Sunday, August 11, 2019

A Horse is a Horse

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

When we were kids, there was a sitcom on TV about a talking horse named Mister Ed. The show, appropriately called “Mister Ed,” aired from 1961 to 1966. There was a total of 143 episodes, all filmed in black and white. Mister Ed was owned by mild-mannered Wilbur Post, who was always in trouble due to Mister Ed’s shenanigans.

The show always started with Mister Ed whinnying, then pushing open the barn doors and looking out at the audience as he said in his deep voice, “Hello! I’m Mister Ed!” And then as the theme music started to play, two big horseshoes appeared superimposed over Mister Ed and, as they clinked together, they turned into the letters “ED” with the word “MISTER” above them.

The theme song was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, with Livingston doing the singing. It went like this:

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse, of course.
That is, of course, unless the horse
Is the famous Mister Ed.

Every episode had Mister Ed doing some very silly things, like talking on the telephone. Wilbur was an architect who had his office in the barn. In one episode, Mister Ed is alone in his stall when Wilbur’s phone starts ringing, so he picks it up.

Mister Ed: Hello?

Voice: Hello, I’d like to make a reservation. Is this Trans Continental Airlines?

Mister Ed: No, lady, this is the Pony Express!

In another episode, Wilbur moves the telephone away from Mister Ed.

Wilbur: You phoned the feed store again, didn’t you, Ed? I thought I told you that I was the one to give the orders around here. Ya know, that’s the fourth load of hay we’ve had delivered this week.

Mister Ed (talking while chewing a mouthful of hay): Well, I’m hungry!

Wilbur: How come other horses don’t eat as much as you do?

Mister Ed: ‘Cause they can’t phone the feed store.

The show was sponsored from 1961 to 1963 by the Studebaker Corporation and the show often featured Studebaker cars. Despite the exposure they got by sponsoring this sitcom, their sales dropped dramatically in 1961. They never recovered and U.S. production of the Studebaker was ended in December 1963.

Allan “Rocky” Lane, a former B-movie cowboy star, provided the voice for this funny, talking horse. Mister Ed was a palomino whose real name was Bamboo Harvester. He had a stunt double named Pumpkin who later appeared in the sitcom “Green Acres.” Bamboo Harvester (Mister Ed) died in 1970. He was about 20 years old. He is buried at Snodgrass Farm in Oklahoma.

Happy Shunpiking!

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  1. Thank you for the delightful trip down Memory Lane! :)

    1. You're welcome, Stephanie. The 1960's are my favorite years and memories. There was some really good TV back then. Just good, clean fun!

  2. Great story and memories about a fun TV show. I agree with your comment to Stephanie - just good, clean fun. We need some of that today!!

  3. Thanks, Phyllis. Here's something I didn't mention in the story. At first they used a thread to pull on the horse's lips to get him to move them when it was his turn to "talk." But later, he learned that when Wilbur stopped talking, he should start moving his lips, so they didn't need the thread anymore. Smart horse!