This Day in Pop Culture for January 5

Mister Ed premiered on TV on January 5, 1961

‘Mister Ed’ Gets His Voice

The TV show about the talking horse, Mister Ed, began airing in syndication on this day in 1961. It was later picked up by CBS which continued to air the show from October 1 to February 6, 1966. Director Arthur Lubin had initially wanted to create a TV series based on Francis the Talking Mule movies (Lubin had directed the first six Francis movies from 1950-1955) but was unable to secure the rights. However, his secretary, Sonia Chernus, brought to Lubin’s attention Walter R. Brooks’s children’s book, The Talking Horse on which the TV was based upon. It was comedian George Burns who help fund the show’s original pilot which was shot for $70,000 and starred Scott McKay as Mr. Ed’s “owner,” Wilbur. When the show failed to interest the networks, Lubin set out to create a syndicated show securing more than 100 TV stations on the idea and recast Wilbur to be played by Alan Young. Connie Hines played Wilbur’s wife, Carol and Allan Lane provided the voice for Mister Ed while Bamboo Harvester actually played the role of the horse. In 2004, FOX had planned a revival of the TV series with Sherman Hemsley (The Jeffersons) providing the voice of the horse along with David Alan Basche and Sherilyn Fenn as Wilbur and Carol, but the series did not get past the pilot stage. Finally, in 2012, Water Entertainment stated that it too had begun working on a Mister Ed movie.

The First American Divorce

It is well known that the divorce rate in America hovers between 40-50% with Christian marriages right up there. Perhaps we can blame the Clarkes. On this day in 1643, Anne Clarke of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was granted a divorce from her husband, Denis. According to records, Mr. Clarke abandoned the Mrs. and their two children for another woman whom he had two other children with. After stating his refusal to return to Anne, the Puritan court awarded a divorce to Anne. The Quarter Court's final decision read: "Anne Clarke, beeing deserted by Denis Clarke hir husband, and hee refusing to accompany with hir, she is graunted to bee divorced."

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