Performing for Bob Hope
Rick Michel has been performing for over thirty years. He is well known in the entertainment world as a performer, singer, producer, writer, and impressionist. Plenty of fans get star struck to see him perform. But Michel gets a little star struck as well. Like when he performed as Bob Hope…for Bob Hope.
In 1995, Michel had been working with Rich Little for three years. Little asked him to fly down to Palm Springs one day, where Hope was hosting his annual golf tournament. It was there that Michel ran into an old friend – Les Brown. Brown and Michel had performed together in San Diego circa 1980. Fifteen years later, Brown was the band for Hope and was introducing his pal to the Bob Hope crowd.
Little and Michel had a standard routine at that time – the former did a resounding Bing Crosby and the latter a very convincing Bob Hope (complete with prosthetic nose and hat). For the golf tournament, Michel even wrote a parody of the Bob Hope Theme Song (Thanks for the Memories) to fit with the event.
“I’ve never met so many stars in one night,” Michel said as he remembered the epic evening. “I was hanging around a comic legend, being with Bob. It was so cool to do an impression for a person who was there.”
Then (as if that wasn’t incredible enough), who walks into the lobby? Frank Sinatra. Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, with his wife, Barbara, on his arm.
“I stopped what I was doing,” Michel said. “I’m in my tux, he’s in his tux. My first thought was to grab my camera.”
After snapping a few photos, Michel looked around. In the crowd, he saw not only Mr. and Mrs. Sinatra, but also President Ford and his wife Betty, Yogi Berra, Arnold Palmer, Andy Williams. The list went on and on. Michel knew that at least one more photo was necessary – a picture with Bob Hope.
“I wanted to get a photo with him while I was wearing my prosthetic nose,” Michel recalled with a laugh. “Nose to nose with Bob Hope.”
The evening was full of surprises, celebrities, and some of Michel’s most important heroes. “I was in the presence of showbiz royalty that night.”