Whether you’re old enough to have grown up watching the Mr. Ed TV show when it originally aired, or you caught re-runs of the show – or you haven’t been living under a rock your whole life – chances are good that you’re somewhat familiar with the titular talking horse and his often-frazzled human companion, Wilbur (played by Alan Young, a.k.a. the longtime voice of Disney’s Scrooge McDuck).
Fox 2000 is all too aware of that fact – and that’s why the company has secured the rights to a film adaptation of the classic Mr. Ed sitcom, which aired on CBS from 1961-1966 (though an unaired pilot episode was first produced in 1958).
THR has confirmed that Mr. Ed is being developed into a full-blown film, though no one is currently attached to write or direct the project. The movie will be produced by David T. Friendly – through his Friendly Films – and by veteran TV manager/producer Jim Mahoney.
Friendly, as it were, has some experience working on talking animal flicks, seeing how he previously produced the Eddie Murphy-starring Doctor Dolittle movie – as well as films ranging from more serious dramatic/action titles like Courage Under Fire and Daylight to comedic productions such as Little Miss Sunshine and the Big Momma’s House trilogy.
Combine that resume with the news that the Mr. Ed movie is going to feature an actual horse with a computer-animated mouth, and it’s hard to not suspect that this will be yet another tired addition to the growing pile of kid-friendly movies that feature real-life animals who speak – not to mention, often make an insufferable number of pop culture references – via the magic of CGI (see: Zookeeper for a recent example).
That’s a shame, too, since the original Mr. Ed TV show is still generally considered a charming relic of mid-20th century television. Yes, the show has likewise always been regarded as extremely cheesy, even by the 1960s standards, but that’s very much a part of its appeal.
Case in point: Check out the original Mr. Ed TV show opening below:
That said – until we know more about who will be writing, directing, and starring in the Mr. Ed movie, it’s not fair to jump to too many conclusions about how the final product will turn out. All the same, though, contemporary adaptations of classic family-friendly television shows don’t exactly have a stellar track record (see: Dennis the Menace, The Flintstones, Leave It to Beaver, etc.).
Nonetheless, we will keep you posted on the status of the Mr. Ed movie as more information is released.