Season: 1 (Cher)
Guest(s): Tatum O’Neal, Wayne Rogers, Raquel Welch
CBS Air Date: February 16, 1975
Also aired: VH1, Cher Timelife Set
Fake Open: “Let Me Entertain You”
Cover from the musical Gypsy (1959)
Tatum O’Neal, impersonating Cher with a little gown, long black hair and big hooped earrings, sings “Let Me Entertain You” from last week’s show. She tells a joke and looks happy when it goes over well. From these first few opens you can see clothes were a big part of it.
Torch Open/Opening Song: “You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You” (Video)
Cover of Russ Morgan (1944) and Dean Martin (1960)
Cher begins the torch number in a pink wrap with white arm poofs. She throws this off to reveal a pink and red dress with swooping bugle beads covering her chest. She ends the song on a strangely glass-breaking high note and then does the first overhead hair flip of the show. (I love this flip; it's instant hair fluffing.) There are no white ropes behind her this time, but sparkly white curtains with a white fringe at the bottom. My notes for the VH1 airing say the stage tongue of this show's stage robs us of the Cher strut.
Monologue (Video, 3:20)
“Here we go again,” Cher says. She introduces the guests and mock-complains that she felt so special last week but this week Raquel Welch is getting all the attention. She shows off her dress and maintains that she is completely covered. She asks if we’ve heard the phrase ‘what you see is what you get? and says, “well, what you think you see is more than I’ve got.” (Small boob joke there). She says it’s all “lights and bugle beads. I love bugle beads. Indians love beads.” (first Indian reference of the series). Cher says with all the bugle beads in her dress she could buy back Manhattan.
Guest spot: Tatum O’Neal and Cher sing a song called “Girls” (video) about how girls are smarter, quicker and cooler than boys and how roles are changing (ugh, this is hard to write after last week). Cher and Tatum hold hands as they sing the song and it’s very sweet but when this first re-aired on VH1 in the 1990s I noted that I thought the song felt too theatrical. The song frames two Vamp-like skits about girls behaving badly (for some reason unrelated to the song).
+ Complaint Department: Wayne Rogers arrives at a department store’s complaint department to return a defective toaster. Cher in a 1940s-style black and silver dress and wig is very unhelpful and surly to him. There’s an Indian-giver joke (not okay). Finally, Cher manipulates him into giving up his quest for a refund or a replacement when she tells him a sob-story about her sad life and what will happen to her if she accepts one more returns.
+ Wayne Rogers plays a divorce attorney. Tatum O’Neal comes in to divorce her husband Artie after a quickie treehouse wedding. She lists some common marital complaints and then says she wants 75-cents a month from him and half the toys and soon Rogers uncovers she’s a gold digger who has married 500 times for the alimony payments.
Duet with Guest: Cher and Wayne sing a duet of “Let Me Be There”
Cover of Olivia Newton-John (1973)
Cher wears a curly wig and they seem to be having fun.
(brief video clip here: 15:34)
Guest Spot: Tatum O’Neal does a hilarious send-up of the Catherine Deneuve Channel No.5 commercials. Three to remind you:
This was hilarious. Instead of perfume, Tatum shills bubble bath. This is a lost gem. Tatum O’Neal is pitch perfect in her performance. I’ve put down three stars here (which is a lot for CS).
Life with Laverne (Video: 15:54) Wayne Rogers sits behind the counter at a diner and Laverne comes in. She asks Wayne if she can use the phone to call her husband Harry to say she’ll be late. Wayne says no, the phone is not for customers. She says it doesn’t matter anyway. “Because you have an open marriage?” Wayne asks. No, Laverne says, because he can’t tell time anyway. Wayne tells her she has a nice sweater and she makes an inflation joke. Raquel Welch comes in wearing a pretty suit. She asks to use the phone. Wayne immediately says yes. Laverne is immediately jealous and tells Raquel that she and her are both sex symbols. Raquel suggests she should go to a gym. Laverne jokes about the many Jims she aready has and mispronounces Raquel’s name and jokes about Raquel’s promiscuity. Raquel disparages Laverne’s tacky car and HOT STUFF license plate. Laverne says Raquel dresses too plain and Raquel accuses Laverne of shopping at Sears. The bitch-fest continues until Raquel leaves.
