I Wanna Tell Ya

Frank visits "Hope for America" exhibit at the Library of Congress As a lifelong fan of Bob Hope, I really enjoyed the “Hope for America” exhibit at the Library of Congress. My son and I toured the Library after our Capitol tour two weeks ago.

When I was a kid in the early 1970s, I begged my parents to take me to a Bob Hope show at Memorial Field in Mount Vernon, New York. I didn’t get close enough to get Hope’s autograph but I did get Lieutenant Governor Malcolm Wilson’s autograph that night. I remember Wilson telling me to say hi to my father.

When my kids were young, I took them trick-or-treating at Bob and Delores Hope’s home on Moorpark Street in Toluca Lake. I recognized that address on some letters displayed in the Library of Congress. Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan sent thank-you notes to Hope’s home while President Carter sent his letter to the offices of Bob Hope Enterprises in Burbank.

A significant section of the Library of Congress exhibit focused on complaint letters. I’ve had to deal with a complaint letter or two during the earlier part of my career and it somehow felt good to know that even Bob Hope was not immune from complaints. One of his responses to such a letter is on display at the Library:

Mr. George E. Sims, Jr.
County Attorney
Sparta, Georgia
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Dear Mr. Sims:
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I received your letter, in reference to the sketch we did about the President and Mrs. Truman doing a breakfast show, and am very sorry you saw it in that light. At the time i thought it might be over-stepping the bounds of American good taste, but the sketch had been okayed by all censors concerned so we went ahead with it.
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You are not alone in your thinking, for I’ve received several letters, similar to yours, which I am trying to answer personally. You may rest assured I do appreciate the dignity of the high office of President of the United States. Mr. Truman is a personal friend of mine… or was before we put on that sketch. Probably, we were a little silly in going too far in the liberties of free speech which we Americans enjoy. Be assured that my sponsor had nothing to do with it as I’m an independent contractor and, as far as good taste is concerned, that lies within my judgement.
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I do hope, in the future, we can come up with something that might swing you back in favor of our radio show because, in these days of television, one cannot afford to lose any part of his audience.
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Thank you, again, for your interest and, believe me, I hope you never have to write me another letter of that type.
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I remain,
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Your radio slave,
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Bob Hope

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