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Encore Presentation: Interview With Bob Hope

Aired June 1, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Happy birthday, Bob. The entertainment legend turns 100 and we've got the best birthday bash around. The laughs...

BOB HOPE, COMEDIAN: I'd like a rabies shot.


KING: The giggles.


HOPE: No, I'm serious I went -- did I go too far?


KING: And that nose.


HOPE: My nose turns up.



KING: A tribute to Bob Hope is next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Thanks for joining us. On Thursday, Bob Hope turned 100. Hard to believe just 20 years ago, he was 80. Now he's trying to set a mood. Bob will tell the jokes from now on. Over the years, I've interviewed Mr. Hope many, 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. Vaudeville, television, done it all. His favorite stage may be also be the least conventional. Bob Hope loved performing for American troops. His USO tours have crisscrossed the globe from jungles to war zones, from World War II to Operation Desert Storm. I asked him how it all got started.


HOPE: Well, I was doing my radio show at Sunset and Vine in May 1941. And our producer, Al Capta (ph), said hey, they want you to go to down to Marshall 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.

The next Tuesday, I found myself on a bus with Francis Langford and Skinnyannis (ph) and Jerry Colonna (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 learned 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. And I 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 gold diggers and Les Brown and Miss World. And you know, it used to be a sensational thing to just introduce some gold diggers and stand back and watch the eyeballs flicker on.

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

HOPE: Well, 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 were in the Korean War?

HOPE: Yes.

KING: Vietnam War.

HOPE: Yes.


HOPE: 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 do 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 you meet him that there would be the chemistry that would exist between them for so many years?

KING: Good question.

HOPE: We played the Capitol Theater in New York, which was a big picture house. And Bing and I were featured. Abe Lyman (ph) was the orchestra. And we did three and four shows a day. And it got kind of boring, me just introducing them. So we started to ad lib. And we built up a couple of routines, like the president and the Pepsi Cola Company meeting the president of Coca-Cola on the street. We'd say hello and then we'd belch in the mike. And then I'd belch again and say bigger bottle with Pepsi.

And we worked up this routine. Now when I got out here in '37, Bing invited me down to Delmar. And we did the routine down there. And somebody saw it and went right back to Paramount and 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 stayed. We had a picture called "Flight to Singapore" and changed it to "Road to Singapore." And that was the start of the thing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How am I doing, Bubbles?

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No way, I'm dancing my way to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for the winter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, she has turned to you as a husband.

HOPE: Huh? You're practically out of circulation at the wedding march.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well get me out of here. (Unintelligible.) What are you doing?

HOPE: I'm a decoy. Now you make a break and (unintelligible.)


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

HOPE: Well, I don't know.

KING: Why did it work?

HOPE: I don't know, Larry. I think it was the fact that we had a 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 at 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, racketer (ph), polo player and all around good egg.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well don't lay it here, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to that, too, gentlemen.

GEORGE COCHRAN: George Cochran at your service, your highness.

HOPE: The Continental?

COCHRAN: Go run, play with the peasants. I'll take care of the royalty. Do you mind?


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 said you greatly -- you have to be funny, don't you? I mean, Bing had to be a funny person.

HOPE: Yes, 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 to you. I do that. I can take anybody. Like Jack Benny was a master. He could take somebody on the thing and just let him do dialogue and let him 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 would say that, you know, a lot of comedians milk an audience. He used to get chicken fat out of them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We both have baby blue eyes.


KING: To San Jose, California, hello.

CALLER: Yes, good evening, Mr. Hope.

KING: 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've had so many of those. And I think they're the most rewarding in the trips that I 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 of my life.


You know, I can't spend the time -- you're time now telling you about it, but the moments that I've had and 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 Seem (ph) of the First Division found a wire after they had captured the rubber plantation. Said the bombing of the Brinks Hotel missed the Bob Hope Show by 10 minutes due to a faulty timing device.

