So Ready for Laughter Opening Presentation

A new special exhibit shows how entertainer Bob Hope helped lift the human spirit during one of the darkest times in American history.

More than 400 people attended the opening ceremony for the new special exhibit So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope. Among them was Linda Hope, daughter of Bob and Dolores Hope and Chair/CEO of the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation

“So, how to say a few words about a man that was a man of many, many words and many jokes?” said Linda Hope at the ceremony. “It’s a challenge, but it was also a great privilege.” 

Stephen J. Watson, Museum President & CEO, and Kim Guise, Assistant Director for Curatorial Services and curator for the exhibit, also spoke at the May 24, 2018, ceremony. After the presentation, attendees toured the exhibit, which opened to Museum visitors the next morning and will be on display in the Joe W. and Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery through February 10, 2019. 

The exhibit tells the story of Bob Hope’s unique place in the history of World War II and beyond, and the contributions he made that still reverberate more than 70 years later. Using multimedia elements and captivating storytelling—including artifacts, films, photographs, and interactive displays—the exhibit highlights how Hope helped lift the human spirit during one of the darkest times in American history. 

So Ready for Laughter is supported by the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, with special thanks to the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum. It takes its title from a quotation from Hope, displayed near the entrance to the Special Exhibit Gallery.

“We had no idea we were going to discover an audience so ready for laughter, it would make what we did for a living seem like stealing money,” Hope wrote in his 1990 book Don't Shoot, It's Only Me, describing his performance at California's March Field in May 1941—seven months before the United States entered the war. It was Hope's first experience playing to servicemembers.

The new exhibit “warms my heart,” Linda Hope said. “And I know that my dad and my mother are somewhere looking down and enjoying the fact that so many more people are getting to know a little bit about him and about the lives they shared with the American public for so many years.” 

Watch a replay of the presentation below. Learn more about the many ways Bob Hope is part of The National WWII Museum here. Learn more about the exhibit here.