Season: 3 (The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour)
Guest: The Jackson Five, Larry Storch (from F-Troop) and California Governor Ronald Reagan
CBS air date: September 15, 1972
Aired: TVLand, GetTV, DVD Collection
Opening Song: “Let Me Down Easy” (Video)
This song is from Cher’s 1972 solo album Foxy Lady.
For the third-season opener they’re in white outfits (again!) with green and blue stripes and we can clearly see the belly button and the belly chain. She's doing full hanging hand now. Cher looks very tan after the summer off. I think you had to get tan the old fashioned way back then, to, by actually spending some hours under the sun. Cher’s also in big, fabulous hoops.
Banter: Sonny says it’s a new day and time, but “the Bones is back!” “Mr. Excitement is here!” Sonny says he’s “arrived” in the sense that he’s finally made it in show business. You can see Cher’s ribs. She’s getting thin. Sonny accidentally spits on Cher. She references the AlkaSeltzer commercial when she says “I can’t believe I married the whole thing." Sonny says he’s had great reviews when they went on the road in Vegas and New York City”. Cher says he was boring at home. Sonny claims to take the high road, expressing his pride at her 14-page Vogue layout. These Richard Avadon photographs include two of my favorite shots:
Sonny talks about Cher’s icon on the Hollywood walk of fame star. They don’t have one yet really. But his joke is just a build up to say she doesn’t have a little record or camera but cher is a singer, actress, model…her icon is a big nose.
In reality, Cher does not have a separate Walk of Fame star on Hollywood Boulevard. Hers with Sonny was placed on May 15, 1998, months after Sonny passed away on January 5, 1998. It was a full family affair with Cher, Sonny's current wife and his kids from all his marriages.
Sonny, however, is tickled with his nose joke and he jumps off the stage in glee. You get a really good look at his big platform shoes here. I crack up every time the way he climbs back up on stage. Cher punches him.
Cher teases Sonny with the idea she might be pregnant when she says he told his mother to “expect the pitter-patter of little feet.” But then she disabuses him of that notion admitting she’s just kicking him out and he’ll be sleeping at his her house tonight.
A pre-teenMichael Jackson in orange and Sonny & Cher in a tux and black dress with white asymmetrical flowers, discuss Michael’s adult-ness and accomplishments. Sonny asks him, “what are you gonna be when you grown up?” and Michael says an astronaut, a jet pilot or the Governor of Georgia. “What are YOU gonna be when YOU grow up?”
Guest Spot: The Jackson Five (Video)
They sing “Looking Through My Window.” In the televised version, I see a note that says there was a cartoon about unemployment insurance. Wish that was online. Not sure how that was meant to fit in. Hmmm.
This season, Cher is in a lighter red dress, with crenelated plunge and a shorter curly hair, big bracelets and earrings and a kind of cape she can twirl . She also wears a heart pin.
- Cleopatra is without a date or a nut. Marc Antony is Sonny and very frisky. Cher calls him an Italian meatball. Sonny musses the lines and makes a Jockey shorts joke. Sonny scoffs at Julias Caesar. "It’s a bad scoff you’ve got there," Cher says. Punny. Ted Zeigler announces Julias Caesar and its Larry Storch doing a very good Paul Lynde impression and then a Godfather/Marlon Brando impression. Cher is made to choose between overacting or garlic breath. She chooses Ted Zeigler, “a lowly extra” because, Cher says, it’s a variety show after all. (Get it? She likes variety.).
Another miffed Sonny look.
- Sadie Thompson: This is what I remember, the scene cutting in from the fan. It’s raining all over the island and the drums are driving Sonny, the preacher, crazy. There’s a beaded door I’ve never noticed before. Sadie is still a redhead. I’m thinking my memory of a blonde Saide must have been false. She bumps Sonny and his drink flies into a sailor. Sailors are all over the island. Sadie wants to “drop her sail and lower her mainsheet.” Cher says pishhaw and British Adventurer and solo sailor Sir Francis Chinchster appears uncredited. He is famous for sailing around the world solo. Sonny mispronounces his name as Winchester. Cher bumps him and somebody makes a funny laugh which Cher acknowledges. Cher promises to "double his pleasure and double his fun" (the Doublemint Gum commercial). Chinchester says he notices “her refreshing quips.” Everybody (but the kids at home) get that this is really a boob joke. He says he feels like a new man. Sadie says, me too! He decides to go back to her place. He asks Sonny to tell his sailors that if he’s not back in...two months, to come and fetch him. This produces another
Sonny Stare close. Amazingly, Sir Chinchster died shortly after this episode as Wikipedia has him passing away on August 26, 1972, a month earlier than the air date of this episode. I hope this show didn’t kill him.
