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TimeLife The Best Of Cher - A Review (1 Viewer)

Brian Himes

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I got my set yesterday and have done a quick preview of the set. There is good news and bad news. I'll start with the good news.

For those of us who purchased the previous Sonny & Cher Set and opted to get the Deluxe Edition of the Cher Set, this time we got an outer box for the Sonny & Cher Set. Now there are a couple of options as to what to do with the duplicate Sonny & Cher set. The new version, of course has 4 new to DVD Cher episodes. Also, the Cher specific bonus features have been moved to the new Best Of Cher Set. So, the Sonny & Cher set is pretty bare bones as far as bonus features go. With these changes, the book has also changed a bit to reflect this. The Best Of Cher set comes in 6 disc DVD cases, so, it is easy to remove the 2 Cher Show discs from the new Sonny & Cher version and put one of each in the two Best Of Cher cases. That is, if you decide to get rid of the new Sonny & Cher version. Or you can keep the new version and give away the old version. Either way, it appears that you won't lose any bonus features. Some of them are just not located where they once were.

Additionally, TimeLife seems to have put in some effort (read: money) into clearing a lot more music in the Cher Episodes than they seemed to for the Sonny & Cher set. Most of the Cher episodes are not nearly as butchered and we even get 2 complete unedited episodes (more on that in a minute). Also, there are a few (four to be exact) that are nearly complete. The clock in and between 47 and 49 minutes. Still not compete, but certainly very close. The rest have running times between 40-46 minutes. Overall, not as bad as I expected. Here is a breakdown of each episode and their running times (within 1 or 2 seconds):

2/12/75 (why they list it as 2/9/75, I don't know because the original TV Guide listing is 2/12/75) 44:53. This is a longer version that was previously released on the Sonny & Cher set. Cher's solo spot is now included and it wasn't before. The longer version of the Bette Midler and Cher duet is still not there, but having the solo was a surprise.

2/16/75 (previously only available in a 30 minute version from VH1): 46:44

3/9/75 (not available before): 43:55 (I believe that part of the finale has been edited. I'd have to compare it to the off the air recording that is on YouTube to be sure but I think the edit is in the finale).

3/16/75 (same version that TimeLife previously released): 49:31

4/20/75 (previously only available in a 30 minute version from VH1): 46:42

4/27/75 (same version that TimeLife previously released): 43:06. The VH1 version has more of the Beatles Medley Finale than TimeLIfe released, so hold onto those recordings.

5/4/75 (previously only available in a 30 minute version from VH1): 47:09

5/11/75 (same version that TimeLife previously released): 45:00. I was really hoping that TimeLife had cleared Cher's performance of 'Geronimo's Cadilac' but it hasn't. Dennis Weaver's solo has also been cut.

5/18/75 (not available before): 51:10. This is one of the two complete episodes.

11/16/75 (previously only available in a 30 minute version from VH1): 40:04. Sadly, Ray Charles and Kermit's duet of 'Being Green' has been cut. Bummer.

The next five episodes are the episodes (4 new, 1 carry over) on the Sonny & Cher set.

4/6/75 (previously available in a 30 minute version from VH1 and a 42 minute version from Get TV): 49:50

9/28/75 (not available before): 51:38. This is the second complete episode.

10/26/75 (not available before): 47:04

11/9/75 (same version that TimeLife previously released): 40:12

11/23/75 (previously available in a 30 minute version from VH1 and a 40 minute version from Get TV): 48:04. Sadly, a large portion of the David Bowie and Cher duet medley at the end of the show has been cut.

So, there is a quick rundown of the episodes that have been released. I would have to consult my episode list to know exactly what all has been edited (some of it I knew off the top of my head) but not as much I had anticipated.

Now for a bit of bad news. Cher's 1978 TV special, Cher . . . Special, has been edited. Rod Stewart has been completely removed. I don't know what else might be missing, but that I noticed right away. I have not checked the Cher and Other Fantasies special yet or any of the concerts that are in the set.

Overall, it seems that a decent effort was put forth on the Cher episodes that have been released. There are some that are a bit on the short side (40-43 minutes) but most are over 45 minutes. While not ideal, it is at least not a total hack job. The loss of Rod Stewart in the 78 Special is a bummer. That was a great moment of him singing 'Hot Legs' and changing clothes right on stage. The restoration of Cher's solo in the first Cher episode was a nice surprise as was the inclusion of a couple of complete episodes. I still find it disappointing that I had to repurchase the Sonny & Cher set set get those 4 new episodes. However, my distaste is lessened a bit seeing that some decent effort was put into this new Cher set and we got a box for the Sonny & Cher set. Not saying the box was worth the $200 price tag, but it was nice.

Well, the 1978 TV Special has been edited down to 38 minutes. That's close to 15 minutes gone. From what I was able to tell, the conversation with Dolly and Cher that was one song title after another is gone. Also, the part where Cher is talking to the camera and then Laverne starts singing 'You Light Up My Life' has been cut. Instead the scene abruptly starts with Laverne saying (I believe) 'Look what the cat dragged in.' to Cher.

Cher . . . And Other Fantasies has a running time of 48+ minutes. That seems to indicate that something has been cut but again, I'm not sure. I'm not as familiar with these two specials as I am with her TV series. I've only seen them a couple of times (the 1978 Special I actually saw when it premiered) and this was the stuff that I noticed just by doing some quick checks. In Cher . . . And Other Fantasies, 'Take Me Home' is there. That I did make sure of.

Someone with more knowledge of the concerts that are on the set will have to confirm if they are complete and uncut. I think that the only one that I have is the 1999 Believe show from the MGM Grand in Vegas. I think that one was released on DVD. I know I have two Cher Concert DVDs. One is the Believe tour and one is the Farewell tour. I've never seen the 1991 Mirage concert so that one will be new to me.
 
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