A Century Of Hope

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20141011

2014101120150731 (R4)

Born in Eltham in South London, Bob Hope emigrated with his family to the USA at the age of five, and became unique among the great entertainers of the last century. He was at some point number one in radio, in film, and in television.

For over half a century, Bob Hope was perhaps the most famous comedian on the planet. He worked with teams of writers round the clock to feed his famously quick-fire joke-filled act. He was a tireless entertainer of the troops in wartime, a phenomenally successful businessman and had naval ships, airports, theatres and highways named after him.

American comedian Greg Proops is a very different performer to Hope. Greg is a one-man-band whose comedy is improvised with a hard, often radical edge. In spite of their huge differences in style and the political gulf between them, Greg admires Hope's timing as well as the skill and bravado with which he worked an audience.

But what kind of a man was Bob Hope and what is his reputation and legacy today?

Greg sets out to answer these questions with the help of those who knew him best including his daughter Linda and Bill Faith - his publicist for many years. We hear from some of the writers who were on his team in the 70s and 80s. Greg also talks to critic and biographer John Lahr to get his insight and reminiscences of the man of whom writer John Steinbeck said, 'It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard, and can be so effective. He works month after month at a pace that would kill most people.'

Produced by Barney Rowntree

A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.

20141011

Born in Eltham in South London, Bob Hope emigrated with his family to the USA at the age of five, and became unique among the great entertainers of the last century. He was at some point number one in radio, in film, and in television.

For over half a century, Bob Hope was perhaps the most famous comedian on the planet. He worked with teams of writers round the clock to feed his famously quick-fire joke-filled act. He was a tireless entertainer of the troops in wartime, a phenomenally successful businessman and had naval ships, airports, theatres and highways named after him.

American comedian Greg Proops is a very different performer to Hope. Greg is a one-man-band whose comedy is improvised with a hard, often radical edge. In spite of their huge differences in style and the political gulf between them, Greg admires Hope's timing as well as the skill and bravado with which he worked an audience.

But what kind of a man was Bob Hope and what is his reputation and legacy today?

Greg sets out to answer these questions with the help of those who knew him best including his daughter Linda and Bill Faith - his publicist for many years. We hear from some of the writers who were on his team in the 70s and 80s. Greg also talks to critic and biographer John Lahr to get his insight and reminiscences of the man of whom writer John Steinbeck said, 'It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard, and can be so effective. He works month after month at a pace that would kill most people.'

Produced by Barney Rowntree

A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.