TV’s popular sitcom, MR. ED, which ran from Oct 1, 1961 to Feb 6, 1966, has many unique trivia facts. Here are just a few of them for your pleasure:
The show was one of few TV shows that started out as a syndicated show, but was soon acquired by CBS and added to their own schedule of programming.
The show was much inspired by the Francis The Talking Mule films as well as a talking horse short story in a 1937 issue of LIBERTY Magazine.
Jack Benny had some behind the scenes involvement with the show’s development in the early days, with comedian George Burns first financing the first $70,000 in the project. The original first sponsor became the Studebaker Corporation, where the show was originally a project that helped to promote their cars, but as Studebaker’s financial situation worsened, Ford Motor Company largely took over as a main sponsor.
Mr. Ed’s real name was Bamboo Harvester. Born in 1949, Bamboo died in 1970.
The composer of the MR. ED THEME was Jay Livingston, who had won Oscars three times for his movie compositions. The title song was sung by Jay Livingston in a rarer vocal performance by him. Former B grade Westerns actor, Allan “Rocky” Lane.
English born, Canadian-American actor Alan Young, who is now 96, is the last surviving cast member. Even actress Connie Hines who played his young and beautiful wife, “Carol” died in 2009 at the age of 78.
Actor Larry Keating became sick with leukemia, dying in 1963, right when the series was very popular. The show’s producers scrambled to find some replacement actor. Larry Keating was buried in a tomb in Portland Oregon’s Mt. Calvary cemetery. Larry Keating was born in 1899, and was a veteran of the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.
Leon Ames was eventually named as a replacement actor for Keating, who was supposed to be a former military officer with Wilbur Post. In real life, after being added to the series, Ames and his wife were taken hostage an intruder, but were rescued in a daring police rescue attempt. Ames and his wife were briefly held for a $50,000 ransom by the kidnapper.
Jack Albertson played the brother of Kaye Addison in a few episodes after Larry Keating left the series with his fatal illness. It was never explained in the series what happened to Roger Addison.
Bamboo Harvester was so intelligent that he quickly learned how to move his mouth on cue when his trainer would touch his hoof, where the need for strings or other clever gimmicks was quickly abandoned.
For many years, the show became a family favorite in many American households and continues in popularity in late night TV syndication.