Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mister Ed (1961)

Today it is fondly remembered as an animal-themed situation comedy that appealed equally to adults and children, but Mister Ed also set the mold for some of the most popular and regrettable comedies of the 1960s and offered a profound perspective on man's relationship with other animals as well as himself.

The show's origins have been much documented, if somewhat inconsistently. According to the human star of the show, Alan Young, in his memoir Mister Ed and Me, director, producer, and creator Arthur Lubin first tried to recruit Young for the lead role in 1952 after selling his rights to the Francis the Talking Mule feature films, which Lubin also directed. By 1952 Lubin had directed three Francis features starring Donald O'Connor as a soldier who can hear Army mule Francis talking, but nobody else can. However, Lubin would go on to direct three more Francis pictures from 1953-55, so it is unclear what Lubin's stake in the Francis series was during this time. Young appears to have misremembered a few other details about the series, so it is possible he is mistaken here as well. Another source claims that Lubin wanted to bring the Francis idea to television but did not own the rights. In any case, his secretary, Sonia Chernus is credited with having told him about a series of stories about a talking horse named Mister Ed written by Walter R. Brooks and published in magazines beginning in 1937. Lubin was able to acquire the TV rights to these stories, which are listed as the inspirational source on the credits for each episode of the TV series.

Though Young turned down Lubin's initial offer, Lubin was able to secure the financial backing of George Burns, who also served as executive producer. Burns and Lubin filmed a pilot called "The Wonderful World of Wilbur Pope" in 1958, but none of the networks were interested in picking it up. When they brought on producer Al Simon, he suggested key changes. They also decided to change the main human's last name from Pope to Post to avoid any religious connotations. The original pilot was edited down to a 15-minute presentation, which was used to get Young to sign on and was shown to the D'Arcy Advertising Agency, whose chief loved it. Though they knew they would be unable to get any of the networks to take on a show they had already rejected, advertising agency head Steve Mudge took the mini-pilot to one of his clients, the Studebaker automobile company, and in a novel arrangement in which local dealers across the country chipped in a small amount from each car sale, they agreed to sponsor it as a syndicated program, with each dealer again buying airtime on their local station. Young misremembers that Studebaker had hoped to use the show as a way to promote their newest and most innovative model, the Avanti, but the Avanti wasn't introduced until 1962, and all the automobiles shown in the first season are variations of the Studebaker Lark.

The show was an immediate hit with the viewers but the Studebaker Lark was not, and Studebaker had to pull out as sponsor after the show's initial 26-episode season. Young recounts that fortunately Al Simon and Filmways Studios head Marty Ransohoff were having lunch at the same restaurant where CBS executives were meeting to discuss programming for the upcoming fall season. CBS programming director James Aubrey walked in and casually asked Simon and Ransohoff what was new. When they told him their dilemma, he immediately replied that he was looking to fill a spot on his Sunday night schedule, and just like that Mister Ed made the transition from syndication to network TV. Though Young describes this chain of events as happening at the end of the show's first season, whose last episode aired July 2, 1961, TV Guide reported the move to CBS as a done deal in its May 6 issue. The same issue revealed the secret that trainer Les Hilton used to make Ed appear to talk--inserting a nylon thread under his lip so that he would move it to try to get rid of the thread. Young claims in his memoir that this secret was not revealed until many years after the show had stopped airing and that he had helped spread a rumor that Hilton used peanut butter rather than nylon thread. Young says that eventually Hilton was able to dispense with the thread because Ed knew he would be prompted to speak whenever Young stopped talking.

