Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
“Bob Hope's unwavering commitment to the morale of America's servicemen and women is entertainment history, indeed, world history. Many say 'legend.'
For nearly six decades, be the country at war or at peace, Bob, with a band of Hollywood gypsies, traveled the globe to entertain our service men and women.
The media dubbed him "America's No. 1 Soldier in Greasepaint." To the GIs, he was "G.I. Bob" and their clown hero.”
Here’s a short clip from one of Bob Hope’s Christmas shows overseas. On December 22 1968, Bob's "Operation Holly" performed at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. This video records that event. The original film was silent, so the audio from his performance at Long Binh Army Depot that same Christmas is dubbed onto the video.
I feature the Bob Hope video as a prelude to today’s segment because one of the best Christmas classics emerged from wartime.
From the The Library of Congress Presents: Music, Theater and Dance:
In 1943, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" joined "White Christmas" to become one of America's most popular homegrown holiday songs. Recorded in a rich baritone by Bing Crosby, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" shot to the top ten of the record charts (as "White Christmas" had for Crosby the previous year) and became a holiday musical tradition in the United States.
On October 4, 1943, Crosby recorded "I'll Be Home for Christmas" with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra for Decca Records. Within about a month of its being copyrighted the song hit the music charts and remained there for eleven weeks, peaking at number three. The following year, the song reached number nineteen on the charts. It touched a tender place in the hearts of Americans, both soldiers and civilians, who were then in the depths of World War II, and it earned Crosby his fifth gold record. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows in both Europe and the Pacific and Yank, the GI magazine, said Crosby accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era.
In December 1965, having completed the first U.S. space rendezvous and set a record for the longest flight in the U.S. space program, the astronauts Frank Borman and James Lovell hurtled back to earth aboard their Gemini 7 spacecraft. Asked by NASA communication personnel if they wanted any particular music piped up to them, the crew requested Bing Crosby's recording of "I'll Be Home for Christmas."
For those separated this Christmas, for those ill and suffering, and for those brave men and women fighting for our country………legends Tony Bennett and Placido Domingo: