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Mister Ed (TV Series 1958–1966) Poster

(1958–1966)

Trivia

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When Mr. Ed was tired of working, he'd just walk off the set.
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The horse wouldn't respond to any of his co-stars, just his trainer, Lester Hilton. This meant that Hilton had to be on the set at all times, calling out commands or giving them with hand signals.
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Mr. Ed's daily diet was twenty pounds of hay, washed down with a gallon of sweet tea.
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Mr. Ed's voice was a closely guarded secret, but it was Allan Lane, a former cowboy star.
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Mr. Ed was a Golden Palomino.
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This was one of the few television series to start in syndication, then be picked up by a major network.
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Jay Livingston sang the theme tune as a demo, intending to get a professional singer to re-do it, but the producers liked his vocals, and kept Livingston's version in the show.
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Larry Keating (Roger Addison) died during the third season, and was replaced by Leon Ames (Col. Gordon Kirkwood).
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Ed's stunt double Pumpkin was a quarter horse, but looked very much like Ed, except for a gold spot in the middle of his white blaze. This spot was covered with white make-up when he worked as Ed's replacement.
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Mr. Ed really could answer the telephone. He just couldn't talk.
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CBS refused to put the production on its network in its initial premiere in 1960, so the Studebaker Corp. purchased this show and put it into syndication. It was an instant hit, and CBS bought it a year later.
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In an interview with Alan Young (I), he said he had dark blonde hair in real life. On black-and-white film, his hair color blended into the color of Mr. Ed too much. The make-up artist had Connie Hines (I)' hairdresser dye his hair dark so he would stand out. After the show ended, Young let his hair go back to its natural color.
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The original sponsor was the Studebaker Corporation, which supplied the cars and trucks for the show.
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Mr. Ed could really open the barn door.
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Mr. Ed only talked to Wilbur because (in his judgment) he was the only person worth talking to.
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Mr. Ed originated in a series of magazine stories. Not only did the horse talk, he got drunk.
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The lyrics to the famous theme song ("A horse is a horse, of course, of course ...") played over the opening and closing credits were introduced in Season 1, Episode 8. The first seven episodes used only an instrumental version of the song.
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Alan Young refused to have the show named after him. He didn't want to take the fall if it bombed. Hence the name, "Mr. Ed".
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Alan Young (I) reportedly owned a piece of the show. The syndication and network runs made him very wealthy.
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This show was produced, initially, by George Burns' McCadden Productions. Burns later said that he hired Alan Young for the part of Wilbur Post because he "just seemed like the sort of guy a horse would talk to."
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Arthur Lubin, producer and most frequent director, and Larry Keating had been involved in another series starring a talking equine, Francis the Talking Mule. Keating appeared in Francis Goes to the Races (1951); Lubin directed this and five other Francis films.
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Wilbur Post got his education at UCLA, where he studied architecture.
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Alan Young (I) and Mr. Ed were friends off the set even after the show wrapped, with Young regularly visiting trainer Lester Hilton's ranch to ride Mr. Ed.
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The house used on the series was the childhood home of singer Katy Rose many years after the show ended.
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Wilbur was a U.S. Air Force veteran, and served with Col. Kirkwood (Leon Ames).
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AP News item, April 22, 1963: Television's talking horse Mister Ed and Walt Disney's canine film star Big Red won Patsy awards as top animal performers of 1962. The awards were presented Saturday by the American Humane Society.
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Long after the show had ceased production, but was still being seen in syndicated reruns, a fundamentalist religious group in Ohio claimed that the show's famous theme song was "Satanic".
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The horse that played Mr. Ed is said to have died in 1979 at the age of thirty, thirty-three, or thirty-four (depending on the source). Other, equally reputable sources, give the horse's date of death as 1968, 1973, and 1974.
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In one episode, Alan Young (I) played a dual role of Wilbur and Wilbur's father, Angus Post. Angus was Young's real given name.
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When CBS decided to remove the show from its prime-time line-up, it didn't cancel it outright. Its sixth and final season was broadcast on Sunday afternoons at 5:30 p.m. EST.
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Mr. Ed was a horse, not a zebra. The Snopes article saying he was a zebra is in their "The Lost Legends" section, which is a joke section "confirming" the really odd or silly stories out there, such as Mr. Ed being a zebra. As Snopes wrote, "We created The Repository of Lost Legends (TRoLL for short) for those of you who don't let the truth get in the way of a good story."
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Mr. Ed's birthday was February 28, 1953. This is later confirmed when Ed declared he was a Pisces. In Season 5 Episode 18, "The Dragon Horse", he contradicted himself when declaring he's a Taurus.
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This series, based on short stories by Walter R. Brooks, originally aired in syndication from January 5 to July 2, 1961, and then on CBS from October 1, 1961, to February 6, 1966.
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Alan Young (I) revealed during an interview with the Archive of American Television that after being asked again and again about the show's secret of how Mr. Ed "talked" that he once started a lie when he answered with another question: "Well, when you were a kid, did you ever get peanut butter stuck under your lip?", and the listener jumped to the conclusion, "Oh, that's how it's done!" But Young said that wasn't true at all.
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The Posts' phone number was State 11781.
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Animating the horse's mouth whenever Mister Ed spoke proved too expensive so, to get the horse to move its lips in a semblance of human speech, its mouth was reportedly slathered with peanut butter before each take.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

How Mr. Ed really talked: In his 2001 interview for the Archive of American Television, Alan Young (I) revealed the secret. "Lester [Lester Hilton,, the horse's trainer] had a knack. He used a soft nylon thread put under the lip [of Mr. Ed] and then he had the end going down the bridle, and you just gave it a little tug, and Ed tried to get rid of it; that was his cue." But Ed was a smart horse. For the second year, he already knew it was expected of him to move his lips whenever Alan stopped talking and he frequently did. Sometimes he moved his mouth also when Alan was riding him.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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