And no one can talk to a horse, of course.
That is, of course
unless the horse
is the famous Mr. Ed!"
A 1960s Sitcom (running from 1961 to 1966) about architect Wilbur Post (Alan Young), his wife Carol, and Wilbur's horse Mr. Ed. Ed was a normal Palomino in most respects, other than the fact that he could talk, read, and was fairly intelligent. He only ever spoke to Wilbur though, which led to many awkward situations when the mischievous Ed would get Wilbur caught up in a Zany Scheme or two. Actor Allan Lane provided Ed's voice for the entire run of the series, but went uncredited.
A pilot was filmed for a revival in 2004, but never aired.
This show provides examples of:
- Amusing Alien: Mr. Ed, naturally.
- The episode "Moko" featured an alien who traveled inside the bodies of other characters to control them. It was a Backdoor Pilot for a series that never took off.
- Baseball Episode: At least two - season 4's "Leo Durocher Meets Mister Ed", in which Ed takes part in a game with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and season 5's "Jon Provost Meets Mister Ed", which involves a Little League game.
- Beta Couple: The next-door Addisons, who unlike many Beta Couples, seemed to actively dislike each other, in contrast to the Happily Married Posts. They were replaced in later seasons by the Kirkwoods.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Wilbur comes across as this to the other characters: he's a fairly successful self-employed architect who works in his barn and talks to his horse.
- Cassandra Truth: In the pilot episode, nobody believes Wilbur when he tells them Ed can talk.
- Catchphrase: Ed has "Holler, but don't hit!" whenever Wilbur gets mad at him (which is practically Once an Episode).
- Character as Himself: Mister Ed appears in the credits as "Himself," with no mention of his voice actor or the real name of the horse ("Bamboo Harvester.")
- Christmas Episode: Ed uses Wilbur's credit card to buy gifts for his friends. When Wilbur confronts him about this, Ed tells a story about how there wouldn't be a Christmas if not for Santa's talking horse. Meanwhile, the Posts and Kirkwoods agree to a spending limit on gifts, but the wives aren't happy when they go over it and the husbands don't.
- Color Blind Confusion: The title character had whether or not he was color blind flip-flopped with two episodes touching on it, the first where Ed wants a color TV but Wilbur refuses to get him once since horses are color blind, but Ed proves him wrong by pointing out the color of the clothes he's wearing. In a later episode Ed wins a color TV in a trivia contest, and a fight among Ed and Wilbur ensues about whether it will go in the house or the barn. In the end Ed steals the TV and watches it in the barn, and decides to let Wilbur have it, since he discovered he was actually color blind.
- Cool Horse: Face it, any horse that can talk is cool.
- Even disregarding the talking, Mr. Ed (the real horse, not just the character) could accomplish some impressive feats like answering the phone and opening and closing the barn door.
- Crossover: With Granny, from the The Beverly Hillbillies, of all people. Discussed here.
- Cutting the Knot: At one point, Ed undergoes an intelligence test that has him choosing between two carrots, one of which is charged with an electric current. Ed unplugs the machine and eats both carrots.
- Deadpan Snarker: Addison, who may be one of the most deadpan of all snarkers in black-and-white television.
Mrs. Addison: "The last time my husband kissed me was New Year's Eve, 1949. It was dark and he thought I was the cigarette girl."
- His wife is no slouch either:
- Ed himself is one sarcastic horse.
- The Ditz: Wilbur was fairly klutzy and cheerful for a male sitcom character.
- Winnie Kirkwood also qualifies.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first seven episodes of Season 1 (early 1961) had an instrumental theme, before the Jay Livingston-sung theme started to be used.
- Easy Amnesia: Ed gets it, forcing Wilbur to fake having it so he can try whatever cure is used on him on Ed.
- Everybody Owns a Ford: Studebaker was the primary sponsor of the show through 1963-64. Studebaker got Product Placement in the show, and Mister Ed and Wilbur even did some Studebaker commercials. Ironically, by the time the show's target demographic was old enough to drive, Studebaker was out of business (having built their last cars in 1966).
- Starting midway through the 1964-1965 season, Ford Motor Co. took over Product Placement of the cars seen in the show.
