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Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

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When The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour debuted on CBS on the first day of August in 1971 as a five-week summer replacement series, it was an immediate ratings hit.

sonny&cher_003The bright musical arrangements interspersed with humorous on-stage bickering from the husband and wife team scored big with the audience.

Salvatore “Sonny” Bono was a former production assistant for Phil Spector, and Cherilyn Sarkisian had been a session singer. The pair met in the 60s and they made an appealingly odd couple in their tight striped bell bottom trousers and Afghan jackets.

The image was exactly right for the time though, and when they crooned I Got You Babe into each other’s eyes in 1965 they hogged the US and UK #1 spots for most of August.

By the end of 1973, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour was a consistent top-ten winner featuring regulars Terri Garr, Freeman King, Billy Van, Murray Langston (later the ‘Unknown Comic’), and Chastity Bono, the couple’s toddler.

sonnyThe series was famous for the outlandish outfits and the catchy musical numbers. But all was not happy in Sonny and Cher land.

By 1973, the tabloids were ripe with stories of their shouting matches, cancelled gigs (including a last minute cancellation in Vegas, filled by Johnny Carson), and even reports of Cher sporting a black eye.

With the show finishing 8th for the 73-74 season, Sonny Bono filed for divorce, and 58 hours later on 22 February 1974, the final episode of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour was taped.

The show left the air on 29 May 1974.