Oorspronkelijk wilden de makers van de TV-serie een paard gebruiken voor de rol van Mister Ed, maar elk paard dat ze probeerden bleek veel te weerbarstig. Na de zoveelste teleurstelling met weer een ander paard, werd besloten een getrainde zebra te lenen van een nabijgelegen dierenpark. Dat werkte.
Omdat de serie uitging van een pratend paard en niet van een pratende zebra, werden er wat uiterlijke aanpassingen gedaan om te voorkomen dat het publiek doorhad dat Mister Ed een zebra was.
Actor Alan Young (who played Wilbur Post) revealed in a TV interview that peanut butter was given to Mister Ed to make him move his mouth at the correct time. Mister Ed loved the stuff so much that he couldn't stop licking his lips and therefore completed virtually all his scenes in one take!
Away from the bright lights and cameras, Mister Ed started his days as a parade and show horse named Bamboo Harvester. He was foaled in 1949 in El Monte, California.
A zebra was briefly used in several scenes in the series when Ed was unable to some difficult stunts, but there's no truth to the myth that a zebra was used the whole time. Ed was definitely a horse!
Mister Ed's trainer was Les Hilton, who had been taught by Will Rogers. He also trained some of the mules in the Francis The Talking Mule movies. The Mister Ed Company, owned by the President of California's Palomino Society, purchased him.
Among some of the wackier things Mister Ed did in his TV series were using the telephone, riding a surf board, flying an airplane, giving a birthday party with all his horse chums, driving a delivery truck, wearing a Beatle wig and even meeting baseball player Leo Durocher. See the episode guide for more details!
How Mister Ed was laid to rest...
By the time Mister Ed reached the grand age of nineteen he was suffering from a broken leg and a variety of health problems. In 1970 he was quietly put to sleep with no publicity. The horse which died in Oklahoma in 1979 (who everyone thought was Mister Ed) was in fact just an animal that once posed as Ed for some publicity photos used by the production company.