Bob Hope doesn't have a joke about Baltimore -- yet.
But he expects to come up with one or two before his appearance Wednesday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, in a benefit for the National Drive to Cure Paralysis.
Mr. Hope last came here two years ago for a celebration honoring the 25th anniversary of the Rev. Joseph A. Sellinger, S.J., as president of Loyola College. Accompanied by his wife, Dolores, Mr. Hope plans to visit his old friend again while in town.
Speaking on the phone from his home in Southern California, Mr. Hope said his hour-long show -- with the Zim Zemeral Orchestra and the 80-voice Chorus of the Chesapeake -- would draw on recent news events for humorous material.
"People love it when you talk about what's in their heads," he said. "They've heard it, they know about it and then they recognize it."
Before coming to Baltimore, Mr. Hope has stops scheduled in Texas and Tennessee. Last year the octogenarian spent 163 days on the road doing appearances, many of them benefits for various causes. He is donating his time here for the National Drive.
Approaching his 88th birthday next month, Mr. Hope said he has no plans to retire, adding, "I feel pretty good. I enjoy what I'm doing."
Profits from Wednesday's performance are expected to exceed $100,000, according to benefit coordinator Bo Hatter, and will be used to fund research aimed at finding a cure for spinal-cord related paralysis.
More than 500,000 Americans are paralyzed, and some 30 people a day injure their spinal cords severely.
The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, $30 and $40, and are available at the Meyerhoff ticket office. For more information, call 783-8000.