Two captures from the Sonny & Cher and Cher Christmas shows aired this year on GetTV.
And I dearly love this bit from Redd Foxx. Merry Christmas to all the Bigots!
Two captures from the Sonny & Cher and Cher Christmas shows aired this year on GetTV.
And I dearly love this bit from Redd Foxx. Merry Christmas to all the Bigots!
Cher was involved in a lot of Christmas caroling throughout the 1970s and it's taken me a while to get the shows straight. The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Christmas Collection DVD, as it turns out, does not show the pure, original episodes as it turns out.
This is the show with Cher (and Sonny) singing "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" with the "One Tin Soldier" cartoon. This itself is a poignant song to revisit considering the rise of white nationalism and bigotry happening right now.
But there are also other notable moments, like William Conrad reading a long, boring Christmas poem with Sonny & Cher in rapt attention, Sonny & Cher sitting on Santa's lap, and an incredibly odd Indian-Italian mashup with Cher dressed as a plains Indian skipping around with a talking bear looking for snow. The song is tragically ear-wormy but the set design is amazing. I don't remember ever seeing this on the DVD version of the show.
Mr. Cher Scholar groaned when he heard The Hudson Brother and The Lennon Sisters were the guests. Never a value add there. But we both thoroughly enjoyed every scene Redd Foxx was in, including two really, really amazing pieces: Redd Foxx reading Christmas Wishes for Bigots, (God, I wish this was on YouTube--I will try to transpose it for us), and Redd Foxx as Elmer the Elf showing us all Santa's VIP gifts for the big celebrities of 1975. It was very funny.
Cher sings "White Christmas/We Need A Little Christmas" and the musical numbers make great effort to be multi-cultural, including:
Cher also dons a Santa wig and beard for Chastity and Chastity also does some real tap dancing. Oh, and we see Laverne's bedroom.
Great, great show.
- Opening duet: Sonny & Cher sing their uptempo "Jingle Bells"
- All-cast medley with Chastity, Elijah, Bernadette Peters and Captain Kangaroo
Merry Christmas, y'all!
I don't have time to cover all the show in depth anymore but I can try to link to some of the online musical numbers with a few comments.
Cher's solo: "Come Rain or Shine" was recorded by everybody, including famously by Billie Holiday. Mr. Cher Scholar and I joked her wig looks like 1960s rich housewife hair or an unkempt Marlo Thomas. It's a really bad wig and the early solo spots are so shadowy.
Concert segment: "Mr. Tamborine Man/Joy to the World" (with Dinah Shore). One of Cher's many Bob Dylan covers, a hit by The Byrds and Three Dog Night. Sonny & Cher did this song twice on their shows. This is the not-so-hot version. See Cher's lovely 70s fringe knot swinging around.
Concert segment: "HiHeel Sneakers/Barefootin" ("Sneakers" is a Tommy Tucker song and "Barefootin" is a Robert Parker song. Sonny wears a hilarious Miami-themed cabano boy shirt (I call this a Barry Manilow shirt). Cher sports an afro ponytail. Good mike tossing by Cher.
Cher Solo: "Working Together" with Cher in that macramé head thing Groovy organ.
Opening Duet: "Let Me Down Easy" in white outfits with blue and green stripes. Don’t know who originally recorded this song but Dusty Springfield did a slow groovy cover in 1972 on the Dusty in London album. Cher also recorded it for her 1972 Foxy Lady album.
All the Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five material from the show, including "what are you gonna be when you grow up," "Looking Through My Window" and "Ben." Interesting look at the pre-teen Michael Jackson.
It annoyed me that the episode right before the U.S. election was the Ronald Reagan episode. Good bit of S&C self-deprecation here though and one of the best looks at the oddity that is the Bono Award.
Cher Solo: "Say it Isn’t So" in that famous fuchsia dress. Heavy Vaseline job here and we see Cher's belly button.
I've never watched these shows in sequential order, which would be good to do so I could see how segments and trends on the show evolve. For instance, it's interesting to note how the Vamp dress evolved over the course of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Now he would not be able to help on the farm. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.
