It doesn’t bog you down with too much childhood, something one can usually do without since it slows a reader down. You do like his mother, Avis, and all his brothers, but Zoglin is anxious to get to the good stuff, as you are.
How ambitious Hope was from his vaudeville days, segueing into radio and films, to television, World War II and Vietnam entertaining the troops.
He had no fear determined to bring his mirth to soldiers in hellish places. Of course, there’s his ego who loves the applause from a crowd so vast along with praise from everyone from Eisenhower to average Americans sending letters inviting him to dinner…in case you pass this way Bob because you made my youngest son laugh.
My favorite example of his popularity came from one of Frank Sinatra Junior’s kidnappers who said and I’ll paraphrase, they were going to kidnap Bob Hope’s son but felt he was too fine an American.
When you trump Old Blue Eyes, that’s saying something.
That’s the Hope we know…but apparently there was another side.
He was cheap with his writers treating them with disdain. In the 30s and 40s they were considered the bottom of the creative food chain, something inconceivable today.
He was also the JFK of comedians in the philandering department. Like Kennedy, members of his close coterie would procure for him, bringing around girls three, four at a time for him to choose, like chocolates in a heart-shaped box.
Dolores, his wife of 69 years same as Jackie, would turn the other way. She was also a practicing Catholic attending mass daily, like Rose Kennedy, to deflect and digest her husband’s bad boy behavior.
She also pretty much raised their four adopted kids single-handedly since Bob was rarely home, but she hardly complained keeping the nest nice and warm for when he did show up.
The woman should be canonized.
I’ve often asked myself, how would I deal with a roving husband…probably like Lorena Bobbit though I can’t stand the sight of blood. I know I couldn’t ignore a man cheating on me. It was one of the reasons I left the Flying Dutchman who was stepping out with a bubbly, blonde employee of his named Mary.
But what I also know…women, when we love we love big…and in hindsight, my heart wasn’t as invested as I had thought. You know who matters when you put down the weapons and Valium long enough to see clearly if love really ran that deep.
His pockets ran deeper, I’m not as embarrassed as I should be, to admit.
But back to Bob…
The writing is great…fast, like downhill skiing.
You’ll be surprised at how Bing Crosby comes across as well as a host of others, but I don’t want to ruin it for you.
And he did live to be 100, so who knows, maybe all that fucking around makes you live longer.
Whatever the truth is…
HOPE, by, Richard Zoglin is a great book.