Sunday, May 14, 2017

Pappy's Sunday Supplement #10: Bob Hope

Bob Hope’s comedic persona was of a cowardly, skirt-chasing guy. I believe the coward part was an act, but the horny guy, at least according to his biography, was the truth. That persona was captured in DC Comics’ licensed Adventures of Bob Hope comics, which appeared from 1950 to 1968.

The art was by former animator, Owen Fitzgerald, and the scripts for the early issues were done by Cal Howard, a moonlighting comedy writer who later went on to writing for The Today Show. This issue, #9 (1951), is a good example of Hope’s style of comedy, mixed in with a Charles Addams style script. (It isn’t the only one of its type I have shown. I featured another issue in 2011. Go to the link below.) Hope died just a couple of months past his 100th birthday, with his career spanning about 80 of those 100 years.

DC went after popular comedians for licensing purposes in the fifties: Hope, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (Jerry Lewis solo when the team split up), and Jackie Gleason. They also licensed movie stars like Alan Ladd, and Roy Rogers’ distaff side, Dale Evans. Nowadays DC has moved to Burbank, California, because their characters are the ones licensed for movies. It’s interesting how that worked out.

This is the whole issue, all 52 pages, including the back up strip, “Miss Beverly Hills of Hollywood,” drawn by Bob Oksner, who would later take on the art chores for the comic book versions of Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis.

An earlier posting from Adventures of Bob Hope by the team of Howard and Fitzgerald. Just click on the thumbnail.


Russ said...

I really enjoyed the issues of Bob Hope by Mort Drucker that I saw, many written by Arnold Drake. Drucker drew some knockout women.

And Henry Boltinoff seemed to have strips in every DC book for years, not one of them funny. I assume Murray got him the gig. Comics used to have plenty of room for short fillers, some quite strange.

Donald Benson said...

Old enough to remember a Bob Hope comic drawn by Mort Drucker, MAD's top movie/TV satire artist. Recall it involved a talking dog, a banana republic, and a gratuitous LBJ popping up in a barbecue scene.

Daniel [] said...

Hope's famous ski-sloped nose hadn't always been that way; it was broken when he was a boxer. His having once pursued that career argues against his being a coward of the sort thst he played, though of course people may react differently to threats of different sorts.

This story plainly riffs off The Cat and the Canary (1939), which starred Hope and Paulette Goddard. In that movie, Hope actually plays a character who is fearful, but does not run from danger, though he refers to himself jocularly as a coward.

I've a friend who used to be a gag writer for Hope. My friend was originally working as a courier, delivering gags. He couldn't resist the opportunity to slip some if his own into the set. Apparently Hope liked some, and they figured-out whence they'd been coming.

The ad for the picture-ring promotion brought back memories, as such premia were still offered well into my childhood.

But what I remember of the Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis comics of my childhood was that the Frankenstein Monster, perhaps along with Dracula, seemed to appear on the cover of every issue. My brother read and seemed to enjoy them, but I wasn't motivated to do more than flip through them casually.

If Bob was on his last after-noon delivery, then why did he run around with the papers?

Pappy said...

Russ, Donald...I have not seen (to my recollection) any of the Bob Hope issues by Drucker. Naturally I'm curious.

Russ, Henry Boltinoff made a living selling gag cartons for many years, so someone considered him funny. On that note, since I love the old magazine gag cartoons, I admired Henry's art style, if not his less-than-gutbusting humor.

Pappy said...

Daniel, Hope is one of those people who were part of our everyday cultural experience for decades, and now with a new generation memory of Hope is probably, to trash his famous movie series, on The Road to Obscurity.

I liked Hope's movies from the forties and fifties, but don't remember anything that I appreciated much after those. I thought the comic books were generally pretty good, and I do have some of the monster issues which came toward the end of DC's licensing with Hope.

Darci said...

I wonder if the issue you recall is #91?

Daniel [] said...

Pappy, yester-day, a woman in her early twenties (or perhaps late teens) asked me to clarify who Bob Hope were. (I had earlier introduced her to my friend who had been a gag writer.)

I had already been inclined to agree with your assertion, but here surely was an illustration.

In the mean time, I had been thinking that Hope's memory would have been more enduring had his earlier movies been in color, and had The Ghost Breakers (1940) not employed offensive ethnic stereotyping.

Pappy said...

Daniel, that offensive stereotyping was performed by Willie Best, whose performances make me cringe. I don't know if Ghost Breakers is still shown. I saw the movie on some afternoon TV movie theater about 1960 or '61. All of these years I mistakenly remembered that the black actor was Mantan Moreland, who was in many comedy parts of the era, but when I looked it up I saw it was Willie Best. I remembered Best in the old television Stu Erwin Show which ran from 1950-55, which I saw in reruns later in the fifties, and which I believe would not be shown today.}

I am not surprised that a young person doesn't remember Hope. He is just one of many comedians of the 20th century who has been forgotten by modern audiences, who like a different type of humor: overtly sexual and profane.