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Hope: Entertainer of the Century

Hope: Entertainer of the Century

Escrito por Richard Zoglin

Narrado por Malcolm Hillgartner


Hope: Entertainer of the Century

Escrito por Richard Zoglin

Narrado por Malcolm Hillgartner

valoraciones:
4.5/5 (7 valoraciones)
Longitud:
17 horas
Publicado:
Nov 4, 2014
ISBN:
9781491586235
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descripción

Born in 1903, and until his death in 2003, Bob Hope was the only entertainer to achieve top-rated success in every major mass-entertainment medium, from vaudeville to television and everything in between. He virtually invented modern stand-up comedy. His tours to entertain US troops and patriotic radio broadcasts, along with his all-American, brash-but-cowardly movie character, helped to ease the nation's jitters during the stressful days of World War II. He helped redefine the very notion of what it means to be a star: a savvy businessman, pioneer of the brand extension (churning out books, writing a newspaper column, hosting a golf tournament), and public-spirited entertainer whose Christmas military tours and tireless work for charity set the standard for public service in Hollywood. But he became a polarizing figure during the Vietnam War, and the audiobook sheds new light on his close relationship with President Richard Nixon during those embattled years.

Bob Hope is a household name. However, as Richard Zoglin shows in this revelatory biography, there is still much to be learned about this most public of figures, from his secret first marriage and his stint in reform school, to his indiscriminate womanizing and his ambivalent relationship with Bing Crosby and Johnny Carson. Hope could be cold, self-centered, tight with a buck, and perhaps the least introspective man in Hollywood. But he was also a dogged worker, gracious with fans, and generous with friends.

Hope is both a celebration of an entertainer whose vast contribution has never been properly appreciated, and a complex portrait of a gifted but flawed man, who, unlike many Hollywood stars, truly loved being famous, appreciated its responsibilities, and handled celebrity with extraordinary grace.

Publicado:
Nov 4, 2014
ISBN:
9781491586235
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Sobre el autor

Richard Zoglin is a contributor to Time magazine and the author of Hope: Entertainer of the Century, Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed America, and Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show. A native of Kansas City, Zoglin currently lives in New York City.


