Friday, January 3, 2014

Shari Lewis Lamb Chop, Las Vegas and Outer Space

Shari Lewis Lamb Chop, Las Vegas and Outer Space

Shari Lewis first had a TV show in the early 1950s. She won first prize on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. The early days of television were rich with puppeteers' creating children's programming.

Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Howdy Doody became famous, and even commercials like Nestle's Quik capitalized on the love of puppets. Ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson, with his puppets Danny 'O Day and his dog, Farfel sang the praises of Nestle's Quik.

 With Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse in the Land Of No Manners

Ms. Lewis is one of a select group of puppeteers or ventriloquists who have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Others include Jim Henson, Edgar Bergen, Paul Winchell, Fred Rogers and Fran Allison are other puppeteers or ventriloquists who have stars. The Muppets also have a star. 

They were guests on Sesame Street more than once. Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop hung out with the Muppets on occasion. Lamb Chop was said to be a good friend of Kermit the Frog's. We never heard Miss Piggy say anything about Kermit's being friends with Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse. She isn't the jealous type.

Shari Lewis, Paul Winchell and friends

Shari Lewis books. videos and gifts include the sweet Little Golden Book Party in ShariLand. You can read along with your children. Did you have a Lamb Chop fuzzy lamb puppet when you were growing up? It would be fun to use the Lamb Chop-shaped cake pan to make a cake with your kids. 

She was a multi-dimensional performer. She appeared on different television shows over the years. Did you see her with Fran Drescher on The Nanny?

In 1968, Shari Lewis and then-husband, Jeremy Tarcher, co-wrote the episode The Lights of Zetar for the original series of Star Trek. It was broadcast in January of 1969. "Strange incorporeal aliens threaten the Memory Alpha station and the Enterprise." 

"We Come In Peace," Kirk tells the Zentarians. "We wish you no harm."

January 21, 1967 Hollywood Palace. Donald O'Connor and Shari Lewis reprise some of their Las Vegas act. You never knew who or what you would see on this show!

"Although she is an indelible children's entertainer, Ms. Lewis delighted nightclub crowds in Las Vegas often with Donald O'Connor an in southern California.

"Her act typically included distinct segments such as puppets named Zsa Zsa and Phyllis comparing  measurements and the unending search for men; Ms. Lewis dancing and LambChop in adult mode, tipsy and searching for a martini.

"Ms. Lewis relished the change from the television studio where she played to unseen children to the nightclub stage where she could interact with a live adult audience. 'It's like roulette on stage every night.'"
-- excerpt from August 1998 Toledo Blade

Longer version

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