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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.

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Animals in the Military Humor – 

Military Animal humor

Squirrel Soldier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canine Humor Squad

 

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Quarantine Humor – 

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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

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