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Sonny & Cher on GetTV, Weeks 1 & 2

BubbleOkay this may get monotonous, but I've never had a blog before while Sonny & Cher shows were airing. So I'm going to try to recap them.

First of all, these shows are airing with terrible commercials (Tom Selleck...ugh). I'm trying to figure out the demographic and all I'm coming up with is 'old people.' Of which I am now one because I'm watching all these old GetTV and MeTV shows, particularly enjoying Barney Miller.

The first episode turned out to be the actual first episode with Jimmy Durante from August 1971. I was hoping GetTV would show these episodes in order. But they aren't. The second episode already jumps to Season 2 in 1972.

But from the very first episode you can see that all the iconic elements are present: the hands on the hip, the pointing at each other, Sonny tapping Cher’s nose, the nose jokes, the Italian jokes, the sexual innuendos, (Cher can make any line sound naughty. She says to Jimmy Durrante when the gramophone prop horn falls off, "Why look, my horn fell off."), the awesome lenses flares, the lip licking, the lusty belting out of solos, the hanging hand, the hair flip, Sonny sticking his hand in Cher’s face as they say goodnight. Bob Mackie and Ret Turner are also there from the start.

ISonny_and_Cher_live_1971t’s all there from the beginning. And the show even begins with their nightclub banter from their Live LP of 1971 (right).

Sonny also does something interesting after their initial duet of “The Beat Goes On” ("Hot pants are the current thing, uh-huh"). He announces an official beginning to the show already 5 minutes in, something Cher still does in her live shows.

GetTV episodes are also not complete episodes. And, as it turns out, neither were the  TV Land airings. It's like a shrinking can of tomato sauce, we get so much less product these days with all the added commercials mixed in. The TV Land airing cut out their inaugural "In Concert" duet of “United We Stand" and "Suspicious Minds.” GetTV included that duet but cut the Cultural Spot of commercial spoofs.

Many of the recurring features were also present in episode one: the torch song, the vamp segments, (although this inaugural Vamp contains a prologue song called "Woman Is" that is both pretty and pretty dated), Cher is also already being fashioned into a femme fetal.

Song links: "You Made Me Love You" with a typical, lusty blues interlude and her first afro-extension. There is also a blurry, bad-quality full version of the show online. Here is one piece of it that shows "Woman Is."

Cher-jeanWeek 2 was from the second season, with Mike Connors and Jean Stapleton, and the opening dialogue includes the fact that Cher made a list of the 10 best dressed women that year. Crossed arms, the deadpan looks, short jokes--more iconic gestures. The solo spot really highlights the red circle of light that hangs like a blood moon. Cher is practically howling to it.

There are two missing skits in the GetTV airing, Jean dancing with Cher and a skit called Meet the Candidate, which I remember liking, (you can see those here with a Gypsy Fortune Teller skit). The odd "Bono Award" is introduced here. I still don't know what that thing is visually. I'll try to take a screen shot of it. Awards go to daytime TV shows such as General Hospital and the Galloping Gourmet (I loved watching old episodes of this on The Cooking Channel back in 2009).

Another award goes to “the most cooperative contestant on the Dating Game” and Teri Garr comes out pregnant. Yikes!

Cher plays a great dumb redheaded starlet in a talk show skit (see left pic) and the concert duets are always exciting with the microphones, the full band and the light banks. In this episode, they sing "United We Stand" and "1-2-3," a Len Barry cover I looked up today. Hullabalo dancing always cracks me up. It’s so abrupt.

Spoofing The Carol Burnett Show, Sonny & Cher ask audience questions. One of the cast members pretends to ask them a question about how they started out and they launch into The Sonny & Cher Story, a mostly fictional skit about how Cher’s mother (Jean Stapleton) and their manager (Mike Connors) helped them rise from prom-band folk singers to glamour goons in Las Vegas to having their own television show where they have “50 million fans.” It brings to mind the many fictional elements in the Sonny and Cher mythology that had been provided up to that time. Steve Martin and Bob Einstein are in the writers room by February 1972 and seven months later you can really tell Cher has gained confidence and conviction in her performances.

