The (Caddish) Adventures of Bob Hope
It’s often said, “In springtime, a young man’s thoughts turn to love”. Well, after reviewing the covers of DC’s Adventures of Bob Hope series, one could say an old man’s thoughts could turn to love not only in the spring, but the other three seasons as well!
By 1950, comedian Bob Hope had already enjoyed a long career, appearing in nearly every form of popular entertainment the 20th century could dish out. From vaudeville and radio to movies and TV, Hope pretty much occupied the entire “entertainment spectrum”, making his jump into comic books the most obvious kind of no-brainer.
As the popularity (and sales) of superhero titles sank lower and lower, comic book publishers like DC Comics turned to genres like romance, westerns and celebrity humor to pump up their cash flow. Along with popular stars like Alan Ladd and the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis team, Bob Hope headlined his own series of comic misadventures starting in early 1950.
What began as a series of publicity photo covers soon gave way to an impish cartoon version of Hope in a variety of exotic locales, goofy outfits, and wacky situations. However, the one consistent theme running through the vast majority of the title’s covers was, of course, Bob’s insatiable appetite for romance.
Now, let it be said I don’t know much about the late Bob Hope’s personal life or his 69-year marriage to wife Dolores…but the version of Bob Hope appearing on his comic book covers? Make way for Bob “Horndog” Hope”…ladies’ man, Lothario and all-around playah of the first degree.
Oh, and did I mention voyeur, too?
Before getting to the “evidence”, keep one thing in mind: For most of the title’s run, Bob Hope was in his 50’s and 60’s…making his constant wooing of buxom young “dolls” a deeply weird practice. Even by the lax standards of that era’s clueless male chauvinism, the sheer volume of these caddish Bob Hope covers must have seemed odd.
Let me put it this way: Out of 109 issues, The Adventures of Bob Hope had over 90 covers featuring Bob ogling, hitting on, leering at, clinging to, making out with or even barking at assorted Pretty Young Things.
“Barking” you say? Absolutely! In fact, one of the largest subcategories in the Hope Hall of Shame is the literal horndoggery on display, with all of its accompanying woofs, growls and “arfs”…
Even what appeared to be a skanky drug addict
became the target of Bob’s indiscriminate canine urges!
Mild weather-manipulation powers also played a small but important part in Bob’s romantic repertoire, as the fluffy white clouds distracted the girl’s attention away from his freakishly curved nose.
Another tactic of Bob’s was to routinely abuse positions
of power to appeal to vulnerable “authority figure groupies”.
For others, he’d bolster his already svengali-
like allure with knee-high black socks!
Regardless of whatever wooing techniques he applied, the most consistent aspect of Hope’s love for the ladies was his tendency to work his randy magic in wildly inappropriate or even dangerous situations…such as:
The cold, dank and smelly environs of a Yeti cave….
…the bottom of the ocean minus an air supply…
...during a carnivorous plant attack…
…immediately after landing on an alien planet…
…in the midst of Jihad…
…inside of a creepy voodoo temple, about to be
clobbered by a giant cross-dressing temple guard…
…during a parachute “jump”…
…or even touring a haunted house while lusting after a ghost!?
Now that the dead were targets of Bob’s incessant flirting, perhaps even the editors at DC Comics were beginning to get creeped out by the practice. That might explain the abrupt change in direction introduced with issue #95, as Ol’ Ski-Nose and his libido were sidelined in favor of a new nephew named Tadwallader Jutefruice (secretly “Super Hip”) and the ghoulish faculty of Benedict Arnold High.
Mercifully, this frantic “last gasp” to appear hip and contemporary lasted only a year or two, leading to the cancellation of the title with issue #109 (1968).
Of course, the indefatigable Bob Hope himself would continue on for another thirty-five years, entertaining U.S. troops and appearing in countless NBC TV specials, leaving his comic book persona’s lady-lovin’ ways behind him.
Or did he?
Bob thoroughly enjoying himself with Brooke Shields
and Country singer Barbara Mandrell during Bob’s
High Flying Birthday Extravaganza Show (May, 1987).