Though it never topped the ratings, Mister Ed was popular enough to serve as the template for many zany-themed comedies later in the decade--My Favorite Martian, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and, less successfully, My Mother the Car. Each of these series features a magical being whose powers or existence is known to a single individual who derives some benefit from the magical being but must go to great lengths to disguise the being's true nature. The comedy from each series springs primarily from the character privy to the magic trying to hide it from "normal" characters. In Mister Ed, the magical power is obviously the horse's ability to talk, and not only talk, but think and feel like an intelligent human. Ed chooses to talk to only Wilbur because he says he likes him. Wilbur comes to own Ed in the series' first episode "The First Meeting" (January 7, 1961) when newlyweds Wilbur and Carol Post buy a house that comes with a backyard stable in which Ed resides. The previous owner left Ed behind for the new owner to do with as he pleases. Wilbur quickly realizes that no one will believe him if he tells them his horse can talk, particularly when the horse refuses to talk whenever anyone but Wilbur is around. However, Ed does talk on the telephone since the party on the other end of the line can't tell that he's a horse, and in one episode, "Kiddy Park" (January 26, 1961), he talks to a small child because he says that no one will believe the child.

But what makes Mister Ed more profound than other zany comedies is that it depicts an animal as the intellectual equal of a human. In fact, Ed is often superior to his human counterparts. In "The Contest" (June 18, 1961), Ed is able to correctly answer geography questions from a radio quiz show when Wilbur and the Addisons cannot. He proves himself a skilled songwriter in "Ed, the Songwriter" (April 6, 1961) and "Mister Ed's Blues" (November 19, 1961). And he turns out to be adept at selling real estate over the phone in "Ed, the Salesman" (December 3, 1961). Meanwhile, Wilbur, while a skilled architect, is a poor magician, as seen in "Little Boy" (May 11, 1961), and generally a fumbling klutz, as depicted when he tries to fix the Addison's floor lamp in "Ed, the Redecorator" (October 22, 1961). Carol Post is a stereotypical housewife of the era, fixing meals for Wilbur and shopping or getting her hair done, though she does also volunteer for the Humane Society in "Ed, the Stoolpigeon" (April 13, 1961) and goes on television in a voter turnout effort in "Ed, the Voter" (November 5, 1961). Roger Addison is a retired real estate developer who doubles as a greedy cheapskate, while his wife Kay is a shopaholic. Ed, meanwhile, has a heart of gold, rescuing his mother from a life of hard labor in "Ed's Mother" (March 23, 1961), saving a little girl on a runaway horse in "Ed, the Hero" (November 26, 1961), sticking up for a bullied little boy in "Little Boy," and helping a hired cook finally get the marriage proposal she has waited for in "A Man for Velma" (April 27, 1961). In short, Ed has the most well-adjusted personality of any of the main characters.

It's also somewhat poignant that Wilbur appears like a lunatic to his family and friends merely for attending to the needs and desires of his companion animal. When Wilbur says that Ed can't go on a trip to a mountain resort because of his fear of heights, Roger Addison assumes he is nutty and refers him to a psychoanalyst in "Psychoanalyst Show" (April 20, 1961), but Wilbur uses the session with the psychoanalyst to find a way to cure Ed of his acrophobia. Even Wilbur occasionally needs a lesson in how to treat an animal when he is riding Ed in the park and digs his heels into Ed's ribs to get him to speed up, only to have Ed remark, "How would you like it if I did that to you?" This comment and others like it during 1961 episodes emphasize that Ed the horse deserves to be treated with the same respect as a human being, and even though this sentiment is played for laughs, the primary narrative of the series is that Ed is Wilbur's closest companion. Other animal-themed shows from the era--Lassie, Flipper, and Daktari portray a positive image of animals, but they often are given a subservient role, as a helper to their more heroic human counterparts. But on Mister Ed, there is no mistake that Ed is Wilbur's equal.

And while it's easy to think that Ed might deserve equal treatment because he's a special animal, the episode "Hunting Show" (November 12, 1961) suggests that all animals deserve more humane treatment. In this story Wilbur and Roger plan a hunting trip, initially without their wives until Carol tricks Wilbur into thinking that she needs the fresh air outside the city, and once Carol is invited Kay has to come along, too. But before Wilbur and Roger set out to shoot ducks, a cute duckling wanders through their camp and Carol asks Wilbur how he could think of shooting an adult duck that might be this duckling's parent. Wilbur isn't dissuaded, yet, but once they are out in the brush with Ed as their packhorse, Ed repeatedly foils Roger's attempts to get off a shot by bumping him or swishing his tail in his face. The wandering duckling shows up again, and Wilbur is finally convinced to give up the hunt, but Roger, always the more callous of the two, vows to stay and get his money's worth from his new $375 shotgun. After Ed stages a stunt with some ketchup as fake blood in a ruse to get Wilbur to take him back home, Wilbur not only swears off hunting forever when he thinks that Ed was hit by a stray shot from another hunter, but he demands that Roger throw both of their guns in the lake. Again, though the scenes are always played for laughs, the question remains, if a horse can be your best companion simply because he chooses to talk to you, how can you shoot another animal for sport? 