- Exiled to the Couch: Non-couch variant - Carol occasionally makes Wilbur sleep in the barn with Mr. Ed.
- Expository Theme Tune
- Fanservice: A decent amount courtesy of Connie Hines. She spends a large amount of one episode in dancing tights. In another, she puts on a hula costume and does a number in the backyard.
- Fantastic Comedy: The "fantastic" element is, of course, Mr. Ed the talking horse himself.
- First-Run Syndication: In FRS its first year, the show was bought by CBS for its other seasons.
- Happily Married: Wilbur and Carol are a very affectionate couple. It's something of a running gag that the Addisons frequently walk in on them kissing or cuddling and make some comment on it.
- Have a Gay Old Time: In one episode, Ed moos to a farmer right in his face, and the farmer remarks, "The horse looks me right in the puss and says 'Moo!'" In this case the "puss" means the face or eye.
- Horsing Around: Mister Ed is a talking horse. What did you expect?
- Hustling the Mark: Card sharps cheat Roger Addison out of a significant sum of money in one episode. Wilbur and Mister Ed cheat them in return and get Addison's money back.
- Intellectual Animal: Mr. Ed, naturally.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ed is troublemaking, sarcastic, and kind of selfish, but he's a good horse at heart. He cares deeply about Wilbur and is often loyal to him.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Granny from the The Beverly Hillbillies makes an appearance in "Love and the Single Horse." Irene Ryan, dressed in "Granny" garb, and with Granny's accent, meets Wilbur Post while touring a wax museum. She offers to take Wilbur home and poultice his head; very Granny-type actions. In the credits, however, Irene Ryan is credited as "Irene Ryan" with no character after her name.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- Wilbur suggests putting Ed on TV, much to the latter's disgust.
- In another episode, Wilbur gets past a stubborn guard by claiming they're on a hidden camera show, prompting the guard to wave at the camera and gush about how excited he is to be on TV.
- Living Statue: In "Love and the Single Horse", Mister Ed runs away and hides in a wax museum, disguising himself as a wax horse. The episode features a Crossover with the The Beverly Hillbillies as Granny chooses this day to visit the museum!
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Ed is shown to be able and willing to talk to other people, but will only do so in situations where the other party doesn't know they're talking to a horse (behind their backs, over a phone, etc).
- There were at least two instances where Ed talked to kids, who knew a horse was talking to them. In the first instance, Ed tells Wilbur he was talking in front of a kid because adults don't believe children.
- Obfuscating Insanity: Ed really can talk, but Wilbur can't prove it, and the entire neighbourhood thinks he's nuts, including Carol. It's Ed's idea to pretend Wilbur was invoking this trope in order to get a better deal on the house.
- Poe's Law: According to Snopes, people were confused by a Chappelle's Show sketch showing Mister Ed using the N-word, thinking it came from the show.
- Retcon: Ed's color-blindness. There are two episodes which revolve around Ed wanting a color TV. In the first episode Wilbur refuses to buy him one, stating that all horses are color-blind. Ed proves him wrong by pointing out the color of the clothes he's wearing. In the second episode Ed wins a color TV in a trivia contest, and a fight among Ed and Wilbur ensues about whether it will go in the house or the barn. In the end Ed steals the TV and watches it in the barn, and decides to let Wilbur have it, since he discovered he was (you guessed it) color-blind.
- Sapient Steed: The Ur-Example of this trope.
- The Scrooge: Addison, who's always complaining about his wife spending his hard-earned money on things he doesn't think she needs (like a mink stole).
- Special Guest: Mae West and Clint Eastwood both appeared. George Burns, whose production company produced the show, made a guest appearance in the episode "Mister Ed meets George Burns".
- Spirit Advisor: Mr. Ed, whose talking is only heard by Wilbur or over the phone.
- Spiritual Successor: To the 1950s Francis the Talking Mule film series starring Donald O'Connor (who was replaced in the final film of the series by Mickey Rooney).
- Wunza Plot: One's a man, one's a horse. They get into comedic hijinks, much to the distress of everyone except Ed himself.