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Bob Hope and Raquel Welch’s unfortunate cover of ‘Rocky Raccoon,’ 1970
12.08.2016
12:46 pm

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Raquel Welch
Bob Hope
the Beatles


Rocky Raccoon sheet music; pictured here are its two very famous composers

There have been countless covers of Beatles songs over the decades, but surely one of the most regrettable has to be the version Raquel Welch and Bob Hope essayed of “Rocky Raccoon,” an original and enjoyable song off of side 2 of The White Album. The cover version Welch and Hope executed wasn’t a record, it was part of Raquel!, a Raquel Welch TV special that aired on CBS in 1970—DM’s Richard Metzger once described it as “a camp time capsule full of Bob Mackie dresses, Paco Rabanne spacesuits and Bob Hope singing “Rocky Raccoon” wearing a Davey Crockett hat.” Welch and Hope had a close relationship, she was a staple of his USO tours, one (perhaps two?) that the troops were always overjoyed to see.
 

 
The western motifs McCartney employed in his ditty provided the producers with an irresistible opportunity to put together a slapstick pastiche sketch à la The Monkees or Laugh-In or Benny Hill. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se, but the gags are pretty lazy. Welch can’t pass up the chance to do Mae West, and I’m not sure if whatever Hope is doing qualifies as Sprechgesang or Sprechstimme, but it ain’t singing (he sounded better doing “Thanks for the Memory”). Welch’s voice, however, is very nice but she makes no effort to capture the spirit of the original.

John Lennon got the last word on this subject. As Geoffrey Giuliano reported in Blackbird: The Life and Times of Paul McCartney, Lennon’s quote on the subject ran, “I saw Bob Hope doing it once on the telly years ago, I just thanked God it wasn’t one of mine.”
 

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Raquel Welch in campy 70’s TV variety show (with space dancers)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Bob Hope’s breathtaking midcentury modern estate—now half price!
06.14.2016
10:55 am

Topics:
Design
Movies

Tags:
Bob Hope
John Lautner


 
The legendary comedian Bob Hope probably did as much as anyone to define the image of the California community of Palm Springs. Among other things, the comedian founded the Palm Springs Bob Hope Golf Classic in 1964 and relentlessly promoted the desert hideaway in the Coachella Valley located a two-hour drive east of Los Angeles.
 

 
In The Frontier of Leisure: Southern California and the Shaping of Modern America, Lawrence Culver explains that Hope’s wife Dolores had become enamored of a house that the great midcentury modern architect John Lautner designed for a Palm Springs interior designer named Arthur Elrod in 1968—you can see it in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever:
 

If Elrod wanted a party house, Bob and Dolores Hope asked for an entertainment complex. Dolores Hope had been enchanted by the Elrod House, and the Hope House revisited the domed Elrod design, with a much larger dome intended to evoke the forms of the mountains nearby. Now, however, the dome was open to the sky and served to enclose a large courtyard. The space devoted to the couple’s personal residence was relatively small, as most of the behemoth structure was intended to be used to entertain, feed, and potentially house hundreds of guests. When Dolores Hope’s husband saw Lautner’s design, he reportedly quipped that “at least when they come down from Mars they’ll know where to go.” Though Bob Hope consented to the project, Lautner and Dolores Hope had a difficult relationship. She repeatedly asked for changes that required redesigns. A devastating fire during construction also slowed building and resulted in a less ambitious design than Lautner’s initial plan. He subsequently looked back on the project with regret, but the Hope residence nevertheless became a Palm Springs landmark.

 
The property is located at 2466 Southridge Drive. The house is 23,366 square feet and contains 10 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms. The lot is roughly six acres in size. As recently as a year ago was on the market for $50 million. Right now, however, the same property is available on Estately for approximately half of that—the current listing price is $24,999,000.

Here’s the description:
 

Mere words cannot describe this majestic and historical piece of architecture which was the largest private residence designed by John Lautner and commissioned by legendary Bob & Dolores Hope. The property has entertained dignitaries from all over the world and is viewed by many as one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the world.

 
Some affluent DM reader should buy the thing and invite us all over for a party.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Bob Hope’s space-age home on the market for $50 million
02.25.2013
03:19 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Design

Tags:
Bob Hope
John Lautner

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Bob Hope’s Palm Springs home is for sale. It’s an architectural marvel designed by the visionary John Lautner in 1973. The futuristic dwelling is almost 24,000 square feet, costs $50 million and is conveniently located close to the Coachella Fest for you rock ‘n’ roll billionaires out there. Move quick because this won’t be on the market long. Contact Partners Trust.
 
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Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Raquel Welch in campy 70’s TV variety show (with space dancers)

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Raquel Welch photographed by Terry O’Neill. Available at the SF Art Exchange.
 
Raquel! was a multimillion dollar 1970 TV variety special starring Raquel Welch, Tom Jones, John Wayne and Bob Hope. It’s a camp time capsule full of Bob Mackie dresses, Paco Rabanne spacesuits and Bob Hope singing Rocky Raccoon wearing a Davey Crockett hat. It was shot all over the world, in Paris, London, Mexico City, Los Angeles, the Big Sur coast and elsewhere. 

A treat for the eyes (in every way) it was. For the ears, not so much. Welch sings a number of pop standards of the day, often with dancers in fully choreographed production numbers. There’s often a thematic disconnect of the material to the visuals, such as when Welch croons California Dreamin’ with the Eiffel Tower behind her. This contributes greatly to the “offness” of the proceedings. One reviewer compared Raquel! to “a community college production of Barbarella.” A highlight is Tom Jones lip-syncing I Who Have Nothing as he gazes longingly at the jaw-dropping sex bomb in front of him.

This first came out on VHS in the early 90s and I used to give it frequently as a gift. I gave one copy to Pizzicato Five’s Maki Nomiya and she later told me that she had a dinner party in Tokyo when she screened it for a group of friends and it went down a treat. That’s how this it should be viewed, in a group, with at least 2 or 3 drag queens in the mix, and a lil’ herbal “entertainment insurance.” It’s a guaranteed recipe for party success! It’s out on DVD now.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
James Coco: Hostility disguised as comedy disguised as hostility
12.22.2009
11:38 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
Woody Allen
Bob Hope
James Coco

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Dangerous Minds pal Jesse Merlin writes:

“Have I told you how much I worship James Coco? Overt hostility disguised as comedy disguised as overt hostility. GENIUS. This clip is just unbelievable.  The way Coco takes on Bob Hope (one of the most beloved men in America) and Woody Allen is positively inspired.  And genuinely hostile.  Coco is one of the greatest comic geniuses among forgotten character actors and Broadway stars, known these days perhaps for “Man of La Mancha,” his gut-bustingly funny role in “Murder By Death” and his cameos on the Muppet Show and in “The Muppets Take Manhattan.”

 

 
The continuation of Coco’s appearance (listed as clip 5) shows up here at 7.45.

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment