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Jack Benny

Bob Hope gets little thanks for all the memories

Bob Hope gets little thanks for all the memories

To the boomer generation, seeing Bob Hope on TV or in the movies was like spending time with cranky relatives. Sure, there were a lot of great memories — the World War II shows, the "Road" movies with Bing Crosby — but it also was a little stale, and the jokes, well, they were ancient or worse.

It was easy to forget that for decades Hope was the kinetic king of comedy who conquered every form of entertainment in his path, including vaudeville, Broadway, radio, movies and TV.

In May 1993, NBC threw a lavish birthday party for Hope, who had been a mainstay of the network since the radio days of the 1930s. It was a national celebration featuring such...