Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, The

These tickets aren’t from my collection but I actually went to see them tape The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour around this time. My first memory is of an excruciatingly long wait to get in. Well past the hour given for Seating Time, we were still standing outside, and in the hot sun and in an area without anywhere to sit. (CBS soon rearranged their audience areas so this is no longer true.) A lot of folks gave up waiting and left and we were about to when we were suddenly admitted…whereupon we got to wait a very long time inside Studio 33, a legendary place in television history, but still not a place you’d want to sit and wait for too long.

Finally, the producer welcomed us, and Sonny Bono and his then-wife came out and did the opening spot of the show, including a song. Then they taped the closing spot and exited to great applause that could continue under the credits. During all of this, the producer, Sonny and Cher kept talking about the great guest stars they had this week, and we kinda assumed we’d be seeing some of them. As it turned out, all the comedy sketches had already been taped without an audience. (They’d be sweetened with canned laughter, but of course the home viewers would see us, the live audience, at the beginning and end of the show, and would probably assume we’d been there throughout and that that was us howling with glee.) The producer explained that the sketches had to be taped without an audience “for technical reasons,” but I later worked with that producer and found that he just preferred to do it that way.

The only other thing we got to see was a musical number by that evening’s musical guests, The Grass Roots. The song was “Sooner or Later,” and one of the reasons I can recall that title is because they sang it — actually, lip-synched to what I think was their record — about eight times so that the cameras could get it from a wide array of angles. At least, I think it was eight. We left about the time it started to seem like eight. On the way out, we ran into a young lady — a devout Sonny/Cher fan we’d been chatting with in line. The lady was almost in tears. She’d brought something she hoped to get Cher to sign, and had left the taping after the fifth take of “Sooner or Later” to get outside the Artists’ Entrance in the hope of an encounter. A guard there told her that Cher and Sonny had both left twenty minutes earlier. In other words, we’d stayed at the taping of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour longer than either Sonny or Cher.