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Thanks for the memories

Laura Sturza

Legendary performer Bob Hope turns 100 Thursday, a milestone that has

already been celebrated internationally. This week, Burbank’s former

honorary mayor will be honored closer to his Toluca Lake home.


On Wednesday, the Burbank High School band will perform at a

community celebration in Toluca Lake, where Hope and his wife,

Delores, have lived for more than 60 years.

The following day, a USO tribute for Hope is planned at the Smoke


House Restaurant in Burbank. The event will include musical

performances and surprise guests, and benefit the Bob Hope Hollywood


“Things are happening that are not planned,” said Ward Grant, a

longtime Hope family spokesman. “Dolores looked out her window and

saw the Goodyear blimp ... with an American flag and Happy Birthday,


The Hopes moved to Toluca Lake in 1937, and the star of stage,


screen and radio was named Burbank’s honorary mayor in 1973.

“They had a good golf club [and] Bing Crosby was in Toluca Lake,”

Grant said. “He loved the community and the proximity to everything,

and when NBC moved in, he said ‘how convenient.’ ”

Hope’s association with NBC began in 1937 with radio and in 1950

with TV. He appeared in nearly 300 top-rated comedy/variety specials.

“He has always been NBC’s No. 1 ambassador, and no one better

represents the NBC tradition than Bob Hope,” said Rick Ludwin, a


senior vice president for the network who worked with Hope from 1980

to 1996.

Bob Hope Drive, which runs along the east side of NBC Studios in

Burbank, was dedicated in 1988.

NBC (Channel 4) will re-broadcast the Bob Hope tribute, “100 Years

of Hope and Humor” at 7 p.m. Sunday.