WWII Memoirs – 1945 – Bob Hope, A Real Trouper
Our squadron’s G.I.s filled their free time with a variety of diversions. A game like poker could be found in at least one tent every night. Softball or baseball depended on more people, plus an umpire and a ball field. But there was plenty of competition available. Photography required only one person and a camera. Some guys just settled for a bottle of beer or coke and an opportunity to “bat the breeze” with friends. The military regularly provided the squadron with movies featuring some of latest stars in Hollywood. These were shown in a simple outdoor theater, and it was fun, ‘unless we were interrupted by an air raid, or just the wail of an air raid siren.
But one evening a new kind of event was added: LIVE INTERTAINMENT! Bob Hope and his troupe had arrived to present one their of unique, live shows. So on a temporary stage under make-shift lighting and starlit skies the acclaimed show began. The audience, coming from many units on the Island, sat on a grassy field near Kadena Air Field.
Hope hosted the show and interspersed the various performances with his usual patter of naughty jokes and monologues, while the lovely talented ladies performed song and dance, and the men provided a range of instrumentation.
Probably one of the reasons Hope’s outdoor service shows were so popular was because people remembered his successful movie “Road” series, “Road to Morocco,” for example, starring Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, and Hope.
Hope didn’t limit his shows to the military. He visited many hospitals, sharing his humor and talent for lifting spirits with the sick and wounded.
He must have set some kind of record for assisting other organizations. After the war he continued putting on shows for the G.I.s and ended up doing a total of 57 tours. In the civilian world he hosted the Academy Award show 14 times.
He was a real trouper.
Next Entry: WWII Memoirs – 1945 – Short Days Ago We Lived
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