Ed shows that he can communicate with other humans through other methods such as tapping out a license plate number with his hoof in "Ed, the Witness" (March 16, 1961), thereby convincing a Mexican judge that a con man ran into Wilbur's trailer and then charged him to repair it. In "The Horsetronaut" (October 8, 1961) he convinces an army scientist of his intelligence by circumventing the scientist's test, which would have shocked him if he had picked the wrong one of two carrots. After the scientist describes how the test works to an army private, Ed unplugs the test machine and then eats the carrot. Within the logic of this TV series, how can you assume an animal is less intelligent than yourself when it may just be a case of the animal not communicating with you in a way that you can understand?

The humor in the series derives from overturning man's position as ruler of the animal kingdom. Ed is usually able to get what he wants by outwitting Wilbur and other humans. Humans like Roger Addison find this idea ridiculous--they cannot believe any other species has the power to communicate with us and to believe that they can is madness. But perhaps we are the ones who are insane for believing that we are so uniquely gifted and isolated above all other species. Though it has always been considered a kind of screwball comedy, Mister Ed also addressed issues we are still wrestling with about our place in the natural world.

The memorable theme song for Mister Ed, which did not include lyrics until the show's 8th episode, was written by the Songwriters Hall of Fame team of Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, who provided the singing in the vocal version. The duo first met and began collaborating while students at the University of Pennsylvania. Evans was a high school valedictorian and played clarinet in the school band. He graduated from Penn's prestigious Wharton School of Business with a degree in Economics. After playing together in the university's dance orchestra, the two continued their collaboration after graduation and got their first big break when their song "G'Bye Now" was used in Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson's 1939 Broadway revue Hellzapoppin'. In 1946 they signed with Paramount Studios in Hollywood and over the next decade won three Academy Awards for "Buttons and Bows" (1948), "Mona Lisa" (1950), and "Que Sera Sera" (1956). They were also nominated but did not win the following year for "Tammy's in Love" from Tammy and the Bachelor. They wrote the Christmas standard "Silver Bells" in 1951, initially intended for the 1951 Bob Hope film The Lemon Drop Kid, wrote the instrumental theme song for the TV series Bonanza, and collaborated with Henry Mancini on "Dear Heart" in 1964. Livingston also co-wrote "The Twelfth of Never" with Paul Francis Webster. Livingston passed away at age 86 on October 17, 2001, and Evans died February 15, 2007 at age 92. 

The complete series has been released on DVD by Shout!Factory.

