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As Oscar emcee, Hope loved to sass the stars

During more than 20 appearances on Academy Awards shows from 1939 to 1978 as host, co-host or presenter, Bob Hope loved to tease the stars or joke about his own failure to win a regular Oscar.

During more than 20 appearances on Academy Awards shows from 1939 to 1978 as host, co-host or presenter, Bob Hope loved to tease the stars or joke about his own failure to win a regular Oscar.

Not that he didn't receive honorary Academy Awards over the years. When he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1960 (above), Hope joked that he felt out of place, "like Zsa Zsa Gabor at a PTA meeting."

In honor of Hope's 100th birthday today, The Rail presents some of his Oscar wisecracks:

E "What a wonderful thing, this benefit for David Selznick." (1940, when Selznick's "Gone With the Wind" won big.)

E "I'm very happy to be here for my annual insult." (1941)

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E "I like to be here in case one of these years they'll have one left over." (1953)

E "How about the pictures this year? Sex, persecution, adultery, cannibalism -- we'll get those kids away from the TV sets yet." (1960)

E "This is envy time in the valley and I'm the Jolly Green Emcee." (1965)

E "I never had a chance this year -- I can't drink like Lee Marvin, grunt like Rod Steiger, can't enunciate like Sir Laurence Olivier -- and when it comes to Richard Burton, I'm really in trouble." (1966)

E "I don't mind losing, but I hate to go home and explain to my kids how the actors I've been sneering at all year beat me out." (1967)

E "Welcome to award night! In my house it's known as Passover." (1968)

E "And I just want to say, what a night -- the furs, the jewels, the glamour. Looks like the opening of the Beverly Hills Taco Bell. ... I haven't seen so much expensive jewelry go by since I watched Sammy Davis Jr.'s home sliding down Coldwater Canyon." (1978)

(Sources: "The Best Movie Trivia & Quiz Book Ever" by Malcolm Vance; "Inside Oscar" by Mason Wiley and Damien Bona)

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Combining negatives not a positive

The Rail and its cohorts were discussing two of the worst trends in current publishing -- "Chicken Soup For (insert topic)" and "(Insert topic) for Dummies" books -- when we realized there could be something even more irritatingly inane.

The Rail even hesitates to suggest the titles for fear they will actually be written and see the light of day.

But can you imagine "Writing Chicken Soup Books for Dummies" or "Chicken Soup for Authors of Dummies Books"?

Who said book burnings, in all cases, are necessarily a bad thing?

To contact The Rail, send an e-mail to features editor Dean Rhodes at drhodes@forumcomm.com or click on the Valley R&R icon at In-Forum.com.

Today's best bet

Strawberry Fest, 1:30 to 4 p.m., featuring strawberry pie, sundaes, shortcake and other dishes.

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Bethany Homes, Fargo

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