All for the troops

Jesse W. Soby American Legion will host second annual Bob Hope Christmas Show to honor local veterans.

By Samantha Bambino

This Saturday, local veterans will be transported back to the good old days of Lucille Ball, Phyllis Diller and more during a special Bob Hope Christmas Show. Presented by the Jesse W. Soby American Legion Post №148 in Langhorne, the event will take place at Maple Point Middle School and include a comedic variety show, music and a number of tributes to Bucks County soldiers. All proceeds will benefit veterans programs in the community.

The Bob Hope Christmas Show was introduced to the Langhorne area last year. It all started when local resident John Rumsey attended the show in Virginia Beach at the request of Bill Johnson, who stars as Bob Hope. Rumsey enjoyed every second of the experience, especially since he had the privilege of seeing the real Hope while stationed in Vietnam during the 1970s.

“He was the greatest entertainer who supported the troops,” Rumsey said. “He brought laughter and a little bit of home.”

Thinking about his own veteran community, Rumsey approached Johnson about bringing the show to Langhorne, and he was immediately on board. Despite it being a new event in the area, the show was a complete sellout last year. Rumsey reflected on a number of veterans who left the show with tears of joy in their eyes.

“Not one person walked out of there not proud to be an American,” he said.

After so much success, it only made sense to do it all over this year. Once again, the show will star Johnson as Bob Hope, who will be flying in from Las Vegas for the performance, and Holly Faris will play both Phyllis Diller and Lucille Ball. A special appearance will be made by entertainer Michelle DellaFave, who toured six times with Bob Hope in Vietnam and was one of the original members of The Golddiggers to appear on The Dean Martin Show. The show will take place in a variety format, complete with jokes, skits and musical numbers by DellaFave in between.

Throughout the afternoon, all veterans present will be honored several times. During the national anthem, which will be sung by local artists Erin Rinker and Brianna Carson, two veterans from each branch of service will be invited to stand onstage. Next, a 15-minute video with music and pictures will pay tribute to those who served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. Each veteran will be asked to stand up to receive special recognition. Taps will also be played to honor fallen soldiers for their service and ultimate sacrifice.

A number of riders from Warriors’ Watch are slated to attend. According to Rumsey, they’re the biggest supporters of local veterans in Bucks County. This past summer, they helped escort the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall along the East Coast for its appearance in Penndel. Despite the riders’ busy schedules, he reflected on how dozens of them made a special stop at his house to thank him for his service.

Also present will be the local fire department, which will raise ladders bearing flags. State Rep. Frank Farry will emcee the event.

The Bob Hope Christmas Show will take place Saturday, Dec. 2, at 2:30 p.m. at Maple Point Middle School, 2250 Langhorne Yardley Road in Langhorne. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the door on the day of the show, or in advance on Friday, Dec. 1, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Jesse Soby American Legion, 115 W. Richardson Ave. in Langhorne. For more information, visit facebook.com/AmericanLegionOfLanghorne. ••