Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
Trick-Or-Treaters pencil out Bob Hope's house
Hey, how 'bout former Lizzy Maguire star Hilary 'Someone Should Knock Her on Her' Duff spreading malicious rumors about Bob 'For Halloween' Hope, huh?
Check out a story Cinderella told a TMZ cameraman:
Hope had to be pushing 100 when Duff rang his bell. Imagine the look on some poor young kid's face when the Crypt Keeper opened the door.
After watching the video, my face grew cold and I started bawling. Suddenly, a dark, long repressed memory surged to the front of my noggin, you know? I was 13 and one of my Bar Mitzvah presents was a trip to Los Angeles. It was my first time in SoCal, and since the trip coincided with Halloween, I packed accordingly.
October 31 could not arrive soon enough. Mom's older brother, Sam, picked us up at the Beverly Carlyle at precisely 6 pm. Uncle Sam quickly sized up my costume: a pair of aviator sunglasses, army fatigues, and a stack of giant white cardboard squares. The top one read, "Hello, ladies and gentlemen, this is Bob Hope."
Sam snubbed out his Lucky and asked, "Who are you supposed to be, Scotty?"
"Barney McNulty," I snarled in response to his ignorance. "Mr. Hope's personal cue card attache."
Traffic was unusually light for that time of day. We made the trek from Beverly Hills to Toluca Lake in less than half-an-hour. Sam parked his Chrysler at the foot of the Hope compound on Ledge St.
"Would you like me to come with you, Scooter?" mom asked.
I declined her company. It's bad enough that Bob Hope, madman, had been interfering with my thought patterns since first we met at a screening of Call Me Bwana at Chicago's Balmoral Theatre. There was no way I was letting the violently insane monster anywhere near my mother.
"I can handle it, darlin'," I said shooting mom a wink. With plastic jack-o-lantern in hand, I proceeded up the driveway.
As I inched closer to the front door, a frail but familiar voice echoed across the grounds. "Why do I do, just as you say? Why must I just, give you your way? Why do I sigh? Why don't I try...to forget," warbled Mrs. Hope, sotto voce.
The sound of the doorbell playing Thanks for the Memory overpowered her.
"Marilyn...Clito...Dolores...will one of you answer the goddamn door?" It was my Master's voice.
"Will you get it, sweetie?" Dottie pleaded. "I'm in the middle of rehearsing for tonight's performance of Four Girls Four at the annual John Tracy Foundation fundraiser."
"Keep singing if it means getting you out of the house for a couple for hours," Bob muttered under his breath. "Yeah, well, who is it?" he asked, his footsteps approaching the door.
My "TRICK-OR-TREAT" could be heard all the way over at the Bob's Big Boy.
"Treat," Hope said through a crack in the door. "Who you made up to be? McNulty? Workin' kinda' inside, aren't you kid?"
"Gee, thanks, Mr. Hope," I beamed back.
"Lemme' get you a little something in return for your trouble," he groaned before disappearing behind the door. A moment later he returned with pencil in hand, wheezing, "Take it," as he thrust the pointy end in my direction.
"Don't you have any candy?" I pleaded.
"From the looks of things," he quipped, "they feed you enough candy back home."
"I'm a 13-year-old kid," I shot back. "What do you want me to do with a pencil?"
"Write me a joke," the legendary funnyman deadpanned. "Isn't that how Rich Koz got his start? Seriously, I'll throw in a tin cup with a few more pencils in it and point you in the direction of the Burbank Airport, to be named in my honor if and when I die."
"One more tip, kid," he said before slamming the door in my face. "Don't forget to watch The Bob Hope Texaco Theatre every week on NBC. G'night!"
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