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8 iconic animal actors

By: Matt Hickman on Sept. 11, 2013, 5:50 p.m.
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Bamboo Harvester

You’d think that the Palomino behind television’s chattiest equine would have a more dignified, debonair name than Bamboo Harvester. Maybe something like Jack, Charlie, Felix or Reginald P. Hoofmeister. But Bamboo Harvester? What does that even mean?

But we digress. As the titular quip-prone gelding belonging to hapless architect Wilbur Post (Alan Young), Bamboo Harvester starred in all six seasons of “Mister Ed” from 1961 to 1966, and during that period became the hay-munching toast of the town. Although “Mister Ed” is a rather silly sitcom relic (children of the 1980s and 1990s may have fond memories of it playing during Nick at Night), one “Mister Ed” legend has held strong to this day: How did the show’s creators get Bamboo Harvester — trained by Les Hilton of Francis the Talking Mule fame — to “talk”? Peanut butter? Nylon strings? Forcefully inserted carrots?

And would an old-fashioned talking horse sitcom fly today? Probably not (we’d watch it, of course, of course). However, Fox did attempt to revive the series back in 2004 with a never-aired television pilot starring David Alan Basche, Garrett Dillahunt and the late Sherman Hemsley as the voice of the inimitable Mister Ed.