NEW ORLEANS — The National World War II Museum is about to open a new exhibit about comedian Bob Hope and his performances for American troops serving around the world.
The exhibit includes wartime correspondence between Hope and service members, and World War II-era relics engraved to Hope. It also includes never-published or displayed photos taken by a military photographer, wartime films from his travels, Hollywood Victory Caravan photos and scrapbooks, an interactive display and an original 10-minute documentary. The museum also is hosting free showings of classic movies Bob Hope made from 1939 to 1955.
All but two of Hope’s radio shows during World War II were aired from military bases and camps, throughout the United States and in both the European and South Pacific theaters of war, according to the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation’s website.
Hope’s daughter, Linda Hope, will speak at a Thursday evening kickoff reception for the exhibit, which runs from Friday through Feb. 10. She’s chair/CEO of the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, which gave the museum $3 million in 2016 to integrate Hope’s story throughout its campus.
“I am so pleased that the public is getting a chance to understand the role my dad played in keeping up morale both overseas and here at home during those difficult times,” she said in the museum’s news release Tuesday.
The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum is lending some of the items, the museum said.
The exhibit is titled “So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope.” The title is taken from Hope’s 1990 memoir, “Don’t Shoot, It’s Only Me.” Describing his first military performance, at March Field, California, in May 1941, he wrote, “We had no idea we were going to discover an audience so ready for laughter, it would make what we did for a living seem like stealing money.”