“Shari & Lamb Chop” will be directed by Emmy-nominated Lisa D’Apolito, director of “Love, Gilda,” the documentary about the late Saturday Night Live comedian Gilda Radner.
As a young female ventriloquist with big aspirations, Shari Lewis was searching for a voice who could say things that a young woman in the 1950s could not, and found it in a sock puppet named Lamb Chop. The duo debuted on CBS children’s television series “Captain Kangaroo” in 1956 and went on to attain cultural icon status in the U.S. by the end of the 20th century.
Lewis died in 1998. The documentary will examine her journey, which included winning 13 Emmys and a Peabody and authoring 60 children’s books, and her impact on children’s television through the lens of her decades-long relationship with Lamb Chop. It will delve into the unique psychology that exists between performer and puppet, and the world of ventriloquism and magic.
White Horse Pictures’ feature documentary “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” received six 2021 Emmy nominations, including outstanding documentary. The company won the Emmy for outstanding documentary last year for “The Apollo.” Both films are distributed by HBO Documentary Films.
“Shari & Lamb Chop” is written and being produced by White Horse’s Cassidy Hartmann (“The Apollo”) and Nicholas Ferrall (“The Beatles: Eight Days A Week”), MoJo’s Douglas Warner (“Paul Rodriguez: The Here & Wow)” and D’Apolito.
White Horse’s Nigel Sinclair (“The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart”) and Jeanne Elfant Festa (“Pavarotti”) will executive produce with MoJo’s Morris Ruskin. The documentary is being produced with the full cooperation of the Shari Lewis estate, through her daughter Mallory Lewis. Mallory, who has performed with Lamb Chop for the last twenty years, is acting as a consultant on the film.
Concord Originals is financing the film along with Olive Hill Media, The 51 Fund and Carlene Laughlin. Concord’s Sophia Dilley, Charles Hopkins and Wesley Adams are also serving as executive producers alongside Olive Hill’s Tim Lee and Michael Cho, The 51 Fund’s Caitlin Gold, Naomi McDougall Jones, and Lindsay Lanzillotta as well as Carlene Laughlin.
“Shari Lewis’ exceptional life and career are so inspiring and relevant to the cultural conversations we’re having today,” said Hartmann. “We’re honored that Mallory Lewis has entrusted us with her mother’s extraordinary legacy, and are thrilled to be working with the talented Lisa D’Apolito to bring Shari and Lamb Chop’s unique journey to life.”
“As a young woman Shari Lewis was a pioneer in television, and in her later years she was still singing and kicking up her heels with Lamb Chop – educating a whole new generation of children,” said D’Apolito. “Shari’s story is one of resilience and perseverance. I feel very fortunate to be working with this amazing team and to enter into the magical world of Shari and Lamb Chop, which takes you to a place that can open your heart and make you smile.”
Projects recently financed by Olive Hill include Hulu’s “WeWork Or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn” which premiered at the 2021 SXSW festival, “Stockholm Syndrome,” – an ASAP Rocky documentary that premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, and Sean Penn’s 2021 Cannes title, “Flag Day.”
Concord Originals is the recently launched narrative content creation division of music and theatrical rights company Concord. The outfit develops and produces scripted and unscripted films, television shows and premium podcasts. Upcoming projects include a TV series reimagining of “Oklahoma!,” which Concord is producing alongside Skydance TV, and a remake of “The King and I” with Temple Hill at Paramount Pictures. The company has also recently partnered with Skydance and Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions to develop a slate of original projects based on Concord’s catalog of musicals.
The 51 Fund, a new financing company investing in female-helmed films, recently executive produced Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt’s feature documentary “CUSP,” which premiered in competition at this year’s Sundance and will be released by Showtime.
CAA Media Finance and White Horse are repping the rights of “Shari & Lamb Chop” for distribution.