Skit: Cher dressed in an evening gown, elaborate wig and tiara sings “Nothing Can Stop Me Now” until a big boxing glove hits her in the face.
Donna Jean Brodine: This time Donna Jean is shilling for Stick-It glue. And she breaks dishes, dentures, windows, mirrors, Rodney Allen Rippy and Rachmaninoff (“not a Donna Jean Brodine favorite”) record albums to show how the glue works. It’s even edible. “Just like the glue mama used to make.” She breaks a banana and the audience likes that. She says that if your husband “comes home with a broken bowling ball, Donna Jean Brodine suggests he…” and she holds up a tube of Stick-It. Big laugh thre. The price of this product is $2 sent to Box 30, Sucker Falls, South Dakota.
Cher Medley: “Long Train Running” / “Love the One You’re With” (Video)
Cover of The Doobie Brothers (1973) and Stephen Stills (1970)
While a gigantic big silver Cher logo swings down, Cher stands at the top of a C-shaped ramp created for the show wearing a long black and silver tube dress and a short aftro-wig (which would totally not fly today but at the time was meant to be an homage). She sings “Long Train Running” with three African American back-up singers with awesomely sparky hoop earrings who stand in the foreground (interstingly) while Cher sings behind them. Cher does a lot of hip swiveling. During “Love the One You’re With” she walks down the ramp. She squeaks through these songs but rocks it out and she seems to be having a good time. Lots of hanging hand. She might be lip synching. It seems off at the end.
Duet with Guest: Cher and Raquel Welch sing “I’m a Woman” (Video)
Cover of Peggy Lee (1962)
Raquel and Cher are overheard in their dressing rooms: Raquel is saying she’s not ready and has broken a nail. Cher commiserates, saying “don’t let em rush you.” The director (Art Fisher) can be heard in voice-over too admonishing them to start and Cher says, “they're gonna bug us until we do it.” They come out looking picture perfect. Cher is paler and skinnier but then Raquel, although voluptuous, does not look distinctively pretty or interesting. Cher sings the low notes and does some lip licks. This is dance made up of basically struts. They’re wearing beautifully complimentary dresses. They list all the things they can do and Cher is very believable when she sings “and I can make a man outa you.” They seem very friendly and laugh together at the end of the song.
Saturday Night (Video, 28:09) Cher returns from her date in a purple dress and head wrap. She’s talking to her date again through the door. She tells him she’ll go out with him again once he finishes his homework. Turns out he’s only 19 years old. This is a very meta prediction of Cher dating younger men in the future (from the currently younger Gregg Allman to the 1980s-90s boyfriends Rob Camilletti and Richie Sambora). Cher makes a Clearasil reference. She says she should have known when he showed up in a motorcycle and needed a booster chair for dinner. But at least she got fed. She laments that her date thinks her 28 years is old. Going in for a snack, she calls her fridge a chamber of horrors. She gets ice cream out and actually eats three or four spoonfuls! She says her date still lives with his parents. He wanted to play “oldies records” which included “Dusty Springfield, Dave Clark Five and me!” (ouch!) She quips she was willing to hold his hand but ended up holding both of them (he was grabby.) She thinks she’ll set him up with her “baby sister.” She puts on a pretty blue nightgown and goes to bed.
Big Finale (Video)
Cher in a black tie tux and top hat sings “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” from the 1935 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie Top Hat. Raquel Welch, Tatum O’Neil and Wayne Rogers are dressed the same. Tatum sings with four kids, Raquel with four handsome men, Wayne dances badly to be funny but he keeps up at the end. They seem like they’re all having fun hamming it up. Suits always make Cher look small.
Closing: Cher thanks her guests and claps loudly. She does the tiny little dance while the credits roll.
The Cher Timelife version cut out Cher and Wayne’s duet of “Let Me Be There” and the Cher solo “Love the One You’re With.” The VHI airing was only a half-hour and cut out the fake open, Laverne, Cher’s boxing glove skit, the Catherine Deneuve spoof, Donna Jean Brodine, the Wayne Rogers duet, Saturday Night and the finale.
Highlights: The Tatum O’Neal Catherine Deneuve Channel No.5 spoof.