Ink Well (penpusher) wrote in spaceagers,
Ink Well

The WTF Episode of "Mister Ed"

Maybe this was the concept that started it all. It was October, 1961, and CBS picked up a new syndicated television series that had been running for several months called "Mister Ed."

As life in America's suburbs seemed to get duller and duller for those that were living there, it also seemed that life on America's Television Suburbs started to get odder, funnier and more fantasy based. And one of the earliest examples of this fantasy version of this out-of-urban setting was this situation comedy, set in an area right near Los Angeles.

An architect, Wilbur Post (Alan Young) and his wife Carol (Connie Hines) "inherited" a palomino horse named Mister Ed, when they moved into their new "country" digs. What they didn't know was Mister Ed had a hidden talent: he could understand human speech and talk (voiced by Allan "Rocky" Lane).

Apparently Ed had a particular issue with talking to people. He would only speak directly to his owner Wilbur, which caused no end of problems with people like the Post's neighbors. However, the equine seemed to have no problem speaking to anyone and everyone on the telephone, where no one would know his identity.

Right away, we have a stable full of WTF, since there's an awful lot of horsing around just with this premise. But we exponentially multiply it with this particular episode of the program.

Now, being near Hollywood, it wasn't a stretch to have occasional brushes with some of the famous people in the neighborhood. Ed had a tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers and met Manager Leo Durocher and a few of his players. That episode definitely qualified as the runner up to this one, as who lets a horse try out for a Major League Baseball team?

Ed cozied up to screen legend Mae West in another unlikely scenario.

But the title of this episode is simply "Clint Eastwood Meets Mister Ed."

Back in the day, long before Eastwood was winning Academy Awards for directing films, acting with orangutans or talking with empty chairs, he was a TV star on a show called "Rawhide," one of those Westerns that used to be so prevalent and so popular during that era.

Having such a tough guy turning up on a silly sitcom like this one may have been as likely as Richard Pryor appearing in a movie with Superman, and yet it happened!

It all begins when Wilbur comes home later than expected having missed their Town Meeting (something, quite frankly, Wilbur never really liked attending so it was suspicious) and tries to explain to Carol what happened: Ed escaped his stable and he had to track him down. (WTF? How does that explanation fit?) Carol sits there, stonefaced and practically ignoring her husband, until he volunteers to sleep out in the barn. Then she finally says "Okay." (WTF? Having Wilbur sleep in the barn is like sending a kid to his room! No punishment there!)

Wilbur confronts Ed about why he ran away. Turns out there's new horse in town named "Midnight" who has been sneaking in on Ed's turf and making nice with Ed's ladies. (WTF? How many horses are hanging around up there? And WTF? If Ed is hanging out with all the fillies up there, how does Wilbur not know his horse is constantly running away?!) Ed tells Wilbur that Midnight is bigger than he is and that he belongs to Clint Eastwood. He pleads with Wilbur to get Eastwood (and more importantly, his horse) to move away. Of course, Wilbur refuses.

A bit later, back in the barn, Wilbur goes to pick up the ringing phone when Ed tells him not to: it's a party line that Ed says was set up because there was a shortage of circuits after a recent storm and Ed volunteered their line for the phone company. (WTF?) but Wilbur is sure Ed just arranged it all so he could listen in on other conversations. (WTF? Why wouldn't Wilbur just call the phone company and find out what happened?)

Then neighbor Roger Addison (Larry Keating) turns up to give Wilbur the scuttlebutt on the Town Meeting he missed: They chose to do a benefit show to help build a youth center. Wilbur was named chairman of the entertainment committee (WTF? the guy who hates showing up is given this kind of responsibility?) That's why you got the job, Roger says. No one else volunteered! (WTF? Some bunch of helpful citizens in this town!) Carol threw his name in for the job (WTF? She has to know how Wilbur doesn't like this stuff!) But Roger said he was named co-chair, so they're both stuck. Seems his wife had it out for him, too (WTF?)

Wilbur was also volunteered to write a play for this event (WTF? He's an architect, not a playwright!) Carol strikes again. (WTF!) And their two wives say they should be the actors in this little stage gem. (WTF?! They just want their husbands to twist in the wind on stage!)

When Roger leaves, Wilbur scolds Ed for getting him into this mess and demands he help write this script. Ed asks Wilbur to help with Clint Eastwood and Wilbur flatly refuses.

Next day, at Clint Eastwood's house, a producer calls with a movie offer. Can he get six weeks off from "Rawhide" to film? Clint says he'd try to manage it. But then Ed, on the party line, insults the producer, who thinks Eastwood made the rude comment, and the producer hangs up.

Eastwood gets mad and is ready to find out who the culprit is that was responsible for messing up his movie deal. But then his girlfriend (a pre-Beverly Hillbillies Donna Douglas) calls, and he calms down again. Until Ed butts in again and claims that his daughter was waiting for Clint to marry her! (WTF! Why didn't Eastwood call his girl back to explain?) Clint is ready to "break that guy's back."

Later, with Carol still not speaking to her husband, and still not making breakfast, Roger comes over to check on the progress of the script. First word of the title! Shouts Wilbur. Just then Clint Eastwood shows up at the front door, grabs Wilbur's shirt and is about to hit him. Wilbur, totally in the dark, is wondering what practical joke the stranger is talking about.

It's Roger that puts together the puzzle and realizes it's the star of "Rawhide" and gets an autograph (WTF? Who asks for that sort of thing at a time like this?) Clint insults Wilbur's physique (WTF? Is Eastwood THAT insecure about himself?) Then the wives show up and start gushing over Eastwood, to the chagrin of their husbands (WTF?) and Roger's wife Kay (Edna Skinner) thinks Clint is there to be a part of their benefit show.

A bit later, Wilbur confronts Ed, who plays pin the tail on Addison (WTF?) Wilbur knows the truth and tells Ed not to disturb Mr. Eastwood again. So instead, Ed wanders over to Eastwood's house and frightens his housekeeper into dropping a finished cake on the floor and making her cry! (WTF? What did the poor housekeeper ever do to Ed?) By the time Clint comes in, Ed is gone again (WTF! Hit and run bully tactics)!

While Wilbur is still stuck on the first page of his script, Ed sneaks back into his stable. Just then, Eastwood shows back up at the barn, to ask for Wilbur's help. He's having a problem with horses. (Ed then slams the doors to his stable shut.) Wilbur suggests a mutually beneficial trade: Wilbur helps with Clint's horse problem while Clint helps with Wilbur's play.

But the problem is Mister Ed, who Clint followed back to the barn. Eastwood suggests some discipline training, and takes Ed out right away. Ed gives Wilbur a wink and Wilbur knows trouble is coming (WTF!), so he tries to talk Clint out of the plan.

Eastwood hops on Ed's back, no saddle, and Ed immediately collapses to the ground. (WTF?) But then Eastwood mentioned that Midnight got bought by the studio and he was getting a pretty new two year old filly to replace him and Ed instantly hopped up and cozied up to Eastwood (WTF? Ed is a cradle robber)!

But as luck would have it, Eastwood has a little sketch he had been saving for a benefit. A western sketch about a boy, a girl and a horse (WTF?) But then Eastwood offers to direct the play (WTF?! An actual Hollywood player directing these people?) and he promised to patch up Wilbur and Carol's spat to (cowboy) boot!

The wives start running their lines in their costumes and seem more interested in how they look than in getting the parts memorized (WTF? People won't care if you look the part when you screw up the show!) Clint shows up ready to work and our two couples are ready, with Wilbur as the Sheriff and Roger as the villain.

The scene, a saloon where our hero is warned by Kay's showgirl that Black Bart is going to be around and that he should leave, but the Sheriff is determined. But Clint wants to switch parts... he wants Carol to play the role of the Sheriff's girl. But Carol, still mad at Wilbur, does the worst possible line reads she can (WTF? She cares more about holding a grudge against her husband than doing the job she volunteered Wilbur for?)!

Then Clint utters the line of the episode: "Forget you're married; pretend you love him!"

The kiss Clint made Wilbur and Carol have patched everything up (WTF?! No discussion of what happened?)

Afterwards, everything went back to normal. The play was a success, and both Wilbur and Carol continually complimented each other on being the hit of the evening. But Ed got the last laugh, as he met Eastwood's filly and proclaimed himself the hit of the evening! (WTF?!)

The End.

Still not convinced? Have a look at this episode for yourself!

Part I

Part II
Tags: 1960s, 1960s tv, old tv, the wtf episode, wtf
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