Buster The Bus
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(CIRCA 1996)


In the months prior to the untimely passing of Shari Lewis, the creator of Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy hand puppets, Romm and Elaine began working with Shari and her husband, Jeremy Tarcher, in devising a unique franchise concept to leverage one of her least exploited characters, Buster The Bus.


As one of America’s most trusted icons, Shari was aware of her recognition value with children and their parents, and sought ways to play a positive role in the lives of the millions of children who loved her.  She wanted her influence to go beyond her TV role as Lamb Chop's mom and as operator of the “Music Pizza Factory”.  Therefore, we conceived and developed a concept for her that would benefit children and parents which employed the character of Buster, as a safe and reliable children’s transportation system.


The underlying concept of the “Many Adventures of Buster the Bus” is:


  • Sixty five million American kids are pre-teens.
  • Twenty six million of those come from homes where both parents work.
  • Seventy six percent of the mothers of school age kids work outside the home.
  • Schools are offering less and less after-school activities.
  • After-school schedules off-campus have become more complex
  • Being a latchkey kid is no longer an acceptable, safe option 
  • A major question exists as to whether a mom should work or stay at home  

Under the direction of one of America’s most trusted names the Buster the Bus franchise opportunity was available to married couples (only) who passed in-depth background checks and who could demonstrate that they had successfully raised their own families.  In other words, they were custodians cum surrogate grandparent figures in good standing.


Buster would pick up school-age children from home, bring them to school, and deliver them back again, and also would take kids to the dentist, ballet lessons, baseball practice and other destinations that moms and dads would do if earning a living was not a requirement.  


Buster is more than any old bright yellow bus.  Buster the Bus is a state-of-the-art machine designed to ensure the safety of his charges in every respect, from secure well engineered seating and seat restraints, to mobile communication with GPS positioning.  An onboard database holds pictures of each child and the child’s authorized guardian.  Each child’s medical history and important medical contacts are recorded.  Buster’s one-way, mirrored windows keep its prized occupants away from casual observers.


Buster is also fun to ride.  An on-board video with the latest kid-rated films and games makes travel time an adventure.  Buster is stocked with bottled water, healthy treats, plus books and magazines worth reading.


To be a Buster the Bus driver/guardian you have a ready smile, first aid qualifications, and are astute in handling extraordinary situations.  The well-being of Buster’s charges is your center of attention, at all times.


Schgools have since adapted a safety program using the Buster the Bus character to teach young children how to use a public bus as safely as possible.


The table of contents below provides an outline of the report.






Overview Rationale

Current Opportunity Background

Children’s Industry Background

The Franchising Industry

What makes Franchising and Shari a Match

            The Vision

            How it Works

Buster’s Role

            Buster is Fun and Safe to Ride

            Buster is an Exciting, Interactive, and Teaching Tool

            The Nation’s Future On-Board

            B.B. Phone Home



Income Streams

Other Income Potential


Key Financial Assumptions

Preliminary Financial Analysis

Proposed Structure

The Way Forward

Phasing and Tasks

            Month 1

            Month 2

            Month 3

            Month 4


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