38 Chuck Palahniuk


38 Modesty Blaise


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You could still see Cher’s ethnic lineage in her face back in 1971. Half Armenian, half Cherokee, Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre had been married to Sonny Bono for three years when she accepted the offer to be part of a five week replacement series for The Ed Sullivan Show in August 1971. Bono always knew that he was hitching a ride on the fame wagon.

Sonny & Cher’s selected primetime _ -.J variety shows ran from 1971-78 and just about every moment of their garish Mardi Gras of diminishing comedy and musical returns is captured on this DVD box set. The prospect of watching nine hours of this stuff may seem daunting but trust me, step inside Sonny and Cher’s slightly off kilter all American apple baklava world and you will find it difficult to look away.

These old episodes (and off cuts) remind one that amongst the drab remainders that controlled US television stations in the Nixon years, Sonny and Cher were seen as incredibly radical. Take the first disc which starts out with their first show ever broadcast. What begins with a pornotasched midget and a beautiful, big nosed clothes horse warbling their way through ‘All I Need is You' soon gives way to a series of interesting sketches, noticeably ‘At the Opera’ with the excellent character actor Freeman King (Fletch) and a very young Steve Martin. A skit on the then newly successful comedy show All in the Family, the sketch interprets Archie Bunker‘s domestic upheavals through comedy opera. Bono makes it clear that he really doesn‘t like the fact that the blue collar bigotry of the folks who shared his Republican views has become successful fodder for an America that has fallen out of love with Nixon. But the fact that this sketch and many others contained here still manage to be funny today is a credit to all involved. Against all the odds Bono (as writer of

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40 Borat, the Sopranos


41 Olympic fashion

39 Scatter, Charlotte Hatherley


40 Capturing the Friedmans


Life before they

went under the knife: Cher and Sonny Bono on set with a fresh- faced Michael Jackson

most of the material) managed to turn conservatism into just another ideal for the acid-damaged fall outs from the flower power movement.

And then there are the stars. Look over there it’s little mahogany skinned Michael Jackson before parental abuse and tabloid intrusion reduced him to a skin flaked paranoiac. Isn‘t that Ronald Reagan visiting his friend Sonny Bono - the future mayor of Palm Springs? And stone me if that isn‘t handsome young hair-weave-free Burt Reynolds with Merv Griffin and George Forman reading jokes that had turned curdy with age.

As a snapshot of an America in change and in self derision this is priceless and, if nothing else, you can check out some of the best clothes to ever hit primetime television. As unimportant as these kind of releases are, this one somehow still holds one’s fascination further than it should.

Bono would later write that: ‘Fame is like money. You‘re going to die, and somebody else is going to get it.’ What he didn’t count on his third wife holding onto her share of the big F for so long. (Paul Dale)

I We have three COpies of the Sonny 8 Cher Ultimate Collection DVD set to give away to the first people who send an email to by no later than 20 August 2004. Usual List rules apply.

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