Don’t Shoot, It’s Only Me
By Bob Hope with Melville Shavelson
(1990, Putnam Books)
I’ve read a couple of Bob Hope books (about him and by him) over the years and had this one on my Amazon wishlist for awhile (it’s only a PENNY for a used copy) but then I came across it at the local library and decided to check it out.
I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I know Hope wrote TONS of books over the years so I had no clue what the material was going to be but I guess the title should’ve been my first clue because this book details Hope’s tours around the world (with his ever-changing cast of “Hope Gypsies”) entertaining for U.S. troops from World War II up through Desert Storm.
The book is full of the typical funny one-liners that Hope is known for and many of the jokes while performing for the troops are repeated. There are a few stories in regards to his career but the book mostly sticks to talking about the wartime tours: living conditions, morale, the close-calls and the laughs. There’s a lot of talk about U.S. presidents too as Hope had met them all from FDR up to George Bush Sr.
Obviously, the bulk of the book details World War II, which is when Hope was most active entertaining the troops. Bob & his gang not only toured military bases putting on a stage show for the troops but during WWII his radio show was broadcast from U.S. bases as well. Vietnam also gets a good chunk of space since the war went on for so long and Hope went over every time around Christmas to help spread some cheer where there was none to be found and no one was really in the mood for it anyway. Words are devoted to the Cold War as well.
This is a good read for Bob Hope fans and people who have an interest in World War II. I’m sure Melville Shavelson had his share of input (like in regards to jokes about some the then-current events) but it really reads as if Bob Hope was speaking.