The Greatest Entertainer to Have Ever Lived
© Copyright 7/18/09
all rights reserved
“The more I think about Michael, and talk about Michael, the more I think that ‘King of Pop’ is not good enough. I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”
Berry Gordy, Motown Records founder, who signed The Jackson 5 in 1968.
From his Eulogy at the Michael Jackson Memorial Service Jul 7, 2009
Without belittling Mr. Gordy with the right to his opinion (“I think”) and with due respect to Michael Jackson, the phrase “greatest entertainer to have ever lived,” have no quantitative meaning. There is however, an entertainer which can be measured and is truly, the “greatest entertainer to have ever lived.”
But how does one go about in determining such recognition? Is it by sheer numbers of people entertained? Would it be by the talents and the abilities of the entertainer? Or would this be established by the popularity of the entertainer calculated by their financial success to the world? These answers are found and understood by first defining the terms. By not excluding any specific type of entertainment or entertainer, the use of the word “entertainer” logically includes them all. But how do you measure this unspecified “greatest” with all entertainers “to have ever lived?”
Three words apply here, entertainment, entertain and entertainer, what do these words mean?
Entertainment – (noun)
1. the act of entertaining; agreeable occupation for the mind; diversion; amusement:
2. something affording pleasure, diversion, or amusement, esp. a performance of some kind.
3. hospitable provision for the needs and wants of guests.
4. a divertingly adventurous, comic, or picaresque novel.
Obsolete. maintenance in service.
Entertain – (verb used with object)
1. to hold the attention of pleasantly or agreeably; divert; amuse
2. to have as a guest; provide food, lodging, etc., for; show hospitality to
3. to admit into the mind; consider: He never entertained such ideas.
4. to hold in the mind; harbor; cherish: They secretly entertained thoughts of a secret birthday party.
Archaic. to maintain or keep up.
Obsolete. to give admittance or reception to; receive
–verb (used without object)
7. to exercise hospitality; entertain company; provide entertainment for guests: They loved to talk, dance, and entertain.
1425–75; late ME entertenen to hold mutually < MF entretenir ≪ VL *intertenēre, equiv. to L inter- inter- + tenēre to hold
Entertainer – (noun)
1. a singer, comedian, dancer, reciter, or the like, esp. a professional one.
2. a person who entertains; host: She was one of the capital’s great entertainers.
Entertainment is an activity designed to give people a diversion from the normal activities of life or as aide to alleviate stress. It is usually an activity enjoyed in one’s free time. An audience may participate in the entertainment passively as in watching some performance, a play or movie etc., or actively as in games. An Entertainer would then be a person that entertains. All entertainers would be similarly defined. But what is the measurement to determine, “the greatest entertainer that ever lived?”
It cannot be quantified solely on financial success, for what if audiences were entertained without cost? The benchmark cannot rest upon the quantity of numbers of people entertained, for what if numbers were intentionally not reported for security reasons alone? What if it were impossible to measure either the effects or the beneficiaries of those effects from such entertainment?
The final outcome must be a balance of years and verifiable acclamation. There is such an entertainer that can be accurately claimed to be, “the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”
Born in England, at the age of 3, he moved with his family to the US.
‘‘[He] It (his works), represents what a lot of us love about this country, this country of immigrants. This man came from England and came to represent the quintessential American.”
Samuel Brylawski curator of
‘The ??? ???? Gallery of American Entertainment’
at the Library of Congress
For nearly six decades, along with his troupe affectionately referred to as his, “band of Hollywood gypsies,” he traveled the globe to entertain. It began in May, 1941 at March Field, California, as a radio show for airmen stationed there.
During the remainder of WWII, with only two exceptions, all of his shows were performed from military bases and installations throughout the United States, in Europe and the South Pacific. His first trip into the combat area was in 1943 when he and his troupe entertained troops in Africa, England, Ireland and Sicily and years later, the South Pacific. In 1948 at the request of the Secretary of the Air Force, he began in Germany what would become a Christmas tradition, entertaining the troops, somewhere in the world. In 1990 military personnel benefited from his goodwill tour in England, Russia, and Germany and in the theater of “Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia. 1994-95 marked the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII, a return to his native country of England and personal appearances.
In May of 1997 a new class of Navy ships had one bearing his name was christened, and in June of the same year and new US Air Force plane was named in his honor. This plane transported the U.S. pilots a downed plane in China, and returned them safely to Hawaii. In 2000, he officially opened the ??? ???? Gallery of American Entertainment, named in his honor. In 2001, he received the ‘Order of Horatio Gates Gold Medal,’ “for life-long contributions toward maintaining the high morale of soldiers around the world.” In 2002, The Los Angles National Cemetery was renamed in his honor.
