Are you old enough to remember the days before cable TV? How about the days before color TV? Do you remember what it was like to actually have to get up and walk across the room to change the channel? How about rabbit ears on top of the television?
If you do, you remember some great old TV shows. Some of my favorites were Adam- 12, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Get Smart, Gunsmoke, McHale’s Navy, and Mister Ed, to name just a few. And what’s cool is that a lot of those shows are still in syndication and we can watch them all over again.
I’ve never been a horse person, I’m more of a dog kind of guy, but we never missed an episode of Mister Ed, the famous talking horse. Did you know that Mister Ed is buried on a farm near the small town of Tahlequah, Oklahoma? There’s even a monument with a picture of him with his head sticking out through a barn door, just like on TV. The grave is on private property, but I’ve heard that if you ask nicely the owners will let you take a peek and a picture of Mister Ed’s final resting place.
Or is it really? There is no question that a horse is buried there, and there is no question that the horse had a connection to the television sitcom. But which horse is it?
The TV series, which began in 1961 and ran five years, featured a palomino named Bamboo Harvester. According to some reports, after he left Hollywood, Mister Ed retired to the Snodgrass Farm near Tahlequah, where he spent the rest of his days munching on grass and probably reflecting on all the pretty fillies that once adored him. They say that he grew feeble and was euthanized in the late 1970s and was buried on the farm.
For years a simple wooden cross marked the grave, but in 1990 a couple of Tulsa radio disc jockeys started a fund-raising drive to pay for a more suitable marker, the end result being the granite monument that stands over the grave today.
End of story, right? Not necessarily. Alan Young, the actor who played the role of Wilbur Post, the only person Mister Ed would talk to, claimed that Bamboo Harvester actually lived out his days on a ranch in California, and died from complications after a tranquilizer administered to him went wrong. The actor said the horse was cremated and his ashes were spread in California. According to Post, the horse buried in Oklahoma was a different palomino, named Pumpkin, who was used for publicity photos and public appearances during the heyday of the show.
Then, there is a third version, which seems to combine parts of both earlier stories. In this one, Bamboo Harvester did die in California, and then was shipped to Oklahoma for burial. That seems a little far-fetched to me, but hey, it’s Hollywood. Anything can happen there, right?
Even the grave marker itself is ambiguous, inscribed: “According to media reports, Mr. Ed moved to Oklahoma in the late 1960s, after a successful Hollywood career. Mr. Ed continued to entertain and bring joy to many Oklahomans, finally retiring in this very field. May his memory live long.”
So which horse is buried on the farm? Apparently, nobody really knows. Well, maybe Mister Ed knows, but since the only human he ever talked to, Wilbur Post aka Alan Young, died in 2016, I guess it will remain a mystery forever.
The farm is located about five miles north of Tahlequah on State Highway 82, and the physical address is 13600 East 710 Road, Tahlequah. If you decide to visit, please ask permission first.
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It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Suzie O’Connell’s Starlight Magic, from her popular Northstar romance series To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – You have brains in your head and you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.