Toy of the Week: Lamb Chop

When I picked Hubert the  Harris Bank Lion  earlier this month, I knew I wanted to end the month with a lamb or sheep related toy. 

My mom told me that I used to have a Lamb Chop puppet. Despite my mixed feelings about the song at the end of her show, I always found the Lamb Chop character funny. 

When was this toy originally produced? 

This is where it gets kind of weird. Aside from some listings for vintage toys, I have not been able to find anything about when the Lamb Chop toys were made. 

I’ll get to what does come up later when I get to the part about the things that surprised me about researching this toy. 

Shari Lewis introduced the Lamb Chop puppet during a guest appearance on Captain Kangaroo in 1956.  Shari and Lamb Chop went on to star in a show called Hi Mom from 1957 to 1959. 

From 1960 to 1963, they appeared on the Shari Lewis Show. In 1992, Lamb Chop’s Play Along made its debut followed by Charley Horse Music Pizza, which ended in 1999 after Lewis passed away the previous year. 

Most of my memories of Lamb Chop are from watching Lamb Chop’s Play Along on PBS in the mid 1990’s.  I did have what I thought was a weird “memory” of seeing Lewis and Lamb Chop on other shows. More on that later. 

I have complicated feelings about the Lamb Chop’s Play Along end credit theme. It was very much the “Baby Shark”/“Let it Go”/“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” of its day. 

Surprisingly, my introduction to “This is the Song That Doesn’t End” wasn’t one of the pre-schoolers I baby sat. It was from one of my friends from my church youth group. In all fairness, my friend did have younger siblings. 

Was there a cartoon? 

Because Lamb Chop was a hand puppet, most of her appearances (with Shari Lewis) were  in a live action format. I think there were a few times a person wore a full Lamb Chop costume, but usually, she was right on Lewis’ hand. 

As Women’s History Month  draws to a close, I thought it was fitting  to profile female character Lamb Chop and her female puppeteer, Shari Lewis. We hear a lot about Jim Henson and Fred Rogers, but Ms. Lewis also deserves our admiration. 

In addition to Lamb Chop, Shari had two other characters she performed:  Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse. 

Who was the villain? 

I don’t remember any villains in Lamb Chop’s Play Along. Like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Play Along was focused on friendships and getting along. Shari was essentially supervising the three puppet animals. 

Where did I acquire this toy? 

As strange as this sounds, I don’t remember having a Lamb Chop toy. My mom happened to mention recently that I had one, but I don’t have any pictures of her. Then again, I don’t have any pictures from my childhood of my Blueberry Muffin doll either. 

Do I still have this toy and/or any of the packaging that came with it? 

It’s not from my childhood, but this Lamb Chop is still attached to her packaging because I’m not sure if I’m going to keep her or gift her. 

Did anything surprise me while researching this toy? 

Three things surprised me this time around: 

1. Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop also had an “adult” act they did on telethons and nighttime talk shows. 

There’s a very funny clip on You Tube from a telethon where Lamb Chop is “drunk” from having a martini. So Lamb Chop has something in common with a certain British secret agent. 

I also have a vague memory of seeing Ms. Lewis and Lamb Chop in clips of Carson’s Tonight Show. 

I don’t think something like that would be allowed in our current climate. After all, Lewis described Lamb Chop as being six years old.  Why would a six year old be getting drunk from a martini? Who knows, but it sure is funny in a really weird way. Kind of like when you found out what Betty White or Bob Saget were really talking about when they were on past prime time. 

2. Shari Lewis” daughter Mallory Lewis currently tours as Lamb Chop and Hush Puppy, but is unable to do Charley Horse’s voice as it hurts her throat. 

3. When I tried to find a small and inexpensive Lamb Chop toy, all I could find were products for pets! Most of the Lamb Chop products currently available are intended for dogs. We don’t have a dog anymore, so my nieces’ dog may get a new toy thanks to this article. 

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About Karen Flieger 75 Articles
I was born in the late 1970’s, spent my childhood in the 1980’s, and my pre-teen and teen years in the 1990’s. I graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2001 with a B.A. in English. I collect various forms of media (books, music, movies, and television shows) as well as plush toys, dolls, and Funko figures.

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