Happy Thanksgiving! I'm back -- greatly encouraged by your responses to my first two blogs.
In my second blog I expressed my surprise at both the level of interest and acumen of the correspondents who took the time and trouble to weigh in on our Web site. Blogging, I've discovered, is like finding rooms full of friends you didn't know you had.
Thanks, Judith, for your shared admiration of Dickens. And, 1hotgranma, the "OTHER James Lipton" you found in the Bob Hope writing credits doesn't exist. Which is to say, I am that James Lipton -- a product of twelve astonishing years during which I was Executive Producer and one of the writers of Bob's Birthday Special, which took me on a magic carpet ride with Bob to the White House (twice!), all around America, London, Paris, and the Great Wall of China, where I produced the first American entertainment show, "The Road to China," a three-hour special on NBC.
You'll find all the details -- and some startling photographs -- of those unforgettable adventures in my book Inside Inside: But for now, 1hotgranma, and for all the other kind bloggers like Nan and Frank (FYI, Frank, my wife is left-handed , and I once wrote an essay on left-handedness in the "On Language" column of The New York Times), and Vivvy and Bella and all the rest of you, I'd like to include in this blog an excerpt from Inside Inside that describes the magic of those Bob Hope years. In the book, I explain that Bob, like most of the comedians who have come to Inside the Actors Studio's stage, is a night person. In his case, our meetings usually began at eight in the evening, and ended at midnight, at which point Bob was just getting warmed up. So the meeting always ended with "Let's go for a walk."
Whether we walked in Beijing, London, Paris or New York, what occurred was for me a matchless experience, because at that hour of the night, Bob was completely uninhibited -- and much franker than I have ever been able to be. It was my job to listen -- and learn, and here is an account in the book of what happened on one of those occasions: