Season: 4 (The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour)
Guest(s): Ed McMahon and Jack Palance
CBS air date: Date: October 10, 1973
Also aired: TVLand
Subway Intro (Video)
Ted Zeigler plays a beggar trying to get a dime from everyone, Jack Palance who turns out to be the mayor and Ed McMahon who reveals that the begger is the city alderman.
Opening Song: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” (Video 2:02)
Cover of Tony Orlando and Dawn (1973)
They wear yellow outfits. Sonny wears a yellow suit and lots of jewelry. Cher wears a pretty patterned dress and an snake-styled gold armband. Sonny yells, "Here we go!" If you were to ask me age 6 what my favorite song Sonny & Cher ever sang was, my answer would have been emphatically this song. But it's bittersweet in retrospect that they're singing "do you still want me" after they've split. It's even more annoying that the song is broken up into many parts for these breakout skits.
Breakout: Cher in braid pigtails. They enact the song. Cher is very tan. She says their love is stronger than this strongest oak tree, knocks on it and it falls over. The skit ends with a Sonny stare.
Breakout 2: Jack Palance plays the prisoner who wrote the letter. He makes the audience laugh. Billy Van plays a doctor who asks him what would happen if there were no yellow ribbon around the tree and Palance tears up the room. This skit made me laugh although Palance is a bit scary.
Banter: They look like they’re having a good time but both of their hands are folded in the same way. The joke about it. Sonny talks about this being a lovey-dovey type show and the song choice and how it’s a true story. He says he's happy with the way he did it. Cher says she'd still love Sonny after three years but would do anything to get rid of him for three years. Sonny accuses Cher of throwing zingers to try to hide her real feelings. Sonny says he expresses himself like an Italian. He says "I love-a you!" and makes Cher laugh with a big kiss.
Lady Luck: Cher is back to doing the Vegas lady this week.
- Jack Palance plays Julias Caesar. Cher wears a crazy wig and is murdered.
- Redheaded Cher plays the housewife to Lionel Barrymore (Ed McMahon). There’s a This Is Your Life joke. This is a very meta skit about love from afar.
- Ed McMahon and Sonny are on a plane drinking and making over the stewardess. There’s a Burt Reynolds joke. Turns out they are the two pilots on break.
At the Launderette: Olivia wonders where Laverne is. “She shoulda been her by now.” Turns out Bert got a $10 raise. Laverne cuts it down. Olivia gets two jokes in this skit!! Nice. They talk about cooking a pot roast. Laverne says she’s “been around” and leaves saying she’s depressed and wants a nap. “The country’s going bankrupt," she says. This might be a reference to the ongoing Watergate Hearings.
Solo: (TV Land is missing) "My Love" (Video)
Cover of Paul McCartney and Wings (1973)
It begins with a pan of her dress, similar to the one she wore on the back of their All I Ever Need is You album. She wears huge hoops and has that garage-door blue eye shadow made so famous in the 1970s. The background is white, not black. Cher's hair is long. This song is on her current Half Breed album. Vaseline obscures the edges of the lens. She squeals a little here too but it ends well. In fact, I love her ending of this song here and on the record.
Skit: All the men are in tuxedos. They sing the “Cover of the Rolling Stone” song (Dr. Hook, 1972). I can’t hear Jack Palance’s jokes. Sonny is in Jack’s arms at one point. There’s a Cheech and Chong joke, a Shel Silverstein reference and a reference that Sonny & Cher can’t get on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, although their expose had already happened in May 24, 1973.
S&C Myth: This one is called Chastity Story Time and it’s very,very meta. Sonny & Cher hold a tall story book. I’ve starred this. They says it’s a story about Svengarlic (Sonny, who sounds hoarse) and an “untalented matchgirl” (Cher). The set looks Germanish. Ted Zeigler is seen crushing Cher’s bird, my notes say (??). Jack Palance hates a bully and intervenes. He’s somewhat creepy looking here. Cher inexplicably talks with a British accent. Cher wants to be “a personality” (which isn’t far from the truth). Jack Palance mesmerizes her and turns her into an Opera singer. Cher sings a dubbed Opera part. She’s starting to be a diva we learn. Ed McMahon plays an eccentric billionaire (is this supposed to be David Geffen?). Sonny plays Enrico Bono, the most temperamental Opera singer. Cher won’t kiss Sonny’s hand and she hypnotizes everyone. (Not far from the truth). The Opera starts with Teri Garr, Sonny & Cher in full opera regalia. There’s lots of Italian rhyming words. Sonny loses his wig (not far from the truth). Sonny hypnotizes himself in the mirror. (NNFTT). Billy Van plays a humpbacked man raising the curtain up and down at the finale.
Mr. and Mrs. (Video 12:22)
"The Story of the Liberated Woman and the Sniveling Coward Who Liberated Her" (so much is wrong with that)
Modern life is so bleak, event the plans are painted white. Sonny’s Dad is visiting. Cher calls him “that old battle ax” and asks when Sonny is going to "cut the apron strings." Be nice to him, Sonny says, "you know he's going through the "change of life." That's 70s-speak for menopause. Ed McMahon arrives as Sonny’s Dad. Cher starts drinking immediately and you can see the disapproval on McMahon's face. Sonny's Dad doesn’t like Cher’s job or religion. Apparently Cher was drafted and Dad says Sonny only fell in love with the uniform. Dad leaves, Sonny gets hysterical and Cher slaps him. This skit is always oddly sexist and funny at the same time.
And the question can't be asked enough: where the hell is Cher's hair!??
Concert: “Honky Tonk Woman” (Video)
Cover of The Rolling Stones (1969)
They raise the roof again at the dramatic beginning. Sweet! Sonny wears a black suite, loose tie and has huge sideburns. Cher wears a pretty blue cutout pantsuit that I’ve starred. She has crazy messy braids. Cher gets squeaky. There's a close-up of drummer Jeff Porcaro.
IGUB (Video 20:27)
Chastity is in a yellow outfit. They thank the guests and Sonny tries to get Chastity to sing his parts. Sonny asks what performer should play the life of Sonny Bono, someone who could play his magnetism. Cher offers the choices of Truman Capote or Annette Funicello.
Highlights: The meta Storytime myth is pretty spot on. Another interesting Mr. and Mrs. skit. Good solo spot. Sonny & Cher singing "Tie a Yellow Ribbon."