There are some TV shows that are such classics that literally everyone knows them. Lamb Chop’s Play Along was absolutely one of those shows. I am so certain that you have seen this show that I can basically guarantee you are singing “The Song That Doesn’t End” right now. Am I right? I knew it.
Well there was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that you probably never knew. Shari Lewis is an impressive woman and it’s about time everyone knew it!
Check out these 13 fascinating facts that prove that she is the queen of kids’ TV.
1. She started in Show Biz at age two
Both of her parents were in the entertainment industry, and when she would travel with her father while he performed at USO shows he decided she should do an act as well.
She once said that “My father never used me as his assistant. From the time I was [two or three], I was doing my own segment of his act. He always had me writing and producing it.” Most kids can hardly write their name at that age and yet she had her own show?!
2. She originally hated puppets
As part of her training, her father ensured she had lessons from a variety of experts, including renowned ventriloquist John W. Cooper. She hated the puppet that she was trained with that was more of a marionette style and gave it up. It wasn’t until she had trouble finding a job in a ballet that she came back to puppetry and then was discovered.
3. Lamb Chop was introduced on Captain Kangaroo
It was 1957 when Shari Lewis first introduced the now iconic puppet. This introduction and the network’s love of her characters eventually landed her The Shari Show.
4. Shari Lewis had some interesting puppets other than Lamb Chop
It wasn’t all Lambs and puppies in her house, she also owned a life-sized puppet of Fred Astaire. It was complete with tails and a top hat because she said she had “always wanted to dance with Fred Astaire”.
5. Lewis was an accomplished writer
She not only wrote over 60 childrens’ books, but she actually co-wrote an episode of Star Trek in 1969 with her husband Jeremy Tarcher.
6. She was also a symphony conductor
When I say that she learned all the areas of the entertainment industry, I really do mean all of them. She would often conduct the orchestras for her performances and would sometimes join in on the fiddle or by singing.
Check out the next page to find out about Lamb Chop’s rank in the military (seriously!) and Shari Lewis’ dark sense of humor
7. Lamb Chop has addressed Congress
That’s right, Lamb Chop the puppet has spoken to Congress. Lewis and Lamp Chop were asked to speak about the 1990 Children’s Television Act, and according to The New York Times “nobody who was there will ever forget [the speech].”
8. She had a morbid and dark sense of humor
Every time she had the opportunity to freak a waiter she would do it. She loved to order a rack of lamb and watch the waiter’s horrified expression. She also once submitted a lamb chop recipe to TV Guide for their celebrity recipe issue.
9. The puppet lives on even though Shari Lewis has passed away
Lewis passed away in 1998 after developing pneumonia while undergoing cancer treatments. Her daughter Mallory has taken up the mantle of Lamb Chop so the character can live on.
10. Lamb Chop is a Three-Star General
That’s right, a lamb puppet is a Three Star General thanks to Marine deputy commander of the Pacific Lt. Gen. Tom Conant. The puppet has performed for the troops many times over the years and Mallory Lewis says that Lamp Chop agrees to “anything the military asks [them] to do”.
11. Even though Lamb Chop is a “6-year-old”, she apparently has a political view
According to Mallory Lewis, Lamb Chop is a “liberal Jewish democrat”.
12. Lewis let her puppet take over
She once said that “All fantasy is about exploring facets of your personality that aren’t surface, facets not dealt with in everyday life. When you deal with a puppet, you’re allowing a sub-personality to emerge and create itself. You don’t create it; it does what it wants to do. You know how you hear writers say the character takes over? Well, if the puppet doesn’t take over, the puppet isn’t worth doodley-squat!”
13. Lewis believed that Lamb Chop was a success because she didn’t over think it
She said that “I don’t contemplate these things. I’m very intuitive and instinctive about what I do. There’s a story about a man with a long beard. Somebody asked him one day: “Do you sleep with your beard outside of the blanket or under the blanket?” and from that moment on he didn’t sleep! He kept watching where his beard was. What I do works and I’m not analytic.”
Lamb Chop will live on in our memories forever and ever. Seriously, it will go on and on my friend!
Share if you loved watching Lamb Chop when you were young!