October 2021
Columns

First oil

Thanks for the memories, Bob
Kurt Abraham / World Oil

Now, admit it: Those of you, who are old enough to remember the late, great comedic icon, probably thought this column page was about Bob Hope, when you read the headline. But no, it’s actually about our company’s late, great President and Chairman, Bob Scott. You can find a retrospective article on Bob’s life and career on page 37 of this issue, but there are a few things not in that article that deserve to be mentioned here.

Fig. 1. A chance encounter in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square found veteran comedian/actor Bob Hope and Gulf/<i>World Oil’s</ i> Bob Scott visiting for an afternoon.
Fig. 1. A chance encounter in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square found veteran comedian/actor Bob Hope and Gulf/World Oil’s Bob Scott visiting for an afternoon.

Celebrity encounters. For instance, there really is a connection between Bob Hope and Bob Scott. It seems that on one of his trips to China in the late 1970s, Bob Scott and his wife, Rose, were at Tiananmen Square, in Beijing. So, who do they run into—Bob Hope (Fig. 1)! As the story goes, Hope was in China, shooting some scenes for an upcoming T.V. special. According to the Scott family, the two Bobs wound up visiting for a good part of the afternoon, and they even filmed a skit together. Unfortunately, it ended up on the cutting room floor.

Then, in Japan, in 1980, Bob and Rose Scott ran into famed actress and singer, Julie Andrews. The Scott family says that Rose and Julie got along so well, that they spent an entire afternoon shopping for pearl jewelry.

Editors’ predicaments. One thing that Bob enjoyed was stories about his editors’ and friends’ travels and strange predicaments, as long as the stories ended well. For example, his son, Robert W. Scott, Jr., told me that during one of the delegation trips to China, a fellow traveling with the group was an ex-Marine. The group was staying in some oilfield area hotel, and the former Marine decided to go jogging. That was okay, until he took a turn off the main street and managed to jog to a Chinese military radar station. Needless to say, the station’s troops escorted the fellow back to the delegation’s hotel.

In another “close encounter” told to me by Bob, one of Gulf’s editors was traveling through Beirut airport circa 1970, and he was nearly arrested by the Lebanese military, which policed the facility due to aircraft hijackings. It seems his name appeared on an Interpol wanted list. He escaped only because his Texas Drivers License w/photo confirmed his identity. He never traveled anywhere again without that license.

Finally, Bob said that one of Gulf’s more colorful International Editors habitually turned in expense accounts so fascinating that they all got paid. One included a rather exorbitant towing charge for extracting a stuck rental car from an isolated dry wadi that he was enticed into crossing by a young Arab lad while driving from Libya to Tunisia. As soon as the vehicle was solidly mired in loose sand, the lad summoned his father from behind a nearby sand dune, who proceeded to hitch his camel to it and pull it out for a mandatory, pre-negotiated tidy sum. At least that was the editor’s story.

About the Authors
Kurt Abraham
World Oil
Kurt Abraham kurt.abraham@worldoil.com
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