Link to songs: People Got To Be Free and Body and Soul.


Cher in Tiger Beat, 1966

16 Reasons CherA few months ago, Cher scholar Robert Pela sent me a picture of this fabulous 1966 Cher spread in Tiger Beat magazine. Click on the graphic to get a better view of this awe-inspiring artifact of public relations. Cher lists all the reasons why she loves Sonny and Sonny does the same.

I want to believe this was ghost written by some plucky intern at Tiger Beat, but some of the bits sound eerily familiar. But then some sound equally ridiculous. It's full of irony and groovy!

What items popped out for me:

Why Cher Loves Sonny

He’s smarter than I am.

He never puts himself first; it’s always me.

He’s hard working and knows what he’s doing.
(This reminds me of the big scene in Good Times where Sonny tells Cher she knows nothing, NOTHING, about business and then storms out leaving her to sing "Just a Name" running from their Encino house to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.)

He remembers what I was wearing when we met.

He never forgets to pay attention to me, even if I am his wife. (Oyvay)

I feel safe with Sonny. He always seems to know what to do.

He’s honest about everything. (except a lot)

I think he’s handsome.

Why Sonny Loves Cher:

She’s very feminine. (timely claim considering she was being accused of being so androgynous at the time)

She always backs me up in whatever I want to do.

She smells wonderful all the time. (Uninhibited?)

When she cooks, it’s good.

She’s beautiful.

She’s quiet most of the time, and I need this so I can do my work.

When she gets mad, she’s prettier. (You're killing me with these, Sonny.)

She’s neat and orderly about things? (orderly??)

She’s just as sweet and unspoiled as the day I met her.

When she’s happy, she hums around the house.

She’s got a good memory and helps me keep appointments.

There's a lot to chew on there. Some of it's sweet and some of it's icky.


Chaz Bono on American Horror Story and The Sonny & Cher House

ChazChaz as Scary Redneck

Chaz Bono is on American Horror Story this season as a recurring character. I know, I know. Two episodes have already aired! But isn't everyone just waiting to binge-watch the show on Netflix anyway? Besides, it was a big secret and nobody knew until after the first episode and then my carpel tunnel flared up and I wasn't blogging so you'll just have to deal with the reruns and the recaps if you haven't been DVRing the show already. Life is heartbreaking that way.

Read about the surprise or read through the recaps.

Did you know there's a "Cher for American Horror Story" Facebook page? Neither did I. I can't really picture this happening.

Owlwood

In other news, the most famous Sonny & Cher house, Owlwood, just resold again. Is that thing haunted?

Here are the stories. The fact that Sonny & Cher once lived in it seems like the lead point, because they're such hasbeens and all. Notice the buried mentions of Tony Curtis and other owners.

Sonnycherhouse

I freaking love this house! Take the drone tour. Can't you just see Sonny chasing Chastity around the pool? Another thing you might notice about this house, it has such a personality of its own, it looks pretty similar now to how it did when Sonny & Cher were in there and decorating it with Ron Wilson. Notice the bedroom mouldings, the print curtains. See for yourself in this nostalgic tour of Cher's past homes.


Remember 9: The Last Resort?

Cher-as-gypsy-tellerI took a class in electronic literature this spring and we did play-throughs, those videos that show another player going through games so you don’t have to, for particularly literary video games. I loved the play-throughs. They're so much easier.

So this inspired me to look for play-through video for 9: The Last Resort, the Tribeca Interactive game Cher did voice-over work for in back in 1996. I never finished the game but now I sorta did!

