The Web     
Powered by
Return to Transcripts main page


Thanks for the Memories

Aired August 1, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, thank you for the memories. We pay tribute to America's favorite comedian, Bob Hope, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

BOB HOPE: How did you get to be so beautiful in only 20 years?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Bob. I think you're cute too.

HOPE: Those beautiful eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your eyes are nice.

HOPE: And that cute little turned-up nose.


KING: Thanks for joining us. Tonight we remember a wonderful man, a wonderful performer, and we'll do it in his own words. Over the years, I've interviewed Bob Hope many times. Tonight we'll look back at some of those special shows.

His remarkable career spanned eight decades, one of the most versatile entertainers in history. From vaudeville to television, he did it all. His favorite stage may have been also the least conventional. He loved performing for American troops. His USO tours criss-crossed the globe, from jungles to war zones, from World War II to Operation Desert Storm. And I asked him how all of that got started.


How did the entertaining of troops start?

HOPE: Well, I was doing my radio show at Sunset and Vine in May, 1941, and our producer, Al Cafstaff (ph), said, Hey they want you to go down to March Field. I said, Where is that? He said, Down the Riverside. It's an Air Force base. And I said, Well, what for? There's no war or anything. And he said, Well, they want you. And I didn't know he had a brother down there. And the next Tuesday, I found myself on a bus with Frances Langford (ph) and Skinny Yennis (ph) and Jerry Collonna (ph). And we went down there, and the audience was so sensational, I said, How long has this been going on? So we started doing them every week -- Camp Pendleton, San Diego Naval Base. Then we started moving around the country. We did it for five straight years. We did two shows in the studio in five years. And we were in -- the gratification was tremendous.

KING: Why are they better audiences, do you think?

HOPE: I don't know. I guess it's because they're stuck somewhere. You know, especially when you go overseas, they don't get anything. And, like, in Vietnam, I would take a show you couldn't get at the Hollywood Bowl. I'd take the Golddiggers and Les Brown and Miss World and -- you know, it used to be a sensational thing to just introduce the Golddiggers and stand back and watch the eyeballs switch around.

KING: Is it a bigger kick, entertaining servicemen for you?

HOPE: Oh, I think so. I like to entertain any audience, but I think that was an excitable thing.

KING: You've been in, what, World War II. You've been to the Korean war, Vietnam war.

HOPE: Yes.


And it's a little hot and humid here, isn't it. Hot and humid. Last night, my Right Guard got up and opened the window.


KING: We go to some phone calls. Encino, California, for Bob Hope. Hello.

CALLER: Good evening. My question for Mr. Hope is what brought about his first meeting with Bing Crosby? And could he tell that first time he met him that there would be the chemistry that would exist between them for so many years?

KING: Good question.

HOPE: We played the Capital (ph) Theater in New York, which was a big picture house. And Bing and I were featured. Abe Lyman was the orchestra. And we did three and four shows a day, and it got kind of boring, me just introducing him, so we started to ad lib, and we built up a couple of routines. Like, the president of the Pepsi-Cola company meeting the president of Coca-Cola on the street. We'd say, Hello, then we'd belch in the mike. And I'd belch again, say, Bigger bottle. I was Pepsi. And we worked up this routine.

Now, when I got out here in '37, Bing invited me down to Del Mar, and we did the routine down there. And somebody saw it and went right back to Paramount, said, You got to put these guys together. Boy, they were -- they didn't know that we had rehearsed it five years before for a couple of weeks. And we -- they had a picture called "Flight to Singapore," changed it to "Road to Singapore," and that was the start of the thing.


HOPE: Break it up, will you? Break it up!

CROSBY: Get away. I'm dancing my way into food for the winter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no! She has chosen you as a husband.

HOPE: You're practically out of circulation. That's the wedding march.

CROSBY: Well, get me out of this! Send for the Marines. What are you doing?

HOPE: I'm a decoy. Hey, make a break for it. Here comes Ferdinand!



KING: In retrospect, Bob, as you looked at it, what do you think was the magic with the two of you? Why did it work?

HOPE: I don't know, Larry. I think it was the fact that we had great respect for each other and we both understood how to feed each other. And it was more fun. I've never had that much fun anywhere making a picture. It was just -- and you never knew what was going to happen because we used to rat out on each other and steal a punchline before he was supposed to take it. He'd do the same thing to me. And it was a shambles all the way. It was fun. And the people knew what we were doing.


HOPE: Well, the name's Gridley, Princess, Harold Gridley. Sportsman, raconteur, polo player and all-around good egg.

CROSBY: Well, don't lay it here, huh?

HOPE: Welcome to Vattu (ph), gentlemen.

CROSBY: George Cochran at your service, your highness.

HOPE: The Continental?

CROSBY: Go, go, run! Play with the peasants. I'll take care of the royalty. Do you mind?

HOPE: Oh, me?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you always fight over girls?

HOPE: Well, what else can we fight over? We've never had any money.


KING: To be a good straight man -- and Crosby fed you greatly -- you have to be funny, don't you. I mean, Bing had to be a funny person.

