Tag Archives: Bob Hope

Film: The Hope and Crosby “Road” Movies

Hope, Crosby, and Lamour made six movies together, and the best was probably The Road to Morocco. Uploaded by girl-world-decor.blogspot.com.

There were seven produced: The Road to Singapore (1940), The Road to Zanzibar (1941), The Road to Morocco (1942), The Road to Utopia (1946), The Road to Rio (1947), The Road to Bali (1952), and The Road to Hong Kong (1962). The weakest? Probably the last, made not by Paramount but by United Artists. The best? Probably The Road to Morocco.

The pairing of Hope (Great American Things, October 7, 2009) and Crosby (Great American Things, December 19, 2009), both successful at the start of the Forties, was inspired. The movies were scripted, of course, but a significant portion of the repartee between the two main characters was always improvised. And it was brilliant.

Uploaded by talesoftheidiot.com.

One other character graced the films, and earned a handsome living from them: Dorothy Lamour. She was pretty enough to be the love interest of both men, and could sing well enough to accompany Crosby. She only appeared in a minor role in the last film, having aged out of the “love interest” part.

The movies often parodied other popular films of the day. And they featured some recurring bits, most famously the “patty cake” routine, in which Hope and Crosby would play the kids game to distract bad guys before punching them. Hope would sometimes talk to the audience as well, most famously in The Road to Bali when he said, “He’s (Crosby) gonna sing folks. Now’s the time to go and get the popcorn.”

Song: “Silver Bells”

The song Silver Bells first was heard in the Bob Hope movie The Lemon Drop Kid. Uploaded by midmart.com.

This reminds me of my childhood more than almost any other Christmas song. Its imagery calls to mind the way Christmas used to be. Before malls, when people shopped for Christmas downtown. And people actually dressed like Santa Claus to ring the silver bells at the Salvation Army kettles.

The REAL Santa Claus at Miller & Rhoads, Richmond. Uploaded to Flickr by Cindy Woods.

And when everyone knew the real Santa Claus was at Miller & Rhoads in Richmond.

“Silver Bells” was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and was first recorded by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards in 1950. Bing also recorded it with Ella Fitzgerald, with Rosemary Clooney, and by himself. Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell performed it in the 1951 film, Lemon Drop Kid.

Believe it or not, the song was originally written as “Tinkle Bells.” Fortunately, Jay Livingston went home and told his wife about the song. Mrs. L. informed her clueless husband what “tinkle” was slang for.

“Silver Bells” has been recorded by just about everyone who’s ever made a Christmas record, but here are some of the more unusual artists who have covered it: Jeannie C. Riley, The Brady Bunch, Regis Philbin, R.E.M., Boxcar Willie, and Twisted Sister.