Bob Hope, flanked by hula dancers Michaela Larsen and Kaleiula Sniffen, looks over the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa upon his arrival for the taping of a TV special.

BOB HOPE / 1903-2003

Hawaii memories

The entertainer's isle stops
spanned 6 decades

It had been 2 1/2 years since the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.

Memorial signing for Hope at Borthwick

Borthwick Mortuary is inviting the public to express sympathy for Bob Hope by signing special registry books, which will be forwarded to a memorial dedicated to his life and work.

Registers will be available for signing 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Aug. 15 at 1330 Maunakea St.

Borthwick is joining other Dignity Memorial providers and its affiliates throughout North America in honoring Hope's memory.

The base was overflowing with defense workers, office workers and servicemen.

Bob Hope, 39, chose Pearl Harbor as the place to perform his first USO appearance. Workers rushed out of offices, shops and ships to fill every available space at noon, the time of the performance.

Hope and his sidekick, Jerry Colona, kept the crowd laughing with jokes about Hawaii, the war, defense workers and servicemen.

"You know the weather here has a lot of light sprinkles now and then," Hope told the audience. "Light sprinkles -- that's Hawaiian for 'Man the boats boys, the island disappeared again.'

Hope, who died Sunday at age 100, returned to Hawaii for several more USO shows and other visits. The actor-comedian's last visit was in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Though he was 92, Hope and his wife, Dolores, attended a hangar dance at Hickam Air Force Base, the Veteran's Parade and a brief performance during a ceremony at the Waikiki Shell and chatted backstage with then-Gov. Ben Cayetano.

"I am usually a bit guarded around celebrities, but I was almost instantly overtaken by (Hope's) charisma," Cayetano said of the meeting. "He could not have been kinder and more giving. I never sensed an ego at all."

Cayetano said he could see Hope's fatigue, and wife Dolores urged the entertainer to end the evening early to rest.

"But there were a lot of veterans who really wanted to see him, and Bob wanted to see them, too," Cayetano said.

"He stayed and talked story with them and signed autographs for as long as it took. I was very impressed by that. I understood that he was so popular because he truly loved his public and had tremendous patience."

Bob Hope spends some quality time with Hawaii kids Stacey Oliver, above left, Melanie Manu, Heilee Mossman, Candace Mossman and Angela Tatupu in 1984.

Don Ho called Hope "my biggest inspiration" when it came to diversifying Ho's show from music and singing to comedy and bantering with the audience.

"The main thing I learned from Bob was about amusing people and making people laugh," Ho said. "It's the one thing that made me change my whole view as an entertainer. Because of Bob, people started seeing me more than just a singer."

Hope always attended Ho's Waikiki shows whenever the comedian was in town from the '60s through the '80s, he said.

The pair also appeared together in a USO show during the '60s.

"He would just drop in unannounced and I always brought him on stage," Ho said. "The guy loved the stage and the microphone.

"He would do his comedy and steal the show, and I would try to go one on one with him, but he would wreck me every time but, heck, I was a nothing guy in Waikiki and just proud that Bob Hope came to my show and wanted to see me."

Jim Nabors went around the world with Hope in 1971 for three weeks in a USO tour during the Vietnam War. The trip began in California and ended in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"I'll never forget it because it was a blast and Bob was so much fun to be around," Nabors said. "We became very good friends."

All the entertainers stayed in Bangkok but made daily flights to various areas in Vietnam to entertain the troops.

"My seat was next to Bob, and I really learned what a remarkable man he was, including something I don't think has ever been reported," Nabors said. "When we were still in 'Nam, Bob made an unofficial trip (to meet with the North Vietnamese) to ... feel them out for a peace plan."

When Nabors worked onstage with Hope, he learned that the comedian left his fellow entertainers alone "to do their thing unencumbered."

Hope arrives in Hawaii bedecked in leis in 1971.

"When he announced me to come onstage at the Da Nang Marine base, he said, 'Gentlemen, I bring you your leader, Gomer Pyle.' We got a standing ovation."

There's also a scene in the film "Forrest Gump" showing Nabors and Hope where the comedian is singing "Auld Lang Syne."

Sgt. Charlie Moon sat with 25,000 Marines in front of the makeshift USO stage during that first Hawaii USO show seven months before the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima.

Moon, then 21, remembers the surge of electricity as Hope dashed across the stage, his eyes glittering with every punch line.

"Overwhelming," reminisced Moon, who lives in Simi Valley, Calif.

"He come out and done his jokes. I tell ya ... everybody stood up and hollered and clapped. I remember all the laughin' and hollerin' going on.

