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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Hawai'i was a favorite setting for Hope's shows

 • Comic was 'standard-bearer'
 • Hope's USO shows took troops back home for a day
 • Bob's jokes

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor

TV tributes

Some TV networks responded instantly to yesterday's news of Bob Hope's death. Two cable channels juggled their lineups to add two-hour specials yesterday and A&E inserted its "Biography" profile of Bob Hope. Bravo used NBC's recent Emmy-nominated "100 Years of Hope and Humor."

Meanwhile, two classic-movie channels are scheduling Hope marathons for Thursday (times listed are EDT; check local listings):


"Bob Hope: The Road to the Top" (1998 documentary), 7:10 a.m.

"How To Commit Marriage" (1969), 8 a.m.

"Paris Holiday" (1958), 10:05 a.m.

"The Road to Bali" (1952), 12:15 p.m.

"Seven Little Foys" (1955), 2:10 p.m.

"Son of Paleface" (1952), 4:05 p.m.

"The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell" (1968), 6:05 p.m.

• Turner Classic Movies

"The Road to Hong Kong" (1962),11 a.m.

"A Global Affair" (1964), 1 p.m.

"Call Me Bwana" (1963), 2:30 p.m.

"I'll Take Sweden" (1965), 4:15 p.m.

"Bachelor in Paradise" (1961), 6 p.m.
Comedian Bob Hope had a long love affair with Hawai'i since the 1940s, performing for soldiers and sailors during war and peace time, helping to open a hotel and taping his TV specials here.

He also paused in the Islands, during many hops overseas, to bring cheer to the men and women in uniform, usually with a galaxy of stars in tow.

When he headlined an opening gala in May 1972 at Del Webb's Kuilima Resort (now the Turtle Bay Resort) in Kahuku, his extravaganza played like a USO tour show, with such folks as Jim Nabors, Connie Stevens, Jane Russell, Edgar Bergen and Minnie Pearl sharing the limelight.

He also attracted a host of notable Hope fans; at the Kuilima launching, Barbara Eden, Peter Lawford and Jack Lord were among the crowd.

Comedian Rip Taylor, vacationing in Hawai'i yesterday, said America lost a true icon in Hope. Taylor went on to say Hope's death saddened him because Hope represented the true pioneering spirit of the timeless do-all comedian.

"He was so giving, doing many, many benefits for all kinds of causes," Taylor said. "What's worrying me now is that there's not a hell of a lot of us left."

While in Hawai'i, Hope frequented the military establishments, gunning his audience with a volley of jokes and songs. In July 1944, for instance, with songstress Frances Lanford and comic Jerry Colonna as part of his show troupe, he thrilled a crowd of Army, Navy and civilian personnel in an outdoor performance at Pearl Harbor.

He entertained at Richardson Theatre at Fort Shafter in April 1952, getting help from actress Ann Blyth.

In yet another USO-type show at Schofield Barracks, in December 1971, he led an audience sing-along of "Silent Night," wishing for peace and happiness and hope in the hearts of his audience. His cast at this show included Nabors and Don Ho, plus Les Brown and His Band of Renown.

Ol' Ski Nose adored the Island tradition of lei-giving, sealed with a kiss.

"I go for these Hawaiian customs," he said in a 1957 visit, when he appeared at Hickam Air Force Base with actress Jayne Mansfield.

He had taped radio and TV specials in the Islands, and one of the most colorful tube productions was his 1989 Christmas show, taped in November of that year at the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa (now the Hilton Waikoloa) on the Big Island. Wearing casual aloha shirts and a golf cap, Hope hosted The Judds and Eden from a makeshift staging area in front of the hotel's Palace Towers, fronting the man-made canals that are part of the resort's signature.

In another TV taping at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in February 1984, Hope had Loni Anderson help celebrate Hawai'i's 25th anniversary of statehood.

When he held an autograph session in July 1985 at Ala Moana Center to promote his book "Confessions of a Hooker: My Lifelong Love Affair With Golf," several hundred fans lined up to buy copies and get his autograph.

Hope also took several Island vacations, including stays at Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island, where he mixed rest with golf.

In a 1985 interview with The Advertiser, Hope said he scours the news and finds the funnies — the secret to his lingering success.

"There are always topics you can do ... you have to be topical and you have to be current," he said.

Even tense global situations can provide comedic release, Hope said. "The stuff that's topical is the gravy," he said.