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There is a lot of great music in old comedies.

The Bob Hope of the 1930s and 1940s was a far different guy than the reactionary character of the 1960s and 1970s. The earlier Hope was funny and had what in those days passed for a streak of anti-authoritarianism. He spent the latter two decades comfortably coasting on cynical hippie jokes and embarrassingly unfunny and horrendously produced television specials. If you didn't see them, it's hard to imagine just how lame those shows were.

But, as bad as Hope was as a comedian at the end, he deserves immense credit for continuing to travel to entertain the troops.

The true subversive, of course, was Groucho. Here is the Hello, I Must Be Going/Hooray for Captain Spaulding sequence from Animal Crackers. It is a pure delight, except for the unfortunate racism of the first few moments. Margaret Dumont was just perfect.

Seeing the perpetual innocence of Laurel and Hardy after so many years is like visiting the old neighborhood. This dance is from Way Out West. Oliver Hardy was quite agile for a guy that big. The interesting thing is that Stan Laurel was deeply involved in putting the films together. Hardy -- called "Babe" by his contemporaries -- couldn't care less. He played golf until told to show up for shooting.


Originally posted to cweinsch on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 06:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by An Ear for Music and DKOMA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hope in 'The Paleface'......comedy gold. (0+ / 0-)
  •  I don't recall ever souring on Bob Hope (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I thought he had created for himself quite a character in the movies. He wasn't good looking, he never had any money, he wasn't intelligent and he wasn't particularly courageous. Yet his conceit was boundless. So funny. Lemon Drop Kid is still one of my favorite movies of all time.

    He was also pretty funny as the host of the Academy Awards if I remember correctly.

    I think a lot of these comedians grew stale as the years wore on - Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Jack Benny, The Three Stooges, Lucille Ball, Milton Berle, Groucho and so on.

    I watched The Three Stooges faithfully up until about 15 years ago and then I stopped. It just got old. It's human nature.

    Scroll down on this website below and there's a photo of Oliver Hardy when he had lost all his weight in his later years. They were terrific as a team.

    •  In the highly charged... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crider, New Dawning, PSzymeczek

      ...atmosphere of the 1960s and early 1970s--which was even more polarized than today, especially before Vietnam ended--Hope became almost the mouthpiece for the conservative and reactionary forces. He did it in a dismissive manner. That, coupled with the fact that he wasn't funny or even close any longer was the Hope I grew up with. Again, though, he traveled millions of miles entertaining troops, which is a major positive for him.

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