Beautiful downtown Burbank may house Bob Hope museum

August 30, 1993|By Susan B. Postema | Susan B. Postema,Los Angeles Daily News

Bob Hope's many awards, honors and memorabilia -- including 54 honorary doctorates, a signed airplane propeller and some bronzed milk cartons -- may be open to the viewing public in the near future.

The 90-year-old entertainer is hoping to open a museum in Burbank, Calif. within a year, which would document his comedy, acting and dancing career, organizers say.

The Los Angeles-area city of Burbank is one of several sites being considered as a location for the museum, but officials from Bob Hope Enterprises would not say which site will be given preference.

"We are in such early planning stages," said Ward Grant, spokesman for Bob Hope Enterprises.

"Several offers are in and Burbank is a possible site. But many options need to be studied before a decision is made. . . We're at the embryonic stage right now."

Mr. Grant said that Hope, his wife and daughter, Linda, are interested in finding a site for the museum in the coming year. Mr. Hope was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

The museum likely would include a theater that would show some of the many movies and television shows featuring Mr. Hope.

Mr. Grant said that Mr. Hope currently has a room in his home in the Los Angeles-area community of Toluca Lake for his awards, but many of Mr. Hope's historical documents and memorabilia are in storage.

In addition to movies, awards and honors, the warehouse includes an airplane propeller that men from an Air Force unit signed and gave to him and bronzed milk cartons from a woman's group at Wright-Patterson Air Force base near Dayton, Ohio.

"There's an interest in the man's career and life, so there is a demand for a museum," Mr. Grant said. "Every corner of his life will be detailed."

Burbank officials hope that because Mr. Hope owns undeveloped property in Burbank, lives in nearby Toluca Lake and has a 55-year relationship with NBC studios in Burbank the entertainer will look favorably on Burbank as a possible location.

"On and off over the years, staff and the City Council have expected that the memorabilia and Burbank land he owns could result in a museum," said Assistant City Manager Steve Helvey. "I couldn't imagine why we wouldn't want to capitalize on a famous person in this community, if he would want to leave a legacy in Burbank."

Mr. Hope's entertainment career began in the 1920s as a vaudeville comedian and singer-dancer with a traveling show, continued into the 1930s with his own radio show and took off in the 1940s when he began his decades-long series of overseas tours with the USO to entertain American troops.

In addition to his movie and TV career, Mr. Hope also received numerous awards, including honors for serving for six decades with the United Service Organizations.

"There's an awful lot to put in there, an awful lot of years to consider," Mr. Grant said. "He has a lot to share with people in his museum."

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