Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe discussion

The Island of Dr. Moreau
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Is Mr. Ed one of Dr. Moreau's experiments?

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Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
Not super familiar with the sitcom and only read 1/3 of Welles' novel when I was in middle school, but a recent conversation with my girlfriend has led me to consider this possibility.

Is there fan scholarship about this matter? Nothing obvious comes up on Google, but Mr. Ed is one of the vaguer search terms when combined with Doctor Moreau as "ed." also means editor...


message 2: by Atom (last edited May 01, 2018 12:21PM) (new)

Atom Bezecny | 21 comments Alan Moore suggested a variety of talking animals from British comics were creations of Dr. Moreau, Rupert Bear and Tiger Tim and such. Largely played for perverse humor of course. It's possible that Mr. Ed (if he existed) was a Houyhnhnm, one of the intelligent talking horses from Gulliver's Travels. This could also help explain Francis the Talking Mule. (Mr. Ed is apparently based on a book series by Walter R. Brooks, who also wrote about a preternaturally intelligent pig named Freddie.)

If we wanted to go further, we could look at Mr. Ed's owner in the series, Mr. Post. I don't know of any other characters named Post but if I remember correctly, the operatives of the alien from Farmer's Other Log of Phileas Fogg use mundane words for codenames, like Fog and Head (and Farmer). Post would fit that pattern, suggesting that perhaps he is an Eridanean or Capellean agent? (Definitely feel free to correct me if I'm remembering Other Log incorrectly.)


message 3: by Will (last edited May 01, 2018 12:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
I'm still behind on on Other Log (hope to get to it this summer) but all of this seems plausible.

I like the Gulliver's Travels angle. I think we should definitely keep the possibility of Mr. Ed being at base a non-altered sentient horse person open. We might explain Francis as having come from an essentially bestial tryst between a Houyhnhnm and a regular donkey. Perhaps Ed is the father (or mother) and Francis his/her bastard. They live in the human world to escape the social shame associated with Francis and his conception. Alternatively, the mule was just an embellishment.

An alternative equinoid sentient explanation for Ed and Francis is that they were Va-gas displaced from the Moon. (See ERB's book:The Moon Maid|964504]). The Va-gas angle might dove tail with the Other Log angle as presumably Eridaneans and Capellans would be interested in the solar system's non-homo sap sentient inhabitants as well.

This poses the question how the shipwrecked aliens got the semi-equine humanoids to Earth. It's possible before they were stranded here, they might have abducted individuals from the Moon and possibly Mars and Venus as well. Mr. Ed and Francis may just be the last survivors of that small gene pool.

Of course, this would mean that the talking animals on the show were not the "real" Ed and Francis (Va-gas are semi-equine, semi-humanoid) unless they had had serious cosmetic surgery, or, bizarrely, had been interbred with Earth equinoids. If we follow the cosmetic surgery hypothesis, here again we might meet the hand of Dr. Moreau-style vivisection to explain their cosmetic divergence from their lunar kin. Alternatively, the "real" Ed and Francis may have been visually normal Va-gas who were only honored by reference in the show.

The idea I'm most into so far is that Mr. Ed as filmed was genuinely an unaltered Houyhnhnm; however it was he came to be present in Hollywood.


message 4: by Atom (new)

Atom Bezecny | 21 comments The only issue I can see about Va-gas being brought to Earth by the Eridaneans or Capelleans is that I'm not sure there's evidence of their having collected other species. But there could be a relationship between the Va-gas and the Houyhnhmns. Houyhnhmns could be Va-gas brought to Earth in ancient times who became more horse-like, or Va-gas could be Houyhnhmns who ended up on the moon and became more humanoid. Any number of races could have been responsible for the former possibility. One explanation for the latter chance is that the Houyhnhmns heard an account of a human going to the moon and imitated them. This could have been Domingo Gonsales, from Francis Godwin's The Man in the Moon (1638)--Gonsales used a chariot pulled by geese to reach the moon. Also, the 2nd Century historian Lucian claimed to have visited the moon via a waterspout. I support the Lucian theory because that gives more time for the Houyhnhmn astronauts to have diverged into Va-gas--and also, I don't feel like following the path of trying to explain spacefaring geese. The "waterspout" that Lucian encountered could have been a portal which brought him to the moon, or a version of it. I would presume that the moon of The Moon Maid is located in the same other-dimensional space that Barsoom and Amtor inhabit (since "our" moon, Mars, and Venus are all lifeless), and if Lucian's waterspout was a portal it would have allowed him to cross the dimensional barriers as John Carter did while astrally projecting. The Houyhnhmns could have located this waterspout and used it themselves to explore the moon, forming a colony which eventually evolved or altered themselves into a different species. ~1800 years is not enough time for most species to evolve noticeably, but the moon is home to a Monolith, as seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Monoliths accelerate the evolution of a species, so it could have changed the Houyhnhmns into Va-gas.

You could also invert the Monolith theory. The species that built the Monoliths took Va-gas from the moon and introduced them to Earth's ecosystem, where they became Houyhnhmns.

None of this precisely pins down what exactly Mr. Ed was, but if there is a link between the Va-gas and Houyhnhmns perhaps we get a bit closer to the answer by suggesting he was a little of both.


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