Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour

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Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour on Wikipedia
The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour
Sonny Bono Telly Savalas 1973.JPGSonny and Telly Savalas begin the show's third season, 1973.
GenreVariety
Directed byArt Fisher
StarringSonny and Cher
Theme music composerSonny Bono
Opening theme"The Beat Goes On"
Ending theme"I Got You Babe"
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes63
Production
Producer(s)Chris Bearde
Allan Blye
Running time45–48 minutes
Release
Original networkCBS
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseAugust 1, 1971 (1971-08-01) – May 29, 1974 (1974-05-29)
Chronology
Followed byThe Sonny & Cher Show

The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour is an American variety show starring American pop-singer Cher and her husband Sonny Bono. The show ran on CBS in the United States, when it premiered in August 1971. The show was canceled May 1974, due to the couple's divorce, though the duo would reunite in 1976 for the identically formatted The Sonny & Cher Show (a title sporadically used during the run of the Comedy Hour), which ran until 1977.

Contents

  • 1 The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (1971–1974)
    • 1.1 Recurring routines
  • 2 The Sonny Comedy Revue
  • 3 Cher
  • 4 The Sonny & Cher Show (1976–1977)
  • 5 Production notes
  • 6 Broadcast history and Nielsen ratings
    • 6.1 The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour
    • 6.2 The Sonny and Cher Show
  • 7 Reception
  • 8 Syndication
  • 9 List of guest stars
    • 9.1 A
    • 9.2 B
    • 9.3 C
    • 9.4 D
    • 9.5 E
    • 9.6 F
    • 9.7 G
    • 9.8 H
    • 9.9 J
    • 9.10 K
    • 9.11 L
    • 9.12 M
    • 9.13 N
    • 9.14 O
    • 9.15 P
    • 9.16 R
    • 9.17 S
    • 9.18 T
    • 9.19 V
    • 9.20 W
  • 10 Notes
  • 11 References
  • 12 External links

The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (1971–1974)

In 1971, Sonny and Cher had stopped producing hit singles as a duet act. Cher's first feature film, Chastity, was not a success, and the duo decided to sing and tell jokes in nightclubs across the country. CBS head of programming Fred Silverman saw them one evening and offered them their own show. The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour was originally supposed to be a summer replacement series, but high ratings gave Silverman sufficient reason to bring it back later that year, with a permanent spot on the schedule. The show was taped at CBS Television City in Hollywood.

The show was a Top 20 hit in the ratings for its entire run. Each episode would open with the show's theme song, which would segue into the first few notes of "The Beat Goes On". Every episode, Sonny would exchange banter with Cher, allowing Cher to put down Sonny in a comic manner. Comedy skits would follow, mixed in with musical numbers. At the end of each episode, Sonny and Cher would sing their hit "I Got You Babe" to the audience, sometimes with daughter Chastity Bono in tow.

There were many regular cast members who appeared in sketches. Some notables include Teri Garr, Murray Langston (who later found brief fame as "The Unknown Comic" on The Gong Show), Jack Harrell (who later gained fame as the longtime announcer for the original version of The People's Court), and Steve Martin (who also served as one of the show's writers). Regulars included:

  • Peter Cullen (1971-1974)
  • Freeman King (1971-1974)
  • Murray Langston (1971-1974)
  • Clark Carr (1971-1972)
  • Tom Solari (1971-1972)
  • Ted Zeigler (1971-1972)
  • Steve Martin (1972-1975)
  • Billy Van (1973-1976)
  • Bob Einstein (1973-1974)
  • Teri Garr (1973-1974)

Among the many guests who appeared on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour were Carol Burnett, George Burns, Glen Campbell, Tony Curtis, Bobby Darin, Phyllis Diller, Farrah Fawcett, Merv Griffin, The Jackson 5, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ronald Reagan, Burt Reynolds, The Righteous Brothers, Dinah Shore, Sally Struthers, The Supremes,[1] Teri Garr, Chuck Berry, and Dick Clark.[2]

The show was scheduled to return for a fourth season in October 1974. However, Sonny and Cher separated that fall, resulting in the cancellation of the show.

In 2004, selected episodes from The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour were released in a three-disc set on Region 1 DVD.

Recurring routines

  • The Vamp Sketch: A sequence featuring at least three mini-skits with Cher playing notorious women in history (e.g.: Cleopatra; Nefertiti; Marlene Dietrich), each one preceded by Cher in a parlor setting lying atop an old-style upright piano with Sonny pretending to play, singing one verse of the song between each mini-skit (the lyrics usually set up the next mini-skit), followed by the chorus, "She was a scamp, a camp and a bit of tramp, she was a V-A-M-P, vamp". It ended with all the characters from each skit (even Sonny and Cher, via camera trickery, in their respective costumes) all converging to sing the final chorus together. In later seasons, the Vamp sketch was replaced with "Shady Miss Lady Luck", a similar group of mini-sketches which were bracketed by Cher in a Las Vegas-style setting.
  • Sonny's Pizza: Sonny as the proprietor of a pizza restaurant whose food, according to almost everyone except Sonny himself, is not fit to be eaten. (The logo on the front door is augmented with the slogan, "You won't believe you ate the whole thing", a play on the then-popular Alka-Seltzer commercial.)
  • Mr. & Ms.: Gender-bending sketch with Cher as the bread winner in the household, working as a business executive and wearing a three-piece suit. She would come home to Sonny, a beleaguered house-husband who usually complained about how bad his day had been.
  • The Fortune Teller: Cher inside a fortune-telling vending machine. When Sonny would insert a quarter to hear his fortune, she would give bad news or insults, but anyone else, particularly a given week's guest star, would get a good fortune that would almost immediately come true.
  • At The Laundrette: Laundromat sketch with Cher as Laverne, a housewife with tacky fashion sense cracking jokes to straight-woman Olivia, played by Garr.

The Sonny Comedy Revue

In 1974, Sonny and Cher agreed to end the show as they were separating from each other. Their timeslot was given to Tony Orlando and Dawn the next fall. They both starred in separate variety shows over the next two years. Sonny Bono's 1974 variety series, The Sonny Comedy Revue, led off the ABC Sunday night lineup, but lasted just 13 episodes. While it retained the creative team behind The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, Bono's solo effort was largely a victim of the show's weak time slot and the established hits it faced on NBC and CBS. Initially, people assumed that his show would be the greater success when it was heard that Cher was to appear in her own show on CBS.[by whom?]

Cher

Starting in early 1975, Cher also returned to network television with her solo variety show, entitled Cher. It did well during its abbreviated run and was renewed for the 1975-76 season. However, during the second season Cher herself decided to end the show to work with Sonny again. Although Sonny's show had all the cast and crew from the comedy hour and was expected to be the bigger hit, Cher's show easily became the greater success in the ratings.[citation needed] Due to contracts, Cher was unable to perform many of her sketches and characters from the comedy hour on her show; Sonny had them on his show, instead.

Among the many guests who appeared on the Cher show were Pat Boone, David Bowie, Ray Charles, Steve Martin, Tina Turner, Dion, Wayne Newton, Linda Ronstadt, Lily Tomlin, Frankie Valli, Tatum O'Neal,[3] Raquel Welch, Wayne Rogers,[4] and Labelle.[5]

The Sonny & Cher Show (1976–1977)

In February 1976, the bitterness of their divorce behind them, the couple reunited for one last try with The Sonny and Cher Show. This incarnation of the series was produced by veteran musical variety-show writers, Frank Peppiatt and John Aylesworth. It was basically the same as their first variety series but with different writers to create new sketches and songs. The duo's opening conversations were markedly more subdued and made humbled references to the couple's divorce, as well as Cher's subsequent marriage to Gregg Allman (during production Cher was pregnant with and eventually bore Allman's son, Elijah). Some jokes would get awkward; in one opening segment Cher gave Sonny a compliment, and Sonny jokingly replied "That's not what you said in the courtroom!") Despite these complications, the revived series garnered enough ratings to be renewed for a second season, finally ending its run in 1977. By this time, the variety show genre was already in steep decline, and Sonny and Cher was one of the few successful programs of the genre remaining on the air at the time.

Some of the guests who appeared on The Sonny and Cher Show included Frankie Avalon, Muhammad Ali, Raymond Burr, Ruth Buzzi, Charo, Barbara Eden, Neil Sedaka, Farrah Fawcett, Bob Hope, Don Knotts, Jerry Lewis, Tony Orlando, The Osmonds, Debbie Reynolds, The Smothers Brothers, Tina Turner, Twiggy, The Jacksons, and Betty White.[6]

Production notes

The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour taped its opening and closing segments in front of a live studio audience. The Sonny & Cher "concert" segment was also taped in front of the same audience, as were some of the segments featuring musical guest stars—as these typically were taped after the closing segment was completed. Due to blocking, costuming, and other staging and production requirements, most of the comedy segments were taped without an audience, with a laugh track added later.[7]

Reception

The series earned one Emmy award out of 22 nominations for Art Fisher for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety or Music in 1972. Fisher also received Emmy nominations for his work in 1973 and 1974, as did Tim Kiley as director for the series in 1976. Other Emmy nominations were for Outstanding Variety Series in 1972, 1973 and 1974; Outstanding New Series in 1972; Outstanding Single Program - Variety or Music in 1972; Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety for Bob Arnott, Chris Bearde, Allan Blye, George Burditt, Bob Einstein, Phil Hahn, Coslough Johnson and Paul Wayne in 1972 and 1974 (Steve Martin also was nominated in the category in 1972 and Jim Mulligan was in 1974); Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for Bob Mackie and Ret Turner in 1972, 1974 and 1977; Outstanding Achievement in Music, Lyrics and Special Material for Earl Brown in 1972 and 1973; Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction for James E. Dale in 1972 and for Marty Paich in 1974; Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for John R. Beam in 1973; Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction for technical director Charles Franklin and cameramen Gorman Erickson, Jack Jennings, Tom McConnell, Barney Neeley and Richard Nelson in 1973; and Outstanding Achievement in Any Area of Creative Technical Crafts for Rena Leuschner for hairdressing in 1974.[10]

The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour also earned Golden Globe nominations in 1973 and 1974 for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy and a win for Cher for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical.[11]

Syndication

Reruns of the series were seen on TV Land at the time of its launch in April 1996, with both the 1971–74 series and the 1976–77 series being treated as one; however only about 65 of the original 100 episodes were aired. TV Land then edited the shows down to a 30-minute episode from the original hour, and ultimately discontinued broadcasting the series in 2000. The 1971–74 series is currently airing on the GetTV digital subchannel. [12]

A

  • Don Adams
  • Jack Albertson
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Lynn Anderson
  • Paul Anka
  • Frankie Avalon

B

  • Rona Barrett
  • Barbi Benton
  • Chuck Berry
  • Ken Berry
  • Dr. Joyce Brothers
  • Jim Brown
  • Carol Burnett
  • George Burns
  • Raymond Burr
  • Ruth Buzzi
  • John Byner
  • Edd Byrnes

C

  • Glen Campbell
  • Truman Capote
  • Art Carney
  • Diahann Carroll
  • Charo
  • Dick Clark
  • The Coasters
  • Mike Connors
  • William Conrad
  • Rita Coolidge
  • Howard Cosell
  • Larry Csonka
  • Tony Curtis

D

  • Bobby Darin
  • John Davidson
  • Billy Davis Jr.
  • The DeFranco Family
  • Phyllis Diller
  • Sandy Duncan
  • Jimmy Durante

E

  • Barbara Eden
  • Ralph Edwards
  • Chad Everett

F

  • Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
  • Fanny
  • Farrah Fawcett
  • Glenn Ford
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford
  • George Foreman
  • Redd Foxx

G

  • Paul Michael Glaser
  • George Gobel
  • Robert Goulet
  • The Grass Roots
  • Peter Graves
  • Lorne Greene
  • Joel Grey
  • Merv Griffin
  • Andy Griffith
  • Bob Guccione

H

  • Joey Heatherton
  • Hugh Hefner
  • Sherman Hemsley
  • Honey Cone
  • Bob Hope
  • Hudson Brothers
  • Engelbert Humperdinck
  • Wilfrid Hyde-White

J

  • The Jackson 5
  • Janet Jackson
  • Elton John
  • Van Johnson
  • Tom Jones

K

  • Gabe Kaplan
  • Alex Karras
  • Howard Keel
  • Bob Keeshan
  • Billie Jean King
  • Evel Knievel
  • Ted Knight
  • Don Knotts (five episodes)
  • Harvey Korman (one episode)
  • Kris Kristofferson

L

  • Carol Lawrence
  • Steve Lawrence
  • Jerry Lewis
  • Jerry Lee Lewis

M

  • Marilyn McCoo
  • Ed McMahon
  • Barbara McNair
  • Anne Meara
  • Don Meredith
  • Robert Merrill
  • Ricardo Montalban

N

  • Jim Nabors (four episodes)
  • Joe Namath
  • Ted Neeley
  • The New Seekers
  • Jeanette Nolan
  • Peter Noone

O

  • Carroll O'Connor
  • Gilbert O'Sullivan
  • Tony Orlando
  • Donny Osmond
  • Marie Osmond

P

  • Jack Palance
  • Bernadette Peters
  • Vincent Price

R

  • Tony Randall
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Burt Reynolds (two episodes)
  • Debbie Reynolds
  • The Righteous Brothers
  • Wayne Rogers

S

  • Telly Savalas
  • Neil Sedaka
  • Bobby Sherman
  • Shields and Yarnell (six episodes)
  • Dinah Shore
  • O.J. Simpson
  • Kate Smith
  • Martha Smith
  • The Smothers Brothers
  • Mark Spitz
  • Rick Springfield
  • Jean Stapleton
  • David Steinberg
  • McLean Stevenson
  • Larry Storch
  • Sally Struthers
  • The Supremes
  • The Sylvers

T

  • The Temptations
  • Danny Thomas
  • Richard Thomas
  • Tina Turner
  • Twiggy

V

  • Karen Valentine
  • Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
  • Bobby Vinton

W

  • Lyle Waggoner (two episodes)
  • Nancy Walker
  • Dennis Weaver
  • Betty White
  • Andy Williams
  • Flip Wilson
  • Wolfman Jack
  • Cynthia Wood

Notes

  1. ^ "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Full Episode Guides on CBS". TV Guide. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  2. ^ Bego 2004, p. 381
  3. ^ ""Cher" (1975) - Episodes Cast". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  4. ^ Bego 2004, p. 101
  5. ^ Bego 2004, p. 109
  6. ^ ""The Sonny and Cher Show" (1976) - Episodes Cast". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  7. ^ Rolling Stone, 5/24/73
  8. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. p. 1686-1687. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4. 
  9. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. p. 1687. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4. 
  10. ^ "Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour Emmy nominations". Emmy Awards. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour Golden Globe nominations". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  12. ^ http://www.get.tv/

References

  • Bego, Mark (2004). Cher: If You Believe. Taylor Trade Publications. ISBN 0815411537. 

External links


  • The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour at TV.com
  • The Sonny Comedy Revue Show at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Sonny Comedy Revue Show at TV.com
  • Cher at the Internet Movie Database
  • Cher at TV.com
  • The Sonny & Cher Show at the Internet Movie Database
  • The Sonny & Cher Show at TV.com
   

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