BOOTLEG FILES 686: “Going Spanish” (1934 short comedy starring Bob Hope).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright enables anyone to duplicate prints.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: The chances of a digitally restored version are nil.
Eighty-five years ago, Bob Hope made his film debut in a dinky little two-reel comedy. And thanks to an indelicate wisecrack about the film’s quality, he almost saw his film career end with that debut effort.
We’re off on the road to laughs as the always provocative Anthony “The Kingfish” Vitamia returns to the podcast for a wild, no-holds-barred debate on whether Bob Hope should be acclaimed a great comic or whether he was the source of more groans than guffaws.
The episode can be heard here.
“The Online Movie Show” is produced at the Platinum Wolfe Studios.
BOOTLEG FILES 601: “Jack Benny’s First Farewell Special” (1973 television production featuring Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Dean Martin).
LAST SEEN: It can be found on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No one wants to put it out on commercial DVD.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There is no great push to get this released.
I don’t know who came up with the term “special” to define the one-shot variety productions that pockmarked television broadcasting from the 1950s through the mid-1980s. For the most part, these offerings were anything but special – most were forgettable, some were dreadful, but only a handful possessed the emotional or artistic quality that truly deserved to be called special.
BOOTLEG FILES 577: “That Certain Feeling” (1956 comedy starring Bob Hope, Eva Marie Saint and Pearl Bailey).
LAST SEEN: An unauthorized video dupe is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A possible problem with rights clearance.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at this time.
During the early 1950s, a sense of staleness began to permeate Bob Hope’s film output. Movies like “My Favorite Spy,” “Off Limits,” “Here Come the Girls” and “Casanova’s Big Night” were burdened with a mechanical indifference, and even a reteaming with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour in “Road to Bali” carried a sense of been-there/done-that. Yes, there were flashes of inspiration here and there, especially when Hope was paired with co-stars that matched his vibrancy – most notably in his instant-classic song-and-dance routine with James Cagney in “The Seven Little Foys.” But, for the most part, the fun was deflating and Hope’s star ranking at the box office was taking a slide.
You have to give it to Lucille Ball. While there are countless stories about her latter years in show business and how much of a tyrant she was, she seemed to show a lot of respect for Carol Burnett. Burnett was prompted by network executives to build a big time television special. Burnett recruited Ball, who was more than happy to co-star. Burnett, an old school queen of comedy, shared the stage with Ball, another titan of comedy.