The Actors

Alan Young

Angus Young was born in North Shields, Northumberland in northern England, the son of a shipyard bookkeeper and sometime midwife. After relocating the family to Edinburgh, Scotland, his father decided to move them to Canada. After a harrowing passage that included their ship running aground on Anticosti Island, they finally landed in Quebec City, from which they took a train to British Columbia. At first they settled in the tiny town of Caulfied, but when his father had difficulty finding work, they then moved to West Vancouver. As a child Young suffered from asthma and was forced to remain indoors for months every year, but he used the time wisely, reading voraciously and devouring radio comedies such that he was able to repeat the skits verbatim. This talent got him a spot in a talent show hosted by the local Scottish Caledonia Society, which in turn led to a regular spot on Vancouver's CJOR radio station and eventually his own show on the national Canadian station CBC. There he was heard by a New York-based agent who hired him as a summer replacement for Eddie Cantor. When the summer ended, he was given a regular spot and was able to hire his own writers and actors, one of whom was Jim Backus. But Young wanted to try other things as well and after a failed joke using 20th Century Fox's Daryl F. Zanuck's name and a subsequent apology and plug for Fox's newest film, Young got a screen test, which didn't go well but introduced him to a producer who agreed to film a 5-minute sketch he had written that turned out to be his ticket to Hollywood. His first film, Forever Amber, flopped, but his next one, Margie, was a hit, leading to more major roles in Chicken Every Sunday and Mr. Belvedere Goes to College. When Hollywood studios began shrinking in the late 1940s, he returned to radio, hosting his own show and playing a supporting role on Jimmy Durante's radio show. When he was dropped from both, he tried the theater circuit with his comedy show, but that also didn't pan out. So he returned to Hollywood and auditioned at CBS for his own live TV show, which went on the air in 1950. The show ran for three seasons and garnered two Emmys, but the strain of writing and performing a live, sketch-based weekly program wore Young down, and when he saw other TV comics, like Jack Benny and Lucille Ball, switching to film, he demanded the same and was turned down. Fortunately, he had just signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and returned to feature films. But his first picture, Aaron Slick From Punkin Crick, bombed and the next one, Androcles and the Lion, failed to live up to the hype, which left him in search of work again, which he found as a guest star on a series of TV programs. He was given his own show back in England, but it did not last long, simply because British programs have much shorter seasons. However, he was able to bounce back in the George Pal-directed MGM musical Tom Thumb in 1958 and struck gold playing opposite Rod Taylor in another Pal production, The Time Machine in 1960.

After Mister Ed was canceled in 1966, Young tried Broadway, but his one production was savaged by the critics and he left entertainment to work for the Christian Science Church, which also turned out to be a disillusioning experience. Eventually he was able to return to Hollywood as a voice actor, first producing a record album for Disney titled Mickey's Christmas Carol and then as the voice of Scrooge McDuck in a variety of productions, most notably the TV series DuckTales. He also provided voices for Battle of the Planets, The Incredible Hulk, The Dukes, Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, and The Ren and Stimpy Show. He has also logged occasional guest appearances on programs such as The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, Doogie Howser, M.D. and ER as well as a regular role playing Ed Pepper on Coming of Age in 1988-89. He continues to provide the voice of Scrooge McDuck for Disney video games and currently resides, at age 95, in Woodland Hills, California.

Connie Hines

Constance Faith Hines was born into a family of performers in Dedham, Massachusetts. Her mother was an actor as was her father, who also taught acting and staged theatrical performances. She said she caught the acting bug after playing her father's daughter in a Boston production of Life With Father when she was 5 years old. Though she failed to land a part in her high school senior play, she was voted the most popular girl in school and elected class secretary. A teenage marriage to an insurance salesman had her move to Jacksonville, Florida, where she modeled and acted on radio and in theatrical productions. After a divorce, she moved to New York and trained with the Helen Hayes Equity Group. In 1958 she became a regular contestant on the game show Dotto and was later called to testify about being coached to give correct answers when the show was found to have been rigged. However, her appearances on the show caught the attention of a movie studio, revealed when host Jack Narz presented her with a telegram live on the air. She soon thereafter appeared in the British TV series Rendezvous and then landed a string of guest appearances on American TV shows such as Whirlybirds, Bachelor Father, Coronado 9, Perry Mason, Sea Hunt, and Shotgun Slade, as well as a starring role in the stock-car-themed feature film Thunder in Carolina before landing the role of Carol Post on Mister Ed.

After Mister Ed's cancelation in 1966, Hines made only a few TV guest appearances on shows such as Bonanza, Love, American Style, and Mod Squad before retiring from acting after marrying producer and entertainment lawyer Lee Savin in 1970. In 1989 she and Savin moved to Dana Point, California on the recommendation of Alan Young. There she hosted an animal rescue TV show on a local cable access channel. She and Young performed in the theatrical production Love Letters in Irvine, CA in 1996. Savin died in 1995. Hines passed away from a heart condition at the age of 78 on December 18, 2009.