We were standing right there five -- just about a half a mile away. I was sitting in the jeep with General Joe Moore, who's 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 we -- 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 Ninth Division. And I was standing there. And they were bombing -- the Air Force was bombing a little island because there was some Kong 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." I'd do a joke. And finally, I'd say to the troops every once and a while, "you're sure they're ours, huh? You're sure?" And it went right through the monologue like that. And 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. A few people -- those people, they wouldn't let the troops sit there if there was any kind of danger.

KING: Yes. Newhall, California for Bob Hope, hello?

CALLER: Yes, I'd like to say hello to Bob Hope because I'd 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 him 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 -- 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 moon over the mountain, you know? But today, it's a little more sophisticated. And they -- 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 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...

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


HOPE: Yes, right.

CALLER: Yes, sir. And you were -- pinched my cheek and you said what a wonderful name, thank you.


HOPE: Hey, here we are, this beautiful wilderness called knock on Vanom (ph).

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

Ladies and gentlemen, here we are in Incirlik, Turkey. Incirlik, that's a Turkish word meaning don't know 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 pick pocket 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 is Sunday night. What, Bob, makes a good special? In other words, when the performance is not on every week, and you're seeing say every two months, what makes it a good special?

HOPE: Well, we have -- 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 bloomin' boomerang.

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

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


HOPE: You figure out what we can do that'll entertain and what's topical, and what cast we can get that will 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, however lucky you are.

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 with that, you know. But I wound up with Delores all the time. And you know, that's it.

KING: How long you married?

HOPE: Fifty-two years. And I've been home three weeks.


KING: So we go to some phone calls. North Augusta, South Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Oh, when 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?

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

HOPE: Oh, hohoho. I love John Bunny. 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 admit it, that that hurt him badly, but I used to play a lot of three cushion billiards. And I just happen 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. And Tony said, no, my God no.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 and Jack Benny and Phil Baker and a lot of great comedians. In 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, that the fear of that I'll forget something. You know, when I go to do a personal appearance. And 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 Cap (ph) over the weekend. And I said I don't like what's going in Washington because I hate -- you know, I hate 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.


HOPE: I want to tell you the last time I was in New York, I was at 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: Hometown, go ahead.

CALLER: Yes, your hometown. Hi, Bob.


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 of -- actually, I'd like to have Dolly Parton and Bo Derrick doesn't answer my letters.

KING: You've never worked with Dolly Parton?

HOPE: No. And I never worked with her.

KING: That would be interesting.

HOPE: I'd tried to get her a couple times. Never did, but I've worked with most everybody, but I always wanted to work with Dolly Parton. And Bo Derrick, 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 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. (Unintelligible.)


GEORGE BURNS, COMEDIAN: 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, my friend.

HOPE: Larry.

KING: May I -- since you mentioned it, you were going to sell me. Woody Allen on his deathbed, is 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 that. How dare you put that in. Do you know that when I was in Vietnam in 1970 or something, they -- "Time" magazine came out and said I was worth $500 million?

KING: I remember that. HOPE: And now they found it out, they asked the guy backstage at NBC who was sort of a just -- got knocked off a bottle of wine or something. He said what do you think Hope is worth? He said oh, about a half a billion dollars. And they put it in the magazine.

"Time" magazine, you wouldn't think that would happen with "Time."

KING: No, you wouldn't.

HOPE: So I wanted to the editor. I said if you can find it, I'll split it with you, you know.

KING: Many of -- "Wall Street Journal" said you were the richest show business person, as a person who's been salaried and employed all their life for the richest.

HOPE: Yes.

KING: 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, the (unintelligible.) They try to get in the house. You know, and I beat them back.

KING: That's how it would work. Money was never your driving force you told me once though. It was never your goal.

HOPE: Last, last.


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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what can I do for you?

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't budge. 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: You still ever 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOPE: See, I said 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: And I would give you just a hint, I don't want to brag definitely not, but I feel better when I walk off the stage than I did when I walk on. Why is that? 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 Ziegfield Theater did a show there, you know. And I tell you, he came out there. And he knocked that audience out. And I went backstage. And I said, you loved that, don't you? He said, you know it. You know it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean you're giving this stuff away?

