Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bob Hope's Supershow

Okay, we all know my goofy memory. I recently ran into a guy I hadn't seen since 1982 and I was able to remind him we last met at a McDonalds on a Thursday afternoon in August, he bought and I had two hamburgers, fries and a small coke. Couldn't recall what he had, though. Freaked him out.

How does that tie in with Bob Hope? Glad you asked. I like Hope. He was a consummate entertainer right to the end. I enjoyed his films, his TV specials and he did a considerable amount of good for a considerable amount of people. From what I've read, I doubt I would have cared for him in real life but that's another story.

Anyway, here in Cincinnati they had (still have?) the Bob Hope House, similar to the now well known Ronald McDonald House. Every year, Bob would come through town and hold a celebrity golf tournament to raise money for the Hope House. In the mid-seventies, someone got the idea to have Bob put on a big stage show, talking his famous friends into coming into town for free to help raise more money.

In 1976, the Bob Hope Supershow was all the rage. This was when I got to meet Bob at a local booksigning (written about previously. Type BOB HOPE in the blog search bar). The guests included Pearl Bailey, Wayne Newton, Roy Clark and Lynn Anderson (all of whom were bigger names than they now sound!). Ben Vereen, perhaps ticked off about his name being misspelled in the ad, was a no-show. It was a long, fun evening with Newton showing why he was the King of Las Vegas entertainers.

In my memory, there was another show the following year. The problem is...apparently there was one the year after that, also and the two are running together! After the first one, Hope had stated he would try to hook Crosby for the following year. Unfortunately, Der Bingle teed off the Earth that following summer. His fellow Xmas special crooner, Perry Como substituted as headliner. Blonde sprite Joey Heatherton (pre-cocaine), then known for her sexy TV mattress ads, stole the show in my then 18 year old opinion. Singer Teresa Brewer (known mainly at the time for an oldies TV album commercial) was that year's no-show. Gordon McRae was surprisingly dull and Jane Russell really seemed ill at ease in front of a live audience. Mark Hamill was just trotted out briefly (STAR WARS had just opened in May of 77) like the flavor of the month.

I can't find the ad for the 78 Supershow but I DO have the souvenir booklet (which talks only about the Bob Hope House) and I recall Glenn Campbell playing bagpipes and marching through the audience at Cincy's Riverfront Coliseum. I also recall silent movie star Buddy Rogers playing multiple instruments and leaping around like a teenager. I even recall that country star Freddy Fender was that year's no-show! Can't recall who else was there, however. Joey again, maybe?

As you might expect, this unusual memory lapse is driving me crazy. Anybody else out there go to these shows? What are your memories of them?

CORRECTION_ I found another ad for the 77 show. THAT was the year with Buddy Rogers and THAT was the year of Fender's cancellation. Dorothy Lamour's too! And Charo's!

1 comment:

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