Linda Hope is the eldest daughter of legendary comic Bob Hope. A producer and author, she labored together with her father for a few years and produced the Emmy Award–successful 1993 TV particular Bob Hope: The First 90 Years. With co-author Martha Bolton she lately printed Expensive Bob: Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence With the GIs of World Struggle II, which acquired the 2021 Golden Scroll Award for memoir of the yr from the Superior Writers and Audio system Affiliation. Navy Historical past interviewed Hope in regards to the e-book and recollections of her father’s experiences entertaining troopers of the “Biggest Era” throughout World Struggle II.
Why did you assemble your father’s wartime letters right into a e-book?
What motivated me was the seventy fifth anniversary of World Struggle II. Dad was very concerned within the fiftieth, and I assumed this could be a great way to symbolize not solely him, but in addition the women and men he corresponded with over these years.
Have been there any significantly poignant letters, from him or to him?
One of many issues that involves thoughts was after I went with him on the Queen Elizabeth 2 to rejoice the fiftieth anniversary. There have been these great older males (of their 70s and 80s) who would convey outdated, considerably pale photographs with Dad within the very far distance to share with him. That individuals would hold these images for all these years simply to have him signal them if and when the chance arose—Dad and I have been simply so touched they stored them and thought of them amongst their treasures and keepsakes. It’s extra affirmation of the depth of his connection to the troops.
Do you recall any of your father’s letters dwelling?
Honestly, no, as a result of I used to be a toddler. I used to be born in 1939. Clearly, I actually don’t bear in mind letters to mom or us from him. I don’t assume he had a lot time for letter writing, to not point out I’m positive he was conscious of the time it took to get a letter to get again to the States in these days. It was a good distance from as we speak’s virtually immediate communication by way of laptop.
Did he ever categorical why he traveled the world entertaining U.S. troops in wartime?
Not in as many phrases. He by no means made a press release to me or the household. Nevertheless, he would say in all types of small methods what it meant to see the blokes, to be there with them and to exit to them the place they have been serving. He felt like a bridge between the troopers and their households or family members at dwelling.
Your father was generally known as the “soldier’s finest pal.” Why was he in a position to relate so effectively to troopers and their households?
It was as a result of his materials was so geared to them individually, in small teams and particularly to their space. He had a way of who they have been and what they have been going via, and he was by nature a pleasant man. He went to the mess halls and locations the place the troops would congregate. He would work together with them and trade tales and speak about their households and associates. The actual fact he was prepared to take some very huge dangers to be with them, in usually distant locations, made them really feel as if individuals again dwelling have been remembering them and their sacrifices. He was essential to them as a morale builder, in addition to a reminder of dwelling and what they have been combating for.
Did he have a favourite tour or vacation spot?
I don’t assume so. Every was particular in its personal means.
Did he ever check his comedy materials on the household?
Really, that was his model. He would run monologue materials by the household at dinner all through his profession. I’m positive he did the identical to some extent throughout these World Struggle II days, although as a result of he long-established every monologue to include as a lot native colour as attainable, he wasn’t in a position to run the whole lot by the household. As well as, bear in mind, the navy didn’t all the time let him know the place he and his troop of entertainers can be going.
Did you accompany your father on USO excursions? What do you recall?
Not throughout World Struggle II. I used to be a bit younger then. My brother and I did journey with him to Alaska within the Fifties. That was our first tour. It was Christmas, and he was invited by then Secretary of the Air Power Stuart Symington to entertain troops stationed there. We have been thrilled, as a result of as Californians the considered a “White Christmas” was very thrilling.
Do you’ve any private memorabilia from these excursions?
Not anymore. Most of what I collected referring to my father and his journeys was donated to the Bob Hope Archives and given to museums and libraries throughout the nation.
Which fellow entertainers did he most prefer to tour with?
Dad actually liked all of the women and men prepared to provide of their time and expertise to assist him entertain the troops. I do know he had a very enjoyable time with Phyllis Diller, who made many journeys with him. And, in fact, throughout World Struggle II there have been Frances Langford, Jerry Colonna, Patty Thomas and Tony Romano, his one-man band. They have been those who went to all the new spots on small planes, spending hours within the air. Bear in mind, it was 1942, and journey was not remotely like it’s as we speak, to not point out their lodging have been tents and swiftly put-together areas for them to calm down. The ladies who entertained had a very tough time, because the navy at the moment was not arrange in any respect for ladies.
Did you meet any of these entertainers? Did you acquire autographs?
Sure, I met most of them, and a variety of them signed scripts for charity auctions.
How did your loved ones, significantly your mother, really feel about him touring to battle zones?
Like every navy spouse, she was very involved for his security, and since she was an excellent Catholic, she lit a variety of candles and stated a variety of prayers. Nevertheless, she realized and emphasised with all her youngsters that what Dad was doing was essential, and that it was one thing he was uniquely gifted to do. My mom all the time informed us once we would complain about Dad’s absence that not less than I knew he can be coming dwelling within the subsequent few weeks, whereas so many different girls and boys had no concept when their fathers or brothers would return.
Your father was born in England, and his father and different family lived there throughout the Blitz. Did he categorical fear about their security?
I don’t bear in mind. My mother and father made a visit to the UK in 1939 to introduce mom to his household. He liked his U.Ok. family and used to go to them usually and invited them to go to right here within the U.S. many occasions.
In 1997 Congress made your father an honorary veteran of all U.S. armed forces. How necessary was that honor to him?
He used to say that to be included among the many women and men who gave a lot for the nation he liked was probably the most necessary honors he ever acquired.
Did any relations serve in uniform?
Sure. Dad was one in all seven sons, and a few of his brothers served throughout World Struggle II, and his son Tony served within the Air Power, and his son Kelly served within the Navy.
Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World Struggle II
by Martha Bolton & Linda Hope, College Press of Mississippi, 2021
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Did he ever categorical remorse at not having served in uniform himself?
Initially he did. He needed to enroll. However when he entertained the navy for the primary time—at March Area, Calif., on Might 6, 1941—it was clear from the expertise how starved the navy viewers was for leisure and what an distinctive viewers they have been. It was superb and thrilling for him. He was used to smaller studio audiences. Instantly, right here have been hundreds of men, and as soon as he heard the roar of their laughter, he was hooked. He additionally realized he had been given a present, and he felt it was one thing he was meant to do. This was confirmed to him by President Franklin Roosevelt.
Why is it necessary to recollect your father’s wartime legacy as we speak?
Greater than ever the spirit of that technology, aka the “Biggest Era,” is one thing we’d like in our nation as we speak. The willingness to provide of ourselves for the great of others sadly appears to have been misplaced. The generosity of spirit of these World Struggle II days is one thing that, if we may even get part of it again, would assist us via these tough and divisive occasions.
The impression my dad had on the households of the servicemen and servicewomen is in some methods much more vital as we speak. It wouldn’t actually be understood till years later when the kids, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of the troopers proudly associated tales of their guardian or grandparent having met Dad. These moments turned a part of their very own household historical past. Folks have proven us framed letters from Dad and nonetheless have them on show of their properties.
One of many extra vital legacies the households share even as we speak is about how Dad would relay messages to family members on returning to the States. Particularly at a time when listening to something from family members within the navy was not solely uncommon, but in addition usually not possible, Dad would relay messages that turned generally known as “the day Bob Hope known as.”
Do you’ve another recollections of your father you’d prefer to share with our readers?
I might simply encourage them to learn the e-book, Expensive Bob, as a result of they may be taught in regards to the spirit of the women and men who sacrificed, together with my Dad.