September 2, 2008 / 8:00 PM / 9 years ago

Bob Hope fans say "thanks" for the memorabilia

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - His theme song was “Thanks for the Memory,” and now Bob Hope fans will get a chance to say their own “thanks” of a charitable kind in an auction of golf mementos and other memorabilia once owned by the comic legend.

<p>Entertainer Bob Hope, shown in this undated file photo, will be celebrating his 100th birthday on May 29, 2003. REUTERS/Files</p>

Five years after his death at age 100, nearly everything in Hope’s office in his Los Angeles home will be sold in an auction set for October 18-19 in Beverly Hills that is expected to gather between $200,000 and $400,000, organizers said.

Through the Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation, the sale will benefit U.S. veterans. Hope befriended many U.S. presidents throughout his life, and his wartime shows organized by the United Service Organizations cheered soldiers from World War II to the Gulf War in the 1990s.

Born in 1903, Hope and his family came to the United States from England when he was 4. He got his start in vaudeville and later became a major personality on radio and television.

As a comedian, his “road” movies with Bing Crosby thrilled audiences. Oscar-winning filmmaker Woody Allen credited the Hope and Crosby films with inspiring him to be a comedian.

“He and the country grew up (together),” his daughter Linda Hope told Reuters. “There was no electricity when dad was starting out his life, and the Wright brothers made their first flight in 1903.”

Julien’s Auctions is selling 188 items from Hope’s office, and Linda Hope recently gave Reuters a tour ahead of the sale.

There are a total 680 items in the sale including memorabilia that had been in storage, said Darren Julien, founder of the firm handling the auction.

<p>Memorabilia including a football signed by the Los Angeles Rams and other items belonging to the late Bob Hope are pictured in his home office in Los Angeles, California August 18, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>

COMIC LEGEND‘S HOME OFFICE

But the home office houses many of the prized items. Hope worked from an office with a ceiling high enough to swing a golf club and a table long enough to seat his writers.

Mementos from friends, many of them signed, crowd shelves. On his desk, Hope placed a rattlesnake in a clear stand and in one glass case, there were decades-old golf balls.

“I can see him here with his glasses on, going over the jokes,” Linda Hope said of her father’s desk.

Golf was Hope’s great love, and the mementos reflect that. There is a fake dollar bill with Arnold Palmer’s picture, a gift signed by the golfer. There are golf shoes with Thai-style flames running along the sides, and the comedian’s golf bag and clubs are expected to garner a lot of interest.

Hope also kept a football signed by college powerhouse Notre Dame’s 1983 team, and a set of tea knives and forks from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth that Hope bought at a 1952 charity event.

“Bob saved everything, everything meant a lot to him,” Julien said.

This week, Hope fans can see the memorabilia up close by cruising on the Queen Mary 2. In Ireland, where Hope had a home, there will be an exhibition of some of the items September 19- October 5, at Newbridge Silverware in County Kildare.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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