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First Posted; Jan. 22, 2014
Jan 31, 2014

W Bamboo Harvester/Mr. Ed


Bamboo Harvester aka Mr. Ed

Bamboo Harvester (1949-1970) was the name of the Palomino horse that portrayed Mister Ed on the 1961-1966 comedy series of the same name. Foaled in 1949 in El Monte, California, the gelding was trained by Will Rogers' protégé, Les Hilton. With Hilton's help, Bamboo Harvester showcased Ed's remarkable intelligence. In 1968, two years after the cancellation of Mister Ed, at the age of 19, Bamboo began to suffer from a variety of age related ailments, including kidney problems and arthritis. He was euthanized in 1970.

A second palomino horse, which had posed for still pictures used in press kits for the show, survived until 1979. After Bamboo Harvester's death in 1970, the second horse was unofficially known as Mister Ed.

Pedigree of Bamboo Harvester "Mister Ed"

Sire

The Harvester Saddlebred
Revel's Cream of Wheat Rey El Moreno Solano
Lois Hardy
Highland Squirrel King's Lady Highland Squirrel King (Born 1899)
Queen
Red Dawn Exclamation Rex Squirrel Forrest Rex
Emily Easton
Unknown Mare Unknown
Unknown

Dam

Zetna Hara Part-Arab
Antez (Arabian) Harara Deyr(Born 1904)
Haffia(Born January 1906)
Moliah Hamrah(Born 1904)
Wadduda(Born 1899)
Koricha (breed unknown) Unknown
Unknown
Unknown Unknown
Unknown

Death

By 1968, Bamboo Harvester was suffering from a variety of health problems. In 1970 he was euthanized with no publicity, and buried at Snodgrass Farm in Oklahoma. However, a different version was given by Alan Young. Young wrote that he'd frequently visit his former "co-star" in retirement. He states that Mr. Ed died from an inadvertent tranquilizer administered while he was "in retirement" in a stable in Burbank, California where he lived with his trainer Lester Hilton. Young says Hilton was out of town visiting relatives and a temporary care giver might have seen Ed rolling on the ground, struggling to get up. Young said Ed was a heavy horse and he wasn't always strong enough to get back on his feet without struggling. The theory is the care giver thought the horse was in distress and administered a tranquilizer and for unknown reason, the horse died within hours. The remains were cremated and scattered by Hilton in the Los Angeles area at a spot known only to him.

A different horse that died in Oklahoma in February 1979 was widely thought to be Bamboo Harvester, but this horse was in fact a horse that posed for the still pictures of "Mr. Ed" used by the production company for the show's press kits. After Bamboo Harvester's death in 1970, this horse was unofficially known as Mister Ed, which led to him being reported as such (including sardonic comments on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update) following his own death.

Young said when the Oklahoma horse death story came out in 1979, he knew it wasn't the real Mr. Ed, but didn't have the heart to "shatter their illusions" that the horse being memorialized wasn't the real Mr. Ed. He believes it was a horse used for early publicity photos.

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