The Quick 10: Thanks for the Memories

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.

youngbob1. His first job in show business was for a dancer in Fatty Arbuckle's vaudeville show in 1924. He did the vaudeville thing for quite some time and was on a double bill with Violet and Daisy Hilton, conjoined twins who were rather famous in 1926. He and his partner would dance with them, back to back, and then get to do their own act afterward. One biography suggests he was quite repulsed by them and would make crude jokes about their anatomy.
2. He once won a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest. Kind of hard to imagine, but I bet once you put the clothes, the hat and the mustache on, anyone could look like Charlie Chaplin if they did the walk well enough.
3. Bob was married before Dolores. Groucho Marx's son, Arthur, wrote a biography of Hope alleging that he had married his vaudeville partner, Grace Louise Troxell, in 1933. Hope denied it for years, for when a marriage certificate eventually surfaced, he admitted that he applied for the marriage certificate but never married her. Marx even went to far as to say that Troxell's daughter received a monthly support check from Hope for years, suggesting, of course, that he had a child with her that he wanted to remain secret. True or not? It remains a mystery to this day, so your guess is as good as mine.

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.

bobhope7. When President Truman was re-elected in the tight race against Dewey in 1948, Hope sent him a telegram that simply said "Unpack." Truman loved it so much he kept it visible under the glass top of his desk in the Oval Office.
8. One of his old golfing buddies was Prescott Bush, George Bush's father and George W. Bush's grandfather. Others included Spiro Agnew, Bing Crosby and Gerald Ford. In keeping with his accident-prone persona, Ford was so bad that Hope said, "It's easy to spot Jerry Ford on the golf course. He has the only golf cart with a red cross on top."
9. He once dotted the "I" when the Ohio State University marching band did their legendary routine of spelling out "Ohio" in cursive on the football field. It's a huge honor and is rarely awarded to a non-band member.

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

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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