“Here I am at Da Nang, better known as Dodge City. Yes, sir, Da Nang is one of my favorite stops. And I mean STOPS. Go any further and you’re in Cong country.”
In December 1967 Bob Hope brought his USO Christmas show to 12,000 marines in Da Nang, Vietnam. The famous actor was accompanied by other well-known entertainers like the Les Brown Band, Phil Crosby (son of Bing Crosby), Elaine Dunn (singer/dancer), Madeleine Hartog-Bel (Miss World, 1967), Barbara McNair (singer), Raquel Welch (actress), and Earl Wilson (baseball player).
Hope was the star of the show, with his trusty golf club and collection of mildly racy and sometimes pointed jokes referencing the war, the military, and life back in the States. The following are a few of his one-liners from his show in Da Nang:
“These marines are really tough. I asked one guy if he’d seen John Wayne. And he said ‘John Wayne? Who’s she?’ And their motto is Semper Fidelis. That means ‘Oh, don’t worry about it, Doc. Just nail it back on.’”
“These marines have a great history: they’ve landed on more beaches than Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.”
“Don’t worry about those riots you hear about in the States. You’ll be sent to survival school before they send you back there.”
“Everything’s going up at home: prices, taxes, and mini-skirts. Mini-skirts are bigger than ever—even some of the fellas are wearing ’em. Don’t laugh. If you’d’ve thought of it, you wouldn’t be HERE.”
Hope brought his USO Christmas show to Vietnam and surrounding countries every year from 1964 to 1972. He also entertained troops overseas during World War II, the Korean War, the Gulf War, and other conflicts.