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The Sept. 20, 1943, cover of TIME

In this week’s issue of TIME, Richard Zoglin takes a look at how the legendary performer Bob Hope paved the way for the activists of modern Hollywood. As Zoglin — the author of a new book about the comedian, Hope: Entertainer of the Century — points outs, Hope was just one of many celebrities who kept World War II morale high with USO tours, but he managed to establish a lasting connection between his career and the armed forces.

Which would not surprise anyone who read TIME’s Sept. 20, 1943, cover story about Bob Hope. As that article recounts, the entertainer was so devoted to the cause that at one point, when it looked like his tour might not happen, he wired a Lieutenant General directly: “WE SING, DANCE, TELL STORIES; HAVE TUXEDOS; WILL TRAVEL; CAN WE PLAY YOUR CIRCUIT?”

And the audiences were nothing if not appreciative of the effort:

Read the full 1943 cover story here, in TIME’s archives: Hope for Humanity

LIFE with Bob Hope: Classic Photos of an American Wisecracker

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Write to Lily Rothman at

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