The first season of the TV show Cher is up: https://www.cherscholar.com/the-tv-variety-shows-and-specials.html
Like my experiences re-watching the Sonny & Cher shows, I am enjoying the Cher shows much better as I’m re-watching them. The half-hour Cher shows when they aired on VH1 seemed very thin and awkward; but watching full-hour episodes gives them some heft and I can see more significance in skits and threads developing as the show evolved. Which is a surprise to me. I was expecting to not like them just as much as I had previously not liked them except for a few crazy or amazing musical numbers. I'm even enjoying the Saturday Night skits a lot more than I once did.
Here are some additional comments about the show and Cher from the TimeLife DVD interviews. In the George Schlatter interview, George says:
- “Old ladies and kids all loved her...the audience loved her.”
- CBS was always nervous: what would she be wearing and singing.
- George tried to set Cher up with dancing and singing lessons (to add 2 notes to her range). But she disappeared during the break and never did any of them.
- Bob Mackie was “such a genius.” Schlatter first worked with him on The Judy Garland Show, where he noticed Mackie was great at smoothing over pressures with the divas. They sometimes had to sell Cher on some of the songs on her show with Mackie's dresses. Cher was sewn into some of her dresses.
- Jerry Lewis was not the easiest man to work with.
- But everyone should have a Lily Tomlin in their lives. (I would go for that.)
- They were always waiting on Cher to get her nails done.
- Cher didn’t know some of her guests on the show. For example, Kate Smith and Cher hadn’t heard of each other.
- "The learning curve with Cher was a cliff."
- Cher was "a rock-and-roll phenomenon" although she was not a rock-and-roll singer but rather a personality. “Cher is an event...I’ve worked with everyone. Cher is truly unique” in her appearance, delivery, interests.
- She saw Sonny & Cher more as musical performers than as a comedy team.
- Cher has likability, is funny, is part of our culture, is very honest, outrageous, a feminist.
- "Her show was really fun...It was variety’s golden age. People didn’t tune in for the guests; they tuned in to see Cher doing something."
- During Tea with Mussolini Cher asked Lily: “Doesn’t Maggie just scare the shit out of you?”
- What makes Cher a great actress: empathy , she brings authenticity to the screen, she’s “kinda remarkable.”
- Lily and Cher fight together for elephants who are in captivity and they’re friends. Lily says Cher will tell her, “you’re the best but I’m the greatest.”
- Lily says Cher is down to earth, real, authentic. She’s also “got a mouth on her.” She’s "the real thing, audacious, original, disarming, artful, indominable."