So...I haven't been posting for the past three or so weeks. First it was the week before the U.S. election and work was very busy at CNM. Then the week of the election happened and many of us, (I would argue the majority of us) , were feeling stomach cramps and living the U.S. Electoral nightmare. And I have to tell you, something in me changed on November 9. It was as if the election showed me what my special purpose was, to quote Navin R. Johnson. I've been spending the last few weeks organizing and setting up some new messaging initiatives against what I see as the encroachment of Fascism and racism in my country and around the world.
Elections have consequences, as President Obama has often said. For our purposes here at I Found Some Blog, I no longer will have the time to post long, academic Cher tracts beyond the latest news. Something's gotta give after all. I'm working on a novel and two other writing projects. I can't take on the new commitments of activism without giving something up. So no more play-by-plays of the television shows and long reviews of albums. I actually had three of the last four Sonny & Cher show wrap-ups ready to go. But there's no time to finish them now. My gift of gab is now "going to the cause" and that means getting active in my community, motivating Democrats to vote, and wearing my safety pin as a reminder to fight racism and hatred every single day.
If these are values you share, please come by my new Facebook page "BTW New Mexico is a U.S. State," LIKE the page, and SHARE some of the posts with your friends. I would sure appreciate it.
Cher scholar Bruce Barton notified us recently that on Monday December 5 GetTV will be airing the rarely seen 1975 Cher Christmas show. He also linked us to a clip of the festive intro. Can't wait!
And according to the GetTV schedule, there are other goodies in store.
This Monday, November 21, we can binge on three episodes we've already seen: (1) Jean Stapelton and Mike Connors, (2) Jimmy Durante and (3) Andy Griffith.
November 28: The 1973 Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Christmas Special
December 5: The 1975 Christmas Special with Redd Foxx, The Hudson Brothers and The Lennon Sisters. It looks like it's the full hour show.
You may have heard that Cher is doing some limited shows in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. next spring. Miraculously I was able to get tickets to one of the Vegas shows. Check out Cher's site for details.
She was also on The Today Show.
So the Broadway show is also actually coming together. From Playbill:
There will be a two-week staged reading in New York City January 2-14. Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore will direct. It's being called The Cher Show. Flody Suarez and Hamilton’s Jeffrey Seller are producing. And some details were revealed. The characters of Cher are Babe (teenager), Lady (solo) and Star (which sounds like her evolution to icon). Other characters include Sonny, Georgia, Bob Mackie, David Geffen, Gregg Allman, Robert Altman, Rob Camilletti, and Sigmund Freud. Different era Chers may also talk to each other. The book was written by Tony Award-winning Rick Elice (of Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher). Cher songs in the show may include “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “Take Me Home,” “Believe,” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Tony winner Daryl Waters is musical supervisor.
Cher was also interviewed for the Fast Company Innovation Festival, "Cher on Creativity and the Power of Authenticity." I was disappointed with the piece but the "big show" comments were interesting and her ideas around emojis, which are now considered fine art!
I am getting whiplash or with these shows bouncing around. Week 3 takes us all the way to the end of 1973 in Season 4 for the episode Years Part 2. Yes, it’s true, we haven’t even seen Years, Part 1 yet. But as it turns out, the originals were never aired back-to-back either. They were shown two months apart. These are nostalgic, where-are-they-now episodes with musical guests from the 1960s.
Wolfman Jack starts things out by getting his Sonny & Cher records ready. He has an unbelievably hairless chest. Sonny and Cher come onstage in rainbow, polka-dot ensembles singing the Danny and the Junior’s song, “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay.” All the guests appear on the opening stage to sing the opening medly--all which makes the iconic opening feel cheapened and crowded. The nostalgia feels particularly manic, as well. Neil Sedaka sings “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” at the piano, Peter Noone, who never looks very comfortable, sings “Henry VII,” Paul Anka croons “Diana,” and The Coasters sing “Charlie Brown” with odd hitch-hiking choreography. Sonny & Cher provide backup through all this and everybody has coordinated, white suits. I have to say, I've never liked these Years episodes, back from when I first saw them on our cable access channel back in the early 1980s. It’s like a blast of kitsch coming at you too fast and furious.
