AM on July 28, 2003


In other news:
• U.S.: 'Noose Is Tightening' Around Saddam
• Second Rebel Group Attacks Liberian City
• Bush Making Appearance Before Black Group
posted by Outlawyr at 8:02 AM on July 28, 2003


jonson: "Oddly enough"... I didn't find him that funny either. But that doesn't surprise me enough to feel like I have to be the first person to pop into his obit. thread and let eveyone know. "HEY I DON'T FIND BOB HOPE FUNNY. LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME".

If the man were only known for his career with the USO, that would be enough for me.

Witty does pretty much the same thing with Bush, so it may simply be that Witty is Ronald Reagan.

Hooo haha... Try talking to me stonerose. I'm standing right here.
posted by Witty at 8:02 AM on July 28, 2003


Witty: we know people get emotional when someone they love and respect dies; but come on, this is a place for discussion. People put forward their point of view (numerous people: 'I don't find Bob Hope funny') and others respond (you and others: 'He's amazing'). Maybe if you told us why you think he's funny, or gave us some examples, it would help the thread along, instead of jumping on the heads of anyone who dares to criticise.
posted by humuhumu at 8:15 AM on July 28, 2003


One of my favourite funny Bob Hope moments is his cameo in "Spies Like Us". I saw that movie with a bunch of people and I was the only one that laughed at it. Then again, I was the only one in the group that knew about movies like this one.
posted by grum@work at 8:29 AM on July 28, 2003


I'll bet there won't be a big outpouring of tributes when Tom Green dies. Your children will truly scratch their heads over why he made you laugh. One of you will rise to his defense and call him a "comic legend". "Almost as great as Carrot Top!" No one will understand.

Hope was the funniest guy alive in 1940 and had a long, successful career that very few in the entertainment industry could ever hope to emulate (no pun intended). Just because some of you don't find him funny, doesn't mean that millions didn't in his time.
posted by briank at 8:32 AM on July 28, 2003


all right, all right, break it up...arguing in this thread about whether it's cool or not to find Bob Hope funny is like a fistfight at a wake, don't you think? if you're unconvinced, rent The Princess and the Pirate or Road to Utopia and see for yourself...quick-witted, clever, a little goofy, and still utterly hilarious.
posted by serafinapekkala at 8:37 AM on July 28, 2003


Hope is gone? There is no Hope? We're Hopeless? Quick, someone check on Faith & Charity!

Oh, shit.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:38 AM on July 28, 2003


Fr'example, here's one (was Hope a big joke writer? Or just mainly the teller? I always got the impression it was mostly the latter, but feel free to correct me).

To GI's in hospital tents:
"Did you see our show? Or were you sick before?"
posted by humuhumu at 8:41 AM on July 28, 2003


Forget the Christmas Specials, and rent Road to Morocco. It's funny. Very funny.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:42 AM on July 28, 2003


Maybe if you told us why you think he's funny, or gave us some examples, it would help the thread along, instead of jumping on the heads of anyone who dares to criticise

Alrighty then, in a nutshell (from the CNN obit):
He headlined in so many war zones, The Associated Press noted, that he had a standard joke for the times he was interrupted by gunfire: "I wonder which one of my pictures they saw?"
On preview, what serafinapekkala said.
posted by mazola at 8:43 AM on July 28, 2003


Maybe if you told us why you think he's funny, or gave us some examples, it would help the thread along

Jesus H Christ, you people really don't bother to read the opinions of those you disagree with on here, do you?

Witty said: I didn't find him that funny either.

He wasn't professing worship of Bob Hope.... just enough taste not to try to show his edgy coolness by pissing on about how un-funny he was in a thread about his death.
posted by jammer at 8:47 AM on July 28, 2003


anyone that famous must have been good at something.

fair play to him.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:50 AM on July 28, 2003


Always trust your car to the man who wears the star.

"How 'bout that air raid Wednesday? That was no air raid, that was John Barrymore coming home from W.C. Fields' house." (1942)

"And I just want to say, what a night - the furs, the jewels, the glamour. Looks like the opening of the Beverly Hills Taco Bell. ... I haven't seen so much expensive jewelry go by since I watched Sammy Davis Jr.'s home sliding down Coldwater Canyon." (1978)

The Library of Congress has seen fit to preserve some of Bob's bits scribbled on hotel stationery. It would help if you had a cigar to wag as you roll your eyes for the first gag. Also look down below at "mud, blood and kisses."
posted by planetkyoto at 8:53 AM on July 28, 2003


I'll bet there won't be a big outpouring of tributes when Tom Green dies.

