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AMERICAN MASTERS: This Is Bob Hope (on KPBS TV and KPBS 2)

Airs Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 + Sunday, Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. on KPBS TV

Sammy Davis, Jr. and Bob Hope performing at the

Credit: Courtesy of Bob Hope Legacy, LLC

Above: Sammy Davis, Jr. and Bob Hope performing at the "Bob Hope All-Star Tribute to Palace Theatre" in January 1978.

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Explore the entertainer's life with unprecedented access to his personal archives

During his eight-decade career, Bob Hope (1903-2003) was the only performer to achieve top-rated success in every form of mass entertainment: vaudeville, Broadway, movies, radio, television, popular song and personal appearances, including his annual USO Christmas military tours and hosting the Academy Awards more times than anyone else.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Bob Hope Legacy, LLC

Bob Hope on stage entertaining the troops in Vietnam. (undated photo)

A comedy innovator, Hope invented the topical monologue that later became a late-night TV staple and comedy tropes like talking while backing up.

He refined a spontaneous, conversational, improvisational style of comedy as a vaudeville master of ceremonies that created a blueprint for acerbic standup comics.

Written, directed and produced by John Scheinfeld ("The U.S. vs. John Lennon," "Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary"), AMERICAN MASTERS "This is Bob Hope..." presents a candid look at a remarkable life with unprecedented access to Hope’s personal archives, including writings voiced by Billy Crystal and clips from Hope’s body of work.

AMERICAN MASTERS: This Is Bob Hope: Trailer

Explore the entertainer’s life with unprecedented access to his personal archives including writings voiced by Billy Crystal, clips from his body of work, and interviews with Woody Allen, Margaret Cho, Conan O’Brien, Tom Selleck and Brooke Shields.

These archives reveal a gifted individual who recognized the power of fame, embraced its responsibilities and handled celebrity with extraordinary wit and grace, becoming a model for public service in Hollywood.

Photo credit: Courtesy of PBS

Give $25/ month or $300 now and get the “Bob Hope: The Ultimate Movie Collection” 10-DVD set. This gift includes a KPBS License Plate Frame (if you're a new member). Also enjoy access to KPBS Passport and myKPBS Film Club. The American Masters “This is Bob Hope” DVD only is at the $120 level, and at $240 you can get the program DVD plus “The Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Road to Comedy Collection 2-DVD set.

“Alongside an examination of Bob Hope’s extraordinary career achievements is a portrait of a gifted man with enormous personal contradictions,” says filmmaker John Scheinfeld. “Even in the longer cut, I barely scratched the surface of his huge impact and influence.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Bob Hope Legacy, LLC

Bob Hope with Muppets Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy for the "Bob Hope All-Star Christmas Comedy Special" in December 1977.

The film features new interviews with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Margaret Cho, daughter Linda Hope, Kermit the Frog, film critic/historian Leonard Maltin, Conan O’Brien, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Connie Stevens and biographer Richard Zoglin ("Hope: Entertainer of the Century").

Edited to evoke the fast, fun pace of Hope’s classic monologues, clips include highlights from numerous TV specials, his Pepsodent radio shows and classic films like “The Cat and the Canary,” “My Favorite Blonde,” his iconic Road pictures with Bing Crosby, and "The Big Broadcast of 1938" featuring his signature song “Thanks for the Memory.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Bob Hope Legacy, LLC

Bob Hope with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour in "Road to Bali," 1952.

The unabridged director's cut also features Hope’s 1930s comedy shorts and delves further into his radio and TV career, USO tours and charity work.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Bob Hope Legacy, LLC

President George Bush, President Bill Clinton, Bob Hope, and President Gerald Ford at the Bob Hope Desert Classic in February 1995.


The full director's cut is available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.


A production of Crew Neck Productions and AMERICAN MASTERS Pictures. John Scheinfeld is writer, director and producer. Dave Harding, Richard Gurman, Richard Zoglin and James Hardy are producers. Peter S. Lynch, II is editor and co-producer. Michael Kantor is AMERICAN MASTERS series executive producer.

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