HOPE: Well, well, you have to know. You know, you have to have a little experience in knowing how to feed somebody and how the guy would like to feed you. I do that. I can take anybody -- like, Jack Benny was a master. He could take somebody on a thing and just let them do dialogue and let them insult him, and he'd take a take and look at the audience and suffer and suffer. And he used to milk the audience. I always say that, you know, a lot of comedians milk an audience. He used to get chicken fat out of them.


JACK BENNY: Hey, fellows, would you please give me -- when I do my show, I mean -- will you give me the same lighting that you would give, let's say, Inger Stevens?

HOPE: Inger Stevens?

BENNY: Yes. We both have baby blue eyes.


KING: To San Jose, California. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Good evening, Mr. Hope.

HOPE: Yes, sir.

CALLER: I was wondering, of all the years throughout your career, if you could pick the single most rewarding or enjoyable year, which would it be and why?

HOPE: Well, I think -- I think -- I've had so many of those. And I think the most rewarding are the trips that I've made overseas. They're the most emotional moments in my life, just working for those troops. That was it. And I've been very lucky, but I consider that the top moments in my life.

You know, I can't spend the time, your time now, telling you about it. But the moments that I've had in those things, and the hospitals and things -- it's something else.

KING: You were nearly killed yourself, weren't you?

HOPE: That's right.

KING: Helicopter?

HOPE: No, no, no. No, they blew up the hotel on us in Saigon five minutes before we got there. And then the -- General Seaman (ph) of the 1st Division found a wire after they captured the rubber plantation, said the bombing of the Brinks (ph) Hotel missed the Bob Hope show by 10 minutes due to a faulty timing device. We were standing right there just about a half a mile away. I was sitting in a Jeep with General Joe Moore (ph), who was head of the Air Force. And we saw this big fire and a couple of sirens, and he sent a KP over there to find out what happened. He came back and he said, The hotel's on fire. He didn't know that they had bombed it until a few minutes later. And that shook us up. And from then on, they wouldn't let us stay in Saigon. We had to stay in Bangkok and fly in every day and do two or three shows, and right back to Bangkok.

KING: Now, you've entertained a lot where bombs are going off near you, right? You can hear firing in the background.

HOPE: Right.

KING: War is going on.

HOPE: Yes.

KING: How does that affect -- did it affect performance?

HOPE: Well, I was doing a monologue down in the southern part of Vietnam -- and now I forget -- anyway, it was for the 9th Division. And I was standing there, and they were bombing -- the Air Force was bombing a little island because there were some Cong on there, and they wanted to make sure that they stayed on there. So while I was doing the monologue, I could hear these bombs going, Boom, boom-boom- boom. Do a joke, and -- I'd say to the troops every once in a while, You're sure they're ours, huh? You're sure? And went right through the monologue. When we showed it on the air, you could hear that in the background.

KING: Were you scared?

HOPE: No, I wasn't really concerned because I didn't think they'd let me be there if there was that much danger. Those people -- those people, they wouldn't let the troops sit there if there was any kind of danger.

KING: Newhall, California, for Bob Hope. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. I'd like to say hello to Bob Hope because I never thought I'd even talk to him. And I was in the service, and I remember he was there when we needed somebody like him to kind of pull our spirits up. The question I want to ask you, Mr. Hope, is -- you've been around comedy a long time. Your influence in comedy, I think, has been -- is legend, in some way. What do you think about the comedy, say, 30 years ago and the type of comedy they're doing now, with, you know, abusive words and this -- a different type of approach altogether?

HOPE: Well, everybody's got their own kick. You know, I'm from radio, where we couldn't even say damn, or Kate Smith's trying to get her our moon over the mountain, you know? But today it's a little more sophisticated. And people do what they want to do, and they see what they want to see, you know? I just think it's a tough thing. But...

KING: Do you...

HOPE: They -- that's their living and...

KING: Do you not like it?

HOPE: They're entitled, you know?

KING: Do you not like it?

HOPE: Well, I like it because, I tell you something, I tell -- in the locker room, I tell some pretty raunchy jokes myself. But I can't do that, Larry, because I'm -- you know, I'm on television, like you are, and I can't go out and tell that kind of joke.

KING: We go to Bath, Maine, with Bob Hope. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, sir. Mr. Hope?

HOPE: Yes, sir?

CALLER: I would just like to thank you for giving me some very fond memories in 1968. I was in the Air Force. You was on Anderson Air Force Base, and I just want to thank you and your wife for a wonderful time.

HOPE: What was that, Guam? Was that Guam?


HOPE: Yes, right.

CALLER: Yes, sir. And you pinched my cheek, and you said, What a wonderful name. Thank you.



HOPE: Here we are in this beautiful wilderness called Nakan Phnom (ph).



Here we are Udepah (ph), the garden spot of Thailand.



Ladies and gentlemen, here we are in Incirlik, Turkey. Incirlik -- that's a Turkish word meaning, Don't knock it. It beats Vietnam.




