September 1998
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Obituary for Shari Lewis

by Todd McCafferty

What do you get when you combine a puppeteer, 13 Emmys, and complications from uterine cancer? The tragic death of Shari Lewis! This starry-eyed dynamo beguiled children for years with her sock named Lamb Chop. Lamb Chop was even heard in Congress once, much to the delight of polyp-ridden senator Strom Thurmond. "I'd bag her," he said coyly.

Shari had her ups-and-downs with the TV Industry, facing long periods of cancellation due to children's preference of badly drawn and poorly written cartoons. It's easy to forget she introduced Lamb Chop in 1957 on "The Captain Kangaroo Show" because I was not alive then.

Lewis chocked her show full of music, comedy, and simplistic, one-dimensional morality tales that ignore the ambiguity humans face in the alienated post-industrial world. She also expanded her shows parameters by gearing shows towards non-WASP cultures, such as her Jewish special, "We Killed Christ," and her touching special on the plight of foster children entitled, "My Real Mommy Doesn't Love Me And I'm A Minority."

The song that never ends?

Yeah, right.

Post script -- Actually, Shari Lewis was really good for young children and her shows throughout the years were superb compared to the dreck that passes for children's programming today. I am sorry I mocked you Shari Lewis, for even though I never watched your show, I can tell that you had good intentions and a big heart.

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