Friday, November 19, 2010

Rant #379: Young At 91

Today, Alan Young is 91.

Who is Alan Young, you say?

Alan Young is the actor who will forever be etched in many Baby Boomer's memories as Wilbur Post, the architect who owned the talking horse on the "Mr. Ed" TV show of the early 1960s.

To be best known as the guy who talked to the horse--and got replies back yet--would make any actor cringe. But Young has seemingly enjoyed the admiration he has received for the past nearly 50 years. He has never steered away from talking about the role, a role that pretty much defined his career.

As a kid--and even, on DVD, as an adult--this show is one of the funniest, and most preposterous, shows that ever aired on national TV.

The premise was that Post and his wife, played by the absolutely luscious (more about that later) Connie Hines, bought a house that just happened to have a stable attached to it. They thought they would live the life in California, Post as a successful architect, and Carol as his dutiful and loving wife.

But what they got along with the house and stable was a talking horse.

Wilbur couldn't believe it at first, but Mr. Ed talked--but only to him. He wouldn't talk to anyone else (until the last season of the show). And this led to some high and lowbrow comedy that as a kid I found hilarious, and as an adult, watching on DVD, I found to be quite irresistible, with lots of in-jokes and sexual innuendo that went right by me as a kid and also went right by the censors.

One such memorable jabber was a conversation between Carol and neighbor Kay (Edna Skinner), where Kay compared Carol's rather voluptuous figure with that of a refrigerator. You had to hear it to believe it!

Anyway, such luminaries as Sandy Koufax, Clint Eastwood and Zsa Zsa Gabor guest starred on the show during its time on the air, and through almost constant reruns and now DVDs, the show lives on.

And certainly the theme song lives on. It is one of the best remembered of all the theme songs: "A horse is a horse, of course, or course ... "

Alan Young was the glue that held the show together, completely believable as this normal, everyday guy who was put into an incredible situation.

The best thing is that Young, as an actor, looked like he was having a great time playing this role, a role that for some actors would have probably led them to the nearest psychiatric ward.

So, happy birthday Alan Young, young at 91 and here's to you ...


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