Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop
The Team That Changed Children's Television
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
Sales Date: 10/04/2022
For almost half a century, celebrated ventriloquist and entertainer Shari Lewis (1933–1998) delighted generations of children and adults with the help of her trusted sock puppet sidekick, Lamb Chop. For decades, the beloved pair were synonymous with children's television, educating and entrancing their young audience with their symbiotic personalities and their proclivity for song, dance, and the joy of silliness.
But as iconic as their television personas are, relatively little inside knowledge has been revealed about Lewis herself and the life-changing moments that led her to the entertainment industry, and perhaps most importantly, to Lamb Chop.
Renowned as a performer, Lewis was equally accomplished in business. Operating in an era when women were largely left out of the conversation, she was one of the few women to run her own television production company. Whether it was singing, dancing, conducting, writing, drawing, or ventriloquism—a skill in which she was virtually unmatched—Lewis spent the entirety of her sixty-five years in pursuit of performative perfection. Constantly innovating and adapting to the needs of her audience and the market, Lewis extended the longevity of her career decade after decade. Her contributions—particularly the creation of Lamb Chop and her puppet pals—forever changed the history of children's television.
Now, long after Lewis and Lamb Chop graced television with their final performance, Lewis's daughter, Mallory, and author Nat Segaloff have set the record straight about the iconic pair in Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop: The Team That Changed Children's Television. In this seminal biography, the authors pull the veritable wool from the eyes of audiences who adore the legendary entertainer to examine the joys, sorrows, triumphs, and sheer hard work that gave Lewis and Lamb Chop their enduring star power.
1. Born in a Magician's trunk
2. A Lucky Break
3. Becoming Lewis
4. Shari Had a Little lamb
5. A Show of Her Own
6. Rising Stars
7. Home and Office
8. On the Road
9. Doody's Revenge
10. Building a Business
11. Video Days
12. The Price of Fame
14. Pizza to Go
15. The Silence of the Lamb
16. Not Your Mother's Lamb Chop
17. Afterword: Lamb Chop Speaks
Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop cofounded Toontown. Without Shari—her incredible imagination, and her wonderful sock puppet sidekick Lamb Chop—Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit, and the other denizens of Toontown simply would not exist. I owe Shari Lewis a lot. She did something for me that no adult had ever done before; she sparked my imagination. She showed me a world in which the fantastical could be true. A world where humor can be clever and literate. A gentle world of equal opportunity for all. She showed me the door to Toontown, and I went through. I'm glad Shari Lewis is finally getting the biography she so richly deserves. Without Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, the world would be a much drearier place.~Gary K. Wolf, creater of Roger Rabbit
"In the early days of television, before the era of public relations and branding, Shari Lewis, renaissance workaholic, by force of will and velocity of talent, made a home for moxie, wit and tenderness in many a human heart. This book is her daughter's love-gift and a parable of sacrifice."~Betty Aberlin, "Lady Aberlin" on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and author of The White Page Poems
Growing up watching Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, never, for a single moment, did we doubt that Lamb Chop was real. That's how good they both were! Subversive and cheeky, educational, and just plain fun, they respected the audience and in return, we loved them. This is not only a biography of a master ventriloquist and her indomitable puppet but also a compelling and often funny biography of a woman who took control of her life, her career, and her legacy.~Michael Scott, New York Times bestselling author of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series
Shari was a true pioneer in a field dominated by men. Her story illustrates how important family is in helping to empower us and give us strength to be and to do. What a wonderful homage!~Katharine Ross, actress