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Who Remembers Francis the Talking Mule?

Every Baby Boomer remembers Mister Ed, the talking horse who caused trouble for his owner Wilbur Post. But Ed was actually a rip-off, a cheap TV imitation!

Before Ed ever opened his mouth there was Francis the Talking Mule!

Frances was created by U.S. Army Captain David Stern III. He was in charge of an Army newspaper during WWII. Bored by a lack of news one afternoon, Stern wrote four pages of fanciful dialogue between a U.S. solider and a stubborn Army mule. Intrigued, he expanded the idea into a series of short stories that were subsequently published by Esquire magazine. Stern wrote the stories in the first person and adopted as a pen name, Peter Stirling, the 2nd lieutenant who Francis befriended in the stories.

Read more: Who Remembers Francis the Talking Mule?

The Parent Trap (1961)

Is there a Baby Boomer male who didn’t have a crush on Hayley Mills back in the early 60’s?

If there was, he probably never saw her in her magnum opus, The Parent Trap.

The film trades on the extremely popular, but probably psychologically unhealthy fantasy of a lot of divorced kids that they can somehow get their parents back together again.

In this case, the too dumb for their own good ‘rents are played by Brian Keith (who owns every young girl’s fantasy of a California horse ranch) and Maureen O’Hara (who inhabits no one’s fantasy of a stuffy Boston home, relieved only by Charlie Ruggles as a grandfather with a permanent twinkle in his eye).

In The Parent Trap, their kids are both Hayley Mills (or Hayley and her body double, Susan Henning) as twins who were separated at birth by their idiot parents.

Read more: The Parent Trap (1961)

6 Things You Didn’t Know About “Leave It to Beaver”

Why did June Cleaver always wear high heels & pearls when performing household chores? The heels actually started in the second season – and for a very good reason. Her boys were growing taller and producers wanted June to maintain a height advantage over Wally & the Beaver to reinforce her role as mother.

The pearls were Barbara Billingsley’s idea and for a very good reason. She had a surgical scar at the base of her neck that she didn’t like. The pearls hid the scar.

Was Beaver ever in Viet Nam? Despite the rumor that somehow spread from coast-to-coast, Jerry Mathers was never in Viet Nam. He tried enlisting in the Marines, but they turned him down because they thought they’d get too much negative publicity if they sent him overseas and he died. So, Mathers ultimately enlisted in the Air National Guard and spent his service time in the United States.

 

Does one of the cast actually have a piece of art in the Louvre? Yes! Tony Dow, who played Wally, is also a sculptor and one of his pieces has indeed been on display in that most famous of art galleries.

Was Eddie Haskell actually an L.A. traffic cop? Again, yes! Actor Ken Osmond transitioned to L.A. police force following the end of the original run of Leave It to Beaver. He was shot 3 times in the line of duty and was saved by his body armor.

Did Jerry Mathers also play Little Ricky on I Love Lucy? This is also true, but with a qualifier. Mathers appeared in only one episode as Little Ricky and it was during a fantasy sequence Lucy was dreaming about. It’s a season 3 episode called “Ricky’s Old Girlfriend,” where Lucy dreams her husband has left her and her child for an old flame. Mathers did not receive an on-screen credit for the part.

KRAMDEN VS. FLINTSTONE

The popular 1960s cartoon The Flintstones became a hit around the world but was not well received by one of television’s most iconic actors of all time, Jackie Gleason. According to Alan Reed Jr. (son of Alan Reed, who voiced Fred Flintstone), The Flintstones was inspired by The Honeymooners, Fred taking on the short-tempered and overbearing characteristics of Gleason’s vociferous Ralph Kramden while Barney’s rather goofy nature was modeled on Art Carney’s Ed Norton.

Gleason was none too pleased that the modern stone-age family was patterned after his beloved show and contemplated suing the creators of the cartoon. Although Gleason’s lawyers informed the actor that he could have The Flintstones canceled, they cautioned him that he would be known as “the guy who yanked Fred Flintstone off the air.” Understanding that many children and parents would be saddened, Gleason ultimately decided to let bygones be bygones.

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