I'm not proud of it, but when I saw this come up on eBay a few weeks ago, after waiting decades for the issue to show up, I literally threw money at it with the dangerous Make an Offer feature.
And after reading it I wasn't very sorry I did. I think this is an important interview for 1974, albeit annoyingly gossipy to the point of catty and status obsessed, as Andy Warhol's Interview could often be. (Andy and Bob interviewed her once again for the March 1982 issue)
Every column or so of text had a list of shorthand topics that were discussed but not transcribed. An example:
coming to town this weekend
Halston's giving a party"
Another especially egregious example is this one:
"serious economic situation
stuff by the yard
so cheap now
vulgar, but big
Cartier's in Paris
pull out their old stuff. Ask them.
any master craftsmen?"
- Defending Sonny:
(a) Cher has just found out earlier in the year that Sonny had slyly screwed her out of all her earnings over the previous decade. She has just discovered she was a paid employee in a company Sonny and his lawyer created called Cher Enterprises and Cher was entitled to none of the profits but three weeks of paid vacation (so that's something...but which she never received, telling the Warhol gang the act Sonny & Cher never took a vacation in all of the last 12 years). Sonny's contract also stipulated Cher could not work on any solo projects without his permission. So Cher had been out of work for most of 1974 while David Geffen used his formidable gray cells to liberate Cher from Sonny's contractual clutches. Geffen as Cher's knight-in-shining-armor was not appreciated by Sonny, who despised David Geffen for years afterwards with the heat of a thousand suns.
Despite this drama, Cher refuses to trash talk Sonny in this interview. "I knew that we owned half of the show and I thought that Cher Enterprises was just a company you had to have because people are always forming companies--I really didn't even know why, you know. I just thought because we had a payroll, and the checks said Cher Enterprises...Now I get nothing....the judge gave me a certain amount of money each month to live on until I can have half of whatever it is..." (this never happened by the way; Cher ended up having to buy out her contract from Sonny which took her until 1977). When Andrea talks about how greedy that was of Sonny, Cher's response is "Well, it's a strange thing....Sonny was really angry. He said, 'You screwed up everything. I could have made all this money and...it's your fault so I should be the one who keeps the money and you should go out and work." I said, "That seems logical, but when I met you, you were a truck driver and I was doing nothing and we were nothing and now we have all this money and all these things, and you should take half and I should take half..."
The next question is Andy Warhol asking Cher if she does her own nails.
(b) Custody of Chastity: Sonny also fought Cher for full custody of Chastity "and then the judge ended up giving him less time to see her than I had always given him so he said, 'Well, I hope you're not going to stick to that' and I said, "No, you can see her whenever you feel like seeing her.' My goal in life is not to keep her from him."
(c) Sonny's flopped variety TV show: Andrea asks Cher if she saw Sonny's 1974 show, The Sonny Comedy Review. Cher says, "Yeah, I did." "Did you like it?" Andrea asks. For the record, this show was handed it's ass in 1974 but Cher says, "Well, there were a lot of things about it that I liked. You know?" Andrea says, "I thought you were sorely missing and Chastity, too." Cher says "Well, a lot of people think that, but I think that if you looked at the show and you didn't remember the Sonny and Cher show, that it was a pretty good show." Andrea retorts, "But it was the same format. How could you not remember it?" And Cher says, "It was, that's true. Well, that's the producer's fault because they just kind of do the same thing over and over again and they've done it like five times but the only time that it actually ever worked was with us but I don't think they know how to do anything else."
So kids...this was the apex of Sonny's assholery toward Cher (going for her share of a fortune and full custody of their child). So when in 1998 people ragged on Cher at Sonny's death for jumping on a grieving-widow-wagon because she had spent decades trashing him, this was just more of the same anti-Cher bullshit made up over nothing true. For all Cher's softball insults about Sonny over the years ("I traded one ugly man for another"), she defended him just as often and always came to his aid when summoned, like when he opened his LA restaurant and needed publicity, when he was running for mayor of Palm Springs and needed publicity which precipitated the David Letterman Show reunion. This interview is the sterling example of how hard, if not impossible, it really was to turn Cher against Sonny. Not even Sonny could do it.
Sonny & Cher outside of the Santa Monica Courthouse in 1974 where Sonny slipped Cher some tongue for the paparazzi:
- Being a Slave to Fashion, Andy Warhol vs. Cher:
They're discussing people who wear whatever they see in Vogue Magazine. Cher defends people who need help figuring out complete looks with magazines. Andy Warhol then says, "And the fashion editors spend millions finding the right things, and they are right about what looks good; whatever they show is really right-looking, and they do work hard at it so people might as well take advantage of it."[Andy Warhol: Fashion Apologist!] Cher then says, "there will always be people who won't follow this. Sometimes I buy a 3-piece suit but then I just wear the pants because it makes me feel strange to go out in something that's pre-set already for me. I kind of like to screw around with it...I think there's really no such thing as what's 'right' in fashion now and I think that's good."
Another thing Cher gets no credit for: her risk taking 'looks' that say fuck-you to fashion more often than catering to it. Some 1974 Cher looks:
- Laverne vs. Ernestine:
This is short but interesting, Cher's conception of her character. When Andrea says Cher's Laverne character "is a little bit reminiscent of Lily Tomlin's telephone operator," Ernestine. Cher says, "I guess they were both strange kind of ladies, but then Ernestine was so square and Laverne was so broad...she played around a lot."
Laverne and Ernestine never met in TVLand like Laverne and Geraldine did.
There's still time.
- Meeting famous people:
It's always interesting to hear famous people talk about meeting other people they consider more famous than themselves. David Geffen says, "your fantasies are bound to be destroyed upon meeting almost anybody. I'm sure if we met Clark Gable we'd be very disappointed" and Cher says, "Yeah, because we all have an idea of what we think of Clark Gable, right? and we'd make him fit the mold of filling our insecurities, our neuroses or what we need of him as our star..." and then Andy Warhol says they just met Joan Crawford and she was great, "fit the bill" he says. Cher doesn't seem to buy it and tries to quote something about legends and men and David Geffen remembers the quote more accurately, "When the Legend is bigger than the Man, then print the Legend."
Cher's celebrity obsession was Audrey Hepburn, by the way, and I don't think she was disappointed. Speaking of which, this picture I just found on Pinterest is captioned, "Audrey with Cher Hair."
- The Famous and the Famous:
Cher's recent Aspen trip proving celebrities sometimes really do hang out together: Cher is talking about having dinner plans that night with Ara Gallant and how Cher had just been to Aspen with Ara and "Angelica, Brit Ekland, Apollonia, Ingrid, myself....And David, Lou, and Jack. We had the most wonderful time. We had a ball. I mean we just blew it out. Skied all day and danced al night."
As you would expect. Then Bob tries to talk Cher into going shopping that Saturday for 1940s jewelry. (We gotta get in on this hanging out with Cher thing.)
- Cher in Movies:
Andy Warhol tells her her movie was "so great. It was really good comedy." And Cher says, "What? Good Times?" She then acknowledges both Good Times and Chastity as being "much longer ago...let's see, I was 20, so that's eight years ago." (Ages!)
Andy, Bob and Andrea leave the Pierre and talk about how good Cher looked without makeup and how "she'd be fun to shop with--she loves all the jewelry."