The true artistry of legendary entertainers is sorely missed. When Bob Hope and James Cagney got together to do a dance-off, it was pure magic and something the youngsters of today really need to see.
There is something truly timeless to the performances of great entertainers like Bob Hope and James Cagney. Sadly, you would never see today’s movie stars dancing quite like the famous duo did in the filmSeven Little Foys! Both of these men were highly skilled entertainers. They displayed a triple threat of acting, dancing, and singing.
Sadly, we no longer have true entertainers. Instead, we have celebrities who are “famous for doing nothing,” as actress Jennifer Aniston oncedeclared. And while there are not many people who may remember the 1955 Technicolor comedy filmThe Seven Little Foys, late greats Bob Hope and James Cagney definitely delivered a dance performance to remember that has been viewed millions of times on YouTube.
Their epic dance-off was to the tuneYankee Doodle Dandy, which is a fun throwback and nod to the song’s writer George M. Cohan and their roles in the1942 musicalof the same name. The musicalYankee Doodle Dandyfeatured a star-studded cast. The story follows the rise of Broadway legend George M. Cohan played by Cagney.
Acclaimed film critic Roger Ebertgavethe film 4 stars in 1998. Cohan was responsible for several well-known patriotic tunes includingYankee Doodle Dandy,
You’re a Grand Old Flag, andOver There. Most memorably, Cagney showed off his versatility in a song and dance medley ofGive My Regards to BroadwayandYankee Doodle Dandy.
Bob Hope went on to hostThe Bob Hope Showand his various television specials entertained America for years. However, Hope was much more than just a TV star. As a proud American, the iconic comedian cared for our troops and took his routine on the road to entertain them through the USO.
Gary Sinise, who has been compared to Bob Hope for his stellar work with our veterans, honored and remembered the man who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. “We honor the legacy of Bob Hope, whose near 50-year, worldwide USO tours contributed to uplifting the spirits of the Armed Forces of the United States at home and at battlefields during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and in the Middle East,” Sinisewrote
“Hope brought laughter and much-deserved entertainment, particularly during the holidays, to service members who could count on his quick wit and humor no matter the environment,” he added. “In his first USO tour visit to Vietnam in 1964, Hope sarcastically told the troops, ‘As we flew in today, they gave us a 21-gun salute, three of them were ours.’”
For those who do remember Bob Hope’s shows, one song cannot be forgotten.Thanks for the Memoriesbecame Hope’s signature tune, with many different lyrics adapted to any situation. The song speaks to reflecting on life and is specifically associated with remembrance and memorial because Hope used it to close his USO military shows in every conflict from World War II through the Gulf War. In all, Hope made a remarkable and memorable 57 USO tours with the tune,The Desert Sunreported.
They added: “The attack on Pearl Harbor caused Hope to try to enlist in the Armed Forces but he was in his late 30s and was told he could do more for the cause as an entertainer. He agreed and started a partnership with the USO that would last more than half a century. And each performance for those in uniform would be capped off with the song that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1938 and became Hope’s signature for the rest of his life.”
Born Leslie Townes Hope on May 29, 1903, in Eltham, England, Bob Hope and his familyimmigratedto Cleveland, Ohio when he was 4 years old. He became a U.S. citizen in 1920. His is a quintessential American story. He worked as a newsboy, butcher’s assistant, shoe salesman, amateur boxer, and vaudeville trooper and succeeded beyond the most extravagant dreams.