Series: 1 (The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour)
Guests: Phyllis Diller, Fanny
CBS air date: August 29, 1971
Opening Song: “Proud Mary” (Video)
Cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969
Sonny and Cher are wearing matching polyester outfits. Cher has a big turquoise necklace on, a Diné style called Squash Blossom. There's a tiny bun atop her head and she wears most of her hair in front again. This marks the show as early period. Sonny still yells when he sings. This time, it's “Here it comes!” right before Cher sings.
Banter: Sonny grandstands in the reverse of Cher in the prior episode. This time it's Cher trying to stop the number while Sonny goes on wailing the song. Cher complains his singing was flat, "flat as your mother’s whoopee cushion." Sonny insists that his voice is a fine tuned Stradivarius.
Sonny read his horoscope and says the “little old goomba” is gonna get all the laughs tonight and sing like he’s never sung before. Cher says “on key?” Sonny tries to talk horoscope terminology. Cher is bored and keeps saying he’s flat. Sonny insists nothing could go wrong tonight and asks Cher to hit him in the stomach. “Today is my day, buddy!” He calls her “Miss Big Mouth.” He says, “Go ahead Streisand nose” which is the first joke about Cher’s nose we've head yet on the show. And wow, to offend Streisand while doing it! Plus, Cher’s nose isn’t even that big. But I guess they needed to give Cher some flaw. Cher lackadaisically hits Sonny and takes his horoscope out of his clutches to find he’s reading the horoscope for Leo by mistake and he’s really an “Aquarian.” Sonny suddenly claims to be hurt by Cher's hit after learning this information. Cher comforts him as the music revs up again. They finish the song and Sonny pulls hair from Cher’s face.
Cultural spot: Freeman King introduces the segment. He's surrounded by two elderly socialites, sometimes Freeman refers to these two as his parents. Cher plays a princess who can't smile and the court jester, Phyllis Diller, tries to get her to laugh. Merv Griffin makes a cameo (this might be a vestige of the last week’s taping?) and jokes about Italian weddings. Cher wants Sonny as her a jester because he's so ridiculous and Sonny is irked because he doesn’t know what he did that was so funny. (Video)
Skit: Cher sings “We’ll Meet Again” while waiting for her prince charming to visit her on a bridge. Sonny comes instead so she jumps off the bridge. Ouch. Sonny tries to save her with with a life preserver. She throws it back. That was kind of funny.
Guest Spot: Fanny sings “Charity Ball” (Video) And this...is...awesome!! One of the first all girl bands I ever remember seeing on television. See my interview with June Millington of Fanny about this segment, one of my favorite parts of the any of their shows.
Skit: Cher is in a purple dress with a colorful sparkly vest. Phyllis is in pink with ruffles. Cher and Phyllis talk about Sonny and Fang. Cher talks about Sonny being a pushy, Italian sex maniac. (Video)
Skit: Sonny sings “Puppet Man” and Cher pulls a string from his back and he runs around the stage with the film sped up. Cher introduces him into the next skit as “my husband, the star.” (Video, 1.48)
Cliff House: Sonny & Cher did this recurring haunted house sketch, usually around Halloween. In this first installment, Cher talks in a Bavarian accent and Sonny plays up his Italianness. In this segment Cher also accepts an Oscar, which was very forward-thinking of them. It looks like they were using special coloring effects for the segment. Sonny brings his new wife (Cher) home to his creepy mansion. Phyllis Diller plays the housekeeper.
Concert: “Two of Us” / “We Can Work It Out” (Video)
Cover of the Beatles, 1970 and 1965 respectively
Sonny is in orange with a crochet belt and Cher is in a pink dress with a very cool crochet front piece. This is a very sedate version compared to all the many times they’ll re-do this medley over the years. Sonny and Cher are both doing the hanging hand. Note the hanging balls of pink in this early set background. Cher wears a bigger head bun on top of her long hair. It’s a rough start musically for this medley but they look like they’re having fun. Not much money is being spent on gowns yet. Sonny pulls hair from Cher’s face again.
Fortune Teller: Cher acts like a real psychic in these things.
Cher Solo: “Georgia on my Mind” (Video)
Cover of Hoagy Carmichael, 1930 (Ray Charles popularized the song in 1960)
Cher is in a black dress with white flowers and a huge bun of rolls (so lovely!). A big white ball behind her. She looks great! The dress is black with white flowers that you only see fully at the end.
Skit: Phyllis Diller does a stand-up routine for a few minutes with her cigarette holder. She talks mostly about her husband Fang. Then Sonny comes on and suggests wife-swapping with Fang...professionally. On TV Land this sketch came right after Sonny sing's "Puppet Man" earlier. (Video, 2.38)
I Got You Babe: They’re wearing the outfits from the opening of episode #3. Why do they do this? It's so disorienting!
Highlights: Finally Sonny has been released from the black suits and been given groovy outfits to wear. This is their first attempt at singing the “Two of Us/We Can Work It Out” medley. Cher is seen receiving an Oscar in Cliff House. Cher does a wailing version of “Georgia on my Mind” and Fanny appears as the best musical guest on the history of their show.