Sonny and Cher

Sonny and Cher

The husband-and-wife singing duo of Sonny and Cher emerged in 1962 and landed a huge #1 hit on the charts three years later with “I Got You Babe.” They followed with more hit records and in 1971, they decided to give television a try, starring in their first special, The Sonny and Cher Nitty Gritty Hour. The reviews were great and soon CBS was asking them to consider their own variety show. That same year, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour debuted as a summer replacement series. Within a year, it was an undeniable hit and a weekly staple within many a household.

Much like their earlier special, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour featured a combination of music, zany sketches and plenty of guest appearances. The pair had a great onscreen chemistry, which Sonny playing the optimistic nice guy and Cher bringing him back down to earth with plenty of barbs, more than a few concerning his diminutive height. Of course, it was all in good fun.

Both appeared in sketches as various characters and each show would feature a famous guest star, as well as a stand-up comedian. Celebrities such as Danny Thomas, Chuck Barry, Jerry Lewis, Andy Griffith, The Jackson Five, Carol Burnett and Vincent Price all made appearances. And at the end of each show, the happy couple would lovingly sing their big hit, “I Got You Babe.”

The show was popular with audiences and things seemingly couldn’t have been going better for the duo – at least on the surface. The truth was, their marriage had long been on the decline, and by the third season, the couple was filing for divorce. The animosity was finally starting to show in the fourth year and it would spell the end of the show. Both tried to get individual variety shows off the ground, in the form of The Sonny Comedy Revue and Cher with little success. The chemistry between the two was sorely missing.

As a result, and now happily divorced, they decided to join forces again in 1976 for The Sonny and Cher Show. This time around, they had a new stable of writers and the show stayed true to its earlier format. Unfortunately, the playful barbs just didn’t seem all that playful anymore, not to mention that Cher was expecting a child with her brand-new husband, Greg Allman, which didn’t exactly go over well with Sonny. The show managed to last for two seasons, but it would spell the end of Sonny and Cher as a team.

Cher went on to star in numerous motion pictures, as well as continuing a successful singing career, while Sonny moved into politics – first becoming Mayor of Palm Springs, CA, then on to the US Senate. Sadly, he passed away in 1998, the victim of a tragic skiing accident.

Thankfully, 12 years earlier, he and Cher had given their legions of loyal fans one last gift, when the both made a reconciliation and appeared together on Late Night With David Letterman. The highlight of the show, which brought tears to more than a few eyes, was when they made television magic and took the stage together to perform “I Got You Babe” one last time. It was a touching moment that marked the end of an era.

IF you grew up watching Sonny and Cher on the TV each week, we’d love to hear your memories of this unforgettable duo in our comments section below.

One Response to “Sonny and Cher”

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  1. Jeff Missinne says:

    Is it even permissible anymore for a straight guy to admit liking Cher? Well, I am, and I do, and I don’t care. Cher at her best was/is both sexy and funny like no one else, and the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour was great entertainment. The Carol Burnett Show has the lasting reputation (and won all the Emmys) but S & C had more laughs per hour. Love her or hate her, Cher is one of those performers blessed with a one-of-a-kind voice (Neil Diamond and the late Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash also come to mind.) The minute she (or they) sing one word, you know exactly who it is. Sonny was a fine patsy/straightman for her one-liners, and don’t forget the supporting cast included not only Teri Garr but Steve Martin (both as a writer and performer, that’s him behind a beard and RED hair!) The Sonny and Cher show was always fresh, fast-paced, and funny.

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