Sonny: Well, they tell me that you're the sex symbol on the show.
Cher: Only by default...
After Sonny & Cher's hit records dried up at the end of the 1960s Sonny Bono reinvented their act as a lounge routine, music with comedy folded in. CBS programmer was so impressed with this new Sonny & Cher he gave them an hour on the network during the summer of 1971. The show was a smash hit.
This bit from one of the earliest TV shows filmed is a good representation of what their Las Vegas act was all about:
With a top ten television series and fresh hit records ("All I Ever Need Is You", and "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done") burning up the charts in 1972, the couple quickly moved from the small night spots into the big Casino showrooms on the Strip, playing to sell out crowds. Their signature tune, I Got You Babe was the number they always closed both their TV shows and their Vegas dates with.
But Sonny and Cher went bust in 1975 when the duo divorced and their highly rated TV show was cancelled. Cher was given her own series on CBS while Sonny Bono got his production greenlit on ABC. Sonny's show was yanked after a handful of episodes, he pulled together an act with three background singers (including Darlene Love) but it was not well received in Las Vegas or on tour to places like The Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, NJ where the act was booed off the stage.
Cher had more luck but after two seasons it was announced that Sonny & Cher would be reuniting for a new variety series. Las Vegas dates and a new LP were announced but they never came to fruition.
Sonny & Cher were guests on the Tonight show in 1976 after they announced the second version of their TV hour but before filming started. Oddly, Elliot Gould is the guest host for Johnny Carson.
The Sonny & Cher Show lasted two seasons and was cancelled due to lackluster ratings. Cher once again tried to jump start her career when she returned to Sin City as a solo act. Recently she headlined a spectacular stage show in Las Vegas that enjoyed a long run before retiring from live performing. At least for now!
A clip from The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour
YOUR GO-GO HOST: Billy Ingram
SONNY: When I walk into restaurants, elegant restaurants, where people are supposed to be sedate and quiet, women start to scream, actually scream and squeal. There's a big commotion, whenever I do that.
CHER: Right, 'cause after three drinks you go into the ladies room.