No, just an increase in discussions on how one could get their head into the cow in the first place.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:58 AM on July 28, 2003


I hate to admit it, but when I heard the news on the radio this morning, I dashed off to the CNN web site to see if they'd employed the leaked design.

That would have been funny.

Unbelievably, they did use it.
posted by dayvin at 9:00 AM on July 28, 2003


Mixed. The radio and film comedies deserve all this tribute. But having come to adulthood during Vietnam, I can't quite displace all the pro-war stuff, along with the years of pimping for Texaco.

Cf. Suck's commentary on Hope from 2000, which is still pretty readable:

There's a little snapshot in horror Bob Hope recorded nearly thirty-five years ago, a rare concert album: "Bob Hope: On the Road to Vietnam." Taped right there in the rice paddies, from Bin Wa to Da Nang, it's a series of USO shows featuring the old ski nose joking live from Hell itself, Vietnam. "We're so close to the front," he told one crowd, "That when I sent my laundry out it came back with a fortune cookie in it!"

Yep, vaudeville for the VC. Did the joke make sense? Did it matter? After a day in the jungle burning villages and hoping you didn't get neutered by a landmine even that got some boff laughs. Or maybe it was Ann-Margret in the go-go boots and mini. Either way, "The Road to Vietnam" ranks with Bob's funniest work, if only for its sheer Brechtian blast of unreality in the midst of nightmare.

posted by palancik at 9:03 AM on July 28, 2003


*Reading Bob's jokefile* He actually makes a note of where he's gonna jab at Bing in his act.

"You should have seen the Christmas cards I got this year. I got one picture of Dorothy Lamour with her in a sarong on it. What a picture! You know how George Washington is looking straight ahead on the 2-cent stamp? Well, on this envelope he kept peeking over his shoulder." [On the joke card, Dorothy Lamour is struck out in pencil, and Marilyn Monroe in scribbled in. Sarong is lined out, and bathing suit is penciled in.]
posted by planetkyoto at 9:07 AM on July 28, 2003


Or maybe it was Ann-Margret in the go-go boots and mini.

Ann-Margaret in go-go boots and a mini could make Caspar Weinberger worth sitting through. Just sayin'.
posted by jonmc at 9:08 AM on July 28, 2003


people just don't get dry humor anymore.
posted by whatnot at 9:15 AM on July 28, 2003




Cf. Suck's commentary on Hope from 2000, which is still pretty readable

We have to be reassured that something written three years ago is 'still pretty readable'? No wonder we have trouble relating to a hundred-year-old comedian.

But thanks, palancik, that link is the best of the lot.
posted by rory at 9:34 AM on July 28, 2003


I kept thinking Bob Hope died awhile ago and that I remembered contributing to the thread for it, but when I searched I found the thread was to commemorate him turning 100. That thread was marred by some "I don't give a shit about Bob" and "Then why say so" arguments, but there were one or two interesting comments about Hope's relevance. I liked mine anyway :-)
posted by orange swan at 9:51 AM on July 28, 2003


Thanks for the century Bob.
posted by a3matrix at 10:12 AM on July 28, 2003


Hope was the funniest guy alive in 1940 and had a long, successful career that very few in the entertainment industry could ever hope to emulate (no pun intended). Just because some of you don't find him funny, doesn't mean that millions didn't in his time.

Exactly right, briank. (orange swan, you were right too.) Further evidence for Hope's impact on modern comedy comes at the very bottom of the nice link supplied by planetkyoto, from when Hope guest-starred on The Simpsons in 1992. How many near-90-year-olds (at that time) would be thought worth mentioning by the hippest show (at that time?) on TV?

p.s. In related news from the culture of my youth, Erik Braunn, the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida guitarist, died on Friday. 17 when the record was made, he barely made it to half Hope's age.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:17 AM on July 28, 2003




I'm continually surprised by just how witty and funny stars of the 1930s were....Bob Hope was a big part of that (it's unfortunate that we mostly know him from lame tv specials)

I also recommend the Road movies, and i think there is a "Big Broadcast of 1938" (or something like that) he's in that's hysterical.
posted by amberglow at 11:30 AM on July 28, 2003


I've read this thread and this thread, and I think a lot of clarity can come from distinguishing Bob Hope the man--whoever he was, we'll never know--from Bob Hope the cultural phenomenon.

I find the man heroic in that he lived through almost every minute of the 20th century. He had the good sense to be born near the turn of a century, so it's easy to figure out how old he was at each stage of the game. Like a lot of comedians, he seemed to have a dark side, a part of him that fed on destruction. That may have made him better suited to perform for soldiers during war. He deliberately and repeatedly maneuvered his career into alignment with war makers.

But now we're heading off into Bob Hope the cultural phenomenon.

