Secrets Behind Mr. Ed - Not Just The Horse Talkin'

Posted by Lynnsy Diekman - Saddle Up on Aug 24th 2022

Mr. Ed was a beloved TV Series that aired in 1960. Fans adored the funny tale of a talking horse and his owner. The series played from 1961 to 1966 and it was wildly popular. It was based off of a man, Wilbur Post, who owns a palomino gelding. However, it wasn't just any palomino gelding, it was a talking one! The show includes different adventures and life struggles that Wilbur goes through and his horse, Mr. Ed, coaching him through it. The pair had quite the bond, but there was a catch. Mr. Ed would only speak to Wilbur. This raised some eyebrows in the neighborhood and in Wilbur's home. Their friends and Wilbur's wife thought he was going crazy, but he knew the horse could actually talk. The two get into a lot of mischief together and overall, it is a heartwarming series that almost every horse lover adores. There are many questions and theories regarding the show, the biggest one being, "How did they make him talk?".

How did the horse talk?

There are so many different ideas and theories that have come up with this subject. A lot of fans think they would wait to film until the horse yawned and then boom! It looks like he is talking. 

The man who played Wilbur Post, Alan Young, told sources that they used peanut butter. He later informed the press that he just wanted to give the kids a fun answer and that they did not use any peanut butter to make Mr. Ed "talk". 

The truth is, they started out by using string to move Mr. Ed's lips and make it look like he was talking. They used this technique for a good while, but they advanced to hiring a horse trainer. The trainer got very clever and taught Mr. Ed to move his lips anytime his hoof was touched! 

Why did he only talk to Wilbur?

It is stated many time in the show, but Mr. Ed only cared to speak with Wilbur. The neighbors or Wilbur's wife would hear Mr. Ed talking to Wilbur, only to find Wilbur in the barn with the horse. Mr. Ed never spoke in front of them and only talked to his owner. Everyone thought he was a bit crazy, but they just had a special bond. 

Who trained the horse? 

Les Hilton was the horse trainer that was brought onto the set to help train Mr. Ed. He worked on many different movies and was a very skilled horseman. He not only taught him to "talk", but also to answer phones, open doors, and untie knots. It is said that Les Hilton had to be there while filming or Mr. Ed wouldn't do it. 

After filming the show, the horse actually went to live with Les on his ranch. Alan Young visited often to ride him and spend time with his former co-star. 

What type of horse was Mr. Ed?

The horse who played Mr. Ed was named Bamboo Harvester. He was a Saddle Bred/Arabian cross and was born in 1949. He was originally from California and was a parade horse before he found fame. 

The voice of Mr. Ed? 

Allan "Rocky" Lane played the voice of Mr. Ed and Sheldon Allman voiced his singing lines. 

How did Mr. Ed die?

It is still unclear on how exactly Mr. Ed died. There many different stories and burial sites mentioned to the press.

Some say it was an accidental death and then other's say it was due to natural causes. 

His co-star, Alan Young, states that he was cremated and his ashes were spread on the Hilton Ranch in an unknown spot, but then other stories talk about different burial sites. 

Mr. Ed was estimated to be about 20-21 years old at the time of his death. We may never know exactly what happened, but it sounds like the horse had a very loving, fulfilling life. He was surrounded by good people who cared about him, as well as millions of fans who still pay their respects to him.