In the opening dialogue there’s a boob joke, a Sonny naked joke, and a Watergate joke. As Cher sings, we get a glimpse of early giggle TV. Her garage-door blue eye shadow is impressive, however. Wolfman Jack introduces another “Sonny & Cher mythology” skit that again tells the story of how they went from rock stars to nightclub entertainers to TV stars. At this time, tabloids had already started publishing stories about big, behind-the-scenes blow-ups between Sonny & Cher, going as far as to dub them The Bickering Bonos. They bicker throughout this skit, too, with short jokes, Indian cooking jokes (Sonny complains about her Buffalo pizza: “I’m still picking arrows out of my teeth”), Italian-mother fat jokes, nose jokes, jokes about Sonny’s musical pedigree. It’s interesting to note how these ethnic jokes might have signified entirely different things to people back in 1973. I would still like to know how the history of Cher’s use of Indian iconography and genealogy is perceived by actual American Indians (then and now).
Murray Langston is seen prominently in this skit at the bar. Mr. Cher Scholar and I just watched Chuck Barris’ The Gong Show Movie (not the same movie as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) in which Langston’s portrayal of the Unknown Comic stands out. The movie also shows an amazingly young cameo performance by Phil Hartman.
They air an old video performance of "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," the one with the yellow fringe dress and the gypsy wagon. GetTV airs a skit about fathers in the waiting room that I had never see aired in the TV Land before with Teri Garr playing a nurse among new fathers who are losing their minds.
The concert portion is a medley held together by the song Peter, Paul and Mary song “I Dig Rock and Roll Music.” Cher wears a red dress and a red bobbed wig. Everyone else is coordinated in suits of black and red. It’s all very manic like the opening. It’s interesting that none of Phil Spector’s acts were hired for these nostalgia shows. I’m surprised that Neil Sedaka is taller than Paul Anka and I’ve always had those two confused. The Coasters sing “Poison Ivy,” Neil Sedaka sings “Calendar Girl, Peter Noone sings “I’m Into Something Good,” Paul Anka sings “Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” S&C sing “All I Ever Need Is You” (hey, these S&C songs aren’t all that nostalgic so far; they’re recent hits!), The Coasters sing “Yakety Yak,” (and I really don’t dig these gimmicky songs), Peter Noone sings “Mrs. Brown,” Neil Sedaka sings “Happy Birthday, Sweet 16,” S&C sing a very affectionate “I Got You Babe,” Paul Anka sings “Lonely Boy,” and S&C end the marathon with “All I Really Want to Do” in a very similar arrangement to what Cher uses to sing the song to this day.
GetTV does not air the 1960s-era Vamp skit which includes a skit with the Maharishi and Marilyn Monroe. I remember the TV Land version itself included some Batman characters in the recap but an actual Batman skit was missing from the aired sequence.
We fly back to 1972 with Merv Griffin's second appearance on the show in March. This is the season 2 finale. I’ve decided the opening cartoon sequence cartoons probably deserve their own future study. Sonny & Cher sing The Temptations’ song “Get Ready” in yellow and white suit and pantsuit. Cher does hair swings, there are short jokes, mother is fat jokes, sex jokes. Sonny calls Cher a tart. The show is actually pretty good at conversational humor. Sonny gets trumped in a verbal exchange and swivels the dialogue with a “Well, anyway” and this gets a big laugh. Sonny shakes his fist at Cher at one point and they discuss resorting to personal digs when you lose an argument. Sonny shoulder punches Cher and she hits her knuckles into his chin in response.
Cher sings “The Way of Love” in a pink dress with a big flower in her hair. This is her ultimate torch song. There are great camera flares off the flower. This is followed by The S&C stomp, a song and dance about “the craze” of their current popularity. Sonny & Cher lead four sets of Sonny and Cher impersonators in a dance celebrating their quirks and postures: Sonny pointing a finger at Cher, Cher throwing back her hair, their hands on their hip, shoulder socking, Cher folding her arms and giving the cold stare. They sing about the “goombah beat” (another slur on Sonny’s Italianness). They are laughing at themselves, figuratively and literally. It’s early meta and proves why Cher would be great singing Ben Folds Fives “Best Imitation of Myself” because there is nothing impersonators have ever done with her that was anything she hadn't already parodied about herself first.