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROons3_GCU8 (20 mins)
    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh9euOt4Wcw (22 mins)
    3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPbPft4UEPw (20 mins)
    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So3T4EJ7GPY  (17 mins)
    5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldx2o0YEtCg (18 mins)

Iconoclast187 is the player’s name and oddly he lists the celebrities voice-overs for the game, including ones that aren’t listed in the credits and don’t sound like who he says they are (Ellen Degeneres and Anne Heche). But at no point does he ever mentions Cher as doing the voice for Isadora, the mechanical gypsy fortune teller. Sound familiar? Is this legally typecasting?

It was kind of mesmerizing watching the play-through actually, although the Iconoclast187 is very snarky about the shortcomings of the game (about which I tended to agree...so much so that I stopped playing it 30 minutes in). He says things like, “That was certainly a collection of words” when he is aggrieved by the lack of clues in a long, Isadora speech. He seems to hate it when the game gets too easy or too hard.

This is the type of old computer game where you can only carry one thing at a time and you must complete tasks in a certain order, (and order completely unknown to you). God bless  Meatdress Iconoclast187 for sticking with it.

A lot of the story deals with themes on music with puzzles involving notes. There’s a very weird song at the end that thankfully Cher doesn’t sing.

Produced by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, the cast includes Cher, James Belushi, Christopher Reeve, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. It also includes the artwork of Mark Ryden of the infamous meat dress painting.

Wikipedia states “The gameplay, coupled with the extremely high hardware requirements and the high cost of the game led to very few sales, and the game was remaindered… The name "9" refers to the nine muses which inhabit the resort (from Greek mythology). The muses are represented by various characters in the game."

Sounds fun.


Are You Cher Music or Cher TV?

SonnychershowI mean if you had to give up one thing? Forget the movies for now. Are you Cher Music or Cher TV? I came into this obsession at four or five years old. I have no personal recollection of what came first: the albums or the TV shows. But one thing I do know: the TV shows are much harder to come by.

Music has its ways: bootlegs, leaks, re-releases. The TV shows have only aired about once a decade, if that. I remember The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour first coming back in the 1980s on my local UTF channel, a small spattering of episodes airing on Friday nights. I had no VCR and was forced to tape the shows to cassettes. This meant I had to be home on Friday nights and one night the power went out and I lost my f*cking mind. Yes, this is where the crazy Cher zombie makes an appearance in Cher Scholar.

When I moved to NYC to attend Sarah Lawrence College to study poetry, the shows came on once again but only through a new channel called TV Land, a channel my stupid Warner Bros cable would not carry until after the series stopped airing entirely. I was only able to nag one friend into taping a handful of episodes for me. This threw me into the jaws of some very friendly bootleggers who have since disappeared into the night.

The shows have made me a crazy, hot mess. So true to my fate, this headline caused quite a ruckus while I was on vacation: Sonny & Cher and Cher shows returning to TV. It's like a lifelong pattern of elation followed by despair. The shows are airing on GetTV starting next Monday, September 12....if you have Dish TV as your cable subscriber. Direct TV viewers are out of luck. 

Luckily, I was out-of-contract with DirectTV but it was a massive soap opera to make the switch because Dish TV does not supply the NFL package or much of a football package worth a dime. Supposedly, according to our Dish installer, (who doesn’t even watch TV and uses Sling TV like a good millennial), Direct TV paid 2 billion dollars to give Direct TV the exclusive on all NFL games. Did you catch that? Mr. Cher Scholar will be out of his Chiefs games on TV!

It was like Kramer vs. Kramer for a minute in our house. Mr. Cher Scholar’s obsession vs. my obsession. Mr. Cher Scholar eventually volunteered to give up his games on TV because he can still get them online but after his vacation of power washing and being a super son-in-law, this was a huge ask. And I'm sure the lack of football in the house will continue to be very distressing for him.

New Album?

There was also new album news. What kind of album I wonder?

Believe it: Cher confirms that she is working on brand new music (Digital Spy)

Cher hints at new music release (Pink News)

Cher teases new album (Entertainment Weekly)

Cher heads back into the studio to record new music

ChercyndiFan Finds

Cher scholar Jeffrey sent me this, an article I missed on Cher's birthday, 70 reasons to love Cher at 70.

