“Hello to Ogden” – from Bob Walker!

by Alice Pardoe West

Ogden Standard Examiner

April 24, 1944


“Tell all those I didn’t see while I was home, hello for me,” was the greeting Bob sent. “They were all so wonderful, and little Bobby has never stopped talking about the fun he had in the snow.”


Bob is riding on a wave of extraordinary popularity these days . . . not only in Hollywood, but throughout the country. His “See Here, Private Hargrove” is bringing in raverooes from all over the nation.


“Let’s have another sequel to the escapades of this American boy who gets the work in the army and shows he can take it,” is the cry from the fans . . . “and let’s have Bob play it.”


On the strength of this, the author has been asked to write another Hargrove story.


And Bob does play it! There is never a dull moment as long as he is in the scene. He couldn’t have played it better had it been taken from his own life. He blunders through hundreds of feet of film -- many times where angels fear to tread – but always comes through on top. Maybe it’s that million dollar smile that Bob has given Private Hargrove -- or maybe it’s just a sincerity and naturalness, combined with a freshness and naïveté that Bob lives every day of his life. At any rate -- Frank Sinatra had better watch his step, or he’ll soon be out-shadowed by Ogden’s star -- judging from the sighs and demonstrative emotions evoked from the young femmes and fellows alike, when he makes his appearance on the screen.


This popularity is not only with the fans and younger people -- it is with the players of Hollywood who know Bob -- the directors, the workers.


Walter Pidgeon was more than demonstrative concerning Bob.


“He is unspoiled by all this sudden popularity,” he said among other things, “and that’s unusual because it came so fast. Most kids his age, would lose their heads.”


Bob is anything but “spoiled” by his sudden success in Hollywood. In fact, he seems more humble than ever. He is so grateful for every little favor.


He is doubly in the limelight for the moment -- in fact, the eyes of all Hollywood are upon him -- for overshadowing his fine success in pictures -- is the sadness in his home.


Hollywood is puzzled. Bob refuses to say anything but praise for Jennifer Jones, his estranged wife, and she likewise, goes in ecstasies over his work in pictures.


But there is a sadness behind Bob’s gentle manner and would-be nonchalant attitude, that somehow has won for him the love and best wishes of all Hollywood. The estrangement of Bob and Jennifer is no unusual happening in Hollywood. Yes -- there are lots of separations and Hollywood thinks nothing of them on the whole -- but with Bob and Jennifer, it’s different. They have everything for which to stay together and their separation is one of the cinema’s greatest mysteries to date.


The producers interested in Bob are planning to give him the very best roles.


“He can do so much for our country right now,” is what Tay Garnett, his director in “ Bataan” said of him. “Bob has something the world wants at this time. What it is -- I can’t say -- but he has it. We must keep him before the public in such roles as Private Hargrove -- roles that will lift the morale of our boys and young people. Hollywood needs Bob Walker. It is seldom one finds so much talent and good sense together in one person. He has a wonderful future.”


This popular meteoric star is being considered for the stellar role in a number of stories -- among them, “Merton of the Movies,” that popular comedy that swept the country some time ago, also, “Once Upon a Furlough” with Susan Peters, “Taps for Private Tussy,” “God’s Front Porch” and others.


Bob stands by quietly and says, “Wherever I can do the most good, is where I want to be.”


In speaking of the “Private Hargrove” role, he said, “I got a real kick out of playing it. The guy has a sense of humor, and then all the kids that worked with me in it were so swell.”


He continued, “I liked being teamed with Donna Reed,” he said. “I’d like to team with her again. She’s out of this world -- untouched by Hollywood.”


Then I asked him how it seemed to see his name in lights in front of the theatres.


“I just stood and looked and looked,” he said. “It was such a thrill. It made me feel humble and thankful -- and a little shaky. I was almost afraid to see the picture and was very surprised at the reviews, because I didn’t expect so much.”


And that remark was typical of Bob. He is exceptionally modest concerning his new fame and remembers the little things in life. He is very conscientious about doing something or saying anything that might offend others.


If you saw him in “ Bataan” and liked the sincere but happy-go-lucky sailor -- his favorite role by the way -- you’ll love him in “See Here, Private Hargrove,” as the blundering soldier boy, who is forever polishing garbage cans.


He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Horace H. Walker.


Copyright Ogden Standard Examiner



Articles Index