Today's step back in time visits one of the greatest entertainers of all time. He lived through major times of war and numerous conflicts, including two world wars, and tremendous change in the 20th century. Remembering this individual is perhaps remembering "the most popular entertainer in the history of Western civilization."
This Day in History: May 29, 1903
Should you not know who is dubbed "Mr. Entertainment" perhaps another title tip might be of help. He is also known as "The King of Comedy." Still not sure?
He was among the 20,000 vaudeville performers working in the 1920s. Many of these performers were, like himself, recent immigrants to America who saw a vaudeville career as one of the few ways to succeed as a "foreigner" in America. "I left England when I found out I couldn't be king."
He once said, "People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy," "No one party can fool all of the people all of the time; that`s why we have two parties," just to quote a couple. With so many comedians on stage and off, he fit the funny category like a glove. In other words, he really was funny without even trying. Le' Naturale!
The laughter was great but most importantly he loved to make people smile. "I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful."
His fifty-year commitment to public service has made him one of the most honored and esteemed performers in history. "If you haven`t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble."
Some 65 million people watched him perform for troops in Vietnam on Christmas Eve in 1966 in his largest broadcast. "They said I was worth $500 million. If I was worth that much, I wouldn't have visited Vietnam, I'd have sent for it."
He was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II."What an honor and what a surprise for a boy born in England, raised in Cleveland and schooled in vaudeville."When Bob Hope turned 100 on May 29, 2003, some 35 U.S. states declared it to be Bob Hope Day. He was revered by many, loved by all! He loved an audience, audiences loved him. He delivered one-line gags, he thrived on applause. His mastery of the comic monologue carried him to worldwide fame. His undying faithfulness to entertaining American servicemen far exceeds the effort of any other entertainer. The U.S. Congress declared him the "first and only honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces." He loved America, America loved him!
A Bit of Bob Hope Humor
Bob Hope died as a result of pneumonia on July 27, 2003, less than two months after his 100th birthday celebration. He was survived by Dolores (who died in 2011 at the age of 102), their four adopted children--Linda, Anthony, Nora and Kelly--and four grandchildren.
Thanks for the memories, Bob!
An era gone by. Why, oh, why don't we have entertainers of this caliber today?