Bob Hope lived to be one hundred years old. A hundred!
he was active and working nearly right up to the end — appearing at
the Emmy Awards and for the opening of the Bob Hope Gallery of American
Entertainment at the Library of Congress, well into his late-90s.
I bring it up because Shout! Factory is releasing his 1951 film, The Lemon Drop Kid,
on DVD. Which means he was about 48 years old when it came
out — leaving another forty years or so of career left before he eased
out of the movie business. Talk about longevity.
In this movie, Bob Hope stars as Sidney Melbourne, a/k/a “The Lemon
Drop Kid,” a con man who offers a friendly “sure thing” horse tip to the girlfriend of mobster Moose Moran. But
when Sidney’s sure thing loses and Moose’s original pick wins, Sidney’s given until Christmas to
pay back the money or else. So to raise the money he owes, Sidney enlists some
old pals to hit the street corners of New York dressed as Santa Claus accepting
donations for a bogus elderly ladies’ home. Calamity ensues when gangster Oxford Charlie
(Lloyd Nolan) tries to move in on Sidney’s scam. What follows is vintage Hope shenanigans,
highlighted by a heart-warming rendition of the Christmas classic
“Silver Bells” sung by Hope and Marilyn Maxwell. “The Lemon Drop Kid,”
originally released in 1951, also stars William Frawley and Tor
You can pick it up on October 19th.