Cher scholar Tyler sent me this Elvis-Cher mashup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMfNFI5oi4w

Cher scholar Michael sent me this recent clip of Cher singing backup for Michael McDonald: https://youtu.be/oP6plRUU668

Cyndi Lauper was also on the latest cover of AARP. Years ago I was visiting Las Vegas and the husband of a friend of mine living there tried to tell me these stories he believed about Cyndi Lauper and Cher not getting along and about how jealous Cher was of Cyndi and her fans. Well, the decades have proven that story was full of bunk as I knew it was. Not only do Cyndi and Cher continue to work together tour after tour, Cyndi never stops singing Cher’s praises. It’s even evident in this AARP piece which has a lot of great Cyndi material but also ends by saying:

“[Lauper] has no script for aging gracefully. “It sucks. That’s it,” she adds, but you get the feeling she’s not really minding it too much. Apparently, she has discussed the matter with another great female music—and fashion—icon who also has no plans to go gentle into that good night. “I really think that when Armageddon comes, it’s gonna be just cockroaches, me and Cher,” Lauper jokes. “And we’re gonna do the ‘End of the World Tour.’ I’ll probably open for her.”

A Newish Music Book

RocklovestoriesMy mother-in-law gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card for my birthday and I used it to buy a book in their weird coffee-table/novelty-book section, Rock and Roll Love Stores, True Tales of the Passion and Drama by Gill Paul published in 2014.

Here’s the list (guess how many are Hall of Famers): Johnny Cash, Ike and Tine (not so much a love story), Elvis and Priscilla, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, S&C, George Harrison and Pattie Boyd, John and Yoko, Mike and Marianne Faithful, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, James Taylor and Carly Simon, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, Sid and Nancy, and Kurt and Courtney.

I asked Mr. Cher Scholar to guess the couples in the list and he guessed a bunch who should have but in the book but weren’t included: Paul and Linda, Ringo and Bach, Jerry Lee and Myra (pretty scandalous one as they go), and Tammy Wynette and George Jones.

The book has interesting things to say about rock love: rock stars don’t seem 'on the whole' great lovers despite every song about love. Long tours, availability of ready sex, drugs, booze, antisocial tendencies, cynicism about monogamy, love perceived as being too square....Does love damage one’s “cool credentials”?

And did any of these issues apply to S&C?

It's also interesting that Marianne Faithful and Carly Simon might have been vilified for having multiple partners. Cher always received the obligatory break-out box of boyfriends in magazine articles but I don't feel she was actually vilified. Madonna is listed as the first female performer allowed to flaunt her sexuality. But wasn't Cher the foundation for that?

Also, glam rock is listed as being camp, with glittery clothing, and presenting a reassessment of gender roles. With that definition, how glam was Cher?

The book talked about the many ways fans follow their star obsessions, showing interest in their homes, clothes, hairstyles, cars, relationships, personas, and lyrics.

Fact Checking Fun: The book says Sonny was 2 ½ inches shorter than Cher and that Sonny’s dad was a truck driver and played the banjo and accordion. It also states that Cher hated short skirts because her legs were bowed. Is any of that true?

It does correctly state that S&C popularized bell bottom flares and that Cher was the first to expose navel on TV and that in 1999 she was given an lifetime achievement award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The book calls her “the original style queen who blended ethnicity with bling.”

The book also states that Cher once drove Excalibur car, Sonny an Aston Martin and a motorcycle. And that their first TV show had 25 million viewers which represented 35% of the public viewing audience.


Cher and Hills Force One

Cher-provincetSo I went on vacation in August to see my parents in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A lot happened while I was gone. A lot. Cher did quite a bit of stumping for Hillary Clinton over the last few weeks and kept up her pressure on The Hairpiece.