HOPE: Thank you very much. Thank you. Here I am, the star for the top of your Christmas tree. That's what many viewers wrote in. They'd like to see me hanging from their tree.

Everybody's got the Christmas spirit here in New York. The pickpockets won't take your watch unless it's gift-wrapped. The real Christmas spirit here at NBC. They hung mistletoe all over the studio. Just my luck, the first one I ran into was the peacock.



KING: Our guest is Bob Hope. His 48th Christmas special this Sunday night.

What, Bob, makes a good special? In other words, when the performance is not on every week and you're seen, say, every two months.

HOPE: Well, actually, we have...

KING: What's a good special?

HOPE: Larry, we have a chance to sit back and think about it, you know? I mean, like, we worked on this special for about six weeks, got back from Tahiti and went right to work on this special, trying to figure out what was good. And we got -- "Crocodile Dundee" was big, so we did a sketch on that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're from Australia.

HOPE: Australia, you bet your blooming boomerangs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was there last year. It's all so beautiful. Don't you just love Sydney?

HOPE: No, not me. I'm not that kind of fellow.


HOPE: To figure out what we can do that will entertain and what's topical and what cast we can get that we'll really enjoy.

KING: Do you first do the premise and then get the cast, or first get the cast and then write around the cast?

HOPE: Well, usually, we go to work on the material, you know, and then try to get the cast you want or get the better cast or whatever, or however lucky you are.

KING: Always girls, though, right?

HOPE: No, no, no. Last year I had Emmanuel Lewis on the show, and I did a dance with him. And then -- I'd just like to repeat it any time. I had more fun with him. And we did "Miami Vice" last year at the Christmas show. And I've had the football team on. And this year, I got the Osmonds on, the new Osmonds, the new generation. And 15 years ago, I did the same number, "I Want a Girl," with the old Osmond group. I look a little gawky because they're from 3 to 11 -- Allen (ph) Osmond's kids, six boys, the most beautiful boys you ever saw. And I'm doing this same number with them. Looks a little strange.

KING: How, over the years, Mr. Hope, have you resisted the temptation for other women?

HOPE: Oh, I've had a lot of help with that. I've had to have a lot of mental help for that, you know? But I wound up with Dolores all the time, and you know, that's it.

KING: How long are you married?

HOPE: For 52 years, and I've been home three weeks.

KING: We go to some phone calls. North Augusta, South Carolina. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I read the Jackie Gleason story. Want to know, when he went out there years ago, did he win all them bucks off you out there that he said in the book?

LARRY: Yes, Mr. Gleason contends that he defeated you consistently at golf for big bread.

HOPE: Oh! I love John Bunny (ph). He's something else. I beat him not only at golf but at pool...

KING: Now, wait a minute.

HOPE: ... which he's supposed to be a master. And I took him over to my house, after I beat him at pool at Lakeside, and beat him for a little sum. And he will not admit it because that hurt him badly. But I used to play a lot of three-cushion billiards, and I just happened to have a hot day because I don't think I could beat him regularly, but I beat him that day. And my kids enjoyed seeing him. They applauded and all this stuff. And somebody asked him if I beat him at pool, he said, "No. My God, no."




JACKIE GLEASON: OK? You're just beautiful. Beautiful! In fact, you look sexier than I do. How come?

HOPE: Bigger grapefruit.


HOPE: He's a beauty.

KING: Storm Lake, Iowa, for Bob Hope. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, Mr. Hope. I'd like to know what great entertainers or comedians you chose to emulate when you first got into the business.


HOPE: Well, I watched a lot of them, but I don't think I actually consciously, you know, copied anybody. I used to watch Frank Fay (ph) and Jack Benny and Phil Baker and a lot of great comedians. Vaudeville had a different comedian on every show every week. And I didn't actually copy anybody, but some of that's got to rub off on you.

KING: You did have -- I guess you're aware of this -- a wonderful attitude. There was a Bob Hope attitude when he walked on a stage that was seemingly oblivious to everything. I mean, this was going to be just another easy night. Was that outward -- for example, inward -- are you still nervous when you do a monologue?

HOPE: No, I'm not. I'm only concerned, Larry, for fear that I'll forget something, you know, when I go to do a personal appearance. That's the only thing. And a lot of times, I do forget because -- especially because I try to do fresh, new things. You know, like, I did a whole routine down in Tampa over the weekend. And I said, I don't like what's going on in Washington because I hate -- you know, I hate it when the foreign policy is funnier than I am. And Congress is pretty upset because they hate it when things get screwed up and they don't have a hand in it.


I want to tell you, the last time I was in New York, I was at the Paramount Theater with Jane Russell. And here I am working for Frigidaire. A fellow can get pneumonia this way.


KING: One more call for Bob Hope. Mansfield, Ohio. Hello.

HOPE: Oh, that's my home.

KING: Home town. Go ahead.

CALLER: Yes, your home town. Hi, Bob.

HOPE: Hiya. CALLER: Hey, I'd like to know if you have any entertainers that you haven't been on stage with or you haven't done any specials with or movies that you'd like to do yet, you know, while you're still working.