This entertainer received over 50 degrees from many of the most prestigious schools, colleges and universities in the United States of America and one from the University of South Vietnam. These include multiple degrees as:
Doctor of Human Letters, Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Law, Doctor of Fine Arts, Doctor of Humanities, Legum Doctoris Degree, Doctor of Humane Service, Doctor of Internal Relations Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, Doctor of Public Service Degree, Doctor of Performing Arts Degree, Doctor of Oratorical Science Degree, Master of Survival Degree, Doctor of Philanthropy, Doctor of Aviation Management, Doctor of Public Service among many other honorary degrees.
Just to perform for others, he sometimes risked his own safety. Once he arrived in hostile territory, two days before the U.S. Marines liberated the area. Once, his hotel was blown up ten minutes before his arrival, apparently, just for his work in, “keeping up morale.” As recently as 1990, he was still performing on makeshift sand-box stages, a very common set for most of his performances.
He has received many awards and accolades.
One such award was The ‘Sylvanus Thayer Award.’ “The Thayer Award, established in honor of Col. Sylvanus Thayer, ‘Father of the Military Academy,’ is presented to an outstanding citizen whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify the Military Academy motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”
“When the time for recognition of service to the nation in wartime comes to be considered (this man), should be high on the list. This man drives himself and is driven. It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard, and can be so effective. He works month after month at a pace that would kill most people”
John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath,’
while serving as a war correspondent in 1943
He was called by the media as, “America’s No. 1 Soldier in Greasepaint.” To the GIs, he was “G.I. Bob” and their clown hero.
He was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
As he entered his ninth decade he was given an 80th birthday party in 1983 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., attended by President Ronald Reagan. In 1985, he was presented with the Life Achievement Award at the Kennedy Center Honors. He was presented with the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award in 1997 by Nancy Reagan.
This is not a measurement of the quality of performance, voice, dance or any such attribute of entertainment. This is not a measurement of his personal life, family life or his relationships with others. This is not a measurement of album, CD sales, movie sales, rentals or viewings or any such commercial success. This is not a measurement of the numbers of those entertained over the course of his life. Greatness here is not bestowed by mere opinion, but by simple criteria that is verifiable and undisputed. The facts are that there is no other entertainer in recorded history or the present that have entertained others for as many years or who has been so often honored.
Bob Hope, is the greatest entertainer to have ever lived.
“When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things – not the great occasions – that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness.”
Critics have attacked or questioned or questioned his personal life, his dealings with others. His brand of humor was usually not at the expense of others, but was self-deprecating. He was often accused of being “hawkish” on war. But if he were “hawkish” on anything, it was for those which serve this country, in military uniforms and with their lives. His unwavering commitment to the morale of America’s servicemen and women is entertainment history, world history and many say “legendary.”
There is no way to accurately count the numbers of people he has entertained for free or the effects of his aide in raising, sustaining and maintaining the morale of soldiers during every war since WWII and throughout his life of 100 years. To those he entertained, sometimes fearful, sometimes hopeless and often ‘homesick,’ he gave a reason to hope, to smile and to continue. To those brave men and women who offered and gave their lives for liberty and freedom, Bob Hope gave his all for them. And for so doing, He was honored by the United States Congress five times.
In 1997, his greatest tribute came in October of that year when by unanimous passage by both houses of Congress, ‘Resolution 75.’ made him the first individual so honored in the history of the United States, as an Honorary Veteran.
He was feted in the US Capitol Rotunda by members of congress, military personnel and veterans. The following day, he, his family and friends were guests in the oval office for the signing of the resolution by President William Jefferson Clinton. Upon receipt of this award he said:
“I’ve been given many awards in my lifetime — but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most — is the greatest honor I have ever received.”
The numbers of those he entertained cannot be counted. The effects of raising; sustaining and maintaining morale cannot be numbered. The beneficiaries of those effects through the preservation of liberty and freedom, throughout the world, are impossible to measure.
Bob Hope holds two records in the Guinness book of World Records. One such record is for, the “Most honored entertainer,” (over 2,000 awards and honors). It is not opinion or that which I or anyone thinks, but as to years of entertaining and most honored entertainer –
Bob Hope was the greatest entertainer to have ever lived!
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