Bob Hope's controversial volcano/mushroom/UFO estate now half the initial asking price

Bob Hope's controversial volcano/mushroom/UFO estate now half the initial asking price
·Homes Editor
Bob and Dolores Hope at home in Palm Springs. Click any photo for a slideshow.
Bob and Dolores Hope at home in Palm Springs. Click any photo for a slideshow.
Legendary parties were held on this terrace, built for entertaining. Click a photo for a slideshow.
Legendary parties were held on this terrace, built for entertaining. Click a photo for a slideshow.
The mansion has about 23,000 square feet of living space.
The mansion has about 23,000 square feet of living space.

"Well, at least when they come down from Mars, they'll know where to go."

That's what Bob Hope supposedly wisecracked in 1973 when he saw the model of this Palm Springs house, designed by architect John Lautner for the comedian and his wife, Dolores.

The home was supposed to look like a volcano, but others said it looked like a mushroom (or, yes, a UFO).

(Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.)

It became perhaps the most iconic house in the Southern California desert, though not entirely comfortably. Its swooping copper roof was only the most prominent of its eccentricities. Boulders from the landscape jutted indoors. (Click here for more incredible rock homes.) The front door wasn't accessible from the bedrooms without crossing a patio.

Bob Hope "made life hell for my father," Judith Lautner told the Los Angeles Times a few years ago. Hope "destroyed a lot of the thinking. He just stepped in and said, 'No, no, no.'"

Or perhaps not. By another account, it was Dolores Hope who insisted on changes -- not major ones, and only to the interior, to make it "more livable," the Hopes' daughter Linda said.

(Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.)

Still, Lautner distanced himself from the project, and Linda Hope did allow that "I think my mother was a frustrated architect." Dolores Hope often rejiggered the family's homes. "My dad used to say every time he went away he needed a road map to get back through his house," Linda Hope recalled. (Click here to see another Lautner masterpiece, Silvertop, which proved disastrous for its owner.)

Whatever the full story is, the house has proved a tough sell, at least at its initial ambitious price tag of $50 million. Its interior is almost as distinctive as the outside, though one imagines that Lautner had little to do with the bright and whimsical Rousseau-like jungle mural and trompe l'oeil greenhouse alongside the sheltered pool.

This week, the price dropped again, bringing it down to half its original ask. The estate is now on the market for $24,999,000.

Click here or on a photo for a slideshow of the fantastical Bob Hope estate in Palm Springs, with many more details.

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