Gay supergroup the Village People owe late comic Bob Hope a huge debt after he saved their career following a Navy snub. The YMCA hitmakers fell out of favour with the military when Navy chiefs discovered the group featured homosexuals and their songs were laced with double-entendres. The outraged top brass, who once used the Village People's hit IN THE NAVY as a recruitment song, refused to let the group use the USS Intrepid for a planned United Service Organisations tour with Hope - until the beloved funnyman intervened. RANDY JONES, who performed as the Village People's COWBOY, says, "The Navy wanted to withdraw the use of the Intrepid for Bob Hope's USO tour that we were gonna be on. It was a huge deal. "Bob says, 'Please, they're a great bunch of guys and besides they're not spending the night on the boat' - like they were afraid we'd molest a sailor or something. "Bob Hope was one of our godfathers early on. He helped us really break through."