» » Happy Birthday, Bob (1978)

Short summary

A 75th birthday salute to Bob Hope at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Bob Hope asked the evening be a tribute to the U.S.O.

Bob Hope is honored with a special three-hour program. This show was taped at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and some 25 celebrities performed. There will be clips from Hope's films, newsreel footage from his Christmas shows overseas, and a tribute to Bob's friendship with Bing Crosby. Making appearances on the program will be Ann-Margret, Johnny Carson, Kathryn Crosby, Elliott Gould, Dorothy Lamour, and Red Skelton. Musical numbers are slated to feature Pearl Bailey, Lynn Anderson, Lucille Ball, Charo, Mac Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Carol Lawrence, Tony Orlando, Donny and Marie Osmond, and David Soul. There will be comedy provided by the Muppets, Redd Foxx, Alan King, Charles Nelson Reilly, Don Rickles, Shields and Yarnell, Danny Thomas, and Fred Travalena.

While Hope was in Washington, he was honored by a special session of Congress, which he later said was one of the proudest moment of his life.

Although the broadcast took up three hours of prime time air (including commercials), some acts were left on the cutting room floor from the actual show. Via remote, Don Rickles plugged NBC's already canceled "CPO Sharkey." Fred Travalena's three appearances on the show were trimmed to one. His imitations of Frank Sinatra and Clint Eastwood were omitted, but his Jimmy Carter survived the cut.

Of those celebrities performing, Lucille Ball had appeared with Bob Hope, George Burns, Sammy Davis Jr., Pearl Bailey, Elliott Gould, Dorothy Lamour, Donny and Marie Osmond, Charles Nelson Reilly, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, and Danny Thomas.

Pearl Bailey won a Tony Award for the title role in the all-black production of "Hello, Dolly!" in 1968.

In May 1983, Bob Hope was back at the Kennedy Center to celebrate his 80th. Once again Lucille Ball, George C. Scott, George Burns, Kathryn Crosby, Dolores Hope, and Kermit the Frog were participating.

Lucille Ball enters to the theme from "Here's Lucy." She introduces clips of of Hope alongside his famous female co-stars, including Hedy Lamarr, Vera Miles, Martha Raye, Dorothy Lamour, Marilyn Maxwell, Madeleine Carroll, Eva Marie Saint, Milly Vitale, Jane Wyman, Jane Russell, and Phyllis Diller. Under the montage is a Frank Sinatra singing "The Tender Trap."

Elliott Gould introduces a montage from Hope's film work. Under the clips is Ethel Merman's recording of "There's No Business Like Show Business." The scenes also feature actors like Jackie Gleason, Jimmy Cagney, and William Bendix.

Fred MacMurray remembers his time on Broadway with Bob Hope, in the musical "Roberta" in 1933. MacMurray introduces Bert Convy, who sings "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" from the 1935 film version. In the film, Hope's role was assumed by Fred Astaire. Carol Lawrence sings and performs in a tap dance to "It's De-Lovely" by Cole Porter introduced by Hope in the 1936 Broadway musical "Red, Hot and Blue."

Kathryn Crosby, Bing's widow, talks about the special chemistry between Hope and Crosby. She introduces a montage of film clips starring the duo, underscored by Crosby and Hope singing "Put It There, Pal" from "Road To Utopia."

John Wayne appears via live remote from his home. He had recently undergone heart bypass surgery. Wayne jokes that he will be the voice in Hope's ear on his 100th birthday. Although Hope did live to 100, Wayne died 13 months later.

User reviews

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    • Author: Kirimath
    A good intro to the comic genius Bob Hope. His life story is told by friends in songs and in pictures and we get a glimpse into the life (at least the movie and entertainment side of it) of a comedian. The big bonus in this TV special is that the friends are luminaries themselves: George Burns, Lucille Ball and Sammy Davis Jr., to name a few. Hope's childhood, early years and later success is documented in a vaudeville style.I especially liked the segments on the "Road Pictures" as presented by Dorothy Lamour. For those unfamiliar with these hilarious movies featuring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, the plot is simple: Bing thinks Lamour is his girl, Hope thinks Lamour is his girl, and Lamour thinks she's Bing' girl or Hope's girl or both. They encounter adventures and misadventures and all with "a laugh, a song, and a dance".
  • Credited cast:
    Bob Hope Bob Hope - Himself
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Lynn Anderson Lynn Anderson - Herself
    Ann-Margret Ann-Margret - Herself (archive footage)
    Pearl Bailey Pearl Bailey - Herself
    Lucille Ball Lucille Ball - Herself
    Christie Brinkley Christie Brinkley - Herself
    Les Brown Les Brown - Conductor
    George Burns George Burns - Himself
    The Carl Jablonski Dancers The Carl Jablonski Dancers - Themselves
    Johnny Carson Johnny Carson - Himself
    Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter - Himself
    Lynda Carter Lynda Carter - Herself
    Harry Wayne Casey Harry Wayne Casey - Himself (as KC and the Sunshine Band)
    Charo Charo - Herself
    Bert Convy Bert Convy - Himself
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