HOPE: Yes. Oh, there's a lot. I'd like to have Dolly Parton. And Bo Derek doesn't answer my letters.

KING: You've never worked with Dolly Parton?

HOPE: No, I never worked with her.

KING: That would be interesting.

HOPE: I tried to get her a couple times, never -- but I've worked -- I've worked with most everybody, but I've always wanted to work with Dolly Parton. And Bo Derek I'd like to work with because she's a beautiful gal.

KING: And finally, Bob, what is the secret of your longevity?

HOPE: I don't know. Just trying to keep up -- keeping topical, I think, Larry, and feeling good. That's about all I can say.

KING: Except for the eye surgery, you've never had any major illness?


KING: Do you regard George Burns as an old man?

HOPE: No, sir, boy. He's a beauty. He's 91 years old. He just signed for five years at Caesar's Palace. With option.



GEORGE BURNS: I once had a chance to be tall, but I turned it down. Hey, you've only got one eye!





KING: You do not look -- you do not look 31 years older than me. Since you mentioned it, you were going to sell me -- Woody Allen on his deathbed, his grandfather sold him his watch. Are you -- do you resent when people write about how rich you are?

HOPE: No, not at all, because, you know, half of it is garbage. They came out -- "Forbes" -- I had a big, big fight with "Forbes" about coming out and saying how rich I was because they didn't know. And they sent a man out. They took me off the list, you know? I was one of the 15 most wealthy men or something in the country. And I said, Come out and look at the -- how dare you put that in? You know that when I was in Vietnam in 1970 or something, "Time" magazine came out and said I was worth $500 million?

KING: I remember that.

HOPE: And you know how they found that out? They asked a guy backstage at NBC who was sort of a -- just got -- knocked off a bottle of wine or something. They said, What do you think Hope is worth? He said, Oh, about half a billion dollars, and they put it in the magazine. "Time" magazine, you wouldn't think that would happen with "Time" magazine.

KING: No, you wouldn't.

HOPE: So I wired the editor, and I said, If you can find it, I'll split it with you, you know?

KING: Many have -- "Wall Street Journal" said you were the richest show business person -- as a person who's been salaried and employed all your life, you're the richest. Why do you get angry? Why even bother with it? Why call "Time?" Why call "Forbes"?

HOPE: Well, you can't because the next, you know, Greyhound bus pulls up to the house with 19 relatives. They eat the hedges. They try to get in the house, you know, and I beat them back.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) woodwork. Money was never your driving force, you told me once.

HOPE: No, not really.

KING: It was never your goal.

HOPE: Laughs. Laughs.


Would you know that when I started, Joe Namath wore men's underwear?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What can I do for you?

HOPE: Hey, what's with those ashes? What is that bit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't fuss. When I'm through with you, there'll be nothing left but ashes.



HOPE: I could let you have it between your eyes, but I see you've been punished there enough already.


KING: Do you still have a need to make people laugh?

HOPE: Sure. Sure, I do. I like to entertain. Sure, I do. That's my business, you know, as long as I feel good, and I want to do that because it makes me feel good.


Hey, I tell you, it's been a while since I've entertained servicemen. But Washington told me, If we can bring ships out of mothballs, why not you?


KING: It's a love affair with the laugh.

HOPE: I'll give you just a hint. I don't want to drag that thing out. But I feel better when I walk off the stage than I did when I walk on.

KING: Why is that?

HOPE: It's because it starts all your mechanism working, you know, your brain and everything, your blood and everything.


KING: They've gotten your juices flowing.

HOPE: I saw Jack Benny, oh, about 10 years ago at the Ziegfeld Theater, did a show there, you know? And I'll tell you, he came out there and he knocked that audience out. And I went backstage, I said, You love that, don't you? He said, you know it. You know it!


BENNY: Where'd you get all this loot?

HOPE: Well, I'm Santa Claus. These are gifts that I give to people all over the world.

BENNY: You mean, you're giving this stuff away?

HOPE: Certainly. Don't you believe in the spirit of giving?

BENNY: Ho, ho, ho!


KING: Do you know it's funny before you say it? HOPE: Well, you've got a better idea than anybody else, you know?

KING: It made you laugh.

HOPE: No, because you know from experience -- you know -- you know what's pretty funny. I mean, that's the whole thing. If you don't know what's funny, you better not be in the business.


HOPE: You've been trying to snare my job, eh? How many miles do you have? How many hours?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven thousand. How many hours do you have?

HOPE: Six hours, twenty minutes. How many miles have you flown?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven hundred and fifty thousand. And you?

HOPE: I went to Newark once. What size shoe do you wear?


HOPE: Twelve-and-a-half! Hah!


KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) what works in Toledo might not work in New York?

HOPE: No. No, it works everywhere, everywhere they have television, everywhere they know about the news. It plays everywhere.


HOPE: ... mass audience. And it used to be -- there used to be hick towns.

KING: Yes, I mean, there's no...


