"Mr. Ed" was a show aired on CBS
about a talking horse
. The TV series' first show was on January 5, 1961. It was quickly added to the network
lineup on October 1, 1961 by CBS programming chief James T. Aubrey
. After five years, the last of 143 episodes
aired September 4, 1966.
Arthur Lubin was the show's key director. The pilot for the series was entitled "The Wonderful World of Wilbur Pope." At the show's peak "Mr. Ed" commanded 47 percent of the viewing audience in its time slot.
Ed's trainer was Lester Hilton, who was one of Hollywood's best animal trainers. As a young man Lester studied and worked with Will Rogers. It was Lester who found a beautiful palomino named Bamboo Harvester and taught him to talk. The Mr. Ed Company purchased Bamboo Harvester for $1,500 and renamed him Mr. Ed.
The voice of Ed was performed by Allan "Rocky" Lane. Before having fallen on lean times, he had been a very successful movie star. After such an outstanding career Rocky was reluctant to play the voice of a horse. Eventually he agreed to do the show if he was not listed in the credits. Later when the show had become a hit he asked to be included in the credits but the producers turned him down. They felt that adding his name would impact the ratings of the show since many children believed Mr. Ed could actually talk.
Mr. Ed not only can talk. He became involved in human situations, such as riding a surf board, flying an airplane, wearing a Beatle wig, giving advise (through Wilbur) to baseball great Leo Durocher and having existential conversations. Ed's romantic longings and escapades are among the most charming aspects of the show.