Podcast: Sonny and Cher's Long, Strange TV Trip

The career odyssey of Sonny and Cher began in a recording studio, led to an abortive attempt at movies and finally to TV, where their comedy-variety show was one of the most popular of the 1970s. At the same time, it shaped Cher as a showbiz and fashion icon and led to the breakup of their marriage in front of all America, and then their reconciliation -- on the tube, at least.


Television Variety Shows, by David Inman

"The Beat Goes On ... Again," Dick Adler, TV Guide, March 18, 1972

"The Party's Over: Sonny and Cher's Last Show Was Taped in an Atmosphere of Desperate Optimism," Rowland Barber, TV Guide, June 1, 1974

"Cher ... Without Sonny," Rowland Barber, TV Guide, April 12, 1975

"The Life and Loves of Sonny and Cher," Rowland Barber, TV Guide, June 5, 1976

Crooner Embarrasses Woman -- to the Tune of $10,000?!

In late 1931, Susan Hall went to a movie and live show at the Rialto Theatre in downtown Louisville (the theatre was on Fourth Street, just across from what is now the Louisville Palace; it was demolished in 1969). Anyway, the show featured a crooner named Don Galvin, and during his act he came down into the audience, sat next to Susan Hall, and sang to her.

As a result, Susan Hall went into what we used to call a conniption, getting hot and bothered by the attention.

And so, a few weeks later, she sued the management of the Rialto. Here's how the suit was described in Variety:

The article appeared in December 1931. We don't know what became of the suit, or of Mrs. Hall, or Don Galvin.     

In 1954, Louisville Loved Liberace

In the mid-1950s, Variety tracked the performance of syndicated TV shows by publishing the ratings for those shows in many markets. One of them was Louisville.

This is from July 1954, and as you can see, "Liberace," airing on WAVE on Wednesday nights, was the ratings champ by a mile, more than 24 points ahead of "Ramar of the Jungle," airing on WHAS on Tuesday nights. Noting the competition is also interesting -- "Liberace," a big favorite with women viewers, was outpacing boxing matches known as "Blue Ribbon Bouts" (sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer). "Ramar" was leading, by a wide margin, the network dancing show "Arthur Murray Party." And the hysterical historical anti-Communist drama "I Led Three Lives" led the locally-produced "Pee Wee King Show" on WAVE. Let's also note the connection of longtime WAVE announcer Bob Kay to two items on this list -- he was the announcer on "The Pee Wee King Show," doing commercials for Oertel's 92 Beer, and he was the host of "Pop the Question," a locally produced game show being beaten up by "The Cisco Kid" every Sunday afternoon. ("Question" was gone by the fall.)     

Podcast: Life According to "Hey Arnold!"

My daughter Nora joins me to talk about what was probably her (and my) favorite Nickelodeon animated series when she was a kid -- "Hey, Arnold!" We talk about the show's philosophy of diversity as strength and review some memorable episodes, including "The Stoop Kid," "The Pigeon Man," "Ghost Bride" and "Helga on the Couch," detailing the life of' Arnold's truest love/fiercest enemy, Helga Pataki.