Shari Lewis.

Shari Lewis’s birthday is January 17.

English: Publicity photo of Shari Lewis and he...

Lewis and her puppets Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse from The Ford Show, 7 April 1960. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow, Shari Lewis would have been 80.

She was born on January 17, 1933.

She succumbed to viral pneumonia on August 2, 1998.

Her career began in 1952, at 19, when she won first prize on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts television program.

In March, 1956, Lamb Chop was introduced on the Captain Kangaroo Show.

By September of that year, she had her own show, “Shari and Her Friends.”

How many of her puppets, besides Lamb Chop, can you remember?

  • Lamp Chop
  • Charlie Horse
  • Hush Puppy
  • Wing Ding
  • Black Crow

On October 1, 1960, The Shari Lewis show replaced the Howdy Doody Show.

In 1968, she and her husband co-wrote an episode of Star Trek.

In 1993, Lewis and Lamb Chop spoke in front of Congress, at the invitation of Representative Edward J. Markey, who was examining broadcaster compliance with the Children’s Television Act of 1990, designed to ensure the educational value of children’s television.

He inserted the concluding part of her statement into the Congressional Record and Lamb Chop’s entire statement in a tribute to Lewis on her death in 1998.

Ms. Lewis. …But the commitment to accept the challenge, the very real challenge, should be at the heart of the industry and the basis for broadcast renewal. If all broadcasters were regulated so they had to provide good stuff equally, perhaps there would be a race for quality, just as there now is a race for market share.

If each broadcaster had to provide a minimum amount of educational, information stuff, stations would boast of what they were doing for the community’s children as they now boast of ratings. And advertisers would be very pleased to be seen as servicing the community.

It comes down to responsibility. I have deep convictions, and I know that there is in the human spirit hate and violence and other dark emotions. It is right that we should acknowledge them on TV in responsible ways.

We should also acknowledge that in every human spirit there is the desire to learn and laugh and do good and help other people

I wanted to end here. Unfortunately, Lamb Chop has insisted on being heard today. This was not my idea. I do not approve of it. My mother says it not dignified. However, Lamb Chop insisted. So, if you will excuse me, I will get her.

Lamb Chop. Come on.

Statement of Lamb Chop

Miss Lamb Chop. Mr. Chairman, I would like to know. Am I on my own time, or do I get only part of Shari’s?
Mr. Markey. You get your own time, Lamb Chop.

Miss Lamb Chop. Thank you, Sir.

Chairman. –

Ms. Lewis. What do you have on your mind?

Miss Lamb Chop. It is not what I have on my mind. It is what is in my heart.

Ms. Lewis. All right. What do you have to say?

Miss Lamb Chop. I want to say –

Ms. Lewis. All right. Go ahead. Speak from your little lamb heart.

Miss Lamb Chop. I can’t speak with you sitting there. Go away.

Ms. Lewis. No, darling. I can’t go away. If I am not here, you can’t talk at all. Talk.

Miss Lamb Chop. All right. But, if you want to interrupt, lift your hand. Your left hand.

Mr. Chairman, I have been entertaining children for 35 years, which is a long time in the life of a 6 year old.

I would like to say that we really need your help and your care and your concern, and we need the best you grown-ups have to offer. And if you give it to us we will give the good stuff back. Not only to you, but to our own children as well.

Ms. Lewis. Lamb Chop, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Miss Lamb Chop. I know.

Ms. Lewis. Say Good-bye, Lamb Chop.

Miss Lamb Chop. Good-bye, Lamb Chop.

Ms. Lewis. Good-bye everybody. Thank you.

You can click here to see the original testimony in the 1998 Congressional Record.

What Were Your Favorite Episodes?

Knock, knock jokes.

I hate them now, but as a kid, they were hilarious.

Click here to watch Lamb Chop in an endless series of Knock Knock jokes.

Be really careful before you decide to let your grandchildren see this.

This Best of Shari Lewis medley shows why children and teachers loved her – she was lively, entertaining and educational.

At a time when sitting in front of the tv was not yet being accused of discouraging exercise, she was already delighting children with songs like “Don’t Just Sit There,” designed for them to get up and move while they watched her show

Click here to watch her perform “Don’t Just Sit There,” from Part 1 of the best of Shari Lewis.

In the same clip, she shows children why they don’t need puppets to make animals with their hands, with the song, “Two Little Bugs Sittin’ In a Tree.”

You can make bugs, birds, snakes, and elephants with nothing more than your hands.

Lewis continued to make appearances, with Lamb Chop, on other tv shows, like “The Nanny.”

She showed that this favorite children’s puppet could hold its own with adult humor.

Click here to watch Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop on “The Nanny.”

But, I remember her best with her pony-tail, like these next three clips of Shari Lewis with Charlie Horse, singing Lamb Chop to sleep and speaking in a Southern accent with Hush Puppy.

She hosted the Charlie Horse Music Pizza children’s television show from January, 1998, until May, 1998, just before her diagnosis of uterine cancer in June and death in August of that year, at the age of 65.

We even got to see close-ups. How did she keep her lips from moving?

We loved you, Shari Lewis.

You can introduce your grandchildren to Shari Lewis on this DVD of her show from 1960, “A Shari Lewis Christmas.”

Did you ever try to be a ventriloquist, because of Shari Lewis?

Which was your favorite puppet?

When did you stop watching?

To you and delighting your grandchildren with the magic of puppets.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru, Grandma to two awesome grandchildren

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers


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