MovieChat Forums > Mister Ed Discussion > theories about making him talk

theories about making him talk


I dont understand why they are just that...theories. Owning both "best of" boxsets and only seeing the episodes once or so each you can easily see that a string attached to Mr Ed's halter was what was used to make him talk. The see-thru string reflects several time on camera and is pretty easy to see in a few, if not all of the episodes. The episode that most proves this "theory" is Ed, the artist which is on the second "best of." In a scene where Ed is painting another horse on the bottom right hand screen you can see that the string attached to Mr Ed goes down to a pair of hands holding a wooden pole and the hands tug on the pole and Mr Ed moves his mouth. I really dont know how people have never seen this and figured out that no, it wasnt peanut butter, not electric shock, not that Mr Ed really knew how to talk... Im almost positive that this method was painless and did not cause discomfort to Bamboo Harvester. So theres my two sense, if you own the boxsets watch... the string is there.

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I've seen every episode and never noticed any string. How would they pull that off on the wide shots?

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im not quite sure how they pull it off in the wide shots but they used a clear string that you can spot pretty easily. my guess is that it is somehow strung through his halter (which is why he wears a halter in every episode) and when they tug on his halter he was trained to open his mouth. unless the string was threaded down thru the halter and then put in his mouth similiar to how a horse wears a bit... once i get my pc up and running again ill take some screen caps to point out the string, in the close ups just watch closely right around his halter...the string is usually present.

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naw you are both wrong that is horse abuse attatching a string to a real horses mouth. they put some thing gooey(hard to get off) in the horses mouth so he moves his mouth and the actor says his line(when he sisn't talking they cut the film and take out the food)

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yeah, right. You're mired in 2005 thinking, NOT 1961-66 thinking. There weren't any of those namby-pamby PETA pinkos back then. Care was taken to not hurt animals unnecessarily...but it wasn't a priority...not by a LONG shot. Look at some of the Demille epics and you'll see it first hand. While I haven't seen this 'clear string', to discount it merely due to 'horse abuse' is fanciful at best. I could easily believe the string theory. Peanut butter, et al, wouldn't provide the smoothness and liquidity of motion. Also, remember that to have an actor say their lines to the animal is virtually akin to animation voiceovers as it were and far out of the reach of your typical 60s sitcom $$$.

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The theories about the peanut butter or plastic mesh or whatever are complete bunk. Alan Young, in interviews, always told the peanut butter on the gums story. But even he admitted for the first time in a TV Land special that the peanut butter story was false. The trouble is, his new explanation is just as unbelieveable as the peanut butter theory. He said that Ed was trained, or had simply learned to move his mouth whenever those around him stopped talking. Another BS story, IMO. After all, when Wilber and anyone else were having a conversation in front of Mr. Ed, he never spoke at those times.

They had to have used a method that they had complete control over, to make him move his lips on cue, whenever they wanted to. Many people support the invisible string theory, which may or may not be, but in all the episodes of Mr. Ed that I have watched (and I usually notice things like this) I have never noticed a string or wire. The truth is, that whatever they did, it has never been publicly revealed. I myself wouldn't rule out the possibility that they used a mild electric current on his gums.

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Alan Young might know a little too much about making Ed talk, and I bet it made that horse pretty uncomfortable, and in this day and age, if it ever came out that Mr. Ed was being hurt to make his mouth talk, it'd be front-page news on many newspapers, and PETA would go after whoever made "Mister Ed" with a vengeance (especially Young, for knowingly keeping it a secret).

I've always loved the show, but never believed for a second it was peanut butter, as the horse always moved his mouth on cue. I never noticed a string, so if there were strings, good eye on the poster who pointed that out. I don't have any of the DVDs yet (I'd much rather have basic seasons), and I bet there will never be a "How Mister Ed Talked" featurette as a bonus!

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I had heard about the peanut butter for a while. But then I saw someone say it wasn't it. But they wouldn't say what it really was.

Why don't they say what it really was?

We had timing! Tika-tika-tika-tika! Timing! TOCKA-TOCKA-TOCKA-TOCKA!

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With wide string?