Cher’s Vamp dress is red, red and her hair is curly. I’ve always wondered why a vamp theme necessitated pizza parlor laps hanging above the stage. In the Bonnie and Clyde sketch, Merv and Cher play Bonnie and Clyde. Cher sings a provocative intro with “Bonnie shows him how to load his gun.” Merv frets about a prison full of “men, men, men” and Cher says “Sounds like fun.” Cher undresses Sonny and they crack up after a mash-up kiss. In the Theda Bara skit, Cher wears a metal bra identical to the shape of her Take Me Home album breast plates. Sonny makes me crack up when he yells “Oh Sheik!” instead of “Oh Shit!” Six men climb out of an urn to expose Cher’s infidelity and she is not only unapologetic but she talks her way out of it. Sadie Thompaon, Cher’s Mae West, does the same. She says, “I can’t change my ways! I can’t even change a tire!” They make an Arthur Treacher joke I completely didn’t get.
In a Fortune Teller skit (compare Cher 70s teller to the one in 9: The Last Resort), Sonny endures short jokes while Merv gets delivered Miss Universe. Sonny sings Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life” while photos and video show Cher and Chastity playing on big screens. This is early reality TV. The green screen cuts off the top of Sonny’s head. Sonny & Cher lip sync their hit, "A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done” with Cher in a bobbed wig, black halter top and fringed skirt. Her rib is sticking out prominently. Sonny has nothing much to do but look tough. I love this song. The line “I play games now but it’s not fun” hangs there in the ether giving the thought time to sink in.
TV Land cuts the Cultural Spot on Vlad the Horror which is a shame because it has a good cameo by Steve Martin in it.
I’ve been swamped with life stuff, out-of-town visitors, Cher and poetry news, job stuff (went the Edward Tufte conference this week), I threw out my back this week. And now this!
In a surprise announcement, Cher released dates for new live shows at two venues: http://cher.com/#/. If you join the mailing list on her website, you get emails about these things. Las Vegas Weekly also did a story.
Public sale: Sunday, Oct. 23 at 10am. Check out Cher.com for pre-sales.
Park Theater at Monte Carlo - Las Vegas Dates
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Friday, February 10, 2017
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017
National Harbor - Washington, D.C. Dates
Friday, March 17, 2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Park Theater at Monte Carlo - Las Vegas
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Friday, May 5, 2017
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Friday, May 12, 2017
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Friday, May 19, 2017
Saturday, May 20, 2017
She's also been making a flurry of TV appearances of which I have missed 100 percent. Thanks for the heads up, Obama! Why hasn't she been tweeting about this stuff? (There may be a security reason I guess).
Cher Scholar Michael says Cher will will be on The Insider tonight on CBS.
Cher was also on The Today Show this week, interviewed by Maria Shriver.
James and Cher singing IGUB. Isn't that a Dressed to Kill Tour-fit?
Everyone is talking about this duet today:
Cher scholar Michael also sent me this episode of The Late Late Show from April that is full of Cher Impersonators from various Cheras.
My friend Coolia also sent me a video this morning of Hillary’s remarks last night from the Al Smith dinner where Cher is mentioned at the minute mark 10:50.
So we skip way ahead to Season 3 for this episode. Sonny & Cher sing The Lovin' Spoonful cover of "Do You Believe in Magic?" Cher did a much more mellow version on her 1968 album Backstage. Check out the study in eyeliner that is this video version. In their opening dialogue, Sonny covers his Detroit roots and Catholicism. All the while, I can't help but wonder what direction Sonny is hanging in those white pants.
Cher does the solo medley of "Sonny Boy," "My Mammy" and "Rocka-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" that we've come to love from her 1973 Bittersweet White Light album. In this TV version, she looks androgynous in a suit and tie. Where is her hair under that short wig??
In the Vamp sketch they talk about Cher as a royal floozie and a common tart. The GetTV version skips the Cultural Spot sketch and Andy Griffith singing “Something Bigger Than You and I.” They did air "Headlines in the Paper" which is just a quick one-liner collage on current topics. I can't get into it.
The In Concert duet is an awesome one, Sonny & Cher singing Mac Davis' "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me." I love this song. I love their version. Cher again wears the afro-extension wig, big earring hoops and they use those awesome, white 1970s mics and sing with such sincerity. I love it!
Late into this show they changed the animated intro and added Chastity who paints a subway scene. These subway intros showed mostly men riding into work, (with the exception of a female guest or Teri Garr). This skit makes a Lebanese joke on Danny Thomas' behalf and a Greek joke on Telly Savalas' name.
