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Saturday, December 17, 2011


Thanks For The Memories…

O'Reilly Factor Tribute to Bob Hope

 Bob Hope Christmases with the troops

This is an awesome tribute to Bob Hope:


1967 ARC Identifier 64135 / Local Identifier 342-SFP-1848. Presents Bob Hope's annual USO tour of Southeast Asian military bases. Features Raquel Welch, Elaine Dunn, Phil Crosby, Barbara McNair, and Miss World, Madeleine Hartog Bell. Department of Defense. Department of the Air Force.

Bob Hope was always the star and began each show by strutting on stage with his golf club, firing off jokes tailored to each base. And he always brought the outstanding glamor star from back home. On the 1967 tour, actress Raquel Welch joined Hope on stage to add a few crowd-pleasing dance moves to Bob's rendition of "Dancing in the Streets."

One of the few constants of the Vietnam War—one eagerly anticipated by American troops, that is—was the annual Bob Hope Christmas Show. From 1964 to 1972, Hope included South Vietnam on his annual trips to visit troops during the holiday season, a tradition that started for him during World War II. "Back in 1941, at March Field, California…I still remember fondly that first soldier audience," Hope once said. "I looked at them, they laughed at me, and it was love at first sight."

Security was exceptionally tight for Bob Hope's first visit to Vietnam. Although the planners
had made intricate arrangements through the offices of Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) prior to his December 24 landing, there had been no official announcements or confirmation of Hope's visit. And the locations of all his shows remained secret. Even Hope and his staff never knew the name of the base they were to perform at until they landed. Reporters noted that plans for Hope's visits to different areas were more secret than those for generals or Cabinet officials. Troops who made up the audiences were never told who would be visiting until the last minute.

Hope and his entourage were given stern warnings from MACV. While some were routine for any overseas travel—avoid all water and ice because none was safe to drink, and stay away from all milk products—the threats related to terrorism were especially serious. They were told to stay away from windows in restaurants and in their hotel rooms, and to keep their drapes closed. And a final caution: Drop to the floor when they heard an explosion. In spite of the dangers, the shows went on, but the sound of aircraft overhead during a performance always brought a startled look from Hope.

In 1966, for the first time in many years, Bob Hope's partner and friend since the tours in WWII, Jerry Colonna, was unable to join the troupe after suffering a stroke. Nevertheless, Hope's company, featuring guest stars Phyllis Diller and Heatherton, left Los Angeles on December 16, and by Christmas they were at Cu Chi. Actress Chris Noel, who was asked by Hope to join the show for this performance, arrived on a chopper in time to join him and the troops for a traditional turkey dinner in the mess. Noticing some men precariously perched on tall poles before the show began, Hope asked during his opening monologue, "How did you get up there? LSD?"

The tenor of the Christmas tour of 1966 reflected changing attitudes in the United States regarding the course of the war, and Hope's humor didn't shy away from it. He reassured the troops that "the country is behind you 50 percent." He then added, "I'm very happy to be here; I'm leaving tomorrow!"

While Hope largely kept his personal opinions out of his on-stage performances, he spoke freely with reporters off stage. At one stop, he announced he was definitely "hawkish" and expressed his desire that the "United States would move a little faster to end the war."

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