Saturday, June 4, 2022

Video Playlist Spotlight: Solving a Mystery...Maybe

In this week's episode on Bob Hope, I told a story about my dad from his Air Force days. While, stationed overseas during the Vietnam War, he and another pilot "buzzed" a Bob Hope USO show and got a wisecrack from Bob. I couldn't remember all the details, and, alas, I can't ask my dad. 

He'd always wanted to find the footage and never did. After editing the episode, I decided to do some digging. I started with a list of Bob Hope TV specials on everyone's friend Wikipedia. I then zeroed in on the Southeast Asia Christmas specials and a couple years. Since they aired in January, I could assume the performances took place the year before.

Next, I went to everyone's other friend YouTube and started scanning through 1966 special (it seemed like the best bet). I had a couple possible locations in mind, and it didn't take long to not only find one in Thailand but to find--I think--the footage.

While my dad flew the featured jet during his time in the Air Force, I wasn't sure if he had flown it overseas or only back in the States. I associate a different jet with his Vietnam time because he focused most of his looking back on that one. My uncle said he flew both jets overseas. After seeing the footage, he also confirmed this jet as a reconnaissance model of an F-4 Phantom (an RF-4). My dad flew reconnaissance (and he and both his brothers prided themselves in their airplane identification skills, so I accept this confirmation).

The timeline matches, the location matches, and the plane probably matches. Not to get all Leonard Nimoy here, but could I have found the footage? Could my dad be flying the jet seen (or the second one heard but not seen)? It's very possible, and if so, one, I wish I could have made this discovery during my dad's lifetime, but also, it means he encountered at least two of the people in the special we covered. He also once held the door for Sammy.

The video below should start at the beginning of the segment. A prop plane first flies over and calls out to Bob over a loudspeaker. Not long after, the jets buzz him. If the bookmark doesn't work, go to around the 7:30 mark. You can also find this video in our marvelous YouTube play list curated by Rick.

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