HOPE: ... you know, where they didn't have anything. Today, they all see the same thing. They all see the same news. They all know what's going on. You know, they know Rambo. They know So-and- So. They know Madonna with her new pictures. They know So-and-So and So-and-So. And every happening, they know what's going on -- the tax thing, the tax reform. And you know, when you get lines to throw at them along that line, they buy, I don't care whether it's Toledo or Podunk or anywhere. That's the audience today.

KING: What edge does Bob Hope have because he's Bob Hope?

HOPE: What edge?

KING: Edge.

HOPE: Well, it's just...


KING: Am I going to laugh because I know it's you?

HOPE: No, but they know your record and familiarity, and they laugh when you walk on. It used to be, when you played Vaudeville, acts could go 25 years. Jack Benny did the same act. George Burns and Allen did the lambchops for 25 years without changing a line on the Orpheum circuit. When they would come, people would say, Let's go and see them. They loved them. And they'd just sit there, knowing the act, and to watch them do it and laugh at every line, you know? That's the secret of it because they liked those people for what they did.

KING: OK, so they like you. You have a place in America. And you're aware of that.

HOPE: Well, they know from -- you know, from what you've done.

KING: Yes, but you change all the time. You're going to...


HOPE: I'm not talking about the material, but it's -- it's their relationship with you, their familiarity.


BOB NEWHART: I mean, how is it I'm gone one minute, I come back and you're kissing my best girl? How is it?

HOPE: Not bad.


KING: You've talked a lot but never in this vein. What is your -- and it's in the title, "My Lifelong Love Affair." What is your fascination for a game in which guys go out and girls go out and take little sticks and they hit a little white ball and it falls in the lake or falls on the sand? What is -- what is...

HOPE: I'll tell you what it is. It's the challenge. Outside of the health aspect of it, it's the challenge of it because you're playing yourself. You're the dummy. You're the dummy. You're the champ. And you get a kick out of it. You go out and play a pretty good round -- like, I was a 4 handicap when I was at my best, see, and now today, I'm an 18, you know? And I'm still out there fighting, trying to knock a score out around the high 80s or the low 80s. If I -- if I shoot a low 80, I order, like that, California champagne.

KING: What's the difference, say, between shooting pool? Well, there you got the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I mean, why golf? Why is that so consuming a game? HOPE: Well, it's just the game that is -- is played. You know, you -- it's hard to play baseball. You have to get a group together. But you can go up and practice a little while and meet a guy at the club and say, Hey, want to play a few holes, you know?

KING: You ever figure out how many times you've played golf?

HOPE: Oh, that's a good question. I never have, but I've played everywhere. I've played in a lot of countries.

KING: When you fly into a city and you're doing a show at night, and you're on the golf course in the afternoon.

HOPE: If I get in there in time, yes.

KING: Right.


HOPE: ... because I've always got somebody heckling me, saying, How about -- how about playing, you know? I'm going to Ohio now Friday, and already I got calls, say, Would you like to play the -- you know, golf in the afternoon?

KING: You'll golf in cold weather, in warm weather, in hot weather.

HOPE: I played in Korea, when we had to take snow off the greens to putt, you know, at Christmastime.

KING: Has it the same kick -- like, this Friday, you'll play in Ohio. Will it be a kick when you go into that clubhouse? You've done it so much. Is it still a kick?

HOPE: No doubt about it. It's the greatest every time you step on a course because you're playing yourself, you know? And it -- and it's sort of a -- it's sort of a challenge within yourself.

KING: Healthy? You mentioned healthy.

HOPE: Yes.

KING: Why is it healthy?

HOPE: Well, because it's great exercise. And you're out there every day, and you know, you play 18 holes. You run in, you get a shower and get a massage or something. You feel sensational because you've used all your limbs and all your muscles and everything. That's the greatest thing in the world.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is it I'm gone one minute I come back, and you're kissing my best girl. How is it?

HOPE: Not bad.


KING: We've talked a lot, but never in this vein. What is your -- it's in the title "My Lifelong Love Affair." what is your fascination for a game in which guys go out and girls go out with little sticks and they hit a little white ball and it falls in the lake or falls on the sand? What is it?

HOPE: I'll tell you what it is. It's a challenge. Outside of the health aspect of it, it's the challenge of it because you're playing yourself. You're the dummy. You're the dummy or the champ and you get a kick out of it. If you go out and play a pretty good round -- like, I was a 4 handicap when I was at my best. See and now today I'm an 18, you know? And I'm still out there fighting, trying to knock a score out around the high 80s or the low 80s. If I shoot a low 80, I order -- like that -- California champagne.

KING: What's the difference between shooting pool? Well, there you've got the direct opponent. I mean, why golf? Why is that a so consuming a game?

HOPE: Well, it's just the game that is played. You know, it's hard to play baseball. You have to get a group together. But you can go up and practice a little while and meet a guy at the club and say, Hey, want to play a few hole, you know?

KING: Have you ever figured out how many times you've played golf?

HOPE: Oh, God. That's a good question. I never have. But I've played everywhere. I've played in a lot of countries.

KING: When you fly into a city and you're doing a show at night, and you're on the golf course in the afternoon?

HOPE: If I get in there in time, yes.

KING: Right. You're golfing...

HOPE: Because I've always got someone heckling me, saying how about playing, you know? I'm going to Ohio now Friday, and already I've got calls saying, You know, would you like to the, you know, golf in the afternoon?

KING: You'll golf in cold weather, in warm weather, in hot weather.

HOPE: I played in Korea, when we had to take snow off the greens to putt, you know? At Christmastime.

KING: Is it the same kick? Like this Friday, you'll play in Ohio. Will it be a kick when you go into the clubhouse? You've done it so much. Is it still a kick? HOPE: No doubt about it. It's the greatest. Everytime you step on the course because you're playing yourself, you know? And it's sort of -- it's sort of a challenge within yourself.

KING: Healthy. You mentioned healthy.

HOPE: Yes.

KING: How is it healthy?

HOPE: Well, because it's great exercise. And you're out there every day, and, you know, you play 18 holes. You run and you get a shower and get a massage. You feel sensational because you've used all your limbs and all your muscles and everything. It's the greatest thing in the world.





HOPE: Nixon lives here in Whittier, California. They're so sure he's going to be president, they're building the log cabin he was born in.



HOPE: LBJ is going to visit all of our allies over there. He may be back the same day.



HOPE: Now, Ford is very down to Earth. He's been president now for two months, and he still swims in the pool. Not once has he tried to walk across it.



HOPE: Hearing about President Kennedy saying we should all drink milk. Milk? Maybe he's younger than we think, huh?


KING: How about public figures? you've dealt with so -- how many presidents have you known?

HOPE: About nine. Crosby said I knew Lincoln, but you know how he lied.

KING: Reagan. You've known him pretty well. Did you know him out here?

HOPE: Oh, sure.

KING: I mean, did you know him pre-us knowing him?

HOPE: Oh, sure. Sure. I've known from the time he was governor. He broke ground for us when he was governor at the Eisenhower thing, came to the dedication when he was governor.

KING: Are you surprised at his strength out of this thing?

HOPE: No, I'm just amazed at his showmanship and everything else, the way he developed. I think that this man has shown something to the political scene that's unbelievable. The showmanship that he's used, you know? And the way he's handled things. It's just marvelous. The economy, for the first term, the way he turned it around, you know?

KING: You're a big supporter.

HOPE: Well, I think I'm like any other American. Look at the landslide he had.


HOPE: Well, I hope I look that good when I'm your age.


KING: But you have to stay friends with all presidents. For example, if you had supported Reagan, and people generally knew you did, and Mondale had won...

HOPE: Yes.

KING: You're still going to be at the White House. You're going to be entertaining.


HOPE: And I've never done a complete show at the White House although I'm not complaining. It took some acts 12 years to make it.


KING: You've managed to keep friends on both sides of the aisle.

HOPE: Yes, because I don't -- I try to level when I do a monologue. I never try to be one-sided about it. I'll pick on the president more than I'll pick on anybody else.

KING: You can make a joke of the cancer thing too?

HOPE: Pretty tough.

KING: All right. But you..

HOPE: But you talk about him being in there, you know?

KING: Do hospitals...

HOPE: And about how Bush, you know, acted as president for quite a while. He took a nap, you know? And you do things around it. And, you know, the treatment he got, Reagan at the hospital. How many people got a mink lined bedpan, you know? And a lot of things. I got...

KING: Now what do you do? Give me a Rambo line.

HOPE: Rambo. Well, do you see him?

KING: Stallone.

HOPE: Clint Eastwood -- he made him look like a nun.


HOPE: I'm going to be an NBC seven times this year. That's two more times than Johnny Carson. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) season, I'm going to be on for Texaco. And I was their logical choice. After all, who has more mileage than I have?


KING: That's good stuff. You going to get laughs. This is going to be a joke to you.

Couple of other things I want to cover. We've got about three minutes left. Were you angry -- I sensed you were -- during the time of the Vietnam war when people racked you for going there and doing television shows?

HOPE: No, I wasn't angry. I was just at angry at the way some of the people were handling it, you know.

See the media has to be provocative. You know that. They have to.

KING: I've gathered it.

HOPE: They have to be provocative. They can't report all sweet news and everything. And they were saying in the front pages, they were saying Get out of Vietnam. Get out of Vietnam. You know? On the front pages. Kids were going, and they were defecting to Canada, you know? And you notice they pardoned all those kids afterwards.

KING: Yes.

HOPE: And they finally got around to the thing. If the politicians had stayed out of that thing, if they had given that to the military, we would have saved 3 million lives.

KING: Yes.

HOPE: Three million lives and about 50,000 of our kids and maybe another 200 casualties.

KING: Do you feel better now that the Vietnam veteran is getting a better deal?

HOPE: You have to, Larry. You have to be. Nobody -- you know, they went over there because they were sent over there, you know? And that was a dirty -- that was a dirty war.

KING: Have you been to the memorial...

HOPE: Yes.

KING: Washington?

HOPE: Yes. It's really something.

