My bf and I spent one evening watching the new Rona Barrett DVD Rona Barrett's Hollywood, a set of iconic interviews of 70s celebrities.
Honestly, we were struck by how fresh and honest the interviews were in comparison to the stale, stiff Barbara Walters interviews we’ve come to know over the last 25 years. Don't get me wrong: I have loved me some Barbara Walters interview in my day. But seriously, I can't stand The View and haven’t watched a pre-Oscar special in years.
Interestingly, in Rona Barrett’s interviews there are no "million-dollar" questions and yet somehow she gets into a superstar’s comfort zone with graceful civility. Personally, I think this is because she knows how to have a comfortable conversation and celebrities feel at ease. I’m reminded of Jon Favreau’s Dinner for Five shows except without the extra four dinner guests. Which means less grandstanding chat between stars.
My bf thinks Ron's gift is that she sounds genuinely interested.
Cher Scholar JeffRey had this to say about the prospect of watching Rona Barrett's new DVD: it feels like visiting a friend I haven’t seen in a long time.
In the DVD's Cher interview, Rona says she's known Cher since Cher was a "street kid" in the 60s and that she admired Cher because she "had guts" and was honest. The interview takes place after Cher's breakup with Sonny and David Geffen, right as she was falling in love with Gregg Allman. She squeals with affection and like other interviews of the mid-70s, she is unusually unguarded and open. She seems remarkably comfortable. She has striking eyebrows, long eyelashes, glamor nails and uses phrases like "bummed out."
As I watched it I thought what a beautiful mouth Cher had. And those teeth. The Rona Barrett DVD is full of very 70s celebrity teeth, pre-hyper-perfection. I miss Cher's teeth. I do not miss Burt Reynolds' teeth, however. It's also amazing how candid Rona gets asking about sex and Cher talks about how liberated and sexually free she had planned to be after leaving Sonny. However, she just wasn't the type to sleep around. Great interview!
Many people my age also remember Rona Barrett's fan magazines of the 70s that sat on newsstands right along Picture Screen and Photoplay. Magazines full of Sonny & Cher candid photos and wacky stories. Recently, a friend of mine gave me this copy (cover above; click here to see full image) of Rona Barrett's Hollywood from a celebrity-signing fair in LA.
Inside Cher is on practically every page, but the magazine has two (two!) full-page articles about her as well. The first one discusses the recent calls for censorship on The Cher Show - was Cher dressing too slutty? According to one Ohio TV station manager she was. Fans were asked to fill out a questionnaire on the topic.
Click here to read the full text and fill out the survey. (You may need to adjust your screen resolution.)
Please forward your responses to the comments section of this blog post!
In the back of the magazine there's a second article, this one an interview in color with Laverne. Sweet! Click here to read the full text. When I saw Cher in Las Vegas last weekend, Cher's mock interview with Laverne before Laverne's "I Got to be Me" video reminded me of this article. Laverne deserves more airtime. Cher may have changed. But Laverne stays the same.
Anyway, I had the privilege of being able to interview Rona Barrett last week about the new DVD, her charity foundation and the Rona Barrett magazines.
Click here to read the full interview where she talks about interviewing Cher and Cher's longevity.
L.A. readers should know that Rona will be appearing for a DVD signing Wednesday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble located at The Grove at the Farmers Market (Fairfax & Third).