printed copy

The Cher Scapbook

Mary Anne Cassata

ISBN 0806523433
Publish Date 10/1/2002
Format Hardcover
Categories Citadel, Biography, TV/Film/Theatre
Currently out of stock

Preface

Baby Don't Go

I still love Sonny & Cher. Do you know what I mean? I always liked them as an act. I was always able to separate myself from Sonny & Cher. I will always have a fondness for that time and part of my life. When Cher and I get together, there's some kind of mystical magic that occurs. It must come from God....I give Cher a 10t of credit. I am very proud of her. What she has she has certainly worked hard for and certainly deserves. --Sonny Bono to Mary Anne Cassata, 1987

I was nine years old the first time I saw and heard Sonny & Cher sing "Baby Don't Go" playing on my pretty, pink, transistor radio. I was immediately drawn to the words written by Sonny Bono and identified with the young girl's sad plight of poverty and having a mother and a father that she hardly knew at all. Having no money and buying your clothes at a second-hand store is never any fun either, and who wants to stay in a town where you are laughed at for being poor and the product of a broken home?

Flash forward twelve years--as I make my way from the old upstate town I'm from to the big city of Manhattan, I think of how this new beginning will help leave my tears behind and how no one here will know how much I have cried--just like the words from the song. I loved Sonny & Cher then as much as I do today. "Baby Don't Go" is still my favorite song. I remember seeing them in the sixties on American Bandstand and Hullabaloo--Sonny with his Caesar haircut and fur vest and Cher in her flashy bell-bottom pants. What an unforgettable fashion statement they made at the time!

In the seventies, like the rest of America, I couldn't wait for the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour to be on. I wondered every week what outrageous Bob Mackie gown Cher was going to wear this time. Hope it's the Indian Squaw, Electric Feathers or maybe the LaPlume one. Will Cher be singing one of those smoky torch ballads like "The Man That Got Away" or "Just For a Thrill" or will it be one of her classic hits like "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," "Dark Lady" or "Half Breed"? Whatever she sang or wore on the show would be talked about till the following week.

In 1975 1 wrote for a local entertainment publication. One of the first records I reviewed was Stars, which featured the single "Geronimo's Cadillac." Two years later, I was on assignment to review Sonny & Cher at a new theater-in-the-round called Melody Fair. At the time, of course, they were already divorced and traveled in separate cars to the venue. That was a weird sight to witness. As members of the local press, a few of us were invited backstage for what is called a "meet and greet." It was the first time I had met them and I will never forget how friendly they were to the press and of course how perfectly glamorous Cher looked in a gold-sequined Mackie outfit. It was thrilling to be so close to Cher and at the same time working in a professional capacity. I was still new to my craft and still learning the ropes, and of course I wanted to appear as professional as possible.

By 1980 I was working in Manhattan as a freelance entertainment writer and wrangled an assignment to interview Cher, who was now with the rock band Black Rose. Time was limited and I could only ask a few questions--but, hey, that was enough for me. Cher, as I had hoped, was friendly and seemed genuinely happy to talk about her new venture as a hard-rock artist. I remember telling her I liked the way her voice sounded on the song titled "Julie," which was written by Bernie Taupin.

From 1983 to 1988 I went from a freelance writer to a magazine editor when I was hired by D.S. Magazines--a teen-star publication company that was originally owned by Laufer Publications. Working with magazine titles like Tiger Beat and Star!, I had full access to the old Laufer files from the sixties and seventies. What a treat, tool The Sonny & Cher section of the files, which could rival my own personal collection included pages of unused Sonny & Chef interview transcripts, rare press information and never-before-seen photos from Rona Barrett's Hollywood and Tattle Tales magazines. Remember all those Sonny & Cher pictures blazing across the covers? I found many of these in the files with the original crop marks made by the magazine designers as well as various notes from Rona Barrett's own handwriting on the original, typed manuscripts.

Besides the teen publications, D.S. Magazines also had an entertainment book division, for which I was required to write biography books on whatever star was hot at the time. In the mid-eighties it was Michael J. Fox and the big reunion of the Monkees. In early 1988, when I was asked to write about Cher, it was one of the happiest days of my life. I had waited so long to write a biography book on Cher. Sonny, not yet Mayor Bono of Palm Springs at the time, even granted me an interview--the first of three that would follow over the next few years.

I had only two weeks to churn out a manuscript because Cher was expected to win an Oscar for Moonstruck. It was my job to have the manuscript ready up to that point--which I did--thanks in part to Sonny's valuable contributions and, of course, old, reliable files that even included a forty-page document of Sonny & Cher's divorce papers. However, disappointment was soon to set in. My softcover trade book simply titled Chef! (the cover featured Cher from the "Vamp" segment), which included rare photos and behind-the-scenes information, was published a couple of months later and quickly disappeared off the shelves. I couldn't believe it, nor understand why. The reason or reasons were never fully explained to me by the publisher. Looking back, I can only assume either the timing wasn't right or that maybe Cher had planned to publish her own book at some point in the near future. Today, every so often a friend will e-mail me and say they've seen a rare copy on eBay selling for $75 (the original cover price was $5.95). In any case, I have been writing this new book for over sixteen years. I tried to sell an updated version of the original book, but no publisher seemed interested since by that time there were already so many Cher biographies on the market. So, in the last few years, I decided to change the book's direction and make it a tribute to Cher's life and career. After all, what was I supposed to do with my thirty-year-plus collection that has moved with me seven times since 1980? I might as well put it to good use, right? I had also covered Cher's various career moves over the years and now my enormous collection had expanded to personally owning clothes and jewelry once worn and owned by Cher.

So, the purpose of this book is to celebrate the life and career of a woman who inspires millions of people, and instills a sense of hope through her songs, live performances, film appearances, her personal outlook on life, and more. Cher--this single word word says it all.

Today, Cher is undeniably still the hardest-working woman in show business. How many entertainers have successfully re-invented themselves for new generations of fans? From her days with Sonny Bono in the sixties to becoming a "diva" in the nineties, Cher is a true survivor. Four decades of records, concerts, television, films, Broadway, and books, this pop-culture phenomenon at age fifty-six shows absolutely no sign of slowing down. How much more is there to learn about Cher that we don't know already? You'd be surprised. Though the public has witnessed every shock and every resurgence in her incredible life and lengthy career, there are still new things to learn about this amazing woman, christened Cherilyn Sarkisian.

So, what's to love about Cher? Her songs, her Bob Mackie costumes, her concert performances, her acting, and her men! Why does Cher have millions of fans who truly care about her? As longtime fans already know, Cher's astounding talent is bigger than life itself. Her honesty and humanity are qualities that make this astonishing woman so easily likable. Perhaps her incomparability lies in such an enchanting blend of peak talent and flair.

The Cher Scrapbook is full of unforgettable memories, achievements, projects, people, and special moments in time. It is my fondest wish that all the Cher fans out there that read this book will be as inspired as I always have been by this gracious, beautiful and kind woman. --Mary Anne Cassata May 8, 2002

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