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everyone always overlooks the most obvious answer. ED REALLY COULD TALK my proof ; there are 100's of talking jackass' in congress

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SEE! I always knew he could talk. Gotta show my mom that post. She would never believe me when I'd say Ed could talk. She also didn't believe that he could play the harmonica, the cymbals, drums, trumpet...she didn't even think he could dance. I won! Gimme my money :)

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finally, a right thinking woman!!!! i think i love you



the more people I meet, the more I prefer the company of my cats



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HOW THEY GOT MR. ED TO TALK: TAKE TWO

Dear Cecil:

In your discussion of how they got Mr. Ed to talk, you cite actor Alan Young's claim that it was peanut butter stuck between Ed's cheek and gum. This is Mr. Young's stock answer. However, the enclosed video shows indisputable evidence that the "marionette theory" [i.e., Ed's handler pulled strings to make him talk] was at work at least some of the time. The video shows excerpts from a few episodes where the lighting and camera angle reveal the very visible nylon "bit" being pulled for each word Ed spoke. If you don't see the nylon under Ed's neck, then look for it running behind Ed, out of camera range. Some may claim that a nylon bit was needed in order to have Ed turn his head or perform some other movement without his trainer having to be in the camera shot, but the evidence is clear that the bit was also used when Ed was standing still and merely had to talk. Alan Young has every right not to reveal the whole truth about Ed's talking methods; it is the wonder and mystique of "how was it done?" that keeps the Mr. Ed television series alive. I do think peanut butter may have been used some of the time, but though I am a great admirer of Mr. Young, I thought you should know he was not telling you the whole truth. --Joseph Fox, Los Angeles

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Thank you!
I knew I saw that string several times, which I why I created this post. A lot of the time you can see it threaded into his halter (which is why he wears it all the time).

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[deleted]

Thanks to the original poster(s). Not sure if the URL was moved but for some reason I couldn't access it. But I found the interview here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbjysnCsuqw&feature=related

This is part 4 of a 6 part interview with Alan Young. Very interesting.
I found it by googling on: "Alan Young" archive interview

We bought two Mister Ed DVD's so we could watch the shows with my daughter.
I had never seen the original show, just a few reruns as it was on a few years before me but it is a wholesome and wonderful show that the whole family can watch. What a great show for kids. My daughter still enjoys watching it even though she is in junior high now.

Some famous guests stars as mentioned like baseball great Sandy Koufax, Clint Eastwood and Donna Douglas, Zsa Zsa Gabor, May West and my favorite George Burns. Quite funny how Burns calls Ed, Horse and Ed calls George Burns, Burns.

I heard they were going to try remaking this show but that that effort fell apart. I'm not surprised because I would think you would really need just the right actors and just the right horse to pull it off. They'd probably rework it for modern audiences and I would think that would take alot of the charm away.


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I noticed when Ed talked, his halter moved, so something was pulling it. A transparent fishing line threaded through a ring on the halter sounds plausible.

==============================
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Alan Young also said that there came a point when he would stop talking and Ed would start flapping his gums. This is completely plausible-anyone who has been around horses knows that come horses love to play with their lips. Horses are incredibly smart animals and I wouldn't be surprised if this was the truth. It could be a combination of everything...who knows.

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In the day, the rumor was that Ed couldn't really talk. The voice was done by a ventriloquist donkey.

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that could be true every time ,I turn on the tv there is some jackass from Washington talking about things that Ed probably knew more about

the more people I meet, the more I prefer the company of my cats



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<<<

In the day, the rumor was that Ed couldn't really talk. The voice was done by a ventriloquist donkey.

Ed's voice was done by Francis the talking mule. ;)

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<<<everyone always overlooks the most obvious answer. ED REALLY COULD TALK

yes. I even remember a Nick at Nite promo for Mr. Ed where they said Ed could really talk and that it was actually Wilbur they put a string on to make Wilbur's mouth move so that it looked like Wilbur was talking.




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No Scooby, it's much simpler than that. The reason that Mister Ed speaks such excellent English is that he was educated at a private school. Had he been educated at a public school he would have been talking in Spanish or Ebonics.

