ISSUE DATE: Sept. 20, 1943
ALSO APPEARED: Dec. 22, 1967
Like most legends, it represents measurable qualities in a kind of mystical blend. Hope was funny, treating hordes of soldiers to roars of laughter. He was friendly—ate with servicemen, drank with them, read their doggerel, listened to their songs. He was indefatigable, running himself ragged with five, six, seven shows a day. He was figurative—the straight link with home, the radio voice that for years had filled the living room and that in foreign parts called up its image. Hence boys whom Hope might entertain for an hour awaited him for weeks. And when he came, anonymous guys who had had no other recognition felt personally remembered.
…This tearing trip—about 250 camp and hospital shows in eleven weeks—was no floodlighted 100-yd. dash, but just a fast lap in a very long race. In 1941 Hope got an Oscar “for humanity,” for a record-breaking 562 benefits in two years. Probably the first entertainer to work with the armed forces, Hope has also been the most frequent. Using trains, cars, trucks, tanks, jeeps, Hope has played in virtually every U.S. camp, last fall hopped off with his USO team (Singer Frances Langford, Guitarist Tony Romano, Comic Jerry Colonna) to tour Alaska. When, at the last moment, it looked as if the tour would fall through, Hope wired Lieut. General Simon B. Buckner: WE SING, DANCE, TELL STORIES; HAVE TUXEDOS; WILL TRAVEL; CAN WE PLAY YOUR CIRCUIT? They played it straight through to tiny posts in the Aleutians where men almost never get leave.
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