KING: How did you feel about this Kennedy Center thing?

HOPE: I like it. I like it. It's a nice thing.


RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Bob, they always say that a comedian is someone who says things funny or says funny things. And a comic is someone who says things funny. And you do both so well that you've got the right to decide which you'll call yourself.


KING: Nice thing.

HOPE: Breaks up the year. No, it is. It's a nice honor.

KING: You've gotten everything a country can give you.

HOPE: Been pretty lucky.

KING: You were born in Great Britain, though? Do you ever feel that tinge of loyalty to the crown, the place of your birth? Sometimes you think -- I mean, you are British, huh?

HOPE: My first command performance was to leave.

KING: You glad you didn't grow up there?

HOPE: That's right.

KING: Quick things. How good a boxer would you have been if you stayed with boxing? HOPE: I was known -- I really worked on a name. I boxed under the name of Rembrandt Hope I was on the canvas so much. I would have won the last fight, but the referee stepped on my hand.

KING: Were you good? Seriously, were you good?

HOPE: Fair. Fair. My last fight, a guy hit me so hard I bounced right into dancing school. Didn't miss a beat.

KING: Your big start was Broadway, right? You did the show, and that brought you out here? Did you ever go back and do theater again?

HOPE: No. I've been asked to do theater quite a bit.

KING: Why not? You worked so...

HOPE: Because why? Why? When you're doing television and out here doing the things you want to do. What for? You know, my god, we get a chance to do different things all the time. And I love theater. I love the stage. But they've asked me to do a lot of different shows, and I said no way. Wouldn't be interested.

KING: You're totally at ease with yourself, aren't you?

HOPE: I guess when I'm awake I am.

KING: You're happy, though? You're a happy person?

HOPE: What else?

KING: When I'm awake. Fame. One other thing. Last question. Everybody knows you. Not many people can say that. That they can walk down the street, and everybody knows that face.

HOPE: Yes. It doesn't help you.

KING: It doesn't?

HOPE: Especially when you're coming out of a motel.

KING: Have you gotten now so accustomed to it that it's just part of your...

HOPE: Oh, yes. I've had my face hanging out a long time. I did so many pictures and so many television shows.

KING: So you step on an airplane, and you know everybody's looking at you?

HOPE: That's right.

KING: And you just accept it?

HOPE: What can you do about it?

KING: Well, like Presley, he got removed from it, couldn't handle it.

HOPE: Who was that?

KING: Elvis.

HOPE: Oh, Elvis well, you know, you get some hysterical people. They probably climb all over him.

KING: You never had women jumping over you?

HOPE: No, not lately, not since last night.



HOPE: You drive, and I'll watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally going on your honeymoon?

HOPE: Am I? Yahoo. What do you want, a happy ending?




HOPE: As far as the real reason I'm wearing this little outfit is the fact that a lot of performers die on television. If that happens to me, I want to be prepared for it.


KING: Rockville, Maryland, for Bob Hope, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, gentlemen. I would really like to know what Mr. Hope's true non-sandbagging golf handicap is.

HOPE: You would bring that up, wouldn't you? I'm not happy about telling you, but I'm a 20 now. I was a 4 at one time, 1951. I played in the British amateur. So you know how hard it is for me to tell you that I'm a 20, but I am a 20, and if any of my pigeons are listening, that's just stuff for the television.

KING: We go to Chico, California, for Bob Hope. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Happy birthday, Bob.

HOPE: Thank you.

CALLER: I was just wondering what are some of your personal memories of the late Groucho Marx.

HOPE: Groucho Marx was tremendous. I had a lot of laughs with Groucho. I was on the victory caravan with him in '42. It was a train that went around the world and did shows to sell victory bonds. I tell you, he was beautiful. I just wish I had him taped.

We sat on the train one night in the club car with Cary Grant and Charles Boyer and Pat O'Brien and 25 stars and talked about -- and Crosby -- and talked about how we got started in show business. And with Groucho ad-libing all the way through it. It was beautiful.

KING: He was also very, very bright, was he not?

HOPE: He was marvelous. Just a great comic.

KING: To New York City with Bob Hope. Hello.

CALLER: Well, good evening to two of America's greatest natural resources.

KING: What a great observer you are.

CALLER: One a little overvalued and one undervalued. I would like to say two things. Mr. Hope, I loved you in the "Big Broadcast of 1938." It's time for a 50-year update of that movie. Did you ever work with one of my other favorites, Cary Grant?

HOPE: Oh, sure. Cary Grant and I emceed this victory caravan. I had him on my radio show. He was a good friend of mine, marvelous guy, very talented.

KING: Never did a film together?

HOPE: No, no. Not that lucky.

KING: We go to Tallahassee, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Perhaps no other person has been in a better position to see the progress of the American GI? Is there any difference between the GI's of my era and Vietnam, from -- to World War II to the present?

KING: Good question.

HOPE: I don't think so. Last Monday, I was up near the DMZ with Brook Shields and this little Gloria gal, from the Miami Sound Machine and we did a show -- went up there by helicopter -- and did a show for 3,000 GIs, and they're the same way. They love the gals and they love the jokes.