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I know this is old, but I found this explanation. Not sure, because anyone can add to Wiki.

<<<<<<<<<<
The actual mule who appeared on-screen was not a male at all, but a female named Molly, selected because she was easy to handle. According to author Pauline Bartel, Universal paid $350 for the animal, but made millions from the film series. Molly was trained by Les Hilton, a former apprentice of Will Rogers, who would also go on to train Bamboo Harvester, the horse who played Mr. Ed. To create the impression that the mule was actually talking, Hilton used a thread fed into the animal's mouth, which when tugged, would cause Molly to try to remove it by moving her lips (the same technique used for Mr. Ed).
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_the_Talking_Mule

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<<<The reason that Mister Ed speaks such excellent English is that he was educated at a private school. Had he been educated at a public school he would have been talking in Spanish or Ebonics.

not in the 1960's, he wouldn't have.


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It's definitely a string attached to a pole. I've seen every episode of Mr. Ed and I'm currently re-watching them on DVD. You can spot it in several episodes. It's threaded through his halter and attached to something in his mouth. Seems to support the theory that they simply tugged on a piece of nylon mesh that tickled his gums. I have 28 horses and can guarantee that if they were causing him pain, it would have showed in his body language. And it doesn't.

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[deleted]

<<<The idea of a talking horse is blasphemous.

not really. As I understand it, the idea for "Mr. Ed" came from "Francis the Talking Mule".

And the idea for "Francis the Talking Mule" came from the Bible where a donkey or mule talked to a human.

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[deleted]

Mister Ed is currently being show on Hallmark HD. That string is as clear as can be. It actually appears to be a black string. If you don't see it, walk up to your tv and get in close it's there in every scene he talks in.

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Wow, now that I see mister Ed in HD I do see the string pulling. Kind of kills the magic. Hope it didn't hurt him.

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Psssst....don't tell anybody, but Mr. Ed couldn't really talk.


This will be the high point of my day; it's all downhill from here.

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They used a piece of fishing line that was tied to the halter on one side and then run under the horse's upper lip - over his upper gums - and then out the other side. You can always see the halter moving slightly whenever Ed "talks". The horse does not seem to be in any real discomfort when he's being made to "talk" - at least, not on camera.

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The peanut butter story is not true. The fishing line story is true. I've been researching "Mr. Ed" & the people in the show, the way the horse was trained, etc, for over a year. I've interviewed a woman there when Ed was trained, & during the period Ed was on set, as well as other folks.

The horse was NEVER hurt. It's certain that Les Hilton, Mr. Ed's trainer, would have never hurt him, or allowed him to be hurt. And Allan Lane (voice of Mr. Ed), was more attuned to horses than he was to people. He would not have taken part in any effort which allowed a horse to be in any danger. He was not only the voice, but also a horse owner (from way back in his days as an onscreen actor in "Red Ryder" & "Rocky Lane") as well as a trainer & racer of professional horses.

Mr. Ed was a talented horse. People don't always give horses--or other animals, for that matter--credit for intuition. They're easily trainable. Ed got to the point where he knew when Allan Lane was on set (Allan wasn't often on the set, only when the horse speaking parts were req'd). Ed would be required to respond to commands. Ed came to know Allan's voice--Allan was involved w/Ed off the set as well as on, since he & Les Hilton were very good friends & spent time together @ Les' stable & home--& understood that if Allan's voice was in play, he, Ed, would be required to "work."

All this, & a heckuva lot more, to be included in my upcoming book, "I Am Mr. Ed ... Allan 'Rocky' Lane Revealed." To be published later this year.


Linda J. Alexander
author, "I Am Mr. Ed ... Allan 'Rocky' Lane Revealed"
http://www.lindajalexander.net
http://www.authorsden.com/lindajalexander

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Horses are very smart animals.... its easy you could train one to respond by raising his lips like that on cue.

My Arabian does the same lip movement on his own, its all in finding how to get the horse to do it on command then the reward to follow.

To gauge the intelligence of a horse think of an average 7 or 8 year old child as far as mental capacity.

to further see this look up Beautiful Jim Key a horse from the mid to late 1800's that could read and write.

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