the talking mule
photos of the famous mule
Francis was first talking... before Mister Ed the talking horse.
Francis the mule, was and is still a favorite comedy. The films were based on a popular book about a military man who meets a mule who can talk. Authur Lubin, the producer, of the movies later went on to create the Mister Ed TV series. Francis was trained by Will Rogers and apprentise Les Hilton, Mister Ed's trainer. The same technical practise of teaching Francis when to move his mouth was later used on Mister Ed. Mules are very smart and will do what they are asked as long as you are kind and gentle with them.
Francis was the very first recipient of the American Humane Association Annual Patsy Award (1st place) in 1950. The award was given to the animals shown in motion pictures for an outstanding performance. A trophy was engraved with the winners name. The award presentation lasted untill the 1980's then it was discontinued. It was similar, to the Golden Globe awards today. The Patsy awards were televised years ago. It had popular presentors and hosts such as Betty White and Doris Day. Amazing animals continue to do the job - but no award for them - maybe one for the trainer.
Francis continued winning Awards... 2nd place
Patsy Award in the following years 1952, 1954, 1955, and 1956 then was
3rd place winner in 1957. The 1953 Award of Excellence was another honor
for this talented mule.
The computer illusions of "fake animal talent" changed it all. For instance the commerials with horses who talk sometime use the computer to help it along. Also computer operated robots are used in place of the real animal in some scenes of dialoge, and puppets. So then the awards go to the special effects people.
Francis in the Navy
Francis goies to West Point
Francis joins the WACs
Francis in the haunted house
Francis goes to the Races
|Francis covers the big town
was the original voice of Francis. Paul Fees
did the voice in last movie.
actor Chill Wills
a recording by Capital Records
a 78 rpm record
Francis the talking mule from the Universal-International pictures
"Francis"& "A Mule Is A Fool"
|Francis did 7 movies from
1949 to 1956 starring with charactor
"Peter Sterling" was
Donald O'Connor & in the last movie was
some comic books by DELL
about Francis the talking mule
Peter goes back to his home town after
getting out of the army with Francis. Peter is smitten by the owner?s grandaughter
(Piper Laurie). of the horse breeding ranch where they stay. But a debt
has come due that threatens the ranch. Francis meets a relative who happens
to be a race horse. Francis uses connections with his equine friends at
the racetrack to come up with some winners. Francis gives tips on the Santa
Anita track to pal "Peter" (Donald O'Connor) in the big $100,000
race. Francis knows a thoroughbred who has the ability, but not
the will, to win. So he helps the race horse get its confidence back. Francis
convinces her she?s a born winner. Gamblers can?t believe that a mule knows
who the winner will be. Cecil Kellaway and Jesse White co-star.
FRANCIS GOES TO WEST POINT (1952)
Donald O'Connor is given an appointment
to West Point, After stopping saboteurs at a nuclear plant. The new cadet
brings Francis along to the Army-Navy football game. This comedy also stars
Lori Nelson and appearances by David Janssen and Leonard Nimoy.
When Donald O'Connor sets his sights
on becoming a major metropolitan newspaper reporter, it's up to his big-eared
talking buddy Francis the mule to come up with the scoops that he heard
from the police horses in New York city to save O'Connor from a murder
charge taking the witness stand. Gene Lockhart, Yvette Dugay, and Gail
FRANCIS JOINS THE WACs (1954)
A clerical mistake lands "Peter",
Donald O'Connor, back in the service, but as a WAC, and with equine pal
Francis. The Army girls, who are used to strict protocol, soon grow accustomed
to the wackiness. Stars Julie Adams, Mamie Van Doren, ZaSu Pitts and Chill
Wills, shows up in person, along with the well known voice of Francis.
Francis the mule and his human buddy
Donald O'Connor take to the high seas in the sixth Francis comedy. Francis
ends up as post-war surplus and the Navy auctions him off. Peter has a
look alike and gets the blame for what he does.Co-stars with Martha Hyer,
Jim Backus, David Janssen, also this was Clint Eastwood's second film appearance
of his acting career.
FRANCIS IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1956)
A new team up with Francis the mule
in this movie. Mickey Rooney played the charactor named "David Prescott"
, Paul Frees took the place of Chill Will's voice over for Francis. This
was the seventh and final film in the series. Francis gets Rooney out of
a scary situation involving spooks and art forgers. With Virginia Welles,
Richard Deacon. Today Mickey Rooney is a real friend of the equine world
and other little furry creatures too.