Mental Floss

The Quick 10: Thanks for the Memories

Stacy Conradt
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It was this day six years ago that the world lost one of its greatest entertainers "“ Bob Hope. He had a good run, though "“ he was 100 years old when he died. In his honor, here are a few interesting facts about Old Ski Nose.

youngbob
youngbob /

4. He was born Leslie Towne Hope. He suffered a lot of abuse for his name as a kid - roll call in school would go something like this: "Hope, Leslie?" which mean kids quickly shortened to "Hopeless." When he decided to become an entertainer he figured "Lester" would at least let people know that he was male.

5. Before he decided to be an entertainer, he considered being a professional boxer and briefly pursued the career. His friend had decided to box and adopted the name "Packy West" after the legendary boxer Packey McFarland. Having a bit of a competitive spirit, Hope decided to try his hand at boxing as well. When asked what his boxing name would be, he spit out, "Packy East."

6. Al Capone's guys once threatened Hope. During his earlier vaudeville days, he had a joke in his act that went something like,

"My brother really slapped a gangster once." "Really?" his straightwoman would respond, "That's so brave! I'd like to shake his hand." "Oh," Hope said, "We're not going to dig him up for that."

When he played the Chicago Palace, though, he switched the neutral "gangster" to "Al Capone" to get bigger laughs. After a couple of nights, he got a call from an anonymous man who said, "You the comedian doing the Al Capone joke? Do yourself a favor. Take the joke out of your act. We'll be around to show appreciation."

He dropped the joke.

bobhope
bobhope /

10. He has more than 1500 awards to his name and is in the Guinness Book of World Records with the "Most Honored Entertainer" record. Some of those honors include the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Hasty Pudding Man of the Year (the first one ever), the Silver Buffalo Award (the highest award the Boy Scouts of America can give to an adult), an Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire, and he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II in 1998. He also has a naval vessel and an Air Force plane named after him.

An extra bonus fact for you: Bob Hope is the only person in the history of The Tonight Show to have a standing invitation to pop on and say hello any time he wanted to. Conan O'Brien recently made the joke that he's going to have one of those open invitations as well "“ and Paris Hilton promptly came out and dropped a couple of jokes. I hope Conan was kidding. Anyway, here's one of those famous moments "“ Bob dropped in to surprise guest host Don Rickles. And it's not just Bob "“ Bing Crosby pops out as well, and finally, John Wayne emerges from behind the curtain. Don is clearly

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