HOPE: Happy to be here. I don't know where the hell we are, but I'm happy.


HOPE: And they want to hear what's going on. They were just beautiful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOPE: Mini-skirts are bigger than ever. Even some of the fellows are wearing them. Don't laugh. If you'd have thought of it, you wouldn't be here.


KING: You notice no difference?

HOPE: No difference at all.

KING: Essentially, as humans are, we are the same, especially in that uniform.

HOPE: You're so right.



HOPE: How about me taking you home after the show?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unh-unh. My mother warned me about you.

HOPE: Your mother warned you about me? What does your mother know about me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You took her home once.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Pepsodent Show," starring Bob Hope.


HOPE: How do you do, ladies and gentlemen? This is Bob Hope. No, not yet, Charlie. But don't leave.


KING: When did you start on radio?

HOPE: In 1938. Actually, I started in New York earlier, 1934, but never could get going. "Woodberry (ph) Soap Show," first season, and then it was on with "The Hollywood Parade With Dick Pyle (ph)." That got it moving.

KING: You had a Broadway hit though, didn't you?

HOPE: Yes, sure.

KING: Is that where you introduced "Thanks for the Memories."

HOPE: No, no, no. I introduced "Thanks for the Memories" my first picture. That was one of the first...

KING: "Road" movies?

HOPE: No, no, no, that was one of -- "The Big Broadcast of 1938."


KING: Before we take a call, you're telling me that you played Gracey?

HOPE: Yes.

KING: Did you put on a wig and (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

HOPE: No, no, no wig. He wanted me to do the act, you know? Because everybody loved that act, the lamb chops, you know. And I said I can't speak like Gracey. He said, no, speak like yourself, just tell the jokes. So they threw a girl's hat up at me from the audience, you know, a little hat. And I put it on and I said, I hope Zsa Zsa doesn't think I'm a lesbian. Got a big laugh. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Seattle, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Calling -- first, one real quick comment. I know why you go overseas, because whenever you see an American overseas serving our country, it makes you profoundly proud. It certainly does me.

Secondly, my question had to do with the tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. last evening that I watched on television.

KING: They repeated it last night.

CALLER: It was really a glorious celebration. My question was, it seemed like their jokes were a little bit pointed, and I wondered if there had been any tension between you and Sammy during the life? Or was that just good joking or that sort of thing?

HOPE: We had a lot of fun. He was on my show many, many times. He's a great guy. I loved him.


SAMMY DAVIS JR., ENTERTAINER: I wanted you to be my guest.

HOPE: Oh, that's not necessary.

DAVIS: Well, I mean the least I could have done is come over to the table.

HOPE: No, that's not necessary.

DAVIS: I could have picked up the check.

HOPE: That's not necessary. I brought it with me.


KING: And there was no tension ever between the two of you?

HOPE: No, no, no.

KING: In fact, I think you were quoted as saying "he was the best entertainer you knew."

HOPE: The best. Absolutely. Absolutely. Wonderful.

KING: Wouldn't stop smoking, though.

Miami, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Bob, hi. I would like to know if you ever met Marilyn Monroe and what do you think of her?

KING: Oh, Marilyn Monroe. Toured with you, didn't she?

HOPE: Sure, I do. Sure. Absolutely. Had her on my show from Camp Pendleton, and there were 800 kids came down from Roosevelt's Raiders out of the mountains after the training. And she walked out, and she said, hello. That's all. They went right to the ceiling, and I was with them.

KING: Do you ever -- I know you don't like to deal with it, but I remember when Lucille Ball died and we were on together, do you ever think about longevity? Do you ever think about your own mortality?

HOPE: Why? Why should I think about that?

KING: I don't know. It's kind of normal.

HOPE: No, I just think about staying in shape and feeling good. You know. And it's a sad thing. You've got to think about it when you lose guys like Bing and losing Jim Henson and Sammy. You know, when all those people fade away it's just a -- everybody thinks about it. But it's going to happen. It's going to happen to us. You know, it's going to happen. Should happen. Here it comes. What are you going to do?


KING: Bob Hope was not a very easy man to interview. Very rarely liked to get into himself. He liked talking about things outside of himself. War things, politics, other comedians, entertainers, golf, Gleason, life around him. Didn't want to get into him. Sure wanted to get into you.

Always a pleasure to be in his company. We're going to miss him. Good-bye, Robert.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOPE: How do you do, ladies and gentlemen? This is bob, that wasn't my scotch that fell out of the plane, Hope. This is Bob, command performance Hope.

Here we are in West Berlin, gentlemen. West Berlin, that's a PX surrounded by Russians.

Here we are in Naples, one of the command headquarters of NATO. NATO, that's a Latin term meaning "get your cotton picking hands off my borders."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bob, why are men so crazy about sweater girls?

HOPE: I don't know, Judy. That's one mystery I'd like to unravel.

Some moon.




HOPE: Some grass.


HOPE: Some due.


HOPE: Thank you so much.



On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.