Walter R. Brooks
Walter R. Brooks
|Born||Walter Rollin Brooks|
January 9, 1886
Rome, New York, USA
|Died||August 17, 1958 (aged 72)|
Roxbury, New York
|Genre||Short stories, children's novels|
Walter Rollin Brooks (January 9, 1886 – August 17, 1958) was an American writer best remembered for his short stories on Mister Ed the talking horse and children's books, particularly those about Freddy the Pig and other anthropomorphic animal inhabitants of the "Bean farm" in upstate New York.
Brooks was born in Rome, New York. He attended college at the University of Rochester and subsequently studied homeopathic medicine in New York City. He dropped out after two years, however, and returned to Rochester where he married Anne Shepard in 1909. He found employment with an advertising agency in Utica, and then "retired" in 1911, evidently because he came into a considerable inheritance. His retirement was not permanent; in 1917, he went to work for the American Red Cross and he later did editorial work for several magazines, including "a nonfiction stint with The New Yorker 1932–1933". In 1940, he turned to writing for his full-time occupation. He married Dorothy Collins following the death of Anne in 1952.
The first works that Brooks published were poems and short stories. Among these were a series of short stories featuring "a talking horse and his drunken owner" which was the basis for the 1960s television comedy series Mister Ed. His most enduring works, however, are the 26 books that he wrote about Freddy the Pig and his friends. Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas praised Freddy and the Spaceship because it "offers wit, sound structural plotting, genuine character-humor, and admirable English prose".
Mister Ed stories
The first story that he published featuring the character Mister Ed was “The Talking Horse”, featured in Liberty magazine for September 18, 1937, which contained two illustrations by Tony Sarge. The last in the series was “With Teeth and Tail”, which appeared in the August 1945 issue of Argosy magazine. The short story “Ed Signs the Pledge” in Argosy, June 1944, was reportedly the story that Arthur Lubin used to sell the concept for the Mister Ed comedy series to TV executives. The series was produced by Filmways and was syndicated initially. It was picked up by CBS in 1961 and ran on the network until 1966.
In January 1963, Bantam in New York City published a paperback collection of the Mister Ed stories entitled The Original Mr. Ed which featured illustrations by Bob Bugg.
The Mister Ed character was featured in the following short stories:
- "The Talking Horse", Liberty, September 18, 1937
- "Horse Sense", Esquire, October 1938
- "Mr. Pope’s Thoroughbred", Liberty, June 10, 1939
- "Ed Has His Mind Improved", Liberty, October 14, 1939
- "Ed Shoots It Out", Liberty, June 1, 1940
- "The Midnight Ride of Mr. Pope", Liberty, August 3, 1940
- "Just a Song at Twilight", Liberty, September 21, 1940
- "Ed Holds a Séance", Liberty, March 1, 1941
- "Ed Likes to Be Beside the Seaside", Liberty, July 5, 1941
- "Ed Takes the Cockeyed Initiative", Liberty, September 27, 1941
- Ed Gets a Mother Complex, Liberty, November 8, 1941
- "Mr. Pope Rides Again", The Saturday Evening Post, July 4, 1942
- "Bird in the Bush", The Saturday Evening Post, September 5, 1942
- "Dr. Atwood and Mr. Ed", The Saturday Evening Post, January 16, 1943
- "Do Ye Ken Wilbur Pope?", The Saturday Evening Post, June 5, 1943
- "Ed Quenches an Old Flame", Argosy, May 1944
- "Ed Signs the Pledge", Argosy, June 1944
- "Ed Makes Like a Horse", Argosy, August 1944
- "Well, Really, Mr. Pope!", Argosy, October 1944
- "Ed the Were Horse" (a.k.a. "Monster in Horse’s Clothing"), Argosy, February 1945
- "Ed Goes Psychic" (a.k.a. "Such a Spiritous Horse!"), Argosy, April 1945
- "Ed Divides and Conquers", Argosy, July 1945
- "With Teeth and Tail", Argosy, September 1945
- "His Royal Harness", only in The Original Mr. Ed
- "Medium Rare", only in The Original Mr. Ed
- "Brooks, Walter R". Revised November 13, 2014. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (sf-encyclopedia.com). Retrieved 2015-01-29. Entry by 'JC', John Clute.
- "Recommended Reading", The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1954, p. 95.
- "Walter R. Brooks, Author, Dies at 72; Wrote Freddy the Pig Children's Books". New York Times. August 19, 1958. p. 28. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
- "Memorial page for Walter R. Brooks (1886-1958)". Find A Grave. p. Find A Grave Memorial no. 8870420. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
- Patten, Fred. Review: 'The Original Mr. Ed', by Walter Brooks. flayrah.com. October 22, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
- Works by Walter Rollin Brooks at Faded Page (Canada)
- International Friends of Freddy
- Harley Hahn's Freddy the Pig information page
- Jill Morgan's Freddy the Pig pages
- Walter R. Brooks at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Walter Brooks at Library of Congress Authorities, with 73 catalog records