Sonny and Cher sing “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love,” the Petula Clark song from 1966. Sonny is wearing a distracting amount of Italian jewelry bling, including the Sicilian horn and what looks like an Italian flag, along with some dramatic sideburns. Cher's eye makeup is great. She's wearing great earring hoops again and does some awesome hair flips. Sonny makes a Tiberius Bono Roman joke. They've started to cut up the opening song with short skits before the break point of the dialoging. I have to say I've always hated this (even as a little kid watching). It's too much song cut up. It feels chaotic and the skits are rarely worthy of any song interruption. Unfortunately, they ended up keeping that break-up formula for their divorce show.
There's a Civil War Confederate piece that's a play on sex roles: after a tearful farewell with Telly Savalas, Cher pounces off to battle in her Scarlett O’Hara dress. Cher, as Barbara Nauseous (is this a slam at Barbara Walters? And if so, why so harsh?), interviews Telly Savalas about posing nude in “women’s lib” magazines. Ahh, the 70s. They were so quaint with words like "lib" and male nude centerfolds. I do a spoof on this phenomenon in the centerfold of Cher Zine 3.
By now, the Vamp sketch has been replaced by the Lady Luck series. Here's an example of Lady Luck. The song is awkward in its low parts and so flat in comparison to the Vamp song. The series scope is also much more opaque. Plus this is just not a flattering dress. The S&C lore goes that in 1973 when S&C were fighting to the death Cher was depressed and getting thin. She is really thin in this episode. There's a Spanish skit with Cher in a very pretty traditional Spanish Senorita dress with a mantilla veil and Sonny playing a masked bandit. Cher also plays as old lady in a park and a jinked redheaded wife to Telly Savalas. Cher looks very thin in the housewife skit. In the green-screen finale where all these characters gather to sing the Lady Luck song there are three yellow-outfited characters, including Freeman King, who weren’t in any of the previous skits. WTF!
Sonny’s Pizza sketch is next. I'm hot and cold on this skit. Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I'm feeling eh. Sonny wears an almost-funny pizza clown outfit and Cher looks great in that curly wig and green eye makeup. The skits always feel so slow with lots of dead air between lines. I loved that pizzaria door, however, and wish I could find a picture of it.
The In Concert segment starts with their ceiling bank of lights being raised up. I love it when they do that! They sing the Temptations song "Get Ready. Here is The Temptations version. Sonny wears a tux and Cher wears a gold dress and an uber-short wig. Again, where is her hair?? Could it really all fit under that short wig? We even get a back shot while they sing. Her hair is not hiding. That drives me nuts!
They to a Love Story spoof where Cher gets kisses with boys from Harvard, Princeton and Yale and a preview of The Village People. More great eye makeup and she looks good but tiny in a preppy outfit.
There's a Laverne sketch, At The Laundromat. For all the banter, no washing ever gets done. Cher arrives, dumps a hamper, folds a thing, and leaves.
GetTV doesn't air Danny Thomas singing “If I Didn’t Care” or Cher’s solo spot (WTF) of the band Bread's sappy hit “If.” Interestingly, Telly recorded this song in the mid-70s. His spoken word version was produced by Snuff Garrett and reached #1 in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland in March 1975.
The closing segment is one of the best. Chastity thinks Cher is old and says she thinks Cher is 4 years old. Sonny, she thinks, is 6 years old. They all discuss who holds the baby and when: Sonny on the show, Cher at Kiddie Land. Sonnny puts Chastity down and says, “Ret goes to s much trouble to match your outfit to mommy’s” [meaning costume designer Ret Turner] and we all get to see she's wearing an adorable version of Cher’s pink dress. Cher picks her up and tries to tell a story about the time Chastity didn’t want to be a girl anymore. Chastity covers her mouth and they all laugh. They end with a very affectionate version of "I Got You Babe."
The world is a very mysterious and surprising place, no?
Recently, in the service of art and literature, I decided to transpose the Cher and Muhammad Ali poem from the later Sonny & Cher show. Here it is with my commentary.
Announcer: Welcome, sports fans, to the Wide World of Poetry. Tonight we have a dandy [a shockingly dated slur against the masculinity of poets, a fob, a glamour boy…turn-of-the-century prejudice against men in the arts], the heavyweight poetry championship of the world.