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



KING: Do you know it's funny before you say it?

HOPE: Well, you got a better idea than anybody else, you know?

KING: It made you laugh?

HOPE: Yes, because you know from experience, you know what's pretty funny. I mean, that's the whole thing. If you don't know what's funny, you'd better not be in business.


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

UNIDENTIFIED MILE: 7,000. How many hours do you have?

HOPE: Six hours, 20 minutes. How many miles have you flown?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 750,000 and you? HOPE: I went to Newark once. What size shoe do you wear?


HOPE: Twelve and a half.


KING: Can it be that 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.

KING: You don't buy that...

HOPE: From NASA. And it used to be -- there used to be hip towns.

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

HOPE: You know, where they didn't have anything to date. 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 nude pictures, they know so and so and so and so. And every happening, they know what's going on. The tax thin, the tax reform, the -- and you know when you get lines that throw them at alone, that line, they buy. I don't care whether that's Toledo or Podunk or anywhere.

That's the audience state.

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

HOPE: What edge?

KING: Edge.

HOPE: Well...

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 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) did Lamb Chops for 25 years without changing a line on the Orpheum (ph) circuit. And when they would come, people would say let's go and see them. They loved them. They'd just sit there knowing the act. And to watch him do it and laugh at every line, you know?

That's the secret of it, because they like those people for what they did.

KING: Okay, so they like you. You set 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 deliver...

HOPE: I'm not talking about the material. But if it's -- it's what their relationship would use, 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?



KING: We had talked a lot, but never on -- in this vein? What is your, and it's in the title, my life long love affair. What is your fascination for a game in which guys go out, girls go out and take little sticks. And they hit a little white ball. And it falls in the lake. It falls on the sand. What is...

HOPE: I tell you what it is, 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, you're the champ. And you get a kick out of it. You go out and play a pretty good round like I was four handicap when I was at my best. 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 ordered like that, California champagne.


HOPE: I had a fresh kind of a caddy that day. He kept looking at his watch. So I said to him, I said are you in a hurry? What are you looking at your watch for? He says, this isn't a watch. It's a compass.

I said, you must be the worst caddy in the world. He said hardly, that would be too much of a coincidence.


KING: Well, what's the difference say than shooting pool? You shoot -- well there you got the director upon it. I mean, why golf? Why is that so a consuming a game?

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

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

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

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

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

KING: Right.

HOPE: Yes, because I've always got somebody heckling me, saying how about plan? 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: Your golf in cold weather and warm weather and hot weather?

HOPE: I played in Korea when we had to take snow of 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 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's sort of a -- it's sort of a challenge within yourself.

KING: Healthy? You mentioned healthy.

HOPE: Yes.

KING: What 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. I mean, it feels sensational because you've used all your limbs and all your muscles and everything. That's the greatest thing in the world.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This year, America celebrates a year of hope and humor as Bob Hope celebrates his 100th year. Bob Hope is one of the most beloved entertainers in America, and one of the most recognized Americans across the globe. He wasn't born here, but to millions of people, Bob Hope represents everything that is best about the United States. He's confident, good hearted, easy going, and decent and generous, just like our country.

For the better part of the century, Bob has done the work he enjoys, bringing enjoyment to others. He's been blessed with a quick wit, amazing energy, and a lovely wife, who's always at his side. All of us have been blessed by Bob's long and selfless career. Over the years, Bob Hope has spent many holidays overseas, bringing warmth and laughter to troops stationed far from home. He has a special place in the history of our military. And countless Americans who have worn the uniform will always remember his visits with gratitude.

Bob Hope has played a unique role in our national life. His humor, humanity and patriotism have won in the affection of a great country. Laura joins me in congratulating you, Bob, on a wonderful century. Maybe God bless you and may God continue to bless America.


KING: Public figures, you've dealt with -- how many presidents have you known?

