Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
February 5, 1958, Vol. III, No. 15
The Village Square
By John Wilcock
Maybe you don’t believe in love at first sight, or maybe you’ve just never been lucky in this respect, but with St. Valentine’s Day almost upon us. I’d like to tell you about Shari Lewis. She’s 23, 5 feet nothing, red-haired, sings well, and will soon be paying a visit to Hollywood to make a pilot TV movie.
If I have to be honest about the thing, I suppose I should admit outright that I got a crush on the girl the very first time I ever saw her, which happened to be at the unlikely hour of 8 o’clock on a recent Saturday morning.
Shari is the star of her own show, “Shariland,” over NBC television, and though this she introduces the world to her own private little family–Hush Puppy, a dachshund with a deep-South accent; Charley Horse; and Lamb Chop, a sheepish creature with long eyelashes who’s apprehensive of starting nursery school in case she’s unable to pass the entrance exam.
The puppets are worked by hand, although Shari, as the daughter of a former magician (now a professor of child-guidance), can operate marionettes too, and will soon have a book published: “How to Pull Strings and Influence Puppets.” The show’s humor is a whimsical amalgam of franctured English and animals-that-act-like-humans-would-if-humans-were-animals. (Trying unsuccessfully to cure her friend’s hiccups one day, Lamb Chop purred: “Look into my eyes, Charley Horse; look into my eyes closely and I’ll Simonize you.”)
I’ll be damned if I can explain how I came to be watching television at the impossible hour of 8 a.m. (weekdays, 9 a.m.), but philosophically, I’ll credit it to fate, thought it’s doubtful if fate will return the favor.
Frankly, I don’t think I’m going to make much progress in this little romance unless I can show that I have influential friends. Which is why I thought about you people.
I’ll be sending Shari a Valentine card if you’ll all do the same. Just mail it to WRCA, N.Y. and she’ll surely receive it okay. Put in a good word for me when you mail the card, and if there’s anything I can do for you in return, just let me know. I mean it. I’ll keep you posted on any developments there might be.
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956. John Wilcock is still going strong at ojaiorange.com]