SUN, MON, July 23, 24, 2012

CONGRESS MATERIAL? -- An important member of the ensemble company responsible for such classics as "Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind" and "Waiting for Guffman," comic actor Fred Willard was arrested at Hollywood's Tiki Porn Theater and charged with exposing himself in public.  He was immediately fired by PBS as the narrator on "Market Warriors."   According to several witnesses, whatever else can be said for Fred's display, it was definitely not best in show.

OFFICER KRUPKY'S DELIGHT -- A popular New York Restaurant, the Chipotle Grill on Montague Street near Brooklyn's courthouses, offers uniformed police officers who eat there a 50% discount.  Other restaurants in the area offer a similar discount to the gendarmerie, but the Chipotle remains a law enforcement favorite.  Probably because the chef came up with a unique taco recipe that makes them look like donuts.


NACHT WAGNER -- A Nazi-issue sidearm from the estate of Elvis Presley is being offered at auction for a minimum of $100,000.  How did the King acquire the military pistol, you might ask.  Similar story to the one about Nixon giving him a badge to help in the war on drugs.  Hitler reportedly gave
Elvis the Luger for his promise to keep rock 'n' roll out of Germany. 

IV LEAGUE -- Hard to believe that 1960s sand-and-driftwood icon David Hasselhoff is 60.  At a party in his honor, David's formerly bikini-clad co-stars on "Baywatch" gifted him with a lifetime Bingo card at "Baywatch Sunscreen Villas," the series' official retirement/nursing home in Oxnard.


NEVER WALKING ALONE -- At Broadway's James K. Polk Theater, film and MDA telethon icon Jerry Lewis is directing a musical version of his classic "The Nutty Professor" with a score written by Marvin Hamlisch who was obviously hired to write to Jer's strengths.  All of his lyrics are in French.   

Although my first network variety show was The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, I never got to meet Dean. He just wasn’t in the habit of dropping by the production office in Burbank. We attended the tapeings at the M.G.M. Grand in Las Vegas, but Dean dealt only with our head writer, Harry Crane. Ten years later, when Dean appeared on a special entitled "Bob Hope Salutes the Super Bowl," he sang a parody duet I had co-written on the players’ strike called “Waiting in the Wings.” I finally met him! Good things come to those who wait. 
For more photos from the Bob Hope Show, click here...



Brooke Shields made her fist of fourteen appearances as a guest on the Bob Hope Show in 1981 on a special from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  She was Hope's favorite guest along with Loni Anderson who appeared on almost as many specials as Brooke. 

Under the watchful eye of her quintessential stage mother, Teri, whom writer Charlie Isaacs once accused of “carrying Brooke’s virginity in her purse,” she arrived lugging some heavy child-star baggage that included a nude scene in a movie called Pretty Baby as well as another au-naturel performance in a picture called The Blue Lagoon.

Hope took an immediate liking to Brooke, and she to him, showering him with the affection one would bestow on a kindly grandfather. Hope may have been a father figure, too, as her parents had been long divorced.  From her first appearance, Hope took Brooke under his wing, teaching her the basics of sketch comedy — timing, delivery, entrances and exits — techniques which seem effortless, but must be learned, nonetheless. 
For her part, Brooke obviously enjoyed performing on the show, was eager to learn and, as would be
expected, improved as time went on playing roles ranging from Becky Thatcher opposite Hope’s Tom
Sawyer (at the World’s Fair in New Orleans where she forgot she was wearing a remote microphone
transmitter, jumped into the Olympic diving pool, and almost demonstrated GE’s “We Bring Good Things to Light” slogan) to a Showboat singer opposite Placido Domingo’s Gaylord Ravenal — “We could make believe...” to Princess Diana.

The Hope specials kept her acting career afloat during her Princeton University, pre-Andre Agassi period. She made one movie, Brenda Starr, that bombed.  But as often happens in Hollywood, Brooke was stricken by a sudden case of selective amnesia when, in September 1996, she told an interviewer
for the Los Angeles Times while discussing successful guest appearances on Friends, that “[Comedy] is something that I’ve never professionally explored and I’ve never had the opportunity or encouragement.”

There was a logical explanation for her forgetfulness. By the mid-nineties, Hope was considered passé, and generations removed from the then-current TV comedy of Seinfeld or Friends. Also, she downplayed Hope’s name on her resume so as not to detract from the much-publicized debut of her soon-to-debut sitcom Suddenly Susan.

I wrote a letter to the Times — which they printed — pointing out that Brooke had been taught comedy by none other than Bob Hope over many years. My letter was never challenged.
The episode was yet another example of the sometimes ephemeral quality of Hollywood friendships and loyalties.
(Excerpted from THE LAUGH MAKERS: A Behind-the-Scenes Tribute to Bob Hope's Incredible Gag
Writers (c) 2009 by Robert L. Mills and published by Bear Manor Media.)

To order the book from Amazon.com or Kindle.com, click here... 

Copyright (c) 2012 by Robert L. Mills  All Rights Reserved

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"Having spent twenty years writing for the indefatigable Bob Hope, and traveling all over the world, Bob Mills is well qualified to salute the famous corps of gag men who kept the comedian knee-deep in jokes. These first-hand recollections summon up the final phase of Hope’s career—and the end of the trail for an entire brand of show business."


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WakiLeaks: History Declassified 2000 (Vol. One) is now available on Kindle for $2.99

Compiled from Bob's newsletter "Funnyside Up" published in 2000. This is a yuck and chuckle-filled stroll down memory lane to a time before the Bush administration had inflicted its damage -- a time before the search for WMDs and Osama bin Laden. See what we were laughing at back then, who was in the news and who had yet to enter rehab -- which NFL stars had yet to do time in the Gray Bar Hotel.