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April 15, 2015

Pictures of The Bob Hope Show from Long Binh, Vietnam on Christmas Day in 1970

One of the few constants of the Vietnam War—one eagerly anticipated by American troops, that is—was the annual Bob Hope Christmas Show. From 1964 to 1972, Hope included South Vietnam on his annual trips to visit troops during the holiday season, a tradition that started for him during World War II. "Back in 1941, at March Field, California…I still remember fondly that first soldier audience," Hope once said. "I looked at them, they laughed at me, and it was love at first sight."

While only a small fraction of the 2.5 million troops who served in Southeast Asia actually got to attend Hope's performances, for those who did he managed to break the monotony, ease the loneliness and give the troops in combat zones across Vietnam a couple of hours of laughter—and a memory for a lifetime. Bob Hope's classic opening monologues of rapid-fire jokes always took jabs at the GIs and the specifics of the local situation.

Under a hot sun or a driving rain, his young audiences laughed and cheered the legendary comedian and his cast of singers, dancers and the musicians of Les Brown and his Band of Renown. Hope's shtick included a constant, sometimes bawdy banter with the other performers, taking plenty of shots at the absurdities of military life while conveying a real sense of how difficult it was for the troops to be away from home during the holidays.

GIs welcome the cast of the Bob Hope Show from Long Binh on Christmas Day, 1970.

Long Binh audience at the Christmas Day Bob Hope Show.

The "Goldiggers" from the Dean Martin Show take the stage at Long Binh behind Bob Hope (12/25/70).

Gloria Loring leads the cast and audience in "Silent Night" (12/25/70, Long Binh).

The Golddiggers dance with Bob.

Lola Falana takes the stage at Long Binh.

Lola Falana, Gloria Loring, Hope, Bobbie Martin and Jennifer Holsten, Miss World, 1970, take center stage.

The Golddiggers sing a tune. The group of singers/dancers originated on the Dean Martin Variety Show and toured with Dean in Vegas and other locations.

Bob poses next to Lola Lola Falana the press conference following the Christmas Day Show at Long Binh.

Bob, Gloria Loring, Jennifer Hosten from Grenada (Miss World, 1970), and others show off their POW bracelets at the press conference following the Christmas Day Bob Hope Show at Long Binh, RVN.

Jennifer Holsten, Miss World, 1970, Les Brown and singer Gloria Loring.

(Photos © mikerophotovia historynet)


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