Bob Hope’s Former House – A Trick-or-Treating MeccaOct 11th, 2011 | By Lindsay | Category: Celebrity Homes
As I have mentioned a couple of times before on this blog, this stalker absolutely loves herself some Los Angeles Magazine – especially the ever-witty and always-informative “Ask Chris – The City Explained” write-in column, in which Associate Editor/author Chris Nichols answers Angelenos’ random questions about life in the City of Angels. This month’s column featured a letter from a Valley-area reader with a tidbit of Halloween information that I had never before heard. She wrote, “When I was a kid, we always went trick-or-treating at Bob Hope’s house in Toluca Lake, where they handed out whole candy bars. Does his widow keep up the tradition?” (Sadly, the issue hit newsstands just a few days before Dolores Hope passed away on September 19th.) Chris replied, “The Hope house has long been known for doling out the best Halloween loot, from those full-size candy bars and silver dollars to nose-shaped kazoos and Frisbees imprinted with a caricature of the funnyman, who passed away in 2003. At 102, Dolores Hope leads a pretty active life (I reached her on vacation in Europe), but after chartered buses showed up with scores of children last Halloween, Dolores decided to end the tradition at her historic estate.” Well, I thought that was just about the coolest thing I had ever heard (aside from the whole chartered buses showing up thing, of course) and as soon as I finished reading Chris’s words, I dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out to stalk the place.
Sadly, not much of the home, which was built in 1939 and boasts 8 bedrooms, 11 baths, 34 rooms, 14,876 square feet, and sits on over 4 acres of land, is visible from the street.
Bob and Dolores purchased the residence, which as you can see in the above aerial view is absolutely GINORMOUS, in 1940 and it was there that Bob, sadly, passed away on July 27th, 2003. Amazingly, the legendary comedian was making people laugh right up until the very end. According to this CNN interview with Bob’s grandson Zachary, when asked where he wanted to be buried while on his deathbed, Bob replied, “Surprise me.” Gotta love it!
While we were stalking the home, the GC and I ventured around to the property’s side gate on Ledge Avenue where several mourners had placed flowers in memory of Dolores. So incredibly sweet.
And I do have to say here that I think the fact that Bob and Dolores maintained such an awesome Halloween tradition for so many years is absolutely extraordinary. What an amazing couple! As Candy Waldron, one of the Hope’s longtime neighbors, said in this July 2003 Los Angeles Times article, “He could have closed his gate and ignored the holiday. But every year he’d give out hundreds of toys.” Apparently, one Halloween the couple even handed out autographed photos of Bob! Oh, how I wish I had grown up in Toluca Lake! All Hallow Steve, from the FABULOUS Halloween Addict blog (which I somehow only recently discovered), was just as fascinated as I was with the Hope’s Halloween traditions and managed to dig up a comment on the Trend Hunter website from a Toluca Lake native which said, “I always think fondly about Bob Hope around Halloween. His old estate is right by my parents’ house, and we’d go trick-or-treating there. Each year, his butler would pass out a sack filled with king-sized candy bars, one sack to each child. There would always be a Bob Hope toy too, like a mini glow-in-the-dark Frisbee with his profile and “Bob Hope 1990″ or something like that. I’ve never forgotten his generosity.” All Hallow Steve even managed to track down a photograph of one of those Frisbees (pictured above). LOVE IT!
In the Ask Chris column, Chris Nichols finished up his response about the Bob Hope house with, “Dedicated trick-or-treaters might think about taking their chances in Las Vegas, where Mayor Oscar Goodman is said to give out lucky poker chips.” Randomly enough, while vacationing at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego a few years back, the GC happened to spot Oscar Goodman sitting next to us at one of the property’s outdoor patios. And, let me tell you, I literally almost had a heart attack when the GC walked right up to him to ask for a picture! Yes, the Grim Cheaper, a man who could care less about the Alicia Silverstones, the Kyra Sedgwicks, and the Jermaine Jacksons of the world, not only recognized, but actually went up to and asked the Mayor of Las Vegas for a photograph! Oscar happily obliged and then gave him one of the aforementioned poker chips (the front and back of which is pictured above), which the Mayor apparently uses as a business card. SO COOL!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Bob and Dolores Hope’s former house is located at 10346 Moorpark Street in Toluca Lake.