Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Entertainer took time for Tristate cause

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

While circling the globe, Bob Hope often stopped in Cincinnati. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he hosted several charity golf tournaments here for his Bob Hope House, with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Perry Como, Glen Campbell, Byron Nelson and other celebrities.


22 Bob Hope photos
In all, Hope raised about $1 million for what is now called the Center for Hope. It was founded as the Hope House in 1962 by the entertainer at the request of the late Judge Benjamin Schwartz of Hamilton County Juvenile Court.

Originally located on the grounds of what was then Drake Hospital in Hartwell, it became a private, nonprofit child-care facility independent of the juvenile court in 1975. That year it also moved to 1805 Miles Road, Springfield Township.

The center is a residential treatment facility for up to 26 abused and neglected boys. The Hope Academy, a school for grades 4-12, specializes in teaching boys with behavioral problems or learning disabilities.

In more recent years, Hope raised funds for the juvenile home with celebrity roasts for Reds announcers Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall and Montgomery Inn owner Ted Gregory, who died in 2001.

Hope made his last Tristate visit in November 1997, to attend Rosemary Clooney's wedding to Dante DiPaolo at St. Patrick's Church in Maysville.

In the 1960s and '70s, he regularly performed at the Ohio State Fair - and always took time to appear on Channel 5's noon Ruth Lyons and Bob Braun shows. He also was presented honorary degrees by Miami University in 1969 and the University of Cincinnati in 1970.

His favorite food also came from here: Montgomery Inn ribs. He kept stashes of the frozen ribs in his homes in Toluca Lake and Palm Springs, Calif., or had them flown in for Super Bowl parties and other occasions.

Hope loved the ribs so much, he did TV commercials for Montgomery Inn Barbecue Sauce and "wanted to open up a franchise in Marina Del Ray (Calif.) for years," said Evan Andrews, Montgomery Inn vice president and president of the Ribs King International Ltd. franchising company.

"We've got a special ice box for ribs from Ted Gregory at the house," Mr. Hope told the Enquirer in 1992. "We eat them all the time. He's always calling me and saying, 'Do you want ribs?'

"I got him (Gregory) to give me a little money for the Hope House because I did a plug for his ribs," said Hope, who could not recall in 1992 how he met the Ribs King.

"All I know is that I was sitting out there in Montgomery Inn, eating those ribs, and I said 'I gotta get a lot of this.' And he became a very, very good friend."

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Gallery of 22 Bob Hope photos
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