Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Alan Young (1919-2016). Requiescat in pace.

I was saddened to hear that Alan Young, who will be remembered by many for his turn as straight man to a talking horse on Mr. Ed, the iconic early 1960’s sitcom, has passed away at the age of 96.

A prolific actor, Alan Young first came to my attention in The Time Machine, in which he played the inventor’s steadfast friend David Filby... as well as Filby’s son adult James in scenes taking place 17 and 66 years after the inventor embarks on his journey into the future. Young, whose role in George Pal’s 1960 film was expanded considerably from a brief appearance in H G. Wells’s novel, would play Filby again in 1993 in a mini-sequel entitled Time Machine: The Journey Back in which both he and Rod Taylor reprised their roles from thirty-three years prior. And Young even scored a cameo appearance as a flower shop owner in the 2002 remake of The Time Machine, a film mainly noteworthy for having been directed by Simon Wells, the great-grandson of the original novel’s author. (In a bizarre coincidence, when Young reported for costume fitting, he was given the same shirt collar he had worn in the 1960 film(!))

Despite having had a lengthy and productive career, the role that comes to mind when people mention Alan Young is (of course, or course) that of Wilbur Post, the owner of the uniquely verbose horse Mr. Ed. At least, it comes to mind for people of a certain age, the series having been aired from 1961-66. It is a testament to Young’s considerable self-confidence as an actor that he was willing to play second banana to the ’ponymously titular Mr. Ed. Whether Wilbur Post owned Ed or vice-versa is a bit of an unresolved matter, however, because the horse often seemed to have more intellectual wattage than his bemused owner - the only one who ever heard Ed speak. It is worth examining whether Wilbur was the victim of an unusually vivid type of hallucination, but that would consume far too much of my time.

And yet... although my time is so eminently valuable, it is nevertheless true that I had, at one point long ago, taken it upon myself to translate the Mr. Ed theme song into several foreign languages. I am here to report that it seems to work best in English... unless one takes the lyrical rather than the (semi) literal route.

Thus, by way of an elegy, I shall take the liberty of reprinting here (below the fold) my work of some twenty-five years past, the Ed Variations. May they serve to sing the late, lamented Mr. Young to his eternal rest, where he will be Forever Young. Ave atque vale!

Wilbur (Alan Young) and Mr. Ed.

The Ed Variations


A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse, of course...
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous MR. ED.

Go right to the source and ask the horse.
He’ll give you the answer that you endorse.
He’s always on a steady course...
Talk to MR. ED.

People yakkity-yak a streak and waste your time all day
But MR. ED will never speak unless he has something to say.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one will talk ’til his throat is hoarse.
You’ve never heard of a talking horse? Well, listen to this... “I am MR. ED!”


Un cheval c’est un cheval, bien sûr, bien sûr,
Et on ne peut pas parler avec un cheval, bien sûr...
A moins que, bien sûr, le cheval soit le fameux MONSIEUR ED.

Allez droite à la source et demandez au cheval.
Il vous donnera la réponse que vous désirez.
Il suit toujours la route la plus directe...
Parlez avec MONSIEUR ED.

Les gens parlent et discutent et font du mic-mac—
On peut perdre toute la journée.
Mais MONSIEUR ED ne parlera jamais
Sauf qu’il a quelque chose à dire.

Un cheval c’est un cheval, bien sûr, bien sûr,
Et celui-ci parlera jusqu’au point de peine,
N’avez vous jamais entendu parler d’un cheval parlant?
Eh bien, écoutez à ceci—
«Je m’appelle MONSIEUR ED!»


Ein Pferd ist ein Pferd, nicht wahr, nicht wahr,
Und niemand mit einem Pferd sprechen kann, nicht wahr,
Das ist, nicht wahr, wenn der Pferd ist anders als der berühmte HERR ED.

Gehen Sie gerade aus zum Ursprung und fragen Sie dem Pferd.
Er wird Ihnen das Antwort geben, daß Sie zu haben wünschen,
Er folgt immer ein Weg direkt
Sprechen Sie mit HERR ED.

Die Leute sprechen und sprechen und sprechen
und machen Ihnen Ihr zeit zu verderben.
Aber HERR ED wird gar nichts sprechen
Nur wenn er etwas zu sagen hat.

Ein Pferd ist ein Pferd, nicht wahr, nicht wahr,
Und dieser Pferd wird sprechen bis sein Hals weh tut.
Haben Sie einmal gehört über einen Pferd, der spricht?
Also, hören Sie mal zu:
“Ich heiße HERR ED!”


Un caballo es un caballo, claro, claro,
Y nadie puede hablar a un caballo, claro...
Eso es, claro, a menos que el caballo sea el famoso SEÑOR ED.

Camina directamente a la fuente y pregunta al caballo.
El te dará la respuesta que tú sanciones.
El sige siempre un curso invariable...
Habla al SEÑOR ED.

La gente habla y habla y habla,
Todo el día podría estar perdido.
Pero el SEÑOR ED no hablaría nunca
A menos que el tenga alguna cosa para decir.

Un caballo es un caballo, claro, claro,
Y éste hablará hasta que su garganta le duela,
¿Ha oído de un caballo que habla?
Ahora bien, escucha a éste—
“¡Me llamo SEÑOR ED!”

(Bahasa Indonesia)

Seekor kuda adalah seekor kuda, tentu, tentu,
Dan tidak ada satu orang pun yang bisa bicara dengan seekor kuda, tentu...
Terkecuali, tentu, seekor kuda itu adalah TUAN ED terkenal.

Pergi langsung ke sumbernya dan tanja seekor kuda itu.
Dia akan memberikan kepada Anda jawabannya
Yang Anda bisa menerima.
Dia selalu menjalan lurus sehinga...
Membicara dengan TUAN ED.

Orang-orang berbicara dan berbicara dan omong kosong banyak
Tetapi TUAN ED tidak mau bicara,
Terkecuali dia mempunyai apa-apa untuk bicara.

Seekor kuda adalah seekor kuda, tentu, tentu,
Dan kuda ini akanbicara sehinga kerongkongnya sakit
Apa Anda sudah dengar seekor kuda yang bisa bicara?
Baiklah, dengarlah ini—
“Saya TUAN ED!”

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