Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Francis Movies

Series of US movies, based on the Francis the Talking Mule series of books by David J Stern (1909-1971), in which a dimwit undergoes farcical adventures with a talking mule called Francis (> Ass). The voice of Francis was done throughout by Chill Wills. Mickey Rooney was offered the lead role but turned it down; it was taken by Donald O'Connor for the first six movies, Rooney taking it for the last. Almost unwatchable today, the FM were highly popular in their day. The series ran: Francis (1950), Francis Goes to the Races (1951), Francis Goes to West Point (1952), Francis Covers Big Town (1953), Francis Joins the WACS (1954), Francis Joins the Navy (1955) and Francis in the Haunted House (1956). A later incarnation was the tv series Mr Ed, in which FM director Arthur Lubin had the original idea of making Mr Ed a horse rather than a mule. [JG]

see also: Cinema; Talking Animals.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.