The first Special Bono Award is given to Governor Ronald Reagan. You might be confused as the First Daytime Bono Awards were in episode 13. This is like a lifetime achievement award I guess. Sonny says it’s a great honor to have him on the show and keeps yelling “how ‘bout that? How bout that?” Post Reaganomics, Sonny's enthusiasm is hard to watch. Ronald Reagan speechifies about the first season. Cher says Thank You demurely. Sonny jokes that his first name is governor. Cher presses Reagan with "do you really like our show?" Reagan says, "It’s one of my favorite 7 variety shows." There are only 7 shows on air, Sonny exclaims.
Cher is in a pretty pink dress, bobbed wig and huuuge eyelashes. She looks like a 1940s starlet. Sonny says he has big news. Cher jokes that the news is that Sonny's retiring from show business. Sonny and Ronald Reagan both admit enjoying watching Reagan's movies. Sonny cracks up flubbing his line and they all crack up.
Sonny presents the Bono award to Reagan who looks disturbed by it. Sonny says the statue was made in his image. Cher says it’s even the same size. Sonny wants a speech. Reagan reads an old speech about farming because he believes you should “never argue with a taxpayer.” He calls Cher a juicy tomato and Sonny the biggest vegetable. He ends by calling the show an enormous lemon and the biggest turkey.
Solo: "Say It Isn’t So" (Video; 6:53 mark)
Cover of Irving Berlin (1932), original version by George Olsen and His Orchestra
Cher is in a pink and purple dress with the same bobbed hair. You can clearly see the Vaseline job on the lens to give her focus. You can see her belly button. This is a good understated version in the opening, before the controlled belting comes.
Guest Spot: Michael Jackson sings “Ben” (Video, 5:13 mark)
Gypsy Fortune Teller: Left coin slot. She warns of an attacker.
Concert: "Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show/Mr. Tambourine Man" (Video, 9:54 mark)
Cover of Neil Diamond (1969) and Bob Dylan (1965)
They covered "Mr Tambourine Man" with "Joy to the World" on episode 8. This is a faithful original of "Brother Love’s," not the expanded version which can be heard on their 1973 duet album with Sonny hocking elixirs. Cher is in an orange dress with a thick gold belt with a wrap in her hair. Lots of hanging hand. This is actually a good mashup although the transition is shocking and a bit funny. Neil Diamond’s “Holly Holy” (1969) makes a cameo in there too. I love those white microphones chords. Big Cher hair here and big banks of lights. Sonny does his pointing thing during "Tambourine Man. It’s lovely to hear Cher sing jingle jangle and boot heels. On a later episode, she does a more Cher-like job at “swirling ship.”
Cultural spot: Freeman King in a theater balcony with his parents, one covered in cobwebs.
Commercials Americanus. This is not a rerun but the "Return to the Son of Commercials Americanus Revisited." Is that Howard Keel uncredited? The girls are all wearing Russian dresses. Teri Garr is in a maternity version. Not all the songs are from commercials. Pamela Ann, played by Cher, refuses to marry and her father the Kaiser (Keel?) will not let anybody in the kingdom marry until Pamela Ann marries first. Cher sings the songs well. Songs I could identify: "Get Ready" (cover of The Temptations, 1966), "When You Say Bud" (Budweiser commercial). There are references to the “heartbreak of psoriasis” commercial and the commercial about everyone wanting a piece of the rock. Cher calls all the men “foppish, sissy, effete, snobs” which reads a bit homophobic now. She says, “I can’t believe I hate the whole thing,” a reference to the Alka Seltzer commercial. She says she likes the “freaky, unusual and bizarre.” Sonny arrives as Gerwain, the Great and Short He is a street-vending pizza-man. He’s dubbed singing at first but eventually sings himself. He introduces Russia to pizza. Cher offers to marry him before his pizza cools. There’s a reference to the pizza generation. As the curtain falls, Cher kiddingly grabs Sonny’s head.
IGUB: (Video, 13:44 mark)
They thank the Jackson 5 and Governor Ronald Reagan. Chastity is now in matching outfits. Sonny mispronounces Reagan. Chastity talks now, “Goodnight everybody. God bless you.” The audience loves that. It’s very cute. Sonny complains Chastity has put on weight. They sing the song and Chastity does the funny conductor bit, even changing tempo in the right spot. Sonny says, “Don’t hit Daddy, honey.” They’re all dressed in matching colors. A family that dresses together, staaa…wait.
Get TV cuts the Cultural Spot “Heartbreak of Psoriasis”
Highlights: This is a good episode and it often re-airs. References are made to Cher’s 1972 Vogue session with Richard Avedon (one of many throughout the 1970s) and the Hollywood Walk of Fame which Sonny & Cher wouldn’t secure until shortly after Sonny’s death in 1998. Good solo and concert performances. Cute closer. Maybe earliest use of the Sonny stare and Vaseline on the camera lens.