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Hope’s memory takes flight

Ryan Carter

During World War II, Bob Hope’s family frequently watched him leave

for his United Service Organization shows from what was then the

Lockheed Air Terminal. One time at the Burbank terminal, Hope’s son

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was not even sure whether his father was coming or going, Hope’s wife

Dolores said.

Although Hope died earlier this year, his memory landed for good

Wednesday at the Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena Airport.

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About 200 friends, family members and other dignitaries joined

airport officials on a sunny morning to christen Bob Hope Airport.

Wednesday also marked the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’

historic flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., which was celebrated nationwide.

“Be proud, people of this area,” proclaimed Johnny Grant, the

honorary mayor of Hollywood and emcee of Wednesday’s ceremony. “You

got it. You have the Bob Hope Airport.”

A large centennial banner was dropped from the front of the

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airport terminal to unveil the new name in dark blue lettering, along

with a cartoon sketch of Hope’s famous profile.

“It’s awesome,” Dolores Hope said after the new name was unveiled.

“It’s just so great looking up at the sign and seeing the Bob Hope

Airport name.”

The Hope family thanked officials for honoring the man who made

Toluca Lake his home, but whose ties to Burbank were numerous.

“It’s absolutely thrilling to have it here in our own backyard, in

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the city Dad loved,” Hope’s daughter, Linda, said before the

ceremony. “This was like a second home for him.”

Several of Hope’s friends and fellow entertainers attended the

event, held outside between the terminal and an airport parking

structure.

“He was a bosom buddy,” said entertainer and friend Phyllis

Diller. “I was the bosom and he was the buddy. It was a shame he

didn’t live to see this. This was his airport.”

City officials from Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena who approved

the name change and the licensing agreement to use the Hope name

touted the change, a process that got underway shortly after Hope’s

death at age 100 on July 27.

“Somehow, I think this name is going to stick,” said Airport

Authority President Charles Lombardo, noting the five airport names

that went before it, starting with United Airport in 1930.”

Said Burbank Vice Mayor Marsha Ramos: “It’s a wonderful tribute to

a great American.”

Throughout the hourlong ceremony, Hope was lauded for his

contributions to the military, and many references were made to the

aviation centennial.

“The Wright brothers proved that man could fly, and Bob Hope was

born so he could joke about it,” Grant said.

Linda Hope, meanwhile, found extra meaning in the day.

“The sun would come out for his [USO] shows, and I have to feel

somehow this is Dad smiling on us today,” she said.


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