To Bob Hope the man, I just say you had your deal with the world, and you held up your end of the bargain. The bargain you reached is your own business, and no one can accuse you of checking out early.

The cultural phenomenon the is Bob Hope I find repellent. Fair or not, Bob Hopeness represents everything racist and sexist about the war generation. (A profoundly wonderful generation, I must add). Hope's jokes were the verbal equivalent of a slide whistle while a skirt gets pulled up by a fishing line or a smiling black man takes a big bite of watermelon. I always found his humor alienating, but I'm a Gen Xer, so I guess that's part of my baggage.

But I support my right and the right of every other dissenter of the Hope phenomenon to post in this thread. Today we bury the man who gave the Hope phenomenon only part of its life. The Bob Hope phenomenon lives on in the collective mind of this country, and I think we could stand to learn from it and lose it.
posted by squirrel at 11:32 AM on July 28, 2003


squirrel: dont' pin those attitudes on Bob Hope. Like it or not, he grew up in an ugly world, full of casual racism, sexism, etc. He's a product of that, not some kind of ambassador of it. Maybe you're thinking of that horrible andrew dice clay person?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:55 PM on July 28, 2003


Fair or not, Bob Hopeness represents everything racist and sexist about the war generation. (A profoundly wonderful generation, I must add).

Other than being a profoundly racist and sexist generation, of course...
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:00 PM on July 28, 2003


Greatest Generation ever...
posted by Pollomacho at 1:08 PM on July 28, 2003


I also never found Hope to be that funny, but he deserves respect. He spent countless holidays away from his family, risking his life to entertain soldiers who were far from home and lonely. He continued to do it long after his fame and career were firmly established. He did shows for small groups of men in hospitals, he visited remote islands in the Pacific that no other USO show would visit.

Maybe you don't like the military and you think Hope's brand of patriotism is wrong, but consider this. He spent his most of his adult life doing what he believed in, for no other reason than because he believed in it.

Bob Hope is a man I respect.
posted by Bonzai at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2003


He spent his most of his adult life doing what he believed in, for no other reason than because he believed in it.

That's part of what I meant by the bargain he kept with the world. I respect him for it, too.
posted by squirrel at 2:29 PM on July 28, 2003


The plain truth is that Bob Hope was never funny after 1945. And no one here has the balls to admit it.

Hope innovated with a machine-gun delivery, double entendres and hiring as many good gag writers (including Larry Gelbart) as he could. He was truly a mainsteam comic for the 20th century: a man who turned comedy into a safe and smooth assembly line. A man who never offended, save those still shocked by the concepts of premarital sex or profanity.

Stack Hope next to W.C. Fields, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Lenny Bruce, Phil Silvers, Emo Phillips, Woody Allen, Mort Sahl, Richard Pryor, Jack Benny -- hell, even mainstream types like Jackie Gleason and Lucille Ball -- and, I'm sorry, Hope simply does not cut it.

A true artist transcends his time, tapping into universal feelings and human situations. Can any of you honestly say that Hope spoke to you? I sure as hell can't.
posted by ed at 3:49 PM on July 28, 2003


Bob Hope was and is still considered a legend among many (most?) of the military...to wit, example one and example two.
posted by davidmsc at 4:48 PM on July 28, 2003


ed, don't think we didn't notice you slipped Emo in there. ;^)
Can't forget Andy Kauffman, ( can forget Jim Carrey) and--you're gonna kill me--Bill Hicks.

*winces*
posted by squirrel at 5:41 PM on July 28, 2003


I always had a suspicion Hope was holding on so it could be noted that he lived longer than George Burns.
He made it - by ten days.
posted by wendell at 6:36 PM on July 28, 2003




He spent his most of his adult life doing what he believed in, for no other reason than because he believed in it

So, I'm sure, did Ed Gein. Singlemindedly doing what you believe in is not a virtue or deserving of respect per se; it has to be judged in the light of what those beliefs are. As others have said, I think he lost it post-WW2, and had become a dinosaur by the time his response to Miss World protestors was to accuse them of "being on some kind of dope".
posted by raygirvan at 3:06 AM on July 29, 2003


Obviously there is no difference between cannibalism and selfless sacrifice for the good of your country. I don't know what the fuck I was thinking.

Troll.
posted by Bonzai at 8:12 AM on July 29, 2003


Sheesh, I have to school you twice in one day, Bonzai.

Comparing a specific aspect of two phenomena does not imply that the two are indistinguishable. It's called abstraction, and yes, it requires the capacity for abstract thought. I don't think you actually inferred it that way, which makes you the troll.
posted by squirrel at 4:05 PM on July 29, 2003


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