Thursday, March 20, 2014

When Mae West met Mr Ed Horsing Around

Of course Mae West, of course

Mae West and Mr. Ed
Musclemen give him a bubble bath
March 22, 1964, 50 years ago, CBS airs a Mr. Ed episode guest starring actress Mae West. The show ran 1961-1966. She was on the fourth season. In 1964 she also appeared on The Red Skelton Show.

Mr. Ed, a talking horse, overhears Mae West commissioning Wilbur (his owner, who's an architect) to create deluxe stables for her horses. Ed leaves and moves in with Mae. 

He doesn't like the beauty and vitamin regimen that her horses go through. The moral is that he finds out the downside of getting what he thinks that he wants. Ed would approve of our watching in the Year of the Horse.

Others who guest starred on the show included Clint Eastwood, George Burns, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Leo Durocher and Jon Provost. Most of the time, the celebrities played themselves, and this was what West wanted to do. 

A producer on the Mr. Ed show, Arthur Lubin, was a long-time friend of Mae West's. He'd attended some of her "beach-house seances. ... He hired movers to bring in her own furniture for scenes in her television-land boudoir and allowed her to rework her part." West was over 70 at the time.
-- Mae West: An Icon in Black and White

By choice she didn't do much television. She was happy to be on a program that appealed to children and teens. She'd get exposure to this age group in a whole new generation. If they were old enough they'd get the sensuality in her humor. It could probably pass for just silliness to the children.

Mae West made the bulk of her movies in the 1930s and 40s. A new young actor named Cary Grant got some notoriety by appearing in a couple of her films, She Done Him Wrong and I'm No Angel. 

Miss West was already a star from the Broadway stage and her film work would only solidify her status as an icon.

Her secret to youth, femininity and beauty?
"Dress like a woman, look like a woman, act like a woman, feel like a woman."
Some have attributed film censorship directly to Mae West and her movies. In 1934 the Motion Picture Production Code often simply called the Hays Code was adopted.

Some quotes attributed to Miss West:

"I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."

"Censorship made me."

In the early 1960s her health was not the best. She'd had a mild heart attack and her eyesight was failing. "She refused to wear glasses and preferred to hold her escort's arm to get around. Mae didn't like the public to know that she was not in great shape."
-- The Legendary Mae West by Tabatha Yeatts

December 2013 it was confirmed that Bette Midler is to star as Mae West in a biopic for HBO called Goodness had nothing to do with it.

Mr. Ed was one of the fantasy/supernatural programs or programs with highly off-beat characters on the air during the 1960s -- shows that did not involve alternate universes, space or science fiction. Others would include Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, The Flying Nun and to a lesser extent, The Addams Family and The Munsters.

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 ....

Jan Brady and the Horse with no name welcome The Year of The Horse

Books of Interest:

Mae West: An Icon in Black and White by Jill Watts

The Legendary Mae West by Tabatha Yeatts


1 comment:

  1. I love Mae West, and had no idea she had starred with Mr. Ed. I kept thinking I was hallucinating when I read this headline. Thank you for letting me know!! That's hysterical:)


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