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  • (4/5)
    I tend to shy away from biographies, believing them to be fawning hagiographies or ruthless hatchet jobs. My Zoglin is obviously a fan of his subject, but isn't afraid to show a bit of Mr. Hope's less alluring side. I've always been a fan of Bob Hope, even though he was well into his 7th decade by the time I was born (one of my fondest memories was when he and Delores came through the drive through of In N Out Burger and he signed my hat), and it's nice to know a bit more about his skeletons. Still a fan, viewing him less as a saint and more as a human being.
  • (3/5)
    What an amazing entertainer! I actually saw Bob Hope perform in Charlotte, NC, many years ago when he was probably in his 80’s. What a wonderful performance, much better than some legendary performers. Richard Zoglin in his book Hope relates the good and the bad of Bob Hope. Bob Hope started in vaudeville and went to radio, movies, and television. Bob Hope also entertained military from WWII until Vietnam. What man could maintain Bob Hope’s level of activity for so long and so well. Bob also presented the Oscars for many years and hosted many celebrity galas. I learned so many hidden facts concerning this icon—a womanizer and a Scrooge. I enjoyed the stories and the pictures and learning about the development of entertainment.
  • (4/5)
    Not sure if this book will appeal quite as much to those who don't remember watching Hope on television for many years, but it is a meticulously researched biography and makes a very strong case for remembering Hope and noting his contributions to the 20th century and the development of comedy. The end drags a bit as Hope should have retired but didn't, but as part of a biography it's useful to know the full character. Well worth reading.
  • (4/5)
    I would never have thought Bob Hope to be the worthy subject of an in depth biography, but Richard Zoglin’s book happily proves me wrong. HOPE: ENTERTAINER OF THE CENTURY goes a long way toward reclaiming Hope’s rightful position among the 20th Century’s most influential entertainers. Zoglin makes a strong case that modern standup comedy as we have come to know it would not exist if not for Bob Hope; and that latter day movies star activists like George Clooney and Angelina Jolie owe not a small debt of gratitude to man who was nicknamed Old Ski Nose. Not only that, but Zoglin details how Hope virtually invented “personal branding” as he promoted himself to stardom, first in vaudeville, on Broadway, radio, Hollywood and television.To me the book provides panoramic history of 20th Century American popular culture as it follows a star whose career stretched from 1920’s burlesque houses all the way to the dawn of the Internet Age. Along the way, the reader gets a good sense of a changing America and the fickle tastes of the people; what one generation thought hilarious, a younger one would find lame and out of touch.The portrait Zoglin paints of Bob Hope is of a man whose genial nature masked a tremendous work ethic and a boundless ambition to succeed. He was not a man driven by demons, and unlike many famous and successful comedians, Hope was not bitter, selfish, or mean spirited outside of the spotlight. Many who worked on his team of comedy writers found him to be a demanding boss, but also a fair and generous one and quick to give credit to the men who wrote hard to make him funny. Like many successful entertainers of his generation, Hope came from humble beginnings, he was actually born in England and immigrated with parents and brothers as a child to Ohio, where he would grow up and learn a love for the stage early in life. It’s easy to surmise that Hope’s lifelong success in business could be traced to the poverty of his childhood; few in Hollywood were as smart with a buck as Bob Hope, investing so heavily in California real estate that by the 1960’s he was rumored to be the state’s largest landowner. His biggest vice was his chronic womanizing, which went on with the clear knowledge of his wife Delores for decades until Hope was in his 70’s. To his children, he was a loving, but distant father, one who was frequently absent, a familiar story in the Hollywood of its time. He honed his persona as a wisecracking ladies man with a yellow streak on the vaudeville circuit and then took it to radio and the movies; the book details how Hope was always improvising and improving his act. There was something about his personality that depression era audiences warmed to; nobody could deliver a punch line better and by the early 40’s he was one of the highest paid performers in Hollywood. His Paramount comedies, especially his Road movies with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour are masterpieces of comic timing and physical comedy. SON OF PALEFACE, which I saw many times on TV growing up, was a favorite of mine. Yet few, if any, modern cinema buffs champion his films today, most of which were made by the same handful of studio directors with scripts tailored to Hope’s strengths; it’s a shame he never worked for Preston Sturges or Howard Hawks, men who could have made good use of Hope’s quick witted talents with the right material. For the better part of four decades, his annual specials for NBC were must see TV with their mix of a monologue, hot chicks, athletes, pop singers and often hackneyed skits poking fun at current pop culture and movies; he never did a weekly variety show so as not to wear out his welcome with his audience.During World War II, Hope traveled the world entertaining American troops, bringing a piece Hollywood to the battlefront in an effort to raise the spirits of soldiers far from home and facing a determined enemy. For Bob Hope, this would become a labor of love as he continued his USO tours through Korea, Vietnam and ultimately to the Persian Gulf. Zoglin makes it clear that while Hope reaped many rewards and career advancement for his overseas travels, he was motivated by a genuine patriotism; he always put in the hard work, and lined up great talent to back him-always making sure there was a current sex symbol (Jayne Mansfield and Jill St. John to name but a few) to stand beside him on the stage. It was an act that varied little as the years and the wars changed.The most interesting part of the book for me is the chapters covering the Vietnam era, when Hope took a side in the generational conflict that enveloped the 60’s. He backed the war and the policies of Johnson and Nixon; a lifelong Republican who in the past had poked fun at politicians of both parties, Hope went from a patriot to a partisan. And as a partisan, he earned the enmity of a younger generation who saw him as the court jester of a corrupt system, one that drafted young men to die in a hopeless war in Southeast Asia. It was not pretty, as Hope fired back with lame sketches on his TV specials making fun of long hairs and hippies. It was a war he could not win and his reputation took a hit from which it never fully recovered. He threw his arms around Nixon and increasingly became dependent on reading cue cards, and as Zoglin puts it in the book, became the Mount Rushmore of comedy. An institution that would not get off the stage. Perhaps he couldn’t, for outside of his beloved golf, there nothing Bob Hope wanted to do but perform, and he continued to do so long after age had caught up with him. I can remember a Kmart commercial featuring a feeble 90 something Bob Hope, who spoke only one line, running on TV only a few years before his death at the age of 100.Yet I would point out, there were times in the late 60’s and early 70’s it seemed that outside of their families, no one but Bob Hope really gave a damn about those young men out there in Vietnam, who were putting their lives on the line and walking patrol in the bush. He really cared, unlike the politicians in Washington who sent them there and then prattled about “peace with honor” and the anti war protestors who talked about bringing the boys home, but only after calling them baby killers and Nazis. HOPE: ENTERTAINER OF THE CENTURY does its best to restore Bob Hope to his place of honor in the American comedy pantheon, a place that was accorded to his contemporaries Groucho Marx and George Burns. Many readers have pointed to the anecdote with which Zoglin ends the book, an account of a show during a USO tour in World War II England when he truly goes the extra mile to entertain a group of American soldiers, as bringing tears to their eyes. I think it perfectly sums up the man and it is certainly how Hope would have wanted to be remembered.