Los Angeles, CA (August 11, 2021) –Emmy and Grammy Award winning production company White Horse Pictures and MoJo Global Arts are set to produce the fully authorized documentary feature Shari & Lamb Chop, focusing on the legendary and beloved ventriloquist Shari Lewis and her iconic puppet Lamb Chop. It was announced today by Nicholas Ferrall, President of White Horse Pictures, and Douglas Warner of MoJo Global Arts. The film will be directed by Emmy-nominated Lisa D’Apolito, the director and producer of Love, Gilda, the celebrated documentary about the late, ground-breaking SNL comedian Gilda Radner.
Shari & Lamb Chop is 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 consulting on the film.
Concord Originals is financing the film along with Olive Hill Media, The 51 Fund and Carlene Laughlin. Serving as executive producers are Concord Originals’ Sophia Dilley, Charles Hopkins and Wesley Adams; 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. Cassidy Hartmann will also serve as writer.
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 1950’s could not – she found it in an unassuming sock puppet named Lamb Chop. By the end of the 20th century, Lamb Chop had become a cultural icon on par with Snoopy, Mickey Mouse or Elmo firmly engrained in the American consciousness; however, Lewis’s remarkable story and her larger impact on children’s television have remained greatly underacknowledged. Shari & Lamb Chop will explore Shari’s unlikely journey through the lens of her fascinating decades-long “relationship” with Lamb Chop, delving into the unique psychology that exists between performer and puppet, and the peculiar world of ventriloquism and magic.
“Shari Lewis’ exceptional life and career are so inspiring and relevant to the cultural conversations we’re having today,” said Cassidy 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 Lisa 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.”
By the time of her untimely death from uterine cancer in 1998, Shari and Lamb Chop had become one of the most unique and enduring “comedy teams” in American culture. Lewis had won dozens of awards – including 13 Emmys and a Peabody – published 60 children’s books, and finally found a way to achieve her dreams as a performer. Most importantly, she had also brightened and enriched the lives of children for more than four decades.
Puppets have been a hot topic of conversation this summer. The Puppets of New York exhibition opens this month at The Museum of the City of New York and explores the extraordinary, surprising, and diverse history of New York City’s quirkiest residents – among them, Lamb Chop!
White Horse Pictures’ latest feature documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart recently 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.
Concord Originals is the recently launched narrative content creation division of prolific music and theatrical rights company Concord. Concord Originals develops and produces scripted and unscripted films, television shows and premium podcasts.
In addition to Shari and Lamb Chop, Olive Hill Media has financed a number of projects this past year including Hulu’s WeWork Or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn which premiered at the 2021 SXSW festival, Stockholm Syndrome – an A$AP rocky documentary that premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, and most recently Sean Penn’s newest 2021 Cannes title, Flag Day. Upcoming projects include Alex Winter’s Mass Effect: The Story of YouTube as well as Lionsgate’s Plane starring Gerard Butler, an untitled TikTok project, and Rudy Giuliani feature documentary.
The 51 Fund, a new financing company investing in female-helmed films, most 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 for distribution.
Lisa D’Apolito is represented by CAA.
Lamb Chop and Mallory Lewis are managed by Adrienne Ross at Harmony Artists.