Larry Keating

Lawrence Keating was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1896. Though little is known of his early years other than being the nephew of heavyweight boxing champion Tommy Burns, Keating became a radio announcer for NBC in the 1940s and toured with Bob Hope on his military camp shows during World War II. In 1945 he moved to ABC Radio as the announcer for This Is Your FBI and remained with the show until 1953. During that period he also began appearing in feature films such as Whirlpool, I Was a Shoplifter, The Mating Season, When Worlds Collide, and Francis Goes to the Races, which introduced him to future Mister Ed director Arthur Lubin. In 1953 he took over the role of George Burns and Gracie Allen's neighbor Harry Morton on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and continued the role when Allen retired in 1958 on The George Burns Show. Since Burns was also an executive producer on Mister Ed, Keating was an easy choice for Wilbur Post's peptic neighbor Roger Addison, a role somewhat similar to his earlier Harry Morton. Keating contracted leukemia in early 1963 but continued working on Mister Ed until a week before his death, his last appearance being on the Season 4 premier. He died August 26, 1963 in Hollywood at the age of 67 and posthumously appeared in 1964 in the Don Knotts feature film The Incredible Mr. Limpet about a man who morphs into a talking fish. The film was directed by, of course, Arthur Lubin.

Edna Skinner

Born in Washington, D.C., but growing up in Oregon, Edna Skinner began her show business career after graduating from the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts by appearing in vaudeville and Manhattan night clubs before moving over to radio, where she did a number of character and animal voices as well as sound effects. Her big break came when she was hired by Rodgers & Hammerstein to replace Celeste Holm as Ado Annie in their original Broadway production of Oklahoma! During World War II she helped organize War Bond rallies and made her feature film debut in 1948 in the Frank Sinatra/Kathryn Grayson vehicle The Kissing Bandit. She appeared in Easy to Love and The Long, Long Trailer in 1953 before landing the role of Maggie the cook on the TV version of Topper that same year. She appeared in guest roles on a few more TV shows and the feature films The Second Greatest Sex and Friendly Persuasion in the mid-1950s before being cast as Kay Addison on Mister Ed in 1961.

When Larry Keating died suddenly in 1963, the Mister Ed  producers contemplated keeping her character on the show as a widow living with her brother Paul Fenton, played by Jack Albertson, but decided to get rid of the character at the end of Season 4, leaving her out of a job. She had guest spots on single episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies and Daniel Boone in 1964 but then retired from acting. She became a renowned angler, editing an outdoor magazine and representing two fishing tackle companies with her companion of 40 years Jean Fish. She wrote over 280 articles on fly fishing for a variety of publications and was awarded a trophy by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in 1962 for catching a 31-pound albacore the previous year. Skinner and Fish retired to the southern Oregon coast in the 1970s, and Skinner published a memoir and history of the area The Heart of Lakeside in 1978. She died of heart failure in North Bend, Oregon at the age of 82 on August 8, 2003.

Allan Lane

Harry Leonard Albershart was born in Mishikawa, Indiana and according to some reports grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. According to one account, he attended Notre Dame University and lettered in football, baseball, and basketball but left school to join a Cincinnati repertory theater group. However, Notre Dame has no record of his having been there. He also founded his own photography company and did some modeling, all by age 20. He was discovered by a talent scout from Fox Studios in 1929 and moved to Hollywood, appearing in his first feature film that same year, Not Quite Decent. When he couldn't rise above supporting, often uncredited roles, he left Hollywood in 1932 and apparently played semi-pro football but returned in 1936 and began getting better parts, such as in Shirley Temple's Stowaway. By 1937 he left Fox for Republic Studios and won the lead role in The Duke Comes Back. But Lane found his first great success playing Mountie Dave King in the serial King of the Royal Mounted in 1940, followed by The Yukon Patrol and King of the Mounties over the next two years. He also began appearing in westerns such as The Law West of Tombstone in 1938, Daredevils of the West in 1943, Sheriff of Sundown in 1944, and The Topeka Terror in 1945. In 1946 he played Red Ryder in the first of seven features produced over the next two years. And in 1947 he began his period of greatest success starring as Allan "Rocky" Lane with his horse Black Jack in a string of 39 feature films from The Wild Frontier in 1947 to El Paso Stampede in 1953. He returned to the role of Red Ryder for the TV series of the same name in 1956, but it lasted only a single season and his career began to wane, perhaps in part due to his reputation as an egotistical scene-stealer who was hard to work with. As Alan Young tells it, Lane was crashing at Mister Ed trainer Lester Hilton's modest ranch when Young, Hines and the producers stopped by for some publicity photos with the newly acquire palomino that would be the star of the upcoming series. When Lane called out to Hilton, "Hey, Lester, where do you keep the coffee?" Young and the producers knew that they had found the voice for their talking horse.

