28 July 2003

As you probably know by now, Bob Hope died today, only a few months after turning 100. Hope's longevity was a heartless running joke for a long time, of course: only yesterday, I was watching a commentary track on The Simpsons DVD collection where Matt Groening notes that the Simpsons writing staff has been avoiding Bob Hope jokes for ten years, out of fear that he would die between the writing of the episode and the actual airdate.

But here's the most stunning indication of how long the media has been waiting for Hope's passing: Hope's obituary in the New York Times today is credited to Vincent Canby, the famed former Times film critic. Vincent Canby has been dead for almost three years. In other words, the Times kept this obituary on the shelf for so long that the author of the obituary died long before its subject did. I'll bet that doesn't happen very often....

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