Don Diphthong (Sonny) is the referee. [A Diphthong is a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable like the word "coin."] Sonny says he will announce 15 rounds of poetry. Keep voices up and no iambic pentameter [five metrical feet, each foot with a stressed and unstressed syllable] allowed. In case of a pun [a joke exploiting the meaning of a word], go to a neutral corner. Shake hands and come out rhyming!
Sonny introduces Ali at 216 pounds of poetic power. The only man who actually did write a sonnet [fourteen lines, typically with a formal rhyme scheme] about an Easter bonnet. The Louisville Laureate, Muhammad Ali.
Ali: When a man sees you it on your nose he dwells.
It’s larger than Howard Cosell’s.
Cher: You know they’re filming your life story and there’s really no cause.
Cause it’s been on the screen once and they called the film Jaws.
Ali: I love your show and I admire your style.
But Cher, your pay is so cheap I won’t see you for a while.
Cher: You know I’m glad you turned to acting and writing.
Because my daughter could punch out those bums you’ve been fighting.
Sonny: Keep it moving. Watch the meter [the rhythmical pattern in a line of poetry].
Ali: I view your face each day although I’m not an admirer.
I always see your face on the National Enquirer.
Cher: You know when you’re through fighting what will you do then?
You can’t be a ref cause you can’t count to ten.
Ali: That remark you just made was lower than low.
Just like the ratings you got when you had your own show.
Sonny: Good one Muhammad.
Timeout: Ali reads a book; Cher files her nails.
Cher: You know they say you’re a giant from Maine to Montego,
but you’re really a shrimp with a six foot three ego.
Ali: You think you’re so smart but I’m gonna tell you something that’s funny.
It don’t take much smarts to be smarter than Sonny.
Sonny: Hey, that’s a low blow Muhammad. Not complaining.
Cher: You just got a divorce and one fact that’ll amaze you,
alimony can hit harder even than Frasier.
Ali: I changed my name once and they said I was a scamp
but in changing one’s last name, I believe you are the champ.
Cher: You know that last fight with Norton was rampant with friction,
did you win that fight or was that science fiction?
Cher: You know you’re not like you were in the old days, mister.
You float like a hippo and you sting like my sister.
Cher: Your next fight with Forman they’ll call you the broom
cause old George will use you to sweep up the room.
Ali is knocked out. Sonny counts One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, close de door, five six pick up sticks. [English nursery rhyme from 1805]
Cher has won and agrees to a rematch but says Ali will have to beat Marie Osmond first.
Ali says she was in great condition. I never knew she had such great couplets [this match was in couplets, two lines of verse of meter and each line joined by a rhyme]. I was dancing, I was on my toes for the first four rhymes but the she hit me with a left quatrain [a poem stanza of four lines]. I was expecting a classical dactyl [meter consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables; ex: tenderly]. But then she came in with an anapestic [meter consisting of two short unstressed syllables followed by one stressed; example, the word "understand"] roundelay [a short song with a refrain; famous examples]. I want a rematch. I know I can beat that Marie Osmond.
[This was some effective acting by Ali who pretend to be out-of-breath during the fight.] Watch the video.
There was a "latest Cher Tweet snafu" when she accidentally forwarded a tweet with a penis avatar in it. What's to apologize for this? I don't know but drama did ensue.
Okay the headlines are hilarious and it gives new punch to the term Freudian Slip. Cher is right: Twitter is unforgiving. And very funny. Cher is, after all, only human. She's made mistakes. But she's "in command of lost control."
At work one day last week I was in the mood for some "Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done" and since my iPod is a busted mess, I went on to the dark interwebs and found this amazing thing of pronoun weirdness from Diego's Umbrella's 2012 gypsy rock version.
The show ‘Last Man on Earth’ invaded Cher’s house in a latest episode. Spoiler and fragile-fan alert, in the "cameo" clip Cher has passed on to that Bob Mackie closet in the sky. Kristen Schaal is seen below trying on Cher outfits as the group hides out in Cher's Malibu house. I can't really tell but this almost looks like her house. What do you think?
A few weeks back I found this online version of New York Magazine with Cher and Robert Altman on the cover with a story about Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean on Broadway. Read a more in-depth story about Cher's near-death experience with a monster vitamin. Scary.
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.
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."
Week 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.
I 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.
There was also new album news. What kind of album I wonder?
Cher hints at new music release (Pink News)
Cher teases new album (Entertainment Weekly)
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
My 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.