Even though it wasn't on the air when I was a kid, I always knew who the famous Mister Ed was. My parents would nostalgically sing the sitcom's theme song while I was growing up which is forever engrained in my memory. "A horse is a horse of course of course..."
The TV show followed the shenanigans of Mister Ed and his owner, Wilbur Post. Other characters included his wife Carol, played by Connie Hines, and their neighbors, including Roger and Kay Addison.
The talking horse was one of the most famous animals in Hollywood at the time, outside of Francis the Talking Mule. Who was the real Mister Ed? Read on to find out 10 things you may have not known about this iconic television show and its beloved star (spoiler alert, he didn't actually talk).
1. Mister Ed's real name was Bamboo Harvester
The Palomino was born in Los Angeles in 1949 and was born from two pedigree horses who were well known in the San Fernando Valley at the time.
2. He was trained to look like he could talk
The horse worked with trainer Les Hilton and got to the point where he learned to move his lips every time his hoof was touched. This really made it look like he could talk, simultaneously stumping and stunning viewers at the time. Actor Alan Young, who portrayed Wilbur Post, on the show has also said that peanut butter was used on set to create the talking phenomenon as well.
3. Mister Ed was voiced by Allan "Rocky" Lane
The voice of the horse on the TV show was actually provided by voice actor Lane, who had previously starred in various western movies.
4. Clint Eastwood was on the show
Pretty cool that this horse got to hang out with one of the greatest talents Hollywood has ever seen.
5. Alan Young and Bamboo Harvester were friends outside of the show
Until the horse's death, Young would frequently visit him on his California ranch to go on rides. Unfortunately, the horse passed away in 1971, two years after the show ended.
6. The show started in syndication
For whatever reason, no one was interested in Mister Ed. The pilot episode was financed by comedian George Burns for $70,000. The TV series was an instant hit following its first 26 episodes and was bought by CBS one year later.
7. There was some drama with the theme song in the 1980s
In 1986, a preacher from Ohio claimed that the cheerful theme song had satanic messages when you listen to it in reverse (I tried it and didn't hear anything, but hey). The preacher claimed you could hear "the source is Satan" and convinced a group of teens to burn around 300 cassettes of secular music that "praised Satan."
8. Mister Ed was kind of a diva
Apparently, when he was over filming, the horse would just walk off the set. Now that's a power move. Can you blame him though?
9. "Mister Ed" was based on "The Talking Horse"
This short story was in an issue of Liberty Magazine in 1937.
10. The story of the horse's death is unclear
One rumor says that the horse died from a tranquilizer at his stable in Burbank, California. Another story says that he was euthanized at a farm in Oklahoma. The last, more likely story is that due to his failing health following the show he was euthanized in 1970.
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