Bob Hope Show and Specials
Color & B/W Videotape
In his 2014 biography of Bob Hope, author Richard Zoglin declares the comedian "Entertainer of the Century" and it's hard not to agree with the appraisal. Born in England near the dawn of the hundred-year span in question, Hope emigrated to the United States as a child and grew to become arguably the single greatest goodwill ambassador of his adopted homeland.
Hope was a comedian who excelled at delivering topical monologues and performing vaudeville entertainment in all its facets. He was a fixture on radio NBC from 1937 to 1953 and began a prolific movie career with his role in "The Big Broadcast of 1938" - the film that introduced cinema audiences to not only the comedian's famous ski-nosed visage but his signature song "Thanks for The Memory."
Ultimately it was television, however, that provided the forum for Hope's greatest impact and longevity as he brought his own mix of comedy and music into American homes from the infancy of the medium until the final decade of his incredible century-long life. Retro Video takes great pride in representing this treasured collection of fantastic performance footage for clip licensing.
Bob Hope bridged the gap between movie and TV stardom with greater success than virtually any other performer in history. He hosted the Academy Awards an astounding 19 times! (more than twice as many as the next guy - Billy Crystal) and headlined his own variety specials year after year. In addition to his own inimitable joke delivery, Bob became known for his snappy repartee with fellow comics (George Burns, Milton Berle, Jack Benny, Phyllis Diller, Danny Thomas, Jimmy Durante, Jonathan Winters, Phil Silvers...) and big-name guest stars like Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Steve McQueen, Ray Charles, Debbie Reynolds, Bobby Darin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Joan Crawford, Fred MacMurray and Bob's longtime on-screen buddy and rival Bing Crosby.
Other hallmarks of his TV specials include his annual presentation of the AP All-American College Football Team, reprising "Silver Bells" (the Christmas standard that was introduced in Bob's 1951 movie The Lemon Drop Kid), trading soft-shoe steps with the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. and always engaging in playful, double-entendre-laced banter with the sexiest female starlets of the day. The list is near endless, but includes: Marilyn Maxwell, Jane Russell, Elke Sommer, Angie Dickinson, Anita Ekberg, Joey Heatherton, Jayne Mansfield, Kim Novak, Ann-Margret, Diana Dors, Brooke Shields, Connie Stevens, Gina Lollobrigida, Virginia Mayo, Tippi Hedren, Barbara Eden, Betty Grable, Janet Leigh, Inger Stevens, Joan Collins, Dyan Cannon and his old "Road Pictures" leading lady Dorothy Lamour.
Bob regularly featured contemporary pop music superstars on his television specials including Culture Club, The Beach Boys, Duran Duran, Peaches and Herb, Irene Cara, The Village People, John Denver, Garth Brooks, Taco, Bonnie Tyler, Diana Ross, America, The Jackson 5, Nancy Sinatra, Donny and Marie Osmond, Johnny Cash, Smokey Robinson, Olivia Newton-John and many, many more.
Some people incite conflict and others run from it. Then there's Bob Hope who spent decades seeking it out and flying to it. He traveled the globe, with a ever-changing troop of fellow dedicated performers (often including bandleader Les Brown and comic foil Jerry Colonna), to entertain American troops involved in every military action from WWII to the Gulf War. These legendary USO shows were the basis of his annual Christmas specials which - unlike other such seasonal offerings - aired in January and chronicled the previous month's overseas yuletide merrymaking.
It's highly unlikely that we'll ever see another comedian rise to the level of Bob Hope's fame and stature. Retro Video is pleased to be the exclusive footage licensing company of the Bob Hope television archive.
Bob Hope Show and Specials Television Library includes footage of:
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