The Lemon Drop Kid

Damon Runyon and Bob Hope make a terrific combination in The Lemon Drop Kid (1951).  Based on a short story by Damon Runyon, the film is filled with the usual Runyon collection of colorful and humorous, unlike crooks in real life, gangsters.   Hope takes center stage as the Lemon Drop Kid, a cowardly and incompetent, in other words the personae Hope normally assumed in his film comedies of this period, racetrack tout.   He dreams up a scam involving the establishment of an old age home for old gangster wives and molls in order to pay off gangster Moose Moran the $10,000.00 he owes him, and to escape Moose having surgery performed upon him sans anesthesia.  In the end, nobler sentiments stir within him, and Hope foils the gangsters, saves the old age home and stages an affecting reunion on Christmas eve between an elderly gangster released from prison and his wife, Nellie Thursday, after whom the old age home is named.  Hope is ably supported by a superb cast including Lloyd Nolan, William Frawley and Marilyn Maxwell.  The song Silver Bells featured in the video clip at the beginning of this post, which has become a Christmas favorite, made its debut in this film.

Published in: on December 20, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Lemon Drop Kid  
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Bob Hope Show: Christmas 1945

 

Broadcast on December 18, 1945, the Bob Hope Christmas show for 1945 gives an interesting insight into America as it observed its first peacetime Christmas in five years.  Hope mentions product shortages in his jokes and in a skit the housing shortage comes up.  His guest star was actor Wayne Morris.  Morris had served as a Navy flier, shooting down seven Japanese planes and contributing to the sinking of five ships, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  He earned four Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals.  A rising star before the War, Morris never recovered from putting his career on hiatus during the War.  He spent the rest of his career mostly in low budget Westerns.  He died of a heart attack in 1959 at age 45 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Published in: on December 18, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Bob Hope Show: Christmas 1945  
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Bob Hope and the Mayflower Compact

Under the Julian Calendar in effect at the time, the Mayflower Compact was signed on November 11, 1620.  Under the Gregorian Calendar it was signed on November 21.

Few efforts at colonization faced bleaker prospects than those of the Pilgrims as they faced a bleak starving winter in a howling wilderness in November 1620.  It was therefore remarkable that they drafted an act to govern what all too many of them probably feared would be a settlement with the briefest of existences.  It showed hope for the future and a determination to prevail against all odds.  Here is the text of the Mayflower Compact:

 

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620

Published in: on November 21, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Bob Hope and the Mayflower Compact  
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Bob Hope on Thanksgiving: 1950

Bob Hope spent many holidays away from his home entertaining the troops, and in this 1950 Thanksgiving message he reminds us of those who stand guard over our nation and often eat their Thanksgiving turkey far from home as a result.  God bless and keep them and their families.

Hope had already been to Korea to entertain the troops, even beating the Marines ashore at Wonsan on the east coast of North Korea!  He would be back to entertain the troops again, continuing his tradition of service that would stretch a half century from World War II to Desert Storm.  Hope was a comedic genius, in his prime perhaps the greatest American stand up comedian.  However, what I remember him for is the true patriotism that caused him, whether a war was popular or unpopular, to endure discomfort and danger to bring a smile to Americans far from home serving their country.  He was born in England, but he might as well have been born in the heart of America on the Fourth of July. (more…)

Published in: on November 27, 2015 at 5:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Silver Bells

Something for the weekend.  Silver Bells.  Damon Runyon and Bob Hope make an odd but potent combination in The Lemon Drop Kid (1951).  Based very, very loosely on a short story by Damon Runyon, the film is filled with the usual Runyon collection of colorful and humorous, unlike crooks in real life, gangsters.   Hope takes center stage as the Lemon Drop Kid, a cowardly and incompetent, in other words the personae Hope normally assumed in his film comedies of this period, racetrack tout.   He dreams up a scam involving the establishment of an old age home for old gangster wives and molls in order to pay off gangster Moose Moran the $10,000.00 he owes him, and to escape Moose having surgery performed upon him sans anesthesia.

In the end, nobler sentiments stir within him, and Hope foils the gangsters, saves the old age home and stages an affecting reunion on Christmas eve between an elderly gangster released from prison and his wife, Nellie Thursday, after whom the old age home is named.  Hope is ably supported by a superb cast including Lloyd Nolan, William Frawley and Marilyn Maxwell.  The song Silver Bells featured in the video clip at the beginning of this post, which has become a Christmas favorite, made its debut in this film.

Published in: on December 13, 2014 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Silver Bells  
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Soldiers In Greasepaint

Bob Hope’s NBC radio special “Soldiers in Greasepaint” broadcast on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1943.  A salute to millions of brave Americans who were spending Thanksgiving a long way from home seven decades ago.

By the time of World War II Hope was 38 and too old to likely be assigned to a combat area.  He got around that by spending much of his time during the War entertaining troops in combat zones, occasionally coming under fire.  Hope’s genius as a comedian was a rare gift;  a willingness to spend it entertaining American troops was a worthy way of using that gift. (more…)

Published in: on December 1, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Soldiers In Greasepaint  
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Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memory

Something for the weekend.  The song Thanks for the Memory made immortal by comedian Bob Hope.  One of the great stand up comedians of all time, Hope was also a true patriot:

For fifty years Bob Hope entertained US troops, from 1941-1991, from World War 2 to the Gulf War.  He brought old jokes, delivered in an unforgettable style, beautiful starlets, and a touch of home to troops far away from home.   As long as there is a US military Bob Hope will never be forgotten.  I have had many veterans tear up when recalling attending a Bob Hope show in a war zone, a bright moment in a fairly grim period of their lives. (more…)

Published in: on December 29, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memory  
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Gettysburg Address: Halloween Edition

Hmmm, that is not quite the version I remember.  Speaking of zombies however, I have no doubt that the real Abraham Lincoln would have laughed at the following scene from the Bob Hope movie The Ghost Breakers (1940): (more…)

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Gettysburg Address: Halloween Edition  
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