Monday, December 22, 2014

25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas: Day 22 - Bob Hope's Christmas Shows

Working on sending out one blog entry each day in December to showcase great Old Time Radio for the Christmas season.  Here is a link to all the entries.  Here is day 22 - Bob Hope's Christmas Shows.  There are a few people who are at the very top of the pantheon of old time radio.  A few days ago, I highlighted Jack Benny and will be covering Bing Crosby soon.  But Bob Hope has a special place at the top of old time radio performers.  Or for that matter, entertainers in the 20th Century.  Not only was he known for his movies (especially the road pictures with Bing Crosby), Bob Hope was one of the most recognizable figures on all mediums in the 20th Century.

If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#82). He has a number of great programs available throughout the month of December on his great show.  You can also get a large number of these programs at a variety or resources on the web. One place to find these shows is the 500 OTR Christmas Shows from the Internet Archive. This is a great resources for many of these wonderful radio shows!

143/365/1969 (November 1, 2013) - Hike to the M*A*S*H Filming Site (Malibu Creek State Park, California) - Friday November 1, 2013

M*A*S*H Filming Site (Malibu Creek State Park, California) - Friday November 1, 2013

When I was a kid, I remember the Bob Hope specials on TV.  They hit at all the big holidays, but they never made a big splash with my family.  Not sure why, but I cannot remember watching them as a kid - though I knew they were on.  Fast forward many years...and it is happening...I am growing to like Bob Hope.

And while I did not love his comedy when I was a kid, there was never a moment that I can remember not respecting the work that Bob Hope did entertaining troops.  In fact, Bob Hope wrote a book in 1944 called I Never Left Home about his experiences entertaining the troops.  In 1945, The Lux Radio Theater created a one hour version of the book, unlike the movies they normally played. Here is the episode:

Lux Radio Theater (January 8, 1945)

Summary: The accounting of his time entertaining the troops. Starring Bob Hope, Frances Langford, Tony Romano, Jerry Colonna, and introduced by Cecil B. DeMille.

Whether entertaining troops stateside, overseas, or in a veterans hospital, Bob Hope was very much aware of the sacrifice that these men and women were making.  It seems that he spent so many Christmas' away in the service of others, that he brings true meaning to the holiday.

Bob Hope Show (December 28, 1948)

Summary: This great show was delivered by Bob Hope in Berlin, Germany during the Berlin Airlift in 1948.  This was one of the many shows that he gave to troops both inside enemy lines and stateside.  His jokes were always geared to the soldiers, such as when he lamented than the Air Force makes him take an hour to get on a parachute, but they do not fly high enough to open a parasol! He presented the show with General Jimmy Doolittle, as well as Bill Farrell, Irene Ryan, Jane Harvey, composer Irving Berlin, & Jinx Falkenburg. This was his regular show sponsored by Swan soap.  The show features Bob's stand up humor, skits, songs (including Slow Boat to China) and some heartfelt acknowledgement of the sacrifice that these soldiers were giving for the war effort.  It was very well appreciated by the soldiers.

Bob Hope Show (December 25, 1951)

Summary: This show was performed on Christmas day at the Long Beach, California Veterans Administration Hospital.  While this is a partial episode, it is really wonderful.  He is joined by his Road Pictures co-star Bing Crosby (I will focus on him in a couple of days).  Bing did his share of shows for soldiers, but no one can hold a candle to Bob Hope.  Lots of jokes and a funny skit between Bob Hope and Bing Crosby as they are shopping the previous week for Christmas gifts.  They add a skit between the two about their younger days!

Thanks for the memories, Bob Hope!

Here are some links to programs relating to Bob Hope:
25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas:

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