Season: 3 (The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour)
Guest: Lorne Greene, Williams Brothers
CBS air date: November 3, 1972
Reaired: TV1 (UK)
Full Episode Index
Opening Song: “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice” (no videos available for this episode)
Cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful (1966)
Sonny is in a blood orange suite with pleated pants. Cher is in a tank top dress with white hoop earrings and a light blue patterned skirt. The stage bulbs are wobbly.
Banter: They shake hands before their banter again. Lots of handshakes around this time. It feels like a sign we’ve moved from the personal to the professional. They banter about his singing and Sonny makes a comparison of himself to Steve McQueen and Burt Reynolds. Sonny bought a camper for seeing wide open spaces. He says something about getting bitten by an Indian and he cracks up at his mistake. He meant to say bitten by a snake. Cher jokes that she should rush the snake to the hospital. Sonny calls Cher half-Indian, half-nose. Pocahontas and pale face are referenced. He mentions “your Indian blood” and praying to the great spirit. They tease it each and Sonny plays with her hair. At the end, he yells, “Sing it!” It’s one of those Sonnyisms that is both hip and retrospectively creepy.
Guest introduction: Sonny in a suit and a bowtie, Cher wears a pink dress with a short wig. Cher calls Sonny precious. He tells her “you just look beautiful.” Sonny jokes about there being only a “few of us left in this business” and he means entertainers who claim the title of “superstar.” They introduce Lorne Green who comes on stage and goes right to Cher. Sonny shrinks when Lorne ignores him. Greene invites Cher to be on Bonanza (if only!!) and they discuss the “ethnic problem” meaning “Someone minded that Sonny was Italian.”
Solo: “The Man I Love”
Cover of Ira and George Gershwin (1924) from “Lady, Be Good”
Cher has a long bobbed hair wig and she wears her “Good Earth” dress (made into a doll’s dress in 1977). The camera work does some cool double exposures.
Skit: Lorne Greene as El Presidente stands in front of a Latin firing squad. I’ve starred this skit for some reason. He’s blindfolded and given a cigarette and a cream soda. He wants to sing. He sings a song called “M.O.T.H.E.R.” He makes the firing squad cry. Sonny sings and goofs around at playing the piano and the firing squad decides to fire on him.
Guest Spot: Sonny & Cher (in a long black dress) introduce the Williams Brothers, David and Andy, the twin nephews of Andy Williams. They sing “Falling Falling Gone.” This is the second generation Williams Brothers. The first set of members were Andy himself, plus this groupings' father Don Williams and uncles Bob and Don Williams, this Don Williams not to be confused with the country singer Don Williams who coincidentally sings that song about two other Williams boys named Hank and Tennessee.
Skit: Poem alert! Someday I'll post the transcript. Sonny in a bow tie sings about Lorne Greene. Then Lorne reads a poem Sonny wrote called “The Unsung Hero” about slaves versus gladiators. Cher is in a knit top with matching tank top. Sonny is dressed like a referee and he whistles and acts out the poem with a cast of gladiators. There’s a camera overhead. Ted Zeigler makes Lorne laugh. Lorne is trying to be highbrow and is thwarted by Sonny. There’s a real lion, albeit drugged, on the set. He sleeps and then walks away. Sonny tells Lorne he didn’t read it right.
Vamp: The same blood red dress with pin, a curly wig and big earrings
Mona Lisa: Lorne plays Leonardo da Vinci. Sonny plays his bad apprentice. Cher is Mona Lisa, too busy thinking. She makes faces but not a big smile. Leonardo tells her to think of a small joke and she thinks of Sonny. I’ve starred this skit.
Cinderella: The male cast plays the ugly stepsisters and they are predictive of the fat ladies in the later-day Sonny & Cher Show 1977-78-era skit Mother Goose. Cher wears a sexy dress with black, curly hair. Lorne plays Prince Charming. Sonny is the competitor prince.
Concert: “Ease Your Pain”
Not sure but this is probably a cover of Hoyt Axton (1971)
Sonny is hyper again, wearing a western shirt. Cher is in a red dress with a curly shoulder wig. Lots of hang hanging. I’ve starred this in my notes.
Cher is holding Chastity.
Highlights: (or lowlights)….Indian and Italian jokes that would never fly today, so much do they border on macro-aggressions. Sonny is made the buffoon to an extreme in this episode and you get the sense the writers have suppressed feelings.