Thanks For The Memories: The Bob Hope Specials DVD Review
“Thanks For The Memories: The Bob Hope Specials” is a Bob Hope fan’s dream come true.
Fans of Bob Hope can take a trip back in time with this 6 disc Collector’s Edition DVD set featuring 13 specials from various time periods. In order to give readers a clear picture of what to expect from this set, I’m going to tell you all what’s on each disc. So, without further adieu…
Disc 1 contains 2 specials. The first is titled “Highlights of a Quarter Century of Bob Hope On Television.” Hope hosts this 1975 special that celebrated 25 years of himself on TV. It contains tons of highlight clips and stars like Ingrid Bergman, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Lucille Ball, etc.
The second special (“The Bob Hope Christmas Special 1968”) is something much different. This 75 piece narrated by Hope plays more like a documentary as it’s comprised of a collection of clips from Hope’s USO tour which also featured other entertainers. It’s a pretty fascinating and touching journey that showcases Hope’s quick wit and his big heart in wanting to entertain those who served our country.
Disc 2 starts off with the 1996 “Bob Hope…Laughing With The Presidents” which is hosted by Bob Hope and Tony Danza. It’s very much a slice of 90’s cheesy, but the special itself is pretty remarkable as learn and see how Hope entertained 11 presidents.
Next up is the “The Hilarious Unrehearsed Antics of the Stars 1984” which is a fancy way of saying bloopers. The show features clips and segments with guests talking to Hope. Look for the likes of Angie Dickinson, Lee Marvin, John Wayne, Lucille Ball, and Dean Martin. Good stuff.
Last on this disc is “A Bob Hope Comedy Special 1965” which features Jack Benny, Janet Leigh, and Bing Crosby. To me, Hope is always at his best when he’s with Crosby and his bits here with him are no exception. The 2 play off each other so well in the funny “House Guest” sketch. Plus, it’s always great to hear Crosby sing.
Disc 3 contains the 1976 Bob Hope’s World of Comedy” and “The Bob Hope Chevy Show 1956.” The 1976 show featuring clips from the past is actually quite hilarious. The bits with Lassie, Rex Harrison’s impression of Bob Hope, and the Billie Jean King sketch are clear stand-outs. The 1956 special is solid and is perhaps best known for the clever sketch which reimagines “I Love Lucy” with Bob Hope in the place of Ricky Ricardo. Miraculously, the sketch also features the entire cast of “I Love Lucy” too.
Disc 4 has what might be my favorite special on this set “Joys (A Comedy Whodunit).” This 1976 murder mystery spoof is a whose who of Hollywood at the time with a cast featuring Vincent Price, Groucho Marx, Don Adams, Milton Berle, George Burns, Don Knots, Dean Martin, Flip Wilson and many more. Sure, it’s a little stiff in spots and is essentially a glorified cameo fest, but it’s a joy to see all of this talent in one place. Plus, the ending is one for the ages.
The “Texaco Presents The Bob Hope All-Star Christmas Comedy Special 1977” is perhaps best known for the odd Christmas Star Wars Parody which has Perry Como, Olivia Newton-John, Bob Hope and Mark Hamill. It’s as weird as it sounds. The best moment here, however, has to be Bob Hope and The Muppets singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” together.
Disc 5 includes 3 Chrysler Presents A Bob Hope Comedy Special from the years 1963, 1966, and 1967. 63 is notable for the amusing “Mr. And Mrs. Television” and a typically majestic musical performance by Dean Martin. Aside from a monologue, 66 is one long spy spoof titled “Murder At NBC.” It’s rather so-so, but it was nice to see the Maxwell Smart character in it. The 67 special is pretty sparse special but there are some solid performances by Tony Bennett and Carol Lawrence.
Last, but not least there’s disc 6 which contains “Bob Hope: The First 90 Years.” The 90 minute special celebrated Hope’s 90th birthday back in 1993. It’s a big live song and dance tribute that looks back at his accomplishments in different mediums. Expect tons of clips and tons of guests like Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Betty White, Raquel Welch, and Milton Berle.
Presentation: Fullscreen. How do the specials look? The B&W and color specials look as they did when they were first shown.
Audio Track: Unspecified. How do the specials sound? Don’t expect any Dolby Digital level quality. The specials sound fine for the time of their releases. No more, no less.
The lone extra is a 1994 special titled “Shanks For The Memory.” This golf centric special hosted by Bob Hope delves into his love of the game and features archival footage and stories of him playing over the years with celebs and even Presidents. It’s an entertaining 37 minute special that feels very personal to Hope.
Overall Thoughts: This set has a whole lotta Hope which is a good thing if you’re a fan. Considering how much content is here, this is absolutely worth the price. Check it out.
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