At first Lane was embarrassed about being a horse's voice and demanded that he not be listed in the credits. When the show proved wildly popular, he asked to be listed, but the die had been cast and the producers refused to list Lane's name but gave him a raise instead. Because of Lane's prickly personality, the producers at one point considered replacing him, but despite auditioning several other voices, they felt that no one but Lane could fill the bill. Young says he doesn't know whether Lane was aware of this attempt to replace him but afterword he seemed to smooth off his rough edges when interacting with the rest of the crew. His work on Mister Ed was the last of his entertainment career. He died of cancer at the age of 64 on October 27, 1973.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 1, Episode 2, "The Ventriloquist": Peter Leeds (Tenner Smith on Trackdown and George Colton on Pete and Gladys) plays Roger's friend Hal Robbins.
Season 1, Episode 3, "Busy Wife": Donna Douglas (shown on the left, played Barbara Simmons on Checkmate and Elly Mae Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies) plays model Jane Parker. 

Season 1, Episode 4, "Kiddy Park": James Flavin (Lt. Donovan on Man With a Camera and Robert Howard on The Roaring 20's) plays stable owner Mr. Kramer. Richard Reeves (Mr. Murphy on Date With the Angels) plays the kiddy park owner. Dorothy Konrad (Mrs. Trilling on The Last Resort) plays a mother at the park. Bobby Buntock (Harold Baxter on Hazel) plays her son.

Season 1, Episode 5, "Stable for Three": Olan Soule (Aristotle "Tut" Jones on Captain Midnight, Ray Pinker on Dragnet (1952-59), and Fred Springer on Arnie) plays Wilbur's client Mr. Goodwin.

Season 1, Episode 6, "Sorority House": Carol Byron (Kitty Mathews on Oh, Those Bells) plays sorority sister Linda Rutledge. Reva Rose (Marcy on That Girl, Nurse Mildred McInerny on The New Temperatures Rising Show, and Blanche Fedders on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) plays sorority sister Sandy Crane. Norma Varden (appeared in National Velvet, Strangers on a Train, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Witness for the Prosecution, and Doctor Doolittle and played Harriet Johnson on Hazel) plays the sorority mother Mrs. Davis. Kip King (voice of Shecky on The Biskitts and played Ronald Sandler on Charlie & Co. and Tailor Smurf on The Smurfs) plays fraternity brother Norman Howard.

Season 1, Episode 7, "Ed, the Lover": Les Tremayne (shown on the right, starred in The War of the Worlds (1953), The Story of Ruth, The Slime People, and The Fortune Cookie and played Inspector Richard Queen in The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen) plays film director Fred Briggs.

Season 1, Episode 8, "The Pageant Show": William Fawcett (Clayton on Duffy's Tavern, Marshal George Higgins on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Pete Wilkey on Fury)plays  veterinarian Dr. Connors. Sid Tomack (Jim Gillis on The Life of Riley) plays phone repairman Hibbs. 

Season 1, Episode 9, "The Aunt": Eleanor Audley (shown on the left, played Mother Eunice Douglas on Green Acres and Mrs. Vincent on My Three Sons) plays Wilbur's Aunt Martha. 

Season 1, Episode 10, "The Missing Statue": Gage Clarke (Mr. Botkin on Gunsmoke)  plays antiques store owner Mr. Phillips. Bill Erwin (Joe Walters on My Three Sons and Glenn Diamond on Struck by Lightning) plays customer Mr. Wood.

Season 1, Episode 11, "Ed, the Witness": Natividad Vacio (Fronk on Father Knows Best) plays Mexican mechanic Arturo. Roberto Contreras (Pedro on The High Chapparal) plays policeman Miguel.

