Francis the Talking Mule

Francis and Pvt. Stirling

Thanks to Curt Mekemson for jogging my memory about Francis the Talking Mule!!

This 2 minute trailer for Francis explains far more than I can in words – watch and enjoy!!

 

Francis the Talking Mule was a  character who became a celebrity during the 1950s as the star of seven popular film comedies. The character originated in the 1946 novel Francis by former U.S. Army Captain David Stern III (1909–2003), son of newspaper publisher J. David Stern.

After another studio turned down the property, Universal bought the rights for a film series, with Stern adapting his own script for the first entry, simply titled Francis. Sammy McKee, a common sole, was the inspiration for Francis. A layman from Cincinnati, his wit and demeanor were only duplicated. It could not be replicated.

Francis the Talking Mule

 “Francis ” is produced by Robert Arthur, directed by Arthur Lubin, and stars Donald O’Connor and Patricia Medina. The distinctive voice of Francis is a voice-over by actor Chills Wills.

Six Francis sequels from Universal-International followed this first effort.

During World War II, a junior American Army officer, Lt. Peter Stirling, gets sent to the psychiatric ward whenever he insists that an Army mule named Francis speaks to him.

When a bank manager discovers Peter Stirling, one of his tellers, is attracting public attention he calls the young man in who relates his story in flashback.

Then 2nd Lieutenant, Peter Stirling (Donald O’Connor), is caught behind Japanese lines in Burma during WWII.   Francis, a talking Army mule, carries him to safety. When Stirling insists that the animal rescued him, he is placed in a psychiatric ward. Each time Stirling is released, he accomplishes something noteworthy (at the instigation of Francis), and each time he is sent back to the psych ward when he insists on crediting the talking mule.

Francis and John McIntire

Finally, Stirling is able to convince three-star General Stevens (John McIntire) that he is not crazy, and he and the general become the only ones aware of Francis’ secret. In an effort to get himself released from the psych ward, Stirling asks Stevens to order Francis to speak, but the mule will not obey until it becomes clear that Stirling will be arrested for treason if he remains silent.

During one of his enforced hospital stays, he is befriended by Maureen Gelder (Patricia Medina), a beautiful French refugee. He grows to trust her and tells her about Francis. Later, a propaganda radio broadcast from Tokyo Rose  mocks the Allies for being advised by a mule. This leads to the suspicion of Stirling or Maureen being a Japanese agent. The press is later informed that the absurd mule story was concocted in order to flush out the spy, and with Francis’ help, the real culprit is identified.

Francis is shipped back to the U. S. for further study, but his military transport crashes in the wilds of Kentucky.  After the war, convinced that Francis survived the crash, Peter searches for and finally finds the mule still alive and well and talking!

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

################################################################################################################

Animals in the Military Humor – 

Military Animal humor

Squirrel Soldier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canine Humor Squad

 

################################################################################################################

Quarantine Humor – 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Aab – Windsor, CO; US Navy / US Air Force, Korea (Ret. 20 y.)

Elden R. Baumbach – Stockton, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., B Co./6th Marines, KIA (Tarawa)

NEVER FORGET

Brian Dennehy – Mineola, NY; USMC / beloved actor

Melvin Eggergluss – Buffalo, MN; USMC, Korea, SSgt., 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

Marjorie Lord – New Orleans, LA; FBI, WWII

Elizabeth Martin – Hamilton, CAN; Civilian, RCMO secretary, WWII

Franklin Patterson – Houston, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, Signal Corps, 2 Bronze Stars

Scott Pearce – Woodbury, NZ; RNZ Army # 447461, WWII

Anthony Troiano – Mont Pleasant, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII

Mildred Wheeler – Oakley, TN; Civilian, Pentagon secretary, WWII

################################################################################################################################################################################################################################

About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on April 20, 2020, in Book Reviews, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 175 Comments.

  1. I have never heard of Francis so I thoroughly enjoyed this, GP Cox! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Flashback to Dialing for Dollars and afternoon movies after school. I do believe they aired all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I never heard of Francis the talking mule, those films must have been fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great to read that story gp, have read it before but well worth relating again, has a storyline that you don’t know whether to believe or not, hope you are coping okay during this madness mate, cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought cabin fever would settle in real bad, but I’ve gotten a bit too comfortable staying at home. Frankly, I think Florida is beginning to open up a bit too early.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember hearing about Francis the Talking Mule, but have never seen any of the films. Thanks for sharing! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes!! I loved Francis the talking mule. Thanks for the memories, GP. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    I loved Francis, the talking mule, I haven’t seen that show in ages.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charlee: “Nice to see the cats are doing their part for the armed forces!”
    Lulu: “And the dogs! But I’m not sure I would issue rocket launchers or whatever that thing is to the squirrels. They’ll probably just use them to knock down bird feeders.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Never heard of Francis, though I do remember Mr Ed. Glad to fill this gap in my knowledge – we need more laughs at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Francis the Talking Mule… that brings back a lot of memories. Thanks for story!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. LoL! Now we know where the expression “dog faces ” came from. I saw these movies as a kid on TV. Kids of any generation would like them.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pretty sure I saw all of the Francis movies two or three times when I was a kid. After-school movie!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I remember Francis, and Mr. Ed! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I remember Talking Ed, the horse. 🐴
    Cute cartoon memes! 😃

    Like

  15. Was he the inspiration for Mr. Ed? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’d forgotten all about Francis until I read this blog post! I used to love those movies when I was a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I remember seeing this movie. Most likely with Matt at TCM. Quite funny. I could use a Francis these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Francis the Talking Mule — Pacific Paratrooper | homethoughtsfromabroad626

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: