OK boomer, it’s finally here: I Got You Babe, The Best of Sonny & Cher DVD Collection from Time Life. This is the first time these episodes have ever been available on DVD. In this collection: 18 episodes + extras on 10 DVDs. Plus, there’s a 36-page booklet that tells the story of Sonny & Cher and their TV shows, with rare photos and wardrobe sketches to accompany the text. Picture quality and sound are excellent, and the extra interviews and clips are a real bonus.
I was a teenager when The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour premiered in August of 1971. Being a busy high school student with a healthy interest in girls, cars and illicit substances, I wasn’t watching a lot of prime time TV at the time. I only caught an episode here and there, so it’s really fun to watch them now and look back at a very interesting period in popular culture.
Sonny & Cher were a hard musical act to pigeonhole. They weren’t rock and roll exactly, but they also weren’t pop like Andy Williams or Dean Martin. They were an odd couple — a young dark-haired beauty possessing a deep sultry voice, paired with a dweeby guy eleven years her senior. They always seemed more showbiz, not hippies or part of the counterculture like other L.A.-based acts like the Byrds or even the Mamas and the Papas. Cher finally let her freak flag fly after she broke up with Sonny and married rocker Gregg Allman, but as a duo they were a mainstream act that was not at all threatening to middle America. I for one was not surprised when Sonny Bono ran for and won a seat in congress as a Republican. Sadly, a skiing accident ended his life in 1998. Cher is still performing and recording, and tweets frequently on a range of subjects.
Although rock stars like Elton John do pop up from time to time in this collection, most of the guest stars were the same tried and true performers you’d see on The Carol Burnett Show or The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The special guest for the very first show was septuagenarian vaudevillian Jimmy Durante. So the producers were obviously targeting an older audience.
When I did tune in, it was definitely to see Cher in the revealing gowns created for her by iconic costume designer Bob Mackie. I’m not sure I was even aware of Sonny & Cher’s divorce, their separate solo TV variety shows, and how they professionally reunited for the revamped Sonny & Cher Show that aired in 1976-77. But now, boomers like me all across America can grab a snack and relax on their comfy couch or recliner and travel back in time to the 1970s, when TV variety shows ruled the airwaves. Click here to order or learn more about I Got You Babe, The Best of Sonny & Cher DVD Collection. Free standard shipping is available.