He was the most popular star of the 20th Century. Perhaps because Leslie Townes Hope lived so long (he died in 2003 at age 100), that fact seems under-appreciated only until recently.
Bob Hope was the subject of a book written by Joe and his collaborators Ed Epstein and Eleanor Clark back in 1973, The Amazing Careers of Bob Hope. But in the ensuing four decades, Hopes legacy has slipped a bit, confined mostly to his many television appearances and live USO shows.
Hope’s talent and reputation got a mighty boost last year with the publication of author Richard Zoglin’s biography, Bob Hope, which declares flatly that the scope of his achievement, viewed from a distance of a few years, is almost unimaginable.
By every measure, he was the most popular entertainer of the twentieth century, the only one who achieved success — often No. 1-rated success — in every major genre of mass entertainment in the modern era: vaudeville, Broadway, movies, radio, television, popular song, and live concerts.
This quiz will largely focus on Hope’s movie work, which has proven amazingly durable. Think you know everything about Bob Hope? Try our quiz and find out. As usual, answers tomorrow.
1) Question: Which one of the following was Hope’s first big-name mentor, who recognized his talent on the vaudeville stage? a) Charlie Chaplin; b) Florenz Ziegfeld; c) Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle; or d) Hal Wallis.
2) Question: Which one of the following had the most influence on the development of Hope’s early comedy style? a) Bing Crosby; b) Stan Laurel; c) Frank Fay; or d) Sophie Tucker.
3) Question: Which one of the following is the title to Hope’s first big movie hit? a) The Big Broadcast of 1938; b) Give Me A Sailor c) Thanks For The Memory; or d) Road to Zanzibar.
4) Question: Hope first sang his signature tune, Thanks for the Memory, to which one of the following actresses? a) Paulette Goddard; b) Martha Raye; c) Shirley Ross; or d) Dorothy Lamour.
5) Question: Hope was publicly best buddies with his frequent screen pal Crosby. Which of the following best characterizes how Hope privately felt about Crosby? a) Admired Crosby and looked up to him; b) Regarded Crosby as a professional peer and personal pal; c) Felt Crosby was more gifted that he was; or d) Regarded Crosby as an SOB.
6) Question: A notorious philanderer, Hope romanced some of his leading ladies. Which one of the following did he NOT have an affair with? a) Ethel Merman; b) Doris Day; c) Barbara Payton or d) Marilyn Maxwell.
7) Question: In addition to his hit movies, Hope was renowned in Hollywood for his skillful MC duties at the annual Academy Awards. How many Oscar shows did he MC? a) 5; b) 19; c) 22; or d) 11.
8) Question: Although mostly on friendly terms, Dorothy Lamour and Hope had a serious falling out that she did not soon forget. Why? a) He had reneged on a promise to marry Lamour; b) She regarded Hope as a sexist; c) She believed he wasn’t sufficiently helpful when she encountered financial reversals; or d) She was cut out of the Road To… movies.
9) Question: Hope’s faithful wife Dolores was also active in professional show business as a) A dancer; b) A contortionist; c) A ventriloquist; or d) A singer?
10) Question: Hope’s costar in 1948′s The Paleface was Jane Russell, who was so bad in the movie that it bombed at the box office. a) True; or b) False?