"It give you a feeling like the cause wasn't lost, fightin' for somethin', and along comes a man who lifted your hopes and give (you) the strength to do what you had to do.

"I think he was the best USO entertainer that ever went on the road."

Nabors thinks he knows the reason for Hope's longevity.

"The man lived to be 100, so maybe that says something about laughter and making people laugh."

Bob Hope mugs for the camera during a visit to Hawaii.

Comic paragon had
Hawaii love affair

He boosted the morale of soldiers and sailors, raised money for local charities and taped several network television specials in the islands.

For more than 50 years, comedian Bob Hope imported his own brand of aloha to the isles.

Hope, who died Sunday at the age of 100, had been a fixture in Hawaii since 1944 when he and a troupe of Hollywood entertainers including comedian Jack Benny ventured to the islands during the height of World War II.

Since then, the wise-cracking entertainer made about a dozen visits to the island, boosting Hawaii's image on the mainland.

Here are some of the highlights of Hope's half-century in Hawaii:

>> July 1944: Hope, Benny and company kicked off their first wartime US0-like tour of the Pacific with several isle performances at several local Army installations.

>> April 1952: Hope hosted a 130-minute, nationally broadcast radio show from Fort Shafter theater, which was machine-gunned during the Pearl Harbor attack. Guests include actress Ann Blythe and Duke Kahanamoku.

>> December 1957: Hope and actress Jayne Mansfield entertained more than 6,000 servicemen at Bloch Arena at Pearl Harbor.

>> December 1971: Hope filmed another Christmas special in Hawaii, this time before a crowd of more than 5,000 at Schofield Barracks. The show included performances by Jim Nabors and Don Ho, and excerpts were shown nationally on NBC.

>> May 1972: Hope and friends marked the opening of friend and developer Del Webb's $27 million Kuilima Resort, now known as the Turtle Bay Resort. The star-studded guest list included Nabors, comedian Edgar Bergen and actresses Connie Stevens, Jane Russell and Barbara Eden.

>> May 1979: Performed a benefit for the Hawaii Association for Retarded Children at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.

>> February 1984: Hope performed in a concert before 6,000 at the Waikiki Shell to celebrate Hawaii's 25 years of statehood. The show was filmed for an NBC special.

>> September 1995: Helped commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Star-Bulletin staff


Hope on life, golf and U.S presidents

Comedian Bob Hope, who died yesterday at the age of 100, is considered the master of the one-line joke. Here is a sampling:

On golf:

"I set out to play golf with the intention of shooting my age, but I shot my weight instead!"

"I asked my good friend, Arnold Palmer, how I could improve my game. He advised me to cheat."

"I've played some strange rounds of golf in my travels. One course in Alaska was hacked out of the wilderness. My caddy was a moose. Every time I reached for a club, he thought I was trying to steal his antlers."

On U.S. presidents:

>> Harry Truman: "He rules the country with an iron fist -- the same way he plays the piano."

>> Dwight D. Eisenhower: "I happen to know why he's running for president. It's the only way he can get out of the Army. ... If he slices the budget like he slices a (golf) ball, the nation has nothing to worry about."

>> John F. Kennedy: "Eisenhower said, 'Congratulations on your victory.' And Kennedy replied, 'I had to win. It's so tough these days to find a place that'll take children.'"

>> Lyndon Johnson: "You can tell he used to be a rancher. He squeezes Republicans like he's milking a cow."

>> Richard Nixon: "I told Nixon to burn the (Watergate) tapes. He told me to burn my golf clubs."

>> Gerald Ford: "It's not hard to find Gerry Ford on a golf course -- you just follow the wounded."

>> Jimmy Carter: "Carter wants to go to Washington. He'll feel right at home there -- he was raised on a nut farm."

>> Ronald Reagan: "Some people are claiming that Ronald Reagan is too old to be president. But I like Ronnie. He's smart, he's honest and he's the only candidate who calls me 'Sonny.'"

>> George H.W. Bush: "The L.A. Times gave George Bush a 'C' on his first 100 days in office. No one knows what Dan Quayle got. He claims he lost his report card on his way home from the White House."

>> Bill Clinton: "Clinton loves to make long speeches. In fact, his will be the first inaugural address with an intermission."

On life:

"I was able to find my original birth certificate, but it took three guys to help me get it. Stone tablets are heavy."

"I came from a very big family. Four of us slept in the same bed. When we got cold, Mother threw on another brother."

"In all there were seven brothers. That's how I learned to dance -- waiting for my turn in the bathroom."

"I left England at an early age, as soon as I was old enough to realize they already had a king."

Bloomberg News Service


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