American Cancer Society Benefit

Paramount Theatre

Palm Beach, Florida

March 17, 1963

Interior of Paramount Theatre

“An Evening With Bob Hope and His Friends” took place at the historic Paramount Theatre. Donating their time to the benefit were stars like Gordon and Sheila MacRae, Jule Styne, Sergio Franchi and Barbra Streisand. Bob Hope was the host.

Called “the highlight of the season,” the fundraiser (with music provided by Marshall Grant, conducting a 16-piece orchestra) was performed for a capacity audience of 1,200 people as a benefit for the American Cancer Society.

Streisand on Paramount stage

In the photo above, Streisand is far left. Next to her is Jule Styne. Bob Hope is center, near the microphone. And Sergio Franchi, who appeared with Barbra on a double bill at the Eden Roc, is far right, next to three female models.

In 2011, Susan O’Hara Wellmeier told the Palm Beach Daily News, “I remember an American Cancer Society Benefit ... I was 18. Bob Hope was the emcee. We were the guests of Tommy McGinty, who started the Desert Inn and the Stardust in Las Vegas. Tommy once was a boxer with Bob Hope (who also was a boxer). Barbra Streisand was on Broadway then in I Can Get It for You Wholesale. She was pretty unknown at that time. She sat on a stool in a lemon yellow dress and sang Cry Me a River and two or three other songs. Tommy was so impressed he wanted her for Las Vegas. It is a happy memory.”

Dolores Hope (Bob's wife) told Randall Riese, “We were in Palm Beach doing a cancer benefit. Usually those things are attended by older people who only stay for half the show. By the second half, eveybody has gone home. When Bob introduced Barbra that night, nobody had ever heard of her. Yet when se got up on the stool and sang, everybody came back for the second half. We were told that that had never happened at the theater before.”

The theater is still open (as of 2010) and displaying a photographic exhibit of the long and colorful history of the Paramount Theatre, including photos of the famous people who have appeared or attended events there, as well as movies which were shown there over the years.

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