Tag Archives: bob hope

Iconic Star Doris Day, 95, To Record Again

Recent reports say the famed singer will make another album for the sake of her favorite pet charities, including the SPCA. Doris Day has always been one of my entertainment idols. This old sailor’s War War 2 memory goes back to 1945 and my favorite Doris Day song, “Sentimental Journey”.

It’s ending lines portrayed an important era in American history. World War 2 was finally winding down, after terrible loss of life, both military and civilian. Many of us had been away for three or four years, and the anticipation of returning to the USA was our dream:

Gotta take that sentimental journey,
Sentimental journey home.

Doris Day’s musical lament was exactly right as World War 2 ended in Europe in May and in the Pacific in September. A member of an advanced Navy team in the Philippines, I was waiting to take my sentimental journey back home.

It reminds me of another timely and inspirational 1945 Doris Day hit, “My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time”. Good luck in your new album, Doris. And may you enjoy many more years of good health and career success.

OK To Euthanize Oldsters In Merry Olde England

The United Kingdom may not be so merry about its elderly now that doctors are able to kill patients ages 75 and up if they’ll agree to sign ‘do not resuscitate’ orders.

The British government’s medical program now legally permits doctors to ask the elderly if they want to kick the bucket, shuffle off this mortal coil, assume room temperature and, of course, agree to be snuffed. In other words: “Hey, you old coot! You’re gonna die soon anyhow, so stop hanging around taking up space!”

I’ll be 92 in just a few months, and hope no one has considered killing me yet. No such attempts have been made on me since a bunch of Japanese guys tried when I was in the Navy back in World War 2, and some other angry Asians a few years later during the Korean War.

The Bible says the normal lifespan is three score years and ten (or 70, if you’re not a Bible-readin’ man or woman). The considerate British lawmakers were so veddy, veddy kind to add another five, adding up to 75. If I were in England now, their sawbones would compute that I was a decade and a half late in obeying the new edict.

However, if they insisted, I’d offer some more Biblical quotes and mention a really old guy named Methuselah. That sexy senior citizen begat all kinds of kids after he was way over centuries old. If he were still around today, he could be the perfect spokesprophet for Viagra.

Let’s take a moment to consider the history of some elderly people who could’ve been rubbed out at 75, and the world would’ve been a poorer place for it:

Ben Franklin was 81 when he helped write the Constitution in 1787. At 82, Winston Churchill served in Parliament and wrote a History of English Speaking People. Henry Kissinger, now 93, is still advising Presidents.

Some show-biz greats were known for their longevity: Bob Hope was entertaining GIs at age 90, and George Burns performed in Las Vegas at 99. Marlene Dietrich also starred in Sin City until age 80.

Many are still going strong today. Betty White is 95 and continues acting in hit TV shows. Doris Day, 93, maintains her activism in animal rescue programs. Kirk Douglas, 100, stars in a current autobiographical stage and video documentary. Angela Lansbury, 91, recently won a Tony Award for her Broadway role in Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit.”

Therefore, to all you British and other medical experts, I make a plea. Before you pull the plug, make sure your elderly patient doesn’t have another decade or two to make your world a better one. And don’t forget, if you let ’em live, you’ll be hauling in even more fee$ from your grossly-overpriced medical bills.

Memories Of The 1955 Academy Awards

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One assignment I recall as a writer for the now-forgotten daily Beverly Hills Citizen was to show up at the 1955 Academy Awards ceremony. It was at the Pantages Theater, just a few blocks down Hollywood Boulevard from today’s Dolby Theater, where the 2015 event happens.

That night of March 30, 60 years ago, was hosted by the late great Bob Hope, as he did 18 times from 1940 through 1978. I was assigned to seek out the winners and losers of the event, but wanted particularly to have a few moments with Bob.

I had enjoyed his movies and radio shows since I was a kid. I saw him in a live performance for the troops just after the end of World War II in 1945 in the bombed-out Rizal Stadium in Manila, The Philippines.

I had spent several hours with him in 1953 during the Korean War, when he entertained at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. As Chief Journalist of the base Public Information Office, it was my duty to meet and escort the star when he arrirved at the airfield in a Navy PBY from San Diego.

As he jumped onto the tarmac I introduced myself, took him to the Officers Club to freshen up, joined him in a quick dinner and rode with him to the base theater. Throughout he was very natural and friendly, and we shook hands as he entered the stage door to prepare for his performance.

Two years later, after I managed to sneak my way past security to his dressing room at the Pantages on 1955 Oscar night, he was just leaving for some publicity shots. When I said hello, he just muttered something and brushed past me.

Then, as I was slinking off, disappointed, Bob suddenly stopped, turned around and shouted, “Hey, Chief. Did you also eat that damned fried chicken special at the club in Corpus Christi? I was sick as hell for three days after that!”

He then walked back, smiled, hugged me and was again on his way to the Academy Awards stage.

(That night in 1955, Marlon Brando won the best actor Oscar and Grace Kelly was named best actress. He later won again as the Godfather and she became Princess Grace of Monaco.)