Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alan Young

I met Alan Young at a Sons of the Desert banquet in Philadelphia, quite a few years ago.  As I have mentioned before, the Sons of the Desert is a club dedicated to the study of Laurel and Hardy.

Alan Young is a delightful man.  What I like about being a member of a group like the SoD is the accessibility you have to meet and chat with people whom you have enjoyed in movies and on TV.  It is one thing to go to a huge convention that is open to the public and stand in line to get an autograph and exchange pleasantries with a star, but at a SoD banquet or convention, you get to communicate with sit in the bar and share a drink and a real conversation about the old days.  And they seem to enjoy it as much as we do.

Alan Young was born in 1919 in England.  He is most famous for his work on TV with a talking horse!  He plays the bagpipes well, and he did for us at the banquet. 

His first film was Margie in 1946 with Jeanne Crain.  My earliest memory of him came on a recording of the soundtrack of his 1952 film, Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick, which I believe were red, 78 rpm records, in a box set complete with a cartoon cover depicting Young and co-star Dinah Shore.  I was only 2 years old when that movie came out, but by the time I was 4 or 5, a memory of that record set that my parents bought, and the old console radio/record player from RCA was implanted in me.

He had another good part in 1952 in Androcles and the Lion, and his career was off to a great start.  He found TV, or maybe it found him, in 1954, and he was also quite good at voicing animation.  He became the voice of Scrooge McDuck!

His most famous film role was in 1960 with Rod Taylor in The Time Machine, where he played the two Filbys, David and James.  He even reprised that role in a documentary in 1993, again with Rod Taylor, and in later years appeared in a 2002 remake of The Time Machine, with Mark Addy playing David Filby.

His part as Wilbur Post in "Mister Ed" lasted from 1961 to 1966, and must have given him many wonderful memories.  It was one of my favorites, of course, of course.  The guest stars he got to work with on those 144 episodes in five years is amazing, and worthy of recognition in another post. 

Pardon me if I have waxed rhapsodic in this post, but the memories are what keep us young.  I guess Alan is still young because at 91 years old, he is still working.  Alan also has a great web site and you can purchase autographed items from him.  Just go to

No, Alan Young was not a Bit Actor, but I had to include him in my blog, which is really dedicated to everyone in entertainment.  Alan Young is a star!  All my best, Alan, and thanks for the memories.


  1. Nice tribute to a fine comedian (and actor) who didn't get a lot of good parts. He was quite excellent in MISTER ED; the show was far more than a talking-horse gimmick, It was pretty funny!

  2. I couldn't agree more. I think people tend to compare Mister Ed with Francis the Talking Mule, and the series idea may have been an attempt to use that idea on TV. Some of those films were also good, but Alan and the cast brought much more to Mister Ed.

    As a kid, I enjoyed seeing the horse talk and the antics he created, but there was a level of intelligence in there as well, if you look deeper as an adult.

    Wilbur Post was an architect with his drafting table in the barn. I doubt that I knew what an architect was when I was 11 years old, but I still loved the show.


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