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

KING: Reagan, you known him pretty -- did you know him out here?

HOPE: Oh, sure.

KING: And do you know him pre us knowing?

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

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

HOPE: You know what? I'm just amazed at his showmanship and everything else, the way he's developed. I think that this man has shown something to the political scene. It'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 land slide 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 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 managed to keep friends on both sides of the aisle?

HOPE: Yes, 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: I'm pretty tough.

KING: All right, but...

HOPE: You can 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 do things around it. And you know, the treatment he got -- Reagan at the hospital. How many people had a mink lined bed pan, you know. And a lot of things. I've...

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

HOPE: Rambo, well you see him?

KING: Mr. Stallone.

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


HOPE: You're kidding. Now I'm going to be on NBC seven times this year. That's two more times than Johnny Carson. And this 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're going to get laughs. This is going to be a great tour for you.

A 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 rapped you for going there and doing television shows?

HOPE: No, I wasn't angry. I was just as angry at the way some of the people were handling it, you know. See the media has to be provocative. You know that.

KING: I gathered.

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 a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) afterward.

KING: Yes.

HOPE: When I 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've saved three million lives.

KING: How do you...

HOPE: Million lives.

KING: Yes.

HOPE: 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: Oh yes, you have to, Larry. You have to.

All right, nobody -- you know, no one over there because they were sent over there. You know? And that was a dirty war.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been to the memorial in Washington?

HOPE: Yes, yes. It's really something.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like it. I like it. It's a nice thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob, they always say that a comedian is someone who says things funny, or says funny things. And you do both so well. And you got the right to decide which you will call yourself.


KING: Nice thing.

HOPE: Accept a year? No it is. And it's a nice honor.

KING: And you've gotten everything a country can give you. HOPE: Well, been pretty lucky.

KING: You were born in Great Britain though?

HOPE: Yes.

KING: Is there ever that tinge of loyalty to the crown, the place of your birth?

HOPE: Yes.

KING: Sometimes you think -- I mean, you are a British.

HOPE: I -- my first command performance was to leave.

KING: You're glad you didn't go up there.

HOPE: That's right.

KING: A couple of other quick things. How good a boxer would you have been if you stayed with boxing?

HOPE: I was known as the -- and I really worked on the name, boxed under the name of Rembrandt Hope, I was on the canvas so much. And I would have won my last fight, but the referee stepped on my hand.

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

HOPE: Fair, fair, fair. My last credit, the 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 a show. And that brought you ought here. Did you ever go back and do theater again?

HOPE: No. No, I have been asked to do theater quite a bit.

KING: Why not? I mean, you work so -- one...

HOPE: Because why, why when you're doing television and you're doing out here, you're doing the things you want to do. What for? You know. I mean, my God, we get a chance to do different things all the time. And I love theater. I love the stage. But -- and they did ask me to do a lot of different shows. And I said no way.

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: Yeah, 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 you -- it's just part of...

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

KING : So you step on an airplane, you know everybody is looking at you?

HOPE: Right, that's right.

KING: And you just accept it?

HOPE: That's right.

KING: You've never gotten...

HOPE: What can you do about it?

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

HOPE: Who's that?

KING: Elvis?

HOPE: Oh, Elvis. Well, you know, it was an hysterical people. You know, and they probably climb all over him.

KING: You never had women jumping over you?

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


HOPE: (Unintelligible.)


HOPE: Yes, you drive and I'll watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you going on your honeymoon?

HOPE: What do you want, a happy ending?




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


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

CALLER: Good evening, gentlemen.


CALLER: 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 at 20 now. I was a 4 at one time, 1951. I played in a 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 many 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. He's -- 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 for -- buy -- sell victory bonds. And I tell you, he was beautiful. I just wished I had him taped, because we sat in the train one night in the club car with Cary Grant and Charles Boyer (ph) and Pat O'Brien and 25 stars and talked about -- and Crosby and talked about how we got started in show business with Groucho ad libbing all the way through. It was beautiful.

