Manny P. here…
Actor Alan Young played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom Mister Ed. The golden Palomino spoke only to his owner, Wilbur Post. Cowboy star Allan Rocky Lane supplied Mr. Ed’s voice. Fans enjoyed the horse’s deep, droll voice (WIL-bur-r-r-r-r), and the goofy theme song lyrics (A horse is a horse, of course…).
A variation on the Francis the Talking Mule movies of the 1950s, Mister Ed was one of the few network series to begin in syndication. After six months, it moved to ABC in October, 1961, and lasted four seasons. It was one of a number of situation comedies during the early to mid-1960s that added similar elements, including My Mother the Car, in which a man’s dead mother spoke to him through an old car. An eclectic group of celebrities, such as Clint Eastwood, Mae West, and baseball great Sandy Koufax made guest appearances on the show.
Young was already a well-known radio and television comedian, having starred in his own Emmy-winning variety show, when Mister Ed was being readied at comedian George Burns’ production company. His low-key style first attracted a wide audience in 1944 on ABC radio with The Alan Young Show. In 1950, he decided to move his radio program to the small screen. Young eventually guest-starred General Electric Theater, The Steve Allen Show, Studio One, The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, St. Elsewhere, Coach, and ER. Young began writing for and voicing cartoons. He portrayed Scrooge McDuck in the Disney series Duck Tales, and did voice-overs for The Great Mouse Detective.
Early films such as Margie and Mr. Belvedere Goes to College did poorly. Later, Young also appeared in Tom Thumb, Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, The Cat from Outer Space, and memorably, in The Time Machine; the latter, the iconic 1960 sci-fi classic. Howard Hughes, who had seen him on television, hired Alan for the lead in a motion picture version of Androcles and the Lion, a comedy based on the George Bernard Shaw play. Young also had a small part in Beverly Hills Cop III.
The understated Alan Young was 96.
One week after retiring from 60 Minutes, Morley Safer has died. In many ways, the investigative reporter was the final CBS News link to the legendary Ed Murrow. Last week, I wrote a comprehensive blog that chronicled Safer’s career. Let me offer additional insight…
Safer was the longest-serving correspondent on the show, and one week into his retirement, accolades poured in, highlighted by a television special that recapped his career. In the comfort of his living room, Morley enjoyed this momentous edition of 60 Minutes; in many ways, a fitting eulogy.
His small-screen legacy includes: A seminal commentary on the misconduct of American involvement in Vietnam; shooting pool with Jackie Gleason on-screen, (and the reporter almost won the challenge); a rare presumptive look at the secretive Vatican Library; and his savvy, self-deprecating interviews of Katharine Hepburn, Betty Ford, Meryl Streep, the wife of Bernie Madoff, and Helen Mirren (with the British star’s flirtatious invitation that they do the interview together in the buff); and so much more…
Morley Safer, a sage chronicler of the offbeat, who contributed wit and worldliness from the CBS Sunday night news flagship for almost 50 years, was 84.
Until next time> “never forget”