Bob Hope is one of the most legendary of American entertainers. From television to movies to much more Hope entertained thousands if not millions of Americans over the course of his life and career. And while Hope is no longer with us his legacy anything but died. That is thanks to the advent of DVD and Blu-ray technology. His classic films and TV appearances have been released any number of times over the years on both platforms. And next month three of those TV performances will be available on DVD when Time Life Entertainment releases the new DVD Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops. The single-disc DVD compilation presents three of Hope’s classic military Christmas shows. Given, there are only three shows presented here. Regardless they are still a collectively important part of the DVD’s presentation if not the core element of its presentation. The specials’ look and sound in their presentation here is just as important to note as the specials themselves. That will be discussed later. The set’s companion booklet rounds out its presentation. It presents a short but concise outline for each special. This plays its own role in the DVD’s presentation and will be discussed later, too. Each element noted here is important in its own way to the DVD’s presentation. Altogether they make the DVD one that should be in every comedy lover’s home DVD library.
Time Life’s new Bob Hope collection Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops is hardly the largest collection of Bob Hope specials to ever be released. It only boasts three of his Christmas specials—one from 1970, another from 1971, and one more from 1951—but all three are entertaining in their own right. Collectively they still do more good than harm to the DVD’s presentation. That is because they are presented in whole just as they were in their original broadcasts. This includes all of the jokes (some of which might be somewhat over younger viewers’ heads and in other cases too grown up for said viewers) and without any retouching, re-mastering or anything else. There is even a question and answer session between famed astronaut Neil Armstrong and the troops that becomes quite tense at one moment in one of the specials. How and why won’t be given away here. But needless to say Armstrong lived up to his reputation of staying calm and cool even in said situation. One of the really funny jokes that Hope pulls is presented more than once. He jokes with a pair of beauty pageant queens (one in the 1970 special and another in the 1971 special), asking them where they were born. The women both answer, to which Hope responds, asking “what part?” The women then respond saying, “all of me.” It’s a time-honored joke that’s been pulled plenty of times by other acts. But it is no less funny in these cases. There are also some warmer moments in which Hope connects with his military audiences, joking about the situations in which they are set. For example in one special he jokes about the quality of the food at a mess hall, telling the troops to let him finish the joke so that they could get the punchline. That was because his opening line got a big “boo” from the soldiers; not to his line but about the mess hall’s food. The soldiers’ response to the punchline is classic. Again, it won’t be revealed here. But those that watch the moment for themselves will fully appreciate it. Whether for that joke, the jokes with his fellow female performers, or for any of the other jokes shared throughout the specials, it can be said that the entertainment factor of this new collection is more than enough reason for audiences to check it out even if they weren’t even born at the time that they were recorded.
The entertainment factor presented in Time Life’s new Bob Hope compilation DVD is plenty of reason for audiences to check it out. It shows Bob’s ability to bring much-needed laughs to so many audiences in the most difficult situations. They leave at least this critic wishing that there was a comic like him alive today. Sadly none come to mind. Audiences looking for real laughs will agree with that sentiment after watching these specials. Of course the disc’s entertainment factor is just one part of its presentation that is worth noting. Their look and sound in their presentation here is just as important to note. Viewers will note in watching each special that none of the presented footage has been touched in its transfer from its masters to DVD. There are some questionable camera movements and other slight issues here and there. There is even a disclaimer at the front end of each special making note of the specials’ production values. Believe it or not it is actually a good thing that the footage wasn’t cleaned up, re-worked, re-mastered, or whatever term one wants to use here. That is because as it is, those imperfections add a certain warmth to the viewing experience so to speak. They remind audiences not just of how far television has come. It may sound like a stretch but even something as simple as video imperfection may trigger a sense of nostalgia for older audiences much like the static of a vinyl LP versus the crisp, clean sound of music on CD. The sound quality of the specials is surprisingly impressive especially considering the recording tech available all those years ago. That there was no re-mastering done in the specials’ transfer from their masters to DVD makes this even more impressive. Audiences won’t find themselves adjusting the volume at any point to make up for any audio issues. That in itself speaks volumes about the specials’ sound quality, no pun intended. Both elements taken collectively into consideration, they show even more alongside the general presentation of the specials why this small collection should be in any family’s home DVD library. These elements are not all to note of the DVD’s presentation either. The companion booklet that is included with the DVD rounds out its positives.
The general presentation of the specials in Time Life’s new Bob Hope holiday special collection are a big part of the collection’s presentation especially being that the collection only boasts three of his many Christmas military tribute shows. The specials’ production values are just as important to note. That is because even without any re-mastering they still look and sound surprisingly good. That is especially important to note considering the age of each special’s footage. While both elements are key to the DVD’s presentation they are not the only important elements to note. Believe it nor not the collection’s companion booklet plays its own important part in the collection’s presentation. Much like the companion booklets that come with so many other Time Life DVDs and Blu-rays this DVD’s companion booklet serve as complete guides for audiences. Each special is broken down with its own segment guide, and a detailed, concise outline of the special. That’s just the beginning for each guide. Each special’s guide also includes a full listing of its featured performers an exact air date. All things considered the companion booklet that comes with this DVD is more than just a companion to the collection. It is its own standout portion of the collection’s viewing experience. Together with the presentation of its specials and their production values, all three elements join together to make Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops a collection that while small, will still entertain audiences of almost all ages, proving once again why it deserves a spot in any family’s home DVD library.
Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops is a collection that while relatively small, will still entertain audiences of almost all ages today. Younger children obviously are perhaps the only exception to that rule. Other than that it is, again a collection that will entertain audiences of almost all ages. That is due in large part to its featured specials. It features three of Hope’s classic Christmas tributes to the military. All three specials are presented in their entirety. All three are also presented as they were in their original broadcasts in terms of their video and audio. The video might not be HD or perfect in other technical senses. But those imperfections make the video perfect in each special. The audio is just as surprisingly impressive in each special, too. Rounding out the DVD’s presentation is its companion booklet. The booklet is not just another booklet. Its detailed, concise summaries of the specials and equally detailed segment guides, air date, and performer lists within each special proves the booklet to be its own important part of the DVD’s presentation. This is nothing new for Time Life. Each one of its previous DVD and Blu-ray releases include their own equally in depth companion booklets. All things considered Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops proves in the end to be a collection that while small, will be a big hit with audiences of almost all ages. It will be available Tuesday, May 10th and can be ordered online direct via Amazon. More information on this and other titles from Time Life is available online now along with all of the latest news from Time Life Entertainment at:
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