January 31 – April 17, 2020
So Ready for Laughter tells the story of Bob Hope’s unique place in WWII history and beyond. Using multimedia elements and captivating storytelling—including artifacts, films, rare photographs and an interactive display—the exhibit highlights how Hope helped lift the human spirit during one of the darkest times in American history.
Exploring Hope’s major tours and travels during World War II, So Ready for Laughter features nearly 50 artifacts and includes an original 11-minute documentary produced by award-winning filmmaker, John Scheinfeld. Highlights include rare and unpublished photographs of Hope; wartime correspondence between Hope and servicemembers; WWII-era relics engraved to Hope; videos of his traveling, wartime troupe and Hollywood Victory Caravan programs and scrapbooks.
About Bob Hope
Bob Hope came to the United States as an immigrant with his family in the early 1920s, settling in Cleveland, Ohio. He initially worked as a newsboy, butcher’s assistant, shoe salesman and amateur boxer. Hope went on to eventually shape his art on the vaudeville stage, and by the start of World War II, he was just emerging as one of America’s most popular radio and film stars. When the nation went to war in 1941, Hollywood recognized the need for contributions and responded by entertaining troops, raising funds, and boosting morale. Hope’s work quickly took on new meaning when he took his wartime programs on the road to military camps and bases across the country, inspiring other entertainers to join him.