Shout! Factory // 1964 // 650 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 27th, 2011
Hey Wilbur...we're at it again with Season Five!"
Of course, a horse is sometimes just a horse. Unless that horse is the famous Mister Ed! Continuing into a half decade, the fifth season of the seminal Mister Ed continues to see Ed and his owner, Wilbur Post (Alan Young), as they stumble into all sorts of misadventures with Wilbur's ever loving wife Carol (Connie Hines, Thunder in Carolina) looking on. Along for the ride are the Post's neighbors, Roger "The Colonel" Addison (Larry Keating) and his wife, Kay (Edna Skinner). Not shockingly, they all pale in comparison, of course, to Mister Ed and the wacky shenanigans that only a talking horse can stumble into!
SEE a horse tackle becoming an entrepreneurial juice maker!
EXPERIENCE a horse as he changes career paths to become a mailman!
WITNESS a horse visit an optometrist!
It's all here in second to last season of the classic comedy Mister Ed!
Somehow, writers were actually able to squeeze six seasons out of a TV show about a talking horse. The 1960s were filled with shows that featured odd, truly out-there themes and characters. I Dream of Jeannie, The Addams Family,Gilligan's Island...the list seems practically endless. Clearly there were more drugs being passed around during this period in television history then all of Woodstock combined. How else can you account for a show about a man whose mother is reincarnated as a talking car? Case closed.
As a reviewer, I come into Mister Ed: The Complete Fifth Season with little to no knowledge about the show. Oh sure, I know of the show and its basic premise: a married man lives with a talking horse (in the non-Biblical sense, of course). Other than that I'm a blank slate when it comes knowledge about this TV show, save for the theme song which I can practically recite in my sleep (seriously, if today's shows had as awesome of theme songs as past shows like this, life would be a heckuva lot better). I learned a lot during my visit with Mister Ed and Wilbur, mostly that if I could get Michigan J. Frog together with this horse it'd be the best damn theatrical event in the history of mankind.
I don't know what came before in the previous four seasons of Mister Ed (I imagine Mad Men with horses), but I couldn't have missed much when the season opener deals with Wilbur buying his wife a new hi-fi stereo for an anniversary gift (which she, of course, doesn't want). The subplot deals with their neighbors Col. Gordon Kirkwood (Leon Ames) and his wife's frustration at his anniversary gift (an expensive coffee maker). These were the kinds of riveting storylines that passed for full length episodes. Then again, Seinfeld was a show about nothing, so maybe I shouldn't be throwing stones so harshly.
I found Mister Ed an amusing excursion into early '60s Televison. The characters are all basic stereotypes (the patient and doting wife, the cantankerous neighbor, the goofy leading man) and work in a pleasant environment that feels homey and soothing (I swear production designers went out of their way to find locales that seemed as quaint as Mayberry to sooth viewer's souls). Alan Young (best remembered by me as the best friend from the George Pal classic The Time Machine) makes an affiable leading man whose "aw, shucks!" delivery makes him instantly likable and endearing. Then there's Mister Ed (voiced by Allan Lane who's starred in dozens of westerns), whose lips never match his voice...and yet, you never really care that's the case. Mister Ed makes for a winning character with his own personality and amusing quirks, even if he does stand in his own poop and most likely smells like wet dog hair most of the time.
The show's only real fault is that it's a product of its time; the episodes here consist of plotlines as simplistic as pool hustling, visits from in-laws, entering slogan writing contests, and Mister Ed leading a campaign against horseback riding (he was the Nelson Mandella of his day). Don't get me wrong -- it's not that any of these episodes are bad, per say. They're just blandly produced, simplistic storylines that disappear from your head about a half hour after the final credits roll. As I think back on the episodes I watched, I'm having a hard time coming up with all their nuances and intricacies. Mister Ed was just that kind of show. All of that being said, Mister Ed is pleasant weekend entertainment, for those who remember the show and kids who like watching a horse act like a human.
Mister Ed: The Complete Fifth Season is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame in black & white and spread across four DVDs. Shout Factory is given a shout out (ha! ha!) for making sure each of the episodes looks great; although there are some moments where dirt, grain or very small imperfections pop up, overall these are very attractive looking transfers that should please fans of the golden age of televison.
The soundtracks for each of these 26 episodes are each presented in what I assume is Dolby Digital 1.0 Surround (no mention is made anywhere on the package). The sound mix is about what you'd expect from a show of this age -- canny and slightly flat. The dialogue, effects and music (especially that catchy theme song) are all easily heard and well recorded. There isn't much more to say about these sound mixes -- they get the job done, but little else. No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are available on this set.
If you are able to find any supplemental materials on this set, clomp your hoof three times. Otherwise, there isn't a single extra feature included on this four disc set.
If you're a fan of classic TV or just talking mares, you'll want to check out Mister Ed: The Complete Fifth Season.
Review content copyright © 2011 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 650 Minutes
Release Year: 1964
MPAA Rating: Not Rated