Before the fundraisers

Cher Joining Hillary Clinton for Provincetown Fundraiser (Out.com)

If you’re on Hillary’s mailing list (I donated once just for the Woman Card), you got a chance to meet Cher in Provincetown. I didn't see the email when it came in, (because I disconnect completely on VACA!), so Mr. Cher Scholar entered us to win. That was just one super-husband thing he did while we were in Pennsylvania. He also power-washed and stained my Dad’s deck in 90-degree heat.

Oh, and he gave up NFL football on Direct TV so I could get The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour but more on that in another post). :-/

Here's the email for the Provincetown contest:

Hillary Clinton <info@hillaryclinton.com>
Aug 18 at 1:15 PM
To: [Cher Scholar]

Mary, I’m really excited about this one: Cher will be joining me on Sunday for an event in Provincetown, Massachusetts -- and you could be there.

Will you add your name for the chance to join us?

It’s bound to be a fun time, but more than that, it’s a chance for us to check in before we reach the final weeks of this campaign. Knowing that I have the support of a team like you keeps me going out there on the trail -- so I’d like to say thank you and hear what you’ve been up to while I’ve been campaigning.

We’ll even cover your transportation and hotel, so you can relax and enjoy the evening.

Don’t miss this chance to join me (and Cher!) in Provincetown on Sunday:

Add my name [button]

Thanks,
Hillary

Cher-providence-2016After the fundraisers

Raising Money for Clinton, Cher Sounds Off (and Not Just About Trump) (New York Times)

Audience video of Cher speaking in Provincetown (Facebook)

Another perspective of the same event (YouTube)

Cher Spills the Tea on Her Pal Hillary Clinton (The Advocate)

‘Miserable’ Cher Wages Bizarre Twitter War On Donald Trump (Radar Online)  - Right wing spin continues to describe Cher as has been (“Fast-fading Cher” s waging an internet war against Donald Trump to get attention and restart her fizzled career — but the crafty presidential candidate has devastated the “Believe” singer by leveling her as a washed-up has-been.") Facts never seem to back up their hopes that she is a flash-in-th- pan…as these headlines show…

Cher, Hillary Clinton wow crowd at Provincetown fundraiser (Cape Cod Times)

Cher Raises Cash for Hillary, Calls Trump 'the Worst Person I've Ever Seen' (Extra)

Clinton Raises Cash During Campaign Events on Cape and Islands (Cape Cod Times)

Ptown swoons for Hillary and Cher (Washington Blade)

Cher insults Trump, with gusto, at Clinton fundraiser (Yahoo! News)

Cher defiant after harsh takedown of Trump (CNN)

They also went to Miami: Cher raises $130,000 for Hillary Clinton in Miami (Tampa Bay Times)

Then we received an email from Cher herself:

From: Cher <info@hillaryclinton.com>
Date: 8/20/2016 8:30 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: [Mr. Cher Scholar]
Subject: Hi❗❗

Mr. C.S. --

I'm known for my emoji-heavy tweets, so I wanted to send You an emoji-heavy email (a.k.a mail emoji).

I'm Proud 2 Support Hillary, Mr. C.S.‼️

Earlier this summer, I had the honor of speaking at a concert for her in Los Angeles -- and spent [clock emoji] with her too. I CALLED HILL “MY PRESIDENT” -- it meant SO MUCH to watch her win the nomination [tears of joy emoji] .

She’s sincere, I admire her hard work, & I like her. NO MATTER WHAT PPL THINK  [sparkling heart emoji]. #ImWithHer, and I’m going to be so proud to join her at an event in Provincetown tonight.

If you're #WithHer too, chip in RIGHT NOW to make sure she [bee emoji] comes our next POTUS❗❗

You’re one of our most committed supporters. Because you've saved your payment information, your donation will go through immediately:

Mr. Cher Scholar Donate [Buttons: $75, $25, $50, $100, $200]

Provincetown Wc