The Road To...
Movies with Bob, Bing and Dorothy
The Road To movies are classics. The co-stars in each of the seven were Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. For most of us these actors need no introduction, but in case, allow me to remind you that Bob Hope was born in England and became one of the world’s most famous entertainers. He started in vaudeville as a stand-up comedian. He starred in fifty-four feature films and is remembered for the work as a good will ambassador to U.S. Military forces stationed in foreign lands.
Leslie Townes “Bob” Hope
Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton
Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby, Jr
Bing Crosby was born in Washington state in 1903 and was what some have called a multimedia entertainer. As a singer he recorded more than a thousand songs and set sales-records worldwide. In motion pictures he appeared in over 70 films and for twenty-five years was the top earning star in the industry.
Dorothy Lamour was born in New Orleans in 1914. She started her career in the mid-1930s as a big-band singer and moved to Hollywood in 1936 where she signed a contract with Paramount Pictures. In 1940 she teamed up with Hope and Crosby for the first of the Road to… movies.
The movies when examined as a group were meant to be comedies. If you enjoy slap-stick and sophomore humour, they were. The movies were meant to be romantic, musical, and adventuresome too, but each was in many ways inane, silly, and ridiculously contrived. But, guess what? Americans and the rest of the world loved those movies.
I have seen only six of the seven films, for reasons unremembered I missed seeing Morocco. My interest in learning more about the Road “destinations” may have begun right after the pre-title scene in Road to Hong Kong in 1962, when Hope and Crosby danced and sang their way through a silly song entitled, Team Work.
After the credits, a deep voiced narrator proclaims the sky-high panorama to be Hong Kong. That opening devolved into a street where crowds of people were busy coming and going and a 1962 black Buick pushes its way through the melee and stops at what we are told is the Secret American Intelligence Headquarters.
It was the street-scene that caught my attention. I wondered if there were streets in Hong Kong that really looked like the scene in the movie. Naturally one thing led to another and I wondered if our all-star trio really went to the city destinations in the name of the movie, what would they see?
To answer my question, I have gathered postcards from each of the places named in the movie titles as examples of prominent landmarks or indigenous icons. I haven’t gone into long descriptions, but I have added minor details to the postcard captions.