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

HOPE: He was marvelous. He's 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 love you in the big broadcast of 1938. It's time for a 50 year update of that movie. And did you ever work with one of my other favorites, Cary Grant?

HOPE: Oh, sure. I -- Cary Grant and I emceed this Victory Caravan. And I had him on my radio show. And he was a good friend of mine. He was -- he's a marvelous guy, very talented.

KING: Never did a film together, though?

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 GIs 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 Brooke Shields and this little Gloria gal from the Miami Sound Machine. And we did a show -- we 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.


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: Since -- as a humanly, they are the same, especially in that uniform?

HOPE: That's -- you're so right.



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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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.





HOPE: Thank you so much.

How do you do ladies and gentlemen. This is Bob Hope. No, no, not yet darling. But don't leave.


KING: When did you start on radio?

HOPE: 1938. Actually, I started in New York earlier, 1934, but never could get going. Woodbury (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for a season. And then it was on with the holiday parade with Dick Towel. I never got -- I 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 memory?

HOPE: Well no, no, no, no. I introduced "Natural Men" in my first picture. That was -- I sang abroad the -- one of the first...

KING: Road movies?

HOPE: No, no, no, no, no. No, that was one of the big broadcasts of 1938.


KING: 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 thing about longevity? I mean, do you ever think about your own mortality?

HOPE: Well, why should I think about that?

KING: I know it's kind of normal by us.

HOPE: No, I'd just think about staying in shape and feeling good. You know, and it's a sad thing they're done yet. But you got to think about it when you lose a day and losing Jim Hanson and Sammy. You know, all these 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.

KING: It's going to happen.

HOPE: It's going to happen. There it comes, what are you going to do?

KING: Who's at fault? You tell met that you played Gracie?

HOPE: Yes.

KING: You put on a wig. And George was just...

HOPE: No, no, no wig. No, you'd be -- he wanted me to do the act, you know, because everybody loved that act. Lamb chops, you know. And I said I can't speak like Gracie. No, speak like yourself. Just tell the jokes.

So they threw a girl's hat up at me from the audience, and 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 in those days because that was a hot topic.

KING: Seattle, hello?

CALLER: Hi, I'm calling -- first one real quick comment. I know why you go over things, because whenever you've seen an American overseas serving our country, it makes it 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: Yes, they repeated it last night, yes.

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 life, or was that just good joking and that sort of thing?

HOPE: No, you know, we had a lot of fun. He was on my show many, many times. And he's a great guy. I loved him.


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

HOPE: Oh, that's not necessary.

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

HOPE: No, it's not necessary.

DAVIS: I could have picked up the check.

HOPE: Oh, that's not necessary. I brought it with me. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Yes, and there was no tension ever between the two of you?

HOPE: No, no, no, no.

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

HOPE: Oh, absolutely. That's wonderful.

KING: Wouldn't stop smoking, though?

Miami, hello?

CALLER: Yes, Bob, hi.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: I would like to know if you ever met Middleman Monroe (ph) and what do you think of her?

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

DAVIS: Sure I do. Sure, absolutely. Had her around my show from Camp Pendleton. And there were 800 kids came down from the Roosevelts Raiders out of the mountains after training. And she walked out and she said, "hello." That's all. And they went right to the ceiling. And I was with them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We say happy birthday to Bob Hope.

In the future, when you pass intersection, why not recall your favorite Bob Hope joke or story. Take a moment to laugh and help us make this the happiest (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the world.



KING: Once again, Bob, we join the millions and millions in wishing you the happiest of birthdays and many more. A lot of things are going on for Bob Hope's 100th birthday celebration. And one of them is the re-release of some of his best films by Universal Studios home video.


BING CROSBY, SINGER: We're on the road to Morocco.

Don't bury me in this treachery. Take me where the sea mint grows.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: And you've seen clips in some of those movies tonight. And you can get them wherever DVDs are sold. We thank you very much for joining on this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.


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