Season 1, Episode 12, "Ed's Mother": Henry Norell (Henry Slocum on Oh, Those Bells) plays farm owner Mr. Dowd. 

Season 1, Episode 13, "Ed, the Tout": John Eldredge (starred in The Woman in Red, The Murder of Dr. Harrigan, and The Black Cat and played Harry Archer on Meet Corliss Archer) plays racetrack steward Mr. Gray.

Season 1, Episode 14, "Ed, the Songwriter": Jack Albertson (shown on the right, starred in Days of Wine and Roses, Kissin' Cousins, The Flim-Flam Man, and Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and played Lt. Harry Evans on The Thin Man, Walter Burton on Room for One More, Lt. Cmdr. Virgil Stoner on Ensign O'Toole, and Ed Brown on Chico and the Man) plays Kay Addison's brother Paul Fenton. Kelton Garwood (Beauregard O'Hanlon on Bourbon Street Beat and Percy Crump on Gunsmoke) plays beatnik musician Fuzzy. 

Season 1, Episode 15, "Ed, the Stoolpigeon": Ralph Sanford (Mayor Jim Kelley on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays a policeman.

Season 1, Episode 16, "Psychoanalyst Show": Richard Deacon (shown on the left, see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Dick Van Dyke Show) plays psychoanalyst Bruce Gordon. Jack LaLanne (world famous exercise guru) plays himself. William Boyett (Sgt. Ken Williams on Highway Patrol and Sgt. MacDonald on Adam-12) plays annoyed boyfriend Fred. 

Season 1, Episode 17, "A Man for Velma": Elvia Allman (Aunt Vera on I Married Joan, Jane on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Cora Dithers on Blondie, Mrs. Montague on The Bob Cummings Show, Elverna Bradshaw on The Beverly Hillbillies, and Selma Plout on Petticoat Junction) plays cook Velma. 

Season 1, Episode 18, "Ed's New Shoes": John Qualen (starred in The Three Musketeers (1935), His Girl Friday, The Grapes of Wrath, Angels Over Broadway, Casablanca, Anatomy of a Murder, and A Patch of Blue) plays stable worker Axel. James Flavin (see "Kiddy Park" above) plays his boss Mr. Kramer.

Season 1, Episode 19, "Little Boy": Virginia Christine (was the Folger's Coffee woman in commercials, starred in The Mummy's Curse, The Killers, and Night Wind, and played Ovie Swenson on Tales of Wells Fargo) plays new neighbor Margaret Burch. 

Season 1, Episode 20, "Ed Agrees to Talk": Doris Packer (shown on the right, see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis) plays Humane Society investigator Mrs. Adams. 

Season 1, Episode 22, "The Other Woman": Tom Fadden (Duffield on Broken Arrow, Silas Perry on Cimarron City, and Ben Miller on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction) plays photographer Charley Woods. 

Season 1, Episode 23, "Ed Cries Wolf": Rolf Sedan (Mr. Beasley the Postman on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and Mr. Briggs the Postman on The Addams Family) plays jewelry store owner Pierre. 

Season 1, Episode 24, "The Contest": Lyle Talbot (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) plays radio quizmaster George Hausner. Joe Conley (Ike Godsey on The Waltons) plays photographer Charley Grant.

Season 1, Episode 25, "Pine Lake Lodge": William Bendix (shown on the left, see the biography section for the 1960 post on Overland Trail) plays lodge owner Bill Parker. Coleen Gray (starred in Kiss of Death, Nightmare Alley, The Killing, The Vampire, The Leech Woman, and The Phantom Planet and played Muriel Clifford on McCloud) plays his daughter Ann. Nancy Kulp (Pamela Livingstone on The Bob Cummings Show, Jane Hathaway on The Beverly Hillbillies, Mrs. Gruber on The Brian Keith Show, and Mrs. Hopkins on Sanford and Son) plays housekeeper Martha. Elvia Allman (see "A Man for Velma" above) plays charity chairwoman Ida Brenner. John Qualen (see "Ed's New Shoes" above) plays Parker's friend Milo. Will Wright (Ben Weaver on The Andy Griffith Show) plays miserly landowner Mr. Thompson. John Bryant (Dr. Carl Spaulding on The Virginian) plays forest ranger Jerry. Marjorie Bennett (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis) plays a birdwatcher.

