Thanks for the Strip Malls

In subtle, moving language, Charles Eicher at Disinfotainment expresses his feelings about the passing of beloved entertainer Bob Hope: “I spit on your grave.”

Why this outpouring of warmth? Well, Bob Hope’s development company La Mancha can take at least some credit for making southern California what it is today — they built the first mini mall and followed it up with thousands more.

Eicher also points out that the USO scion was the “golf buddy” of Nazi collaborator and presidential progenitor Prescott Bush. (This is a strange piece of trivia for the Internet Movie Database to highlight since Hope was actually the golf buddy of every president, even if it was only the Republicans who invited him to stay at the Lincoln bedroom).

Back in May, Couch Pundit discussed an episode of This American Life with a segment on Bob Hope. [real audio — the part on Hope is about 35 minutes in]. It focuses on his role in the USO as a particualry shrewd business move, with each taxpayer-funded special getting sold to NBC. The recorded interviews by Margy Rochlin were from 1986, so at one point Hope runs through his “Iran-Contra” bit:

“I dunno who the White House aides were, it was either Curly, Larry, or Moe.”

[beat]

“I can’t understand selling arms to Iran. That’s like Johnny Carson selling jokes to Joan Rivers.”

[beat]

While discussing the Viet Nam war, Hope proudly tells a story of someone who criticized his supporting role:

Hope: I had a couple a people that, ah, called me a warmonger. And I gave it to the FBI and the sheriff here and they found these guys over on Santa Monica Boulevard. And they chased ’em outta town.

Rochlin: But who were these people?

Hope: They were some bums. That were, you know, probably guys that, uh, were defectors or something.

Bob Hope — a man before his time.