Skip to comments.THANK YOU BOB HOPE for all of our memories. Especially mine.
Posted on 07/28/2003 11:27:07 AM PDT by carlo3b
THANK YOU BOB HOPE for all of our memories. Especially mine.
Bob Hope, I will never forget you, because you touched my life at times that turned out to be some of my most important memories I have.
As a young boy while growing up in Chicago's Little Italy, we had a city wide art contest, that offered the finalists a chance to be awarded our prize on stage at the downtown, Chicago Theater. It wasn't an everyday opportunity to get a chance to go to the grand old palace, where you got to watch the biggest movies of the day, but also some of the greatest entertainers perform their crafts, live. That day, I won my scholarship and changed my life. I was awarded my ribbon during the intermission of, you guessed it, The BOB HOPE SHOW, and his ALL STAR cast.
When I went on stage to get my award I was escorted off through the back stage area, when I was greeted by the Man himself, a smiling gentleman, in what he made me believe, he was proud, so very proud, to shake my little hand. I'm not sure what had the biggest impact on me, that I won, or that it was possible to be thought of as important enough to honored by a genuine MOVIE STAR.
Fast forward %$^ years, and say hi to a shave tail, 2nd Lieutenant at Bunker Hill Air Force Base, a SAC base in Peru Indiana, when a plane landed with a gaggle of big deal Movie Stars, with the USO tour, that made an unscheduled stop on their way overseas. I was on duty, and was standing there when the doors opened and BINGO, there was BOB HOPE, smiling and cracking jokes as the beautiful girls walked down the latter. I can still hear the hoops and hollers as they walked around greeting those love starved red blooded American boys working the line miles for home. What a treat, I waited my turn to shake his hand as he made the rounds. With all the noise and laughter, it didn't seem like a place to remind him of our prior encounter, but it didn't matter, he was already my/our HERO.
That art scholarship enabled me to advance to a level that I could hone my skills as a costume designer, and get to the big show, Hollywood. There, I worked first as a wardrobe assistant, on some of the greatest variety shows of the golden age of TV. On one such show, The Red Skeleton Show, the guest star was none other than, BOB HOPE. What a moment, I was already in awe over meeting Mr. Red Skeleton, but when Mr. Hope walked in, bigger than life, I was almost paralyzed. I shook his hand and showed him to my little corner of the backstage area. As we walked, I mentioned that I had the pleasure of meeting him before.. he stopped and said, "don't tell me, you were the young boy that won the art contest in Chicago". Wellllllll, that did it! He made a big deal of this with the entire cast, and for that moment, I was instantly important, and however fleeting, he once again made an impression on me that was and is forever indelible... sigh.
Years later, and in a new and improved life outside of the Lights and Glitzy of Wonderland, I was the General Manager of a grand new hotel in downtown Chicago, when someone called my office, excited to say we had the pleasure of having BOB HOPE as a guest in one of our suites. I placed a call to the front desk and said if that suite requested anything that was out of the ordinary, I was to be alerted. I had a strict rule, that no one was to bother any dignitary, with request for autographs or anything, however tempting, without my prearranging an approval with someone in their entourage. So when the call came in to my room that Mr. Hopes suite was asking for a case of our finest Champagne, and hors d'oeuvers, to be immediately brought to his suite, it was about at about 9:30 PM at night, not a usual occurrence, I saw my chance drop in and say Hi, to an old friend... LOL.
I accompanied the order to his room, and I was shocked when he answered the door, and before I could catch my breath, and while I held out my hand to shake his, he grabbed it and pulled me inside and escorted me to the sofa in front of the TV. It was the moment that Astronaut Neil Armstrong, was about to take his historic step onto the surface of the moon. It turned out to be more that one small step for man it was a giant leap for my scrapebook.
Soooooo, can you believe it, I sat there in a suite with BOB HOPE, and watched the world change forever. That entire evening, I had the distinct pleasure of enjoying what turned out to be much more than an historic event, it turned out to be a wonderful memory in more than one way. It was indeed funny how he had a way of making you feel so special.
To you Mr. BOB HOPE, you gave us servicemen and servicewomen, a continued reason to believe that our country still loved us, even if it wasn't always clear, and you gave this lowly American a reason to think that even a devoted and still a star struck fan could fantasize enough to call you a dear friend. Thank you my dear friend, for all the memories.. May God Bless you.
Don't be - was well worth it.
Hope and Carlo - two class acts.
Would that we all had your fortune.
To Bob Hope.
The memories you provided to me from a childhood of watching you on TV listening to you radio broadcasts on Armed Forces Radio and the gentility of your demeanor will never leave this gentleman.
You made the world a little less cynical, and showed the world how true Americans can be.
Our prayers are with the family, but Bob is doing his best act for Him.
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