|Bob Hope by Al Hirschfeld|
Alas, it was not meant to be as the event was canceled. Or, at least, his staying at the hotel we worked with in Panama City Beach was canceled. The story I was told is that that very hotel was to be occupied the same weekend by O.J. Simpson, who had only earlier that week been found not guilty of murder. You'll remember the first place he went after the verdict was PCB where his girlfriend lived. Dolores Hope, the story went, got wind of Simpson's impending occupancy and, instead of subjecting her husband to the certain media circus that would ensue, she canceled the whole thing. I don't know if this story was true or not, but I like to think that the Hopes had enough integrity and taste to not want to be associated with any (alleged) murderer.
On a side note, I took a group of attorneys from the Alabama Bar Association that was staying at that hotel out to dinner one night in a 15-passenger van and Simpson was entertaining guests at that same restaurant. I stood around outside and chatted with his body guard, the tall, swarthy looking brute seen in all the footage of Simpson going here and there after the verdict.
I would have much rather spent that time talking with, or just in the presence of, Bob Hope.