Season 1, Episode 26, "Wilbur Sells Ed": Frank Wilcox (Henry Van Buren on Waterfront, Beecher Asbury on The Untouchables, Mr. Brewster on The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, and the judge 8 times on Perry Mason) plays jewelry store owner real estate developer Fred Gilbert. 

Season 2, Episode 2, "The Horsetronaut": Francis de Sales (shown on the right, played Lt. Bill Weigand on Mr. & Mrs. North, Ralph Dobson on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Sheriff Maddox on Two Faces West, and Rusty Lincoln on Days of Our Lives) plays shopping center developer Mr. Mencken. Donnelly Rhodes (appeared in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and played Dutch Leitner on Soap, Charlie on Report to Murphy, Art Foster on Double Trouble, Dr. Grant Roberts on Danger Bay, Harry Abramowitz on The Heights, R.J. Williams on Street Legal, Det. Leo Shannon on Da Vinci's Inquest, and Dr. Sherman Cottle on Battlestar Gallactica) plays an Army base guard. Stanley Clements (Stanislaus "Duke" Coveleskie in 6 Bowery Boys feature films) plays Army private Charley. Hazel Shermet (the voice of Henrietta Hippo on New Zoo Revue) plays Wilbur's secretary Miss Culbertson.

Season 2, Episode 3, "Ed's Ancestors": Robert Foulk (Ed Davis on Father Knows Best, Sheriff Miller on Lassie, Joe Kingston on Wichita Town, Mr. Wheeler on Green Acres, and Phillip Toomey on The Rifleman) plays farmer Fred Higgins. Reed Howes (one-time Arrow Collar Man model and silent film leading man in features such as High Speed Lee, Lightning Romance, The Snob Buster, and Romantic Rogue) plays a policeman.

Season 2, Episode 4, "Ed, the Redecorator": Hayden Rorke (shown on the right, starred in Father's Little Dividend, When Worlds Collide, and Pillow Talk and played Steve on Mr. Adams and Eve, Col. Farnsworth on No Time for Sergeants, Dr. Alfred Bellows on I Dream of Jeannie, and Bishop on Dr. Kildare) plays interior decorator Beverly Cavell.

Season 2, Episode 5, "Ed, the Jumper": Alan Hale, Jr. (shown on the left, played Biff Baker on Biff Baker U.S.A., Casey Jones on Casey Jones, and The Skipper on Gilligan's Island) plays Wilbur's college friend Karl Dickinson. Donna Douglas (shown on the right, see "Busy Wife" above) plays his wife Blanche. 

Season 2, Episode 6, "Ed, the Voter": Charles Meredith (starred in The Perfect Woman, Beyond, and The Cave Girl and played Secretary of Space Drake on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger and Dr. LeMoyne Snyder on The Court of Last Resort) plays the mayor. 

Season 2, Episode 8, "Mister Ed's Blues": Jack Albertson (see "Ed, the Songwriter" above) returns as Paul Fenton. Reed Howes (see "Ed's Ancestors" above) plays horse owner Harvey Wells.

Season 2, Episode 9, "Ed, the Hero": Addison Richards (shown on the left, starred in Boys Town, They Made Her a Spy, Flying Tigers, and The Deerslayer and played Doc Calhoun on Trackdown and Doc Landy on The Deputy) plays millionaire developer Mr. Thorndyke. Eddie Quillan (starred in The Grapes of Wrath, Mandarin Mystery, Mutiny on the Bounty, and Hi, Good Lookin'! and played Eddie Edson on Julia and Poco Loco on Hell Town) plays a newspaper photographer.

 Season 2, Episode 11, "Ed and the Elephant": Henry Corden (shown on the right, played Carlo on The Count of Monte Cristo, and Babbitt on The Monkees and did voicework on The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, The Atom Ant Show, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, and Return to the Planet of the Apes) plays magician The Great Mordini.

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