God to lovers of the eternal musical-comedy series of the '60s and '70s Time Life awesomely follows up its (reviewed) "Best of Sonny and Cher" DVD set with the September 15, 2020 release of "The Best of Cher."
The new bonus-dripping 8 discs take us from the late-70s "Cher" CBS musical comedy series, which is comparable to Laverne keeping the laughs coming after Shirley bails in the final season of their sitcom, to the 2013 Lifetime "Dear Mom, Love Cher" documentary. The latter has our enduring living legend reminisce with mother Georgia Holt. One spoiler is that this one shows that the apple lands directly under the tree.
The fun begins with the February 9, 1975 pilot episode of "Cher." The titular entertainer stays true to form by opening the show belting out a tune while (barely) dressed in one of seemingly infinite outfits that Bob Mackie has designed for her throughout the decades. This leads a little bit of a downer opening monologue in which Cher comments on her no longer living a pro Bono existence.
An incestuous element of this series is that it is produced by George Schlatter; Schlatter also is the brains behind the (reviewed) late '60s-early '70s phenom "Laugh-In," which is out on DVD thanks to Time-Life. Schlatter contributes his two cents to "Cher" in a DVD bonus interview.
The '70stastic guests that help Cher get her groove back are Elton John, Bette Midler, and Flip Wilson. Highlights include Flip Wilson alter-ego Geraldine attending a class-reunion with Cher hilariously tacky alter-ego Laverne. We also get Elton John singing a wonderful rendition of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," joining Cher to rock out with one his classics, and doing a medley with Cher and Midler.
Guests in subsequent episodes include soon-to-be Cher spouse Greg Allman, "Love Boat" darling Charo. "Laugh-In" star Lily Tomlin, "Carol Burnett Show" fall-on-the-floor-funnyman Tim Conway, "Charlie's Angel" Kate Smith, and far too many other Disco Age A-listers to mention,
The wonderfully bizarre April 3, 1978 "Cher...Special" begins with a Cher monologue that turns back time to when she feels like an ugly duckling teen and segues to her performing numerous parts in an extended medley of songs from "West Side Story." This leads to performances that range from country queen Dolly Parton to new wave group "The Tubes."
The March 7, 1979 special "Cher... and Other Fantasies" finds our star the apparent prisoner of an impish creature played by Elliott Gould. The Gould character repeatedly sends Cher into rooms in an office building from Heck. The vignettes involve situations such as Shelley Winters, who essentially is forced to eat dirt and returns the favor, playing a woman who sells angst. We also get Andy Kaufman as a bizarre version of Adam just arriving in The Garden of Eden.
The aforementioned "Mom" does a good job keeping the story of gypsy and tramp (but not thief) Holt light and entertaining. We additionally get interesting insight into (almost aborted) life of Cher. A mug shot of our gay icon is one of numerous vintage images. Learning at the end that all of this is an infomercial for the new album of Holt does make the audience feel duped.
The "Mom" disc includes a fun 1987 "Superstars and Their Moms" segments that greatly overlaps Mom. The most fun of this is seeing Carol Burnett as we mostly likely have never seen her before.
An even more fun bonus on this disc has Cher and talk-show host James Corden playing truth-or-dare with some of the most disgusting food known to mankind. This one makes many of us wonder if we would emulate Cher in chowing down on a gag-worthy item to avoid saying one nice thing about Donald Trump.
Music takes center stage over comedy and nostalgia in the August 1999 recording of the Cher MGM concert.
The big picture this time is that "Best" preserves numerous highlights from the "Star Wars" of celebrities in that the woman of the many hours is a goddess to three generations (and counting) of fans. This truly is one that the entire family can enjoy while (largely thanks to Trump) essentially subject to house arrest for the foreseeable future.