I’ve found three rare Mr. Ed television sitcoms, and two are currently streaming. One episode is a hilarious story about a Cat and a beneficiary. The other is a very RARE PILOT & PITCH that is a must see for fans of the show, as well as anyone who is interested in how shows were pitched, produced and sponsored by Ad Agencies and Advertisers like the manufacture of the LARK automobile. The Lark? Seriously?
Okay so as it turns out, it’s not a “lark.” Studebaker was making cars back in the late 50’s to early 60’s and this one was being sold as the main promotional ‘vehicle’ for an up and coming series.
The tentative series was called “The Wonderful World of Wilbur Pope” and this episode (the pilot) is called Wilbur Pope and Mister Ed. And it stars two actors who were cast specifically for the Pilot – but not the series. That’s interesting, ehh? I didn’t think it worked like that. Scott McKay played (Wilbur Pope.)
And his wife (Carlotta) was played by Sandra White. Both were replaced within this video. Ed stayed. (Wink wink.) Sound confusing? Well, I was certainly surprised. Let me run down how the video plays out so that you may better understand.
First we start with an advertising pitch-man. He’s a boring looking character, tooled up with a pointer, chalk-board graphics and well placed, but verbatim dialog. Did you know that the average household watches 3.5 hours of TV a night? Groovy. Okay, so then we move on to the show, and it runs a good half hour. But immediately afterwards we have a new spokesperson…
That’s George Burns. He talks about how Sitcoms typically fail because they have nothing to write-about after six episodes or so, but this series will be the exception because of “Ed.” And then he proceeds to tell us about how the new actors for this series are funny, experienced and importantly the lead man is a “clean cut fine looking young man who will make a great salesman for your product.” Then the new actor is introduced, and he’s darn funny. This is the new Wilbur, Wilbur Post played by Alan Young.
Young talks about how George Burns will be overseeing the writing on the show. Then he proceeds by delivering an example performance, and then he really shines when he plays next to his new wife “Carol” Carol Post, played by Connie Hines. And I have to say I really enjoyed the way they played out a ‘sample’ scene. It was very convincing and the two demonstrated nice chemistry. This is the beautiful Connie Hines…
The cool “sales pilot” and other classic shows like Petticoat Junction and Fireball XL5 are available on my Roku channels, free & adfree. Oh bye the way, I noticed something of a mystery. Within the pilot — they never gave away the name of Mr. Ed’s voice-actor. Interesting, maybe that’s part of the charm. Watch the two episodes now, and stay tuned for a third,* VERY RARE episode in which Wilbur sells United State Savings Bonds.
*ADDENDUM 4/20/2020 – the episode “Wilbur gets the Message” is now on all of our Roku and Fire TV channels. While it does have a few funny moments, it does require a little patience. You may be asking “since when does a sitcom require patience?” The answer is because it’s basically a special program designed to sell Bonds and inform folks about the virtue of “Payroll Savings.” It was produced on behalf of the US treasury. On the plus size we have our favorites — Alan Young (Wilbur), and Connie Hines (Carol), Mr Ed – the “Horse of course,” ‘PLUS’ the character-comedian George O’Hanlon – from The Jetsons. (c) Dean Lachiusa