'Mister Ed:' 20 Facts about the '60s Show That Fans Might Not Know
Mister Ed was the horse that stole the hearts of viewers everywhere. The horse became a megastar through the hit sitcom named after him.
From 1961 to 1966, fans were entertained by Wilbur Post and his talking horse. The sitcom "Mister Ed" told the comical tales of the pair.
While the show did not have massive rating success, it did gain recognition from audiences. Nearly half a century since the original show ended, there are some things fans of the show might not know. Here are 20 facts about the show.
1. The Character Traces Back to 1937.
The character Mr. Ed was first created for the short story "The Talking Horse." The story was published in Liberty magazine on September 18, 1937.
2. The Show was Pitched by a Secretary
The idea for the show was pitched by UCLA graduate Sonia Chernus. She was working at Warner Bros. as a secretary in the 1940s and was a fan of Walter Brooks' short stories about the talking horse. She pushed the idea and was given the screen credit reading "Format Developed by Sonia Chernus."
3. Clint Eastwood Appeared on the Show
The Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood made a surprise appearance on the show as himself. He was in one episode called "Clint Eastwood Meets Mister Ed," in season two of the show.
4. George Burns Produced the Pilot
The executive producer of the show was George Burns. He also helped finance the $70,000 pilot episode and later appeared in the second season of the show too.
5. Eddie Albert Was Initially Offered the Role of Wilbur
The "Green Acres" star was offered a role in "Mister Ed" and "My Three Sons" but turned both roles down. He decided he would rather focus on his film career instead.
6. Scott McKay Played Wilbur in the Pilot.
The 1958 pilot was called "The Wonderful World of Wilbur Pope" and starred Scott McKay. as Wilbur McKay had been acting from 1950.
7. Fox Reboot "Mister Ed" in 2004.
Sherman Hemsley who acted in "The Jeffersons" was also the voice of the horse in the Fox remake of the show. Unfortunately, Drake Sather who wrote, and produced the show, committed suicide before production was complete and the pilot was not released.
8. First Seven Episodes Had an Instrumental Version of the Theme Song
It was only after seven episodes that the lyrics for the iconic theme song were written. It was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. Livingston sang the lyrics as a placeholder but the network decided he was the perfect fit and kept his version.
9. Studebaker Automobile Company
The original sponsor for "Mister Ed" was the Studebaker automobile company thus the Posts drove a 1962 Lark convertible. However, the company later withdrew its sponsorship due to financial reasons.
10. Bamboo Harvester was the real name of the horse.
Born in California in 1949, Bamboo Harvester is the son of two purebred horses. He was also once owned by Lester “Les” Hilton.
11. Allan "Rocky" Lane Voiced Mister Ed.
Star Allen "Rocky" Lane was the uncredited voice behind the iconic horse. His voice made the character extremely distinct.
13. Stunt Double Named Pumpkin
Bamboo had his own stunt double named Pumpkin who looked identical to him. The only difference was a gold spot on the horse's white patch which the crew covered with makeup when shooting scenes.
14. Big Appetite
The horse consumed 20 pounds of hay and a gallon of sweet tea each day and Alan Young revealed that they used peanut butter to get Bamboo to move his lips and "talk."
"Mister Ed" was syndicated before the show proves its worth when CBS picked up the series after just 26 episodes.
16. Scrooge McDuck
Alan Young portrayed Wilbur Post, which is the role he is best known for. In 1974, he began voice acting and played Scrooge McDuck in several Disney films.
17. Replaced Actor
Larry Keating (Roger Addison) passed away during the third season. Leon Ames (Colonel Gordon Kirkwood.) stepped up and took over the role.
18. Too Blonde
Alan Young has naturally light blonde hair but it blended in too much with Mister Ed’s coat and mane. To combat the problem, a makeup artist regularly dyed Young’s hair. After the show, he let it go back to its natural color.
According to some reports, Bamboo was an extremely stubborn horse. He would only take instructions from his trainer, Les Hilton, thus he had to attend all filming days to give Mister Ed directions.
20. Initial Name
When the show was being planned, the development stage wanted to name Alan Young’s character, Wilbur. However, he felt it was a bad idea and refused to be held accountable for it.