From the Stars and Stripes archives

Lift fliers greeted by Barkley

Bob Hope tries out his lines on Gen. Jimmy Doolittle during rehearsal.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 25, 1948

WIESBADEN, Dec. 24 (S&S) — Vice President-elect Alben W. Barkley arrived here late this afternoon to join with comedian Bob Hope, Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall and Air Secretary W. Stuart Symington in bringing "Christmas at home" to the airlift fliers.

Barkley arrived at 4:20 pm on a C47 from Brussels. He was met by Royall, Symington, Gen Lucius D. Clay, EUCOM commander, and Lt Gen John K. Cannon, USAFE commanding general.

In an interview before Barkley's arrival, Symlngton disclosed that more planes have been ordered for the airlift.

Barkley said he came to express personally to the airlift fliers, "the thanks and appreciation from the people at home for a fine job."

Barkley will spend Christmas Eve at the home of Cannon and fly to Berlin tomorrow. He said he will visit Paris Tuesday and Wednesday and return to Washington Thursday to convene the final session of the 80th Congress.

While Barkley was landing, the Hope show, a few miles away, was convulsing an Air Force audience that jam-packed the Wiesbaden Opera House.

Hope did takeoffs on the Russians blockading Berlin and the German black market, and Irving Berlin led an Air Force choir in the first singing of "Operations Vittles," which Berlin composed for his trip here.

Hope said he "came from America —where if a man has two cigarets he smokes them — to give a lift to the air lift." The comedian recorded the first part of his show for his Tuesday night broadcast.

The comedian tried his script out on Lt Gen James H. Doolittle (Retired) before the show, guiding Doolittle into the gag line.

Hope, impersonating a Russian soldier, complained he had been on KP — killing peasants — all day and advised Berlin to change his name to Jones because "over here they cut everything up into zones."

Hope lamented that on the cold flight over he ran out of blankets, used newspapers to keep warm and landed with "the Marshall Plan on his chest and a Congressional committee investigating his back."

Hope will repeat his show tonight with Barkley scheduled to be guest of honor. The Hope show will take off for Berlin at midnight tonight in four planes. Hope said he planned to fly with an airlift crew and make a recording of the flight to bolster his Tuesday show.

Bob Hope meets his audience at Wiesbaden.