Bob Hope lays to rest all doubts of his traveling to the Middle East this Christmas with the statement, "Yes, we're going."
The famed comedian departs this weekend (December 22) with his band of 'gypsies' to entertain servicemen and women serving "Operation Desert Shield." His USO troupe includes Ann Jillian, Marie Osmond, The Pointer Sister, country recording artist Aaron Tippin, Khrystyne Haje of tv's "Head of the Class" and Bob's wife, Dolores plus sports legends Johnny Bench (Cincinnati Reds) and Walter "Sweetness" Payton (Chicago Bears).
Due to the nature of the crisis in the Mideast, no announcement of specific itinerary will be issued.
Hope's overseas trip will be telecast on NBC-TV, Saturday, January 12, 9:30 - 11:00 pm (ET). Linda Hope is producer.
This will be Hope's 33rd USO Tour and his 44th year entertaining service personnel at Christmastime. He has been performing for military audiences since May 1941 with a radio show at March Field, California for airmen stationed there and is now entertaining his third generation of men and women in the U.S. armed forces.
Bob's love of the G.I.s transcends his unprecedented career in show business and the honors and decorations (Guinness Book) he has received during his lifetime.
Whenever he is asked why, at his age and with his busy schedule, he still does military shows, Hope characteristically replies, "I guess I'm hooked on boxed lunches."
To the G.I.s Bob is their 'clown hero' - to him, they are the best audience in the world. To Hope, it's "not the war or fear of war, nor politics or even patriotism. It's the men and women in uniform. They're out there doing a job for us and they don't want to be there. The least we can do is give them a taste and touch of home."