Suspended Animation # 214
In the 2008 season seven episode of Family Guy entitled “Baby Not on Board”, Stewie refers to Glenn Quagmire as “Bob Hope”.The character’s exaggerated ski nose, general appearance and wolfish attitude toward women echo Bob Hope’s theatrical persona especially prominent in his films of the 1940s and 1950s.
Creator Seth McFarlane voices the character with the same tone, cadence and rapid-fire delivery as Hope. Hope actually briefly appeared in two episodes.
In the 2001 episode “A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas”, there is a TV clip of Hope entertaining Union soldiers during the Civil War referencing his famous decades-long USO tours during Christmas.
In “PTV” (2005), newscaster Tom Tucker announces that Hope had come back to life, decided to attempt to jump trashcans on a motorcycle and when the stunt failed ended up dying again.
Of course, there were several episodes with Stewie and Brian parodying Hope’s famous “Road” pictures with Bing Crosby.
Hope had a lengthy and successful career in vaudeville, the Broadway stage, radio, film and television. He also received praise for his hosting of the Academy Awards nineteen times and his USO specials to raise troop morale around the world.
One of Hope’s film directors was Frank Tashlin who had a long career in animation including Van Bueren, Terrytoons, Warner Brothers, Disney, and Columbia among others before writing gags and directing live-action films that incorporated several animation style gags like in the Bob Hope film Son of Paleface (1952).
Hope’s National/DC comic book, The Adventures of Bob Hope (of which he was proud to have a complete collection of the 109 issues that ran from 1950-1968) was initially drawn by artist Owen Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald was an assistant animator with Disney Studio between 1937 and 1939, and then subsequently worked as an animator for Fleischer Studio (‘Gulliver’s Travels’, ‘Popeye’), MGM, Warner Bros (‘Looney Tunes’), De Patie-Freleng (‘Pink Panther’ and others.) and Hanna-Barbera (‘Flintstones’, ‘Superfriends’, ‘Smurfs’) up until the mid 1980s. During World War II, he was in the Army Signal Corps, the animation unit responsible for the famed ‘Private SNAFU’ cartoons.
Hope has been caricatured several times in animation, most notably in cartoons distributed by Paramount where Hope did several live-action comedies.
Malibu Beach Party (Warner Brothers. Merrie Melodies. September 14, 1940). Bob Hope is among several celebrities at Jack Benny’s party. [Link]
The Wizard Of Arts (Fleischer Studios. Animated Antics. August 8th, 1941). An Artist shows off his latest works, which include sculptures of “Despair” (a flat tire) and “Hope” (a bust of Bob). [Link]A Bout With a Trout (Famous Studios. Little Lulu. October 10, 1947). Hope is actually pictured and not caricatured as a star during Lulu’s nightmare featuring the song “Swingin’ On a Star”. Hope’s longtime partners Bing Crosby and Jerry Colonna also pop up as stars. [Link]
The Baby Sitter (Famous Studios. Little Lulu. November 28, 1947). Babysitter Lulu dreams she finds the bratty baby she is watching hanging out at The Stork Club where Hope is one of the celebrities. [Link]
Toys Will Be Toys (Famous Studios. Screen Songs. July 15, 1949). Another one of the many cartoons where after the store closes for the night the toys come to life in a toy store. Hope’s sloped nose becomes a ski jump for other toys. [Link]
The Case of the Cockeyed Canary (Famous Studios. Noveltoons. Little Audrey. December 19, 1952). Little Audrey imagines herself as a detective who is solving the murder of Cock Robin. A number of Hollywood stars are portrayed as birds. Hope is depicted as a penguin perhaps because of his familiar image at the time as the tuxedo-wearing host of the Oscars. [Link]
Popeye’s 20th Anniversary (Famous Studios. Popeye. April 2, 1954). Again, because of his prominence as a host for the Oscar ceremonies, he is depicted as an emcee as animated caricatures of Paramount movie stars including Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Jimmy Durante turn out for the award ceremony celebrating Popeye’s twenty years as a movie star. [Link]
King Yakko (Warner Bros. Animaniacs September 1993). Hope is caricatured as the court jester of Anvil-ania: “I don’t know. I can’t see the cue card.” The line references Hope’s well-known dependence on cue cards on his television show. [Link]
Lisa, the Beauty Queen (The Simpsons. October 15, 1992). Hope provided the voice for his caricature in the show that had a segment that parodied his many USO shows. Hope was 89 years old when he recorded the part but he was animated to look much more youthful. He later died at the age of 100. [Link]
At Fort Springfield, Hope with his trademark golf club addressed the servicemen: “Hello, this is Bob ‘What the hell am I doing in Springfield?’ Hope. Hey, this Mayor Quimby, he’s some golfer. His ball spends more time underwater than Greg Louganis.”
Hope introduces Lisa as the reigning Little Miss Springfield to show the soldiers what they would be “fighting for, if there was a war on”.
But the troops were expecting an older pageant winner Miss Springfield and riot. Hope and Lisa make their escape on a helicopter. Hope asks to be set down at a boat show which is his next gig.
The Road to Dendron (Duckman. May 11, 1996). Rather than a caricature, Duckman and Corny parody the famous Hope-Crosby “Road” films where they are on the loose in Sudan, rescuing Ajax from a Sultan and wooing a beautiful princess.
Hugo (voice of Dave Thomas) and Hooft (voice of Joe Flaherty) are two comedic characters from the 2001 Disney syndicated television show The Legend of Tarzan. They were meant to be loose caricatures in terms of personality although not in appearance of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby from their classic “Road” films.
They are American deserters of the French Foreign Legion which they joined because they owed money to a loan shark in Chicago and can’t go home. They are portrayed as funny conmen who are still good-natured and loyal to their friends. [Link]
D’oh-in’ in the Wind (The Simpsons. November 15, 1998). Hank Azaria provided the voice for Hope. Homer tries to learn about hippie culture and watches an old Bob Hope comedy sketch where dressed as a hippie, he is invited to a love-in thinking he will go with actress Jill St. John but gets Phyllis Diller instead.
Homer: “If I’m gonna be a real hippie, I have to learn from the master. Mr. Bob ‘Flower-Child’ Hope.” Bob: “Hey, peace, man. Far out. Groovy, I’m a hippie.” [Link]
Bart has Two Mommies (The Simpsons. March 19, 2006). Dave Thomas provided the voice for Hope. While Maude Flanders is trying to watch her son Rod from Heaven, Hope is entertaining God who wonders why he waited so long to bring Hope up to Heaven. [Link]
Are there any Hope animated references I have missed? While a live action Bob Hope appeared on several Disney specials, he never seems to have been caricatured in any Disney cartoons.
By the way, artist Dorothea Redmond who designed the sets